The latest wave of displacement has resulted in more families living among rubble in damaged buildings, lacking essential services, vital supplies and protection. Photo by UNRWA
The latest wave of displacement has resulted in more families living among rubble in damaged buildings, lacking essential services, vital supplies and protection. Photo by UNRWA

Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel | Flash Update #169

The OCHA oPt Flash Update is published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with a comprehensive update on the West Bank included every Wednesday. The next update will be issued on 24 May.

Key Highlights

  • UNRWA suspends food distributions in Rafah due to supply shortages and insecurity. 
  • The situation in Gaza is “beyond catastrophic,” reports the World Health Organization (WHO), as Kamal Adwan Hospital becomes non-functional and Al Awda Hospital remains sieged. 
  • Since 14 May, 17 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank, including nine in Jenin governorate and four in Tulkarm governorate. 

Gaza Strip Updates

  • Israeli bombardment from the air, land, and sea continues to be reported across much of the Gaza Strip, resulting in further civilian casualties, displacement, and destruction of houses and other civilian infrastructure. Ground incursions and heavy fighting also continue to be reported, especially in Jabalya and eastern Rafah. 
  • Briefing the Security Council on 20 May, the Director of OCHA’s Operations and Advocacy Division, Edem Wosornu, highlighted that the “humanitarian situation in Gaza…has only grown more urgent amid ongoing Israeli ground operations in and around Rafah since 6 May” and the humanitarian community is “running out of words to describe what is happening in Gaza.” Wosornu welcomed the first aid shipment delivered on 17 May via the floating dock and reiterated that “land routes remain the most viable and effective way to deliver the scale of aid needed.” “All available access points must be open and kept open for a sustained period to allow aid to enter at scale,” she added. 
  • Between the afternoons of 20 and 22 May, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza, 147 Palestinians were killed and 338 were injured, including 62 killed and 138 injured in the last 24 hours. Between 7 October 2023 and 22 May 2024, at least 35,709 Palestinians were killed and 79,990 were injured in Gaza, according to MoH in Gaza. 
  • The following are among the deadliest incidents reported between 19 and 21 May:  
    • On 19 May, at about 23:35, six Palestinians, including four children and a woman, were reportedly killed when a residential building was hit in Beit Lahiya, in North Gaza. 
    • On 19 May, at about 23:30, a family of three Palestinians, including a 15-month-old child and a woman, were reportedly killed and seven others were injured when a residential apartment was hit near Al Qadisia School in Tal as Sultan neighbourhood, in western Rafah. 
    • On 20 May, at about 12:30, five Palestinians were reportedly killed when a residential building was hit in Beit Lahiya, in North Gaza. 
    • On 20 May, at about 18:35, 13 Palestinians were reportedly killed when a group of Palestinians was hit while attempting to return to their homes on An Nuzha Street in Jabalya Refugee Camp. 
    • On 21 May, at about 6:44, four Palestinians, including three children, were reportedly killed and others injured when two houses were hit in Abasan Al Kabira, in eastern Khan Younis. 
    • On 21 May, at about 11:30, three Palestinian children were reportedly killed and others injured when a group of people was hit near Awadallah Junction in Yebna Refugee Camp, in central Rafah. 
  • Between the afternoons of 20 and 22 May, no Israeli soldiers were reported killed in Gaza. As of 22 May, 282 soldiers have been killed and 1,776 soldiers have been injured in Gaza or along the border in Israel since the beginning of the ground operation, according to the Israeli military. In addition, according to the Israeli media citing official Israeli sources, over 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals, including 33 children, have been killed in Israel, the vast majority on 7 October. As of 22 May, it is estimated that 128 Israelis and foreign nationals remain captive in Gaza, including fatalities whose bodies are withheld.  
  • With more than 800,000 people displaced from Rafah since 6 May, nearly 150,000 people have registered for UNRWA services in Khan Younis alone in the last 10 days and there has been a 36 per cent increase in the number of people at UNRWA facilities in the governorate. These include “families living among rubble in damaged schools, lacking tents, essential services and vital supplies,” UNRWA reports. The Health Cluster had warned of a further surge in communicable diseases due to large-scale displacement to areas that lack basic necessities. Prior to the Rafah operation, WHO data covering 29 April to 5 May already showed a marked increase in reported cases of acute watery diarrhoea, respiratory infections and jaundice syndrome by 53, 47 and 45 per cent, respectively, compared with the previous epidemiological week. The data also showed a 200 per cent increase in reported cases of bloody diarrhoea over the same time span. 
  • On 21 May, UNRWA announced the suspension of food distributions in Rafah due to the lack of supplies and increasing insecurity. Both the World Food Programme (WFP) main warehouse and UNRWA distribution centre in Rafah remain inaccessible, the agency reported. While every effort is being made to establish additional kitchens in Khan Younis, Deir al Balah and Gaza city and scale up the distribution of hot meals, supplies for hot meal provision might soon be exhausted, the Food Security Cluster warns. Among others, a persistent shortage of cooking gas is hindering the ability to keep community kitchens and bakeries running and to ensure proper food preparation and nutrition in affected communities. As of 19 May, the Food Security Cluster reported that ten bakeries supported by humanitarian partners remain operational across the Strip, including six in Deir al Balah and four in Gaza city, but are hanging by a thread and could shortly run out of stock and fuel. Ongoing hostilities have also forced many people to leave their farms unattended, particularly in eastern Rafah and Khan Younis, exacerbating the already very limited fresh food production. On 17 May, the WFP Palestine Country Director, Matthew Hollingworth, had re-emphasized the urgent need to open additional entry points into Gaza, underscoring that only the consistent influx of assistance at volume in Gaza can help “stop famine in its tracks.” 
  • “The situation in Gaza remains beyond catastrophic,” stated the WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on 21 May, as the last two partially functional hospitals in northern Gaza (Al Awda and Kamal Adwan) became at risk of ceasing their live-saving operations. Al Awda Hospital has been under siege since 19 May, with no one allowed to leave or enter the facility, and 148 hospital staff, alongside 22 patients and their companions, still trapped inside. In a press briefing in Geneva, the WHO Director-General highlighted that this is the second time that Al Awda Hospital has been besieged since the onset of the conflict and the facility had already suffered significant losses, including the death of 14 employees. Quoting the Acting Director of the hospital, Dr. Mohammad Salha, Action Aid warned on 20 May that fuel and clean water had been exhausted, as fear was gripping patients and staff. According to WHO, medical personnel inside the hospital reported two attacks on 20 May, with “snipers aiming at the building,” and one incident of artillery shelling hitting the fifth floor, where the administration department is located. In a statement on 21 May, the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO) also expressed deep concern for the safety of patients and staff at the hospital. Meanwhile, “intense hostilities near Kamal Adwan Hospital have compromised its ability to provide care and made it harder for patients to reach,” reported the WHO Director-General. The facility, which was the only one providing haemodialysis services in northern Gaza, was reportedly hit four times on 21 May, resulting in damage to the intensive care unit, reception, administration, and roof. Kamal Adwan Hospital is no longer functional, according to WHO. 
  • An Najjar Hospital, which had a 220-bed capacity, remains out of service and the Kuwaiti Hospital, with only 36 beds, continues to serve as the main trauma care provider, reports WHO. Out of nine field hospitals in the south, only seven remain fully functional. The Indonesian Field Hospital had to be evacuated on 14 May following the issuance of an evacuation order for the area where the hospital is located, and while 49 patients are currently receiving care at the UAE Field Hospital, the facility is now hardly accessible to new patients due to surrounding hostilities. Describing the critical situation triggered by intensified military activities over the past two weeks, the WHO Director-General indicated that over 70 shelters have now lost access to their medical points, daily medical consultations have dropped by nearly 40 per cent, and immunizations have fallen by 50 per cent. Meanwhile, all medical evacuations of seriously ill patients remained halted since 7 May and fuel shortages continue to threaten health care provision, affecting the functionality of hospitals, primary healthcare centers and ambulance movement. Operations by the Health Cluster have also been severely disrupted by the Rafah incursion, with only one WHO-led mission carried out from 9 to 18 May, amid growing insecurity, and experiencing delays of some 200 minutes.
  • Between 1 and 20 May, 183 humanitarian aid missions in Gaza were coordinated with the Israeli authorities. Of 51 coordinated missions to northern Gaza, 37 per cent (19 missions) were facilitated by the Israeli authorities, 10 per cent (5 missions) were denied access, 35 per cent (18 missions) were impeded (these may be aborted or accomplished, albeit partially, despite the impediment), and 17 per cent (9 missions) were cancelled. Impeded missions included 10 that encountered extensive delays ranging from two to 7.5 hours. In one incident involving an inter-agency mission on 4 May, the driver was arrested, stripped naked and detained at an Israeli checkpoint and the team was threatened with firearms, leading to the mission’s cancellation. Another two missions classified as “impeded” were aborted, one after warning shots were fired at a UN vehicle and one because the checkpoint opened at about 13:00, which was too late to enable the completion of the mission before night-time. In southern Gaza, among the 132 coordinated missions, 50 per cent (66 missions) were facilitated by the Israeli authorities, 18 per cent (24 missions) were denied access, 13 per cent (17 missions) were impeded, and 19 per cent (25 missions) were cancelled. Of the 17 impeded missions, 14 were heading to Kerem Shalom Crossing to collect aid supplies and encountered delays due to traffic congestions blocking the road and delayed clearance by Israeli authorities, resulting in six missions being aborted. 

West Bank Updates, 14-20 May 

  • Latest development (after the reporting period): Since 21 May, Israeli forces, including an undercover military force, shot and killed eight Palestinians, including two children, in Jenin city and Jenin Refugee Camp. The fatalities included a 50-year-old doctor who was en route to work at Jenin Governmental Hospital, a teacher shot near a school, and a student who was riding a bicycle to school. Nine others were injured. When the undercover unit was identified in Jenin Refugee Camp on 21 May, armed clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli forces, with additional Israeli forces and bulldozers deployed thereafter. The camp was besieged and, following coordination through the Palestinian District Coordination Office (DCO), UNRWA was granted a half-hour window to evacuate students as well as school, health and other UNRWA staff. 
  • During the reporting period, Israeli forces shot and killed eight Palestinians and injured 27 Palestinians, including 11 by live ammunition, in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Another 20-year-old Palestinian man died of wounds sustained in a 6 May operation carried out by Israeli forces in Beit Furik village (Nablus). Since 7 October, 489 Palestinians, including 117 children, have been killed and more than 5,000 Palestinians, including about 790 children, have been injured in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. These include 472 killed by Israeli forces, ten by Israeli settlers, and seven where it remains unknown whether the perpetrators were Israeli soldiers or settlers. Ten Israelis, including six members of Israeli forces and one child, have been killed and at least 100 have been injured, including 70 members of Israeli forces and two children, in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since 7 October.   
    • On 15 May, three Palestinian men (aged 22, 26 and 27 years) were shot and killed in Tulkarm city and two children were injured by live ammunition in Qalqiliya city, all by Israeli forces, during raids on money exchange shops.  
    • On 15 May, a 20-year-old Palestinian university student was killed and one was injured and arrested by Israeli forces during a demonstration held by Palestinians in commemoration of Nakba Day near the DCO checkpoint in Ramallah governorate.  
    • On 16 May, a 17-year-old Palestinian boy was shot and killed by Israeli forces near one of the entrances to the Old City of Jerusalem, after attempting to stab a member of Israeli forces. The child’s body has been withheld by Israeli forces. No injuries among Israeli forces were reported.  
    • On 17 May, a 24-year-old Palestinian man was shot by an Israeli army sniper during a search-and-arrest operation carried out by Israeli forces in Bal’a village in Tulkarm governorate. During the reporting period, some 120 search-and arrest operations were documented by OCHA, more than a third in Hebron governorate, resulting in the detention of at least 90 Palestinians.  
    • On 17 May, a 26-year-old Palestinian man was killed and nine others were injured when an Israeli airstrike hit a house in Jenin Refugee Camp. Since 7 October, 74 Palestinians have been killed by airstrikes or associated shrapnel in the cities of Jenin, Tulkarm and Nablus and nearby refugee camps.  
    • On 19 May, a 44-year-old Palestinian man from Beit Fajjar village in Bethlehem governorate was shot and killed by Israeli forces at Wadi an Nar (“Container”) checkpoint, after he was reportedly spotted by forces while carrying a knife. Israeli forces subsequently closed the checkpoint for two hours, impeding access between the central and southern West Bank. According to the man’s family, he suffered from a mental illness. His body was handed over to the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) one hour following the incident. No injuries among Israeli forces were reported. Since the beginning of 2024, 12 stabbing or alleged stabbing incidents targeting Israeli forces or settlers took place in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, including nine at checkpoints, resulting in the injury of three Israelis and the killing of 11 perpetrators or alleged perpetrators. These include a stabbing attack carried out on 30 April by a Turkish tourist in the Old City of Jerusalem.  
  • Israeli settlers perpetrated 28 attacks against Palestinians, and these led to the injury of ten Palestinians (by settlers or Israeli forces) and/or damage to Palestinian property. Overall, since 7 October, 896 Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians resulted in Palestinian casualties (93 incidents), damage to Palestinian-owned property (707 incidents), or both casualties and damage to property (96 incidents).   
    • In Hebron governorate, three Palestinians, including an elderly man, were physically assaulted and injured by Israeli settlers near Al Qawawis, Haribat an Nabi and Al Jwaya herding communities. In Ramallah governorate, two Palestinian men were physically assaulted and injured by Israeli settlers in Ni’lin village and Al Mu’arrajat area. Also in Al Mu’arrajat, settlers blocked the road and several cars sustained damage due to stone throwing. In Nablus governorate, three Palestinians were shot by live ammunition fired by Israeli soldiers during raids by Israeli settlers on Qusra village on 14 and 15 May. 
    • Since mid-May, at least seven incidents took place that involved attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinian trucks suspected of transporting goods to Gaza. In two incidents in Ramallah governorate, the settlers physically assaulted and injured the truck drivers, damaged the goods, and set fire to one truck. In two incidents in Nablus and Qalqiliya, settlers stopped two trucks carrying donated animal fodder and attacked the drivers. The settlers damaged or took over sacks of fodder in both cases. At Tarqumiya Barrier Checkpoint in Hebron, Israeli settlers blocked the movement of trucks on two occasions, in addition to a previously reported incident when a group of Israeli settlers had offloaded and vandalized several trucks carrying food items en route from Hebron to Gaza. 
    • Settler incidents resulting in property damage include attacks in Burqa and Yatma villages, in Nablus governorate, where Israeli settlers set fire to two houses and at least 20 vehicles. In Al Haffasi village, in Tulkarm governorate, Israeli settlers shot and killed a camel and stole four cows. In Ein Samiya area of Ramallah governorate, Israeli settlers entered and damaged a plant nursery and destroyed thousands of olive saplings. In addition, settlers continue to graze their livestock near the nursery, where it is estimated that at least 100 avocado and 60 guava trees have been damaged. 
  • During the reporting period, six Palestinian-owned structures were demolished for lacking Israeli-issued building permits in Area C and East Jerusalem. Five of the structures were demolished in Idhna town (Hebron), including two homes and two water cisterns, that resulted in the displacement of ten people, including three children, and affected 450 others, including 194 children. Since 7 October, 1,964 Palestinians, including 865 children, have been displaced by home demolitions carried out or ordered by Israeli authorities. Some 38 per cent (750 people) were displaced when their homes were demolished for lacking building permits, which are almost impossible to obtain, including 54 per cent in Area C of the West Bank and 46 per cent in East Jerusalem. Eight per cent were displaced by demolitions that were carried out by Israeli forces on punitive grounds, and 54 per cent were displaced when their homes were demolished during Israeli army operations, mostly in refugee camps in or near Tulkarm and Jenin cities. 


  • As of 22 May, Member States have disbursed about US$872 million out of $3.4 billion (25 per cent) requested to meet the most critical needs of 2.3 million people in Gaza and 800,000 people in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, between January and December 2024. This includes about $623 million out of $600 million (104 per cent) requested for January-March 2024 and about $249 million out of $2.8 billion (9 per cent) requested for the Flash Appeal launched on 17 April to cover the period between April and December 2024. For funding analysis, please see the Flash Appeal Financial Tracking dashboard.
  • The oPt HF has 118 ongoing projects, for a total of $72.5 million, addressing urgent needs in the Gaza Strip (85 per cent) and West Bank (15 per cent). In light of the updated Flash Appeal, the HF has allocated an additional $22 million to bolster prioritized HF-funded projects in Gaza. Since 7 October, the oPt HF has mobilized $90 million from Member States and private donors, designated for programmes throughout Gaza. A summary of the oPt HF activities and challenges in April 2024 is available through this link and the 2023 Annual Report of the oPt HF can be accessed here. Private donations are collected directly through the Humanitarian Fund

For the Gaza Humanitarian Response Update for the period between 13 – 19 May, please visit: Gaza Humanitarian Response Update | 13–19 May 2024. It is updated throughout the week to reflect new content. 

* Asterisks indicate that a figure, sentence, or section has been rectified, added, or retracted after the initial publication of this update.