Posted on 11 March 2017

The Monthly Humanitarian Bulletin | February 2017

Khan al Ahmar school at risk of demolition after receiving demolition order from the ICA on 5 March 2017. © Archive photo by OCHA, 2013
Khan al Ahmar school at risk of demolition after receiving demolition order from the ICA on 5 March 2017. © Archive photo by OCHA, 2013
All structures in Khan al Ahmar - Abu Al Helu, a Palestinian Bedouin community in the Jerusalem governorate, were served with final demolition orders, increasing the risk of a mass forcible transfer. Largest seawater desalination plant in Gaza inaugurated and expected to serve 275,000 people, less than 15% of Gaza’s population. Key measures by humanitarian organizations can mitigate the humanitarian  impact of de facto settlement expansion. Eight years after the 2008-2009 (Cast Lead) hostilities in Gaza, victims are still bearing the consequences while lack of accountability persists.

In this document

Khan al Ahmar school at risk of demolition after receiving demolition order from the ICA on 5 March 2017. © Archive photo by OCHA, 2013

On 28 February 2017, the Israeli State Comptroller released the findings of its investigation into decision-making by the Israeli Cabinet prior to the 2014 hostilities in the Gaza Strip. According to the report, the Cabinet ignored the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza, despite early warnings provided by the military, particularly regarding the state of Gaza’s infrastructure. Addressing issues such as the hardship in Gaza ahead of time, according to the State Comptroller, “could have probably prevented the escalation”.

Salem from Jabal al Baba between the rubble of his demolished house , January 2017. © Photo by OCHA

Since the beginning of 2017, a number of developments have generated additional pressure on Palestinian Bedouin communities located within and around the area designated by the Israeli authorities for the E1 settlement plan and the expansion of Ma’ale Adumim settlement in eastern Jerusalem governorate. The 18 communities in this area belong to a larger group of 46 Bedouin communities in the central West Bank, which the Israeli authorities seek to “relocate” to three designated sites.

Newly inaugurated desalination plant in Deir al Balah, Gaza 2017. © Photo by UNICEF

In the Gaza Strip more than 95 per cent of the water extracted from the aquifer lying underneath it is unfit for human consumption. This stems mainly from long-standing over-extraction, compounded by infiltration of raw sewage and seawater. Chloride and nitrate levels in the water extracted in most areas exceed the levels recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for potable water by up to eight times. As Gaza’s population continues to grow, a 2012 UN report predicted that water demand in Gaza would increase by 60 per cent by 2020, while damage to the aquifer may become irreversible.

Girl looking at destruction site after Gaza 2008-2009 conflict, February 2009. © Photo by UNICEF

Accountability for violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law by all sides during successive hostilities in Gaza is an urgent priority. Failure to ensure effective accountability for lives lost, homes destroyed and damage wrought fuels a culture of impunity that can lead to further violations. Eight years after the 2008-2009 (Cast Lead) hostilities in Gaza, victims are still bearing the consequences while lack of accountability persists.

'Ein al Kabireh waterspring and ponds taken over by Elon Moreh settlement and turned into tourist attraction, November 2016. © Photo by OCHA

The three cases highlighted in this study describe the ongoing efforts by Israeli settlers to increase their spatial control over surrounding areas and natural resources through the development of new infrastructure and activities, alongside attempts to remove a Palestinian presence.