The Monthly Humanitarian Bulletin | March 2019

“Great March of Return” demonstrations marks one year on 30 March 2019. Palestinians injured in demonstrations face greater barriers to accessing health care outside Gaza. Demolitions rise in the first quarter of 2019. Palestinians in Area C are directly affected by Israeli restrictions and control of WASH-related infrastructure.

In this document

This month witnessed one of the most significant escalations of hostilities in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel since 2014, after a rocket was fired from Gaza on 25 March, severely damaging a house in central Israel and injuring seven Israelis. Following the incident, the Israeli Air Force struck multiple locations across Gaza, injuring two and displacing sixteen families, while Palestinian armed groups fired dozens of projectiles towards southern Israel, reportedly causing damage. The Israeli authorities also closed the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings, allowing only movement of urgent humanitarian cases, and prohibited all fishing along the coast. A relative calm appears to be holding since 27 March.

The demolition of residential, livelihood and service infrastructure, on the grounds of a lack of Israeli-issued permits, has continued throughout the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem. In the first three months of 2019, a total of 136 Palestinian structures were demolished in the West Bank, of which 48 were in East Jerusalem and 88 in Area C, displacing 218 people, including 97 children and 57 women.

Since 30 March 2018, thousands of Palestinians have been participating in the weekly “Great March of Return” (GMR) demonstrations near the perimeter fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, calling for the Palestinian right of return and the ending of the Israeli blockade. The demonstrations were originally scheduled to last up to 15 May, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of what Palestinians refer to as the 1948 Nakba, but have continued on a weekly basis, and also now include occasional demonstrations on the beach next to the perimeter fence in northern Gaza in addition to night activities near the fence. Protection Cluster partners have repeatedly indicated that under international law, all Palestinians, including children, have the right to freedom of expression and demonstration.