The Monthly Humanitarian Bulletin | September 2015

Import restrictions impede delivery of services and humanitarian assistance in Gaza. Barrier construction resumes in Bethlehem. Highest number of structures demolished in West Bank in a single month in five years.

In this document

Settlement expansion in Silwan has generated tension and violence in recent years. It has further undermined the precarious living conditions of Palestinians, already suffering from overcrowding, inadequate services, and threat of demolition and displacement due to unauthorized construction.

August 2015 registered the highest number of structures demolished by the Israeli authorities in a single month in five years (since July 2010). Overall, a total of 145 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished in 37 residential areas, including 32 in Area C, four in East Jerusalem, and one in Area A. Over 200 people were displaced and more than 400 otherwise affected. The number of people displaced in August was roughly 360 per cent higher than the monthly average from January – July 2015 (approx. 45 persons displaced per month).

In mid-September, confrontations erupted between Palestinian protestors and Israeli police in the Al Aqsa Mosque (Haram AlSharif/Temple Mount), in the Old City of East Jerusalem. The clashes are ongoing, and as of this writing have resulted in dozens of Palestinian injuries, as well as damage to the mosque, and led to wider demonstrations throughout the city. The UN Security Council expressed grave concern over escalating tensions and called for “the exercise of restraint, refraining from provocative actions and rhetoric, and upholding unchanged the historic status quo at the Haram Al-Sharif.” Past UN resolutions have declared Israel’s unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem unlawful.

On 17 August, the Israeli authorities resumed construction of a section of the Barrier in the Cremisan valley extending from Beit Jala to the village of Al Walaja in Bethlehem governorate. Construction has resulted in the uprooting of ancient olive trees (see bellow) and the resumption of local protests. Based on previous experience in other West Bank areas, there is concern that agriculture-based livelihoods in the Cremisan area will be eroded.

Most interventions included in the 2015 Strategic Response Plan (SRP) by members of the Health and Nutrition Cluster aim at achieving strategic objective 4 (one of the Plan’s six objectives): to ensure that 1.6 million people (men, women, boys, girls, refugees, no-refugees) across the oPt have access to essential services in areas where access is restricted.

Following the easing of the blockade on the Gaza Strip in mid-2010, all goods could be imported, with the exception of items defined by the Israeli government as dual-use, i.e. “weapons and items which can be, and often are, used for military purposes”, according to the Israeli Ministry of Defense.