Protecting vulnerable families in Hebron city

An oPt Humanitarian Fund success story

Israel exercises direct control over the 20 per cent of Hebron City, known as H2, which is home to approximately 40,000 Palestinians and a few hundred Israeli settlers living in five settlement compounds. Policies and practices implemented by the Israeli authorities, citing security concerns, have resulted in the forcible transfer of Palestinians from their homes in Hebron city, reducing a once thriving area to a ‘ghost town’. The living conditions of those Palestinians who remain in the closed and restricted areas have been gradually undermined, including with regard to basic services and sources of livelihood.

The Khatib family, comprising nine members, is one of the families who remain in the closed-off neighbourhood of Tel Rumeida. For a long time, they lived in inadequate conditions and could not afford to rehabilitate their home. “We suffered from high levels of humidity and water leaks, especially in the winter,” said Hussein Al Khatib. “My child would end up in the hospital 3-5 times during winter, due to humidity levels [in the house].”

The closure of their neighbourhood to Palestinian vehicular movement, coupled by settler harassment and violence, undermined their ability to have any repair work done. “We had to go back and forth using horses and donkeys to deliver the [construction] material,” Al Khatib recalled. “The security situation is a major obstacle to having people carry out work here. Sometimes we face harassment by settlers, while working or entering material to the community.”

Picture: Al Khatib family bedroom before the rehabilitation works. Photo by GVC

In 2018, with funding received through the Humanitarian Fund for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt HF), Gruppo di Volontariato Civile (GVC) supported Hussein and his family by insulating the roof and doors of their home, painting the walls, and renovating the latrine and the kitchen. “The project helped us by relieving us from the financial burden of paying workers,” Al Khatib said. “Now we’ll be able to live without any concerns [about the house].”

Project name: Reinforce the capacities of protection from natural, man-made hazards and conflict escalation of acutely-vulnerable Palestinian households
Cluster: Shelter and Non-Food Items
Number of beneficiaries: 761
Benefitting communities: Hebron: Al Ganoub, Qawawis, Hebron; Ramallah: Ein Ayoub Bedouincs, Ras al Tin
Allocation: US$250,705.62 
Implementing partner: Gruppo di volontariato civile (GVC)
Start year: 2018 

The support the Khatib family received was part of a larger project that aimed at reducing the exposure of vulnerable Palestinians to man-made and natural disasters and ensuring their living conditions are adequate. With this goal in mind, in 2018, GVC identified a total of 17 shelters in Tel Rumeida that needed rehabilitation or other upgrades to ensure adequate shelter for extreme weather conditions and reduce the need for residents to temporarily relocate in tough weather. As part of this project, more than 700 Palestinians benefitted from similar interventions carried out in this and four other communities of the Hebron and Ramallah governorates.

Rehabilitation works at the Khatib family home in Hebron. Photo: GVC

* This story was contributed by Gruppo di Volontariato Civile (GVC).