Response to the escalation in the oPt | Situation Report No. 10 (September 2021)
The ceasefire in Gaza is largely holding, and the Israeli authorities have eased more of the restrictions imposed on Gaza following the escalation in May.
In Gaza, about 8,250 internally displaced people (IDPs) remain with host families or in rented accommodation.
Israeli forces in the West Bank killed ten Palestinians, including one child, in various incidents during September 2021.
The humanitarian community has raised US$66.7 million of the $95 million requested in the emergency response plan to support 1.1 million Palestinians for three months.
The May 2021 ceasefire continues to largely hold, with the protests near the perimeter fence around Gaza, which began in August, suspended since 2 September. A Palestinian man was killed by Israeli gunfire near the fence on 1 September, bringing to three the number of Palestinians killed in the protests overall, with over 130 injured; an Israeli soldier was also fatally injured by Palestinian gunfire. Between 10 and 13 September, Palestinian armed groups launched four rockets from Gaza towards southern Israel, which were intercepted, causing some light injuries in Israel. Israeli forces struck positions reportedly belong to armed groups and open fields, causing damage to a house, a farm, and the armed groups’ positions. On other occasions, Palestinian armed groups launched incendiary balloons reportedly sparking three fires in Israel. One Palestinian in Gaza was also shot and killed by Israeli forces on 30 September in the Deir al Balah area, while reportedly hunting birds near the Israeli perimeter fence around Gaza.
According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), during the escalation in Gaza in May, 261 Palestinians were killed, including 67 children. It has been assessed that 130 of the fatalities were civilians and 64 were members of armed groups, while the status of the remaining 67 has not been determined. Over 2,210 Palestinians were injured during the hostilities, including 685 children and 480 women, some of whom may suffer a long-term disability requiring rehabilitation. Thirteen people in Israel, including one soldier, were killed by Palestinian rocket fire.
At the height of the escalation, 113,000 IDPs sought shelter and protection at UNRWA schools or with hosting families. According to the Shelter Cluster, there are still about 8,250 IDPs, primarily those whose houses were destroyed or so severely damaged as to be uninhabitable.
On 1 September, the Israeli authorities further eased some of the restrictions, including expanding the permissible fishing zone along the southern part of the Gaza coast to 15 nautical miles; issuing some thousands of permits for businessmen to exit Gaza; and expanding the operation of Kerem Shalom crossing for the transfer of goods and equipment. In September, steel bars entered Gaza through Israel for the first time since 2014, outside of the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM).
On 13 September, for the first time since the May escalation, the disbursement of the Qatari financial assistance to poor families resumed in Gaza through a UN implemented mechanism, targeting 100,000 families. Each of the selected families will receive $100.00 per month until the end of the year.
West Bank, including East Jerusalem
The high casualty rate continued in the West Bank in September, with ten Palestinians, including one child, killed by Israeli forces. Six Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli forces in exchanged-of-fire incidents in Beit ‘Anan village (Jerusalem) and Birqin village (Jenin), in the context of search-and-arrest operations in the two villages. Two other Palestinians were shot in the Old City of Jerusalem while stabbing or allegedly trying to stab Israeli forces. On 24 September, a Palestinian protester was shot and killed during ongoing protests in Beita village (Nablus) against the establishment of a settlement outpost. Since these protests began in early May 2021, eight Palestinians have been killed and over 4,450 injured, including 182 by live ammunition and 855 by rubber bullets.
Incidents of settler violence have also continued. On 28 September, twenty-nine Palestinians, including a young child, were injured by settlers or by Israeli forces who intervened following the settler attack in Umm Fagarah village (Hebron). One of those injured, a three-year-old boy was hit by a stone in his head while in his bed, and was taken to an Israeli hospital. Settlers also killed five sheep and damaged ten homes, 14 vehicles and several solar panels and water tanks. During the incident, Palestinians threw stones and Israeli forces fired teargas canisters and arrested three Palestinians who were released later that night. Israeli police have arrested six settlers in connection with the incident, two of whom remain in detention.
During September, the Israeli authorities demolished, seized or forced people to demolish eight Palestinian-owned structures across the West Bank due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits. This caused the displacement of two people, and affected the livelihoods of over 50 other people. All targeted structures were recorded in Area C of the West Bank and East Jerusalem
Palestinian families still face the threat of forced eviction by the Israeli authorities from their homes in the Karm Al Jaouni area of Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, due to court cases initiated by Israeli settler organizations. In September, some of the restrictions placed on the neighbourhood since May were eased, although the cement blocks checkpoints structures remain in place, although they are only occasionally staffed.
On 4 October, the Israeli High Court (HCJ) issued a decision regarding four of the at-risk families. The decision offers the families a protected tenancy status, while recognizing the Israeli settler organization’s ownership of the land, to which the Palestinian tenants would pay an annual lease fee. The families would also agree to pay the legal fees and court costs of the settler organization. The families would have the right to undertake renovation and internal changes to the properties for a period of 15 years, during which time the settler organization would not be able to initiate eviction proceedings against them. The HCJ judges announced that their decision was non-binding, given both sides until 2 November 2021 to respond.
On 27 May, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the oPt, Lynn Hastings, launched the inter-agency Flash Appeal, requesting $95 million to support emergency humanitarian and early recovery responses over a three-month period. The response plan envisaged a swift transition to an early recovery phase, including the rehabilitation and reconstruction of infrastructure services and networks, and then to a medium- and long-term reconstruction and recovery framework. The plan complemented the $417 million appealed for in the 2021 oPt Humanitarian Response Plan, covering pre-existing humanitarian needs.
So far, $66.7 million (70 per cent) of the amount requested in the Flash Appeal has been raised. Including resources not directly supporting Flash Appeal activities, $82.67 million has been mobilized in support of humanitarian response following the escalation. The Coordination and Shelter are currently the least funded sectors.
Total funding for Flash Appeal response by donors
Inside the Response Plan
Outside the Response Plan
Total in US$
CDCS - Le Centre de Crise et de Soutien
Save the Children International
Dutch Relief Alliance
Arab Fund Kuwait
*Other funding includes contributions from donors in the amount below US$1 million as follows: AECID, AFH, AICS, Alliance 2015, Anera, Bank of Palestine, Christian Aid UK, Danida Emergency Response Fund (DERF), DCA emergency fund, Diakonia, DMA, DOP, Dutch Relief Alliance, ECW FER, EPF, FAO, France, Fundo Alava Emergencia, Human Appeal – UK, Humanity and Inclusion, Ireland, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Luxembourg, MDM, Member pooled funding, NPA, PARCIC Japan, Penny Appeal/ Canada, Oxfam, Qatar Charity, Qatar Red Crescent (QRC), Save the Children International, Secours Islamique France (SIF), Stichting War Child Holland -DRA, Swiss Solidarity, Taawon (Welfare), TBHF, UNICEF, Wallonie-Bruxelles International, WW-GVC.
The oPt witnessed a significant rise in COVID-19 cases for much of September, with numbers declining again by the end of the month. As of 30 September, the number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 across the oPt was 26,593, up from 20,531 at the end of August. Since the outbreak began, about 403,000 of the approximately 434,000 cases have recovered, and 4,366 have died. The Case Fatality Rate, the proportion of deaths among confirmed cases, remains at 1 per cent.
In Gaza, as of 30 September, some 18,000 active cases were reported, up from 11,882 at the end of August. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases was about 170,000 with 149,000 people recovered, and 1,387 deaths recorded. Gaza accounts for about 70 per cent of all active cases in the oPt. Nablus and Tulkarm account for most of the cases in the West Bank.
Close to 3.7 million doses of vaccine have so far been provided to the oPt. As of 6 October, about 1,439,049 Palestinians have been vaccinated, including Palestinians in East Jerusalem and about 110,000 Palestinians working in Israel, who have been vaccinated by the Israeli authorities. Among the vaccinated, about 1.156,650 have received two doses, 864,000 in the West Bank and 293,000 in Gaza.
For latest World Health Organization COVID-19 update, see here.
Status: Arrived from all sources: 3,667,920 doses in total
No. of doses
200,000 allocated to Gaza
RU/ UAE/ PA
62,000 to Gaza
179,200 allocated to Gaza
58,000 to Gaza
607,470 allocated to Gaza
20,000 to Gaza
Status: In ipeline: Bilateral Deals (estimated)
No. of doses
Ongoing deliveries in batches
To be procured via cost sharing agreement with COVAX
Humanitarian response & ongoing needs
Partners continue to report needs related to the scale up and provision of help and self-care activities for front-line staff (counsellors, case managers); non-structured psychosocial support activities for children and families, including recreational activities and open days; Mental Health and Psycho-social Support Service (MHPSS) for children and adolescents, including structured PSS and specialized mental health services; PSS kits to affected families; cash protection services including voucher assistance for targeted children; and specialized child protection case management services, particularly for those at risk of child labour, refugee children, children at risk of school dropout, and children with disabilities.
Gender-based violence (GBV) partners report continuing priority needs related to scaling up of MHPSS services and strengthening multi-sectoral responses to GBV survivors; high numbers of high-risk GBV cases in need of medical and sheltering services, increase in suicides and attempted suicides of women in Gaza, and remaining high demands from GBV survivors on hygiene kits and cash assistance to protect themselves following the latest escalation in Gaza.
Responses already implemented
Throughout the oPt, partners provided structured psychosocial support activities, including individual and group counselling sessions, for 1,422 children and 840 adults.
In Gaza, partners continued to provide critical interventions for children and families through structured psychosocial support activities for 1,158 children and 510 adults. In addition, specialized mental health services were provided for 971 adults and 172 children. 407 professionals and caregivers received supportive supervision and stress management sessions.
In the West Bank including East Jerusalem, structured psychosocial support activities including group and individual counselling sessions were organized for 264 children and 330 adults. Five girls were referred for additional services.
Partners in Gaza have distributed 1,688 dignity kits to women and girl survivors since the escalation in May 2021. 415 women in oPt have received CVA, which is now being expanded to the West Bank.
50 non-GBV specialists from different humanitarian clusters have been trained in GBV detection and referral in Gaza in August and September.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Gaza continues to undermine direct interventions and face-to-face services with children and other family members.
Some partners report access constraints affecting response implementation.
The provision of emergency medical services during clashes across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as in recent protests along the fence in Gaza.
Pre-positioning of supplies and ensuring preparedness for trauma and emergency response.
Provision of essential health services, including primary health care, maternal and child health, non-communicable disease management, sexual and reproductive health, and MHPSS.
COVID-19 response including supporting testing, case management, infection prevention and vaccination.
Responses already implemented
Partners continue to mobilize resources for the procurement and supply of some essential drugs, disposables and equipment for responding to current needs, as well as pre-positioning.
With the West Bank experiencing a fourth wave and Gaza a third wave, partners have intensified ongoing support for COVID-19 response activities including diagnosis, case management, IPC, RCCE and vaccination.
Partners have continued to provide first aid and emergency services to those injured in clashes across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the perimeter fence protests in Gaza.
Insufficient funding remains the single largest constraint in expanding programming.
Repair of uninhabitable homes to reduce displacement and meet growing need for homes.
Repair of damaged homes and assistance for the most vulnerable, including female-headed households, the elderly and persons with disabilities.
Temporary shelter solutions for IDPs through cash assistance, alongside support for host families.
Responses already implemented
Provision of Non-food item (NFI) kits, hygiene kits, e-vouchers and multi-purpose cash to affected households during and after the conflict.
Coordination with the relevant local authorities to better estimate the number of housing units destroyed or damaged and the number of IDPs. Damage assessment has been concluded and final figures are updated.
UNRWA has provided transitional shelter cash assistance to 1,175 refugee households whose houses were destroyed or rendered uninhabitable for six months rental support and one-off reintegration cash. Similarly, UNDP has assisted 376 non-refugee household with the same type of support.
Repair cash assistance of less than $500 has been provided to 31,500 households who had minor damage to their housing units. Ongoing provision of cash assistance for repair to 16,215 households who had damage of less than $1,000.
About 800 housing units are being repaired by Shelter Cluster partners with funding through the oPt Humanitarian Fund (HF).
1,384 housing units need reconstruction.
9,585 housing units need urgent repair.
Longstanding housing shortage in Gaza makes rent unaffordable for displaced families.
IDPs are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, due to overcrowding and the use of shared facilities.
Supporting the MHPSS well-being of students, parents, and educators in Gaza.
Ensuring that children can access safe and inclusive learning opportunities through the emergency repair of all education facilities and the provision of non-formal education services after schools reopen.
Responses already implemented
In Gaza, the rehabilitation of 136 schools is ongoing by cluster partners and the Ministry of Education (MoE), with the majority of work concluded before the re-opening of schools in mid-August. The MoE will rehabilitate the remaining schools.
The MoE has started the rehabilitation of 70 affected kindergartens through World Bank support. Another 10 kindergartens will be rehabilitated by a cluster partner.
17 cluster partners implemented summer activities in Gaza benefitting approximately 190,000 children. Activities included MHPSS, recreational and sports activities and learning support.
Remote MHPSS interventions targeting children and their parents are being implemented by six cluster partners.
Cluster partners and the MoE have secured all the needed resources to rehabilitate direct damage to schools and kindergartens, but financial resources are lacking for ‘building back better’ interventions that include the elimination of protection hazards at schools, the rehabilitation of WASH facilities and ensuring that schools are inclusive for children with disabilities.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
Rapid repair of affected WASH infrastructures so that water and sanitation services in the most vulnerable communities can be restored.
Support critical WASH facilities, such as water desalination plants, wastewater treatment plants, sewer and water pumping station by providing operational and maintenance materials.
Provide IDPs and host families with hygiene items.
Responses already implemented
According to cluster partners and the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU), more than 160 WASH infrastructures affected during the recent escalation are being repaired and their functions restored.
In Gaza, partners delivered 600,000 litres of emergency fuel, chemicals and chlorine to support the operation of 289 main WASH facilities, benefitting over 1.2 million people.
Partners are providing 12,500 households with trucked water, hygiene material and other WASH items.
Partners are coordinating with the Ministry of Social Development (MOSD) and the Shelter Cluster to target 2,250 families in Gaza with the rapid rehabilitation of household WASH facilities.
More than 120 WASH infrastructure facilities affected during the recent escalation have not received any repair and WASH service providers are facing challenges in operating these facilities.
WASH service providers in Gaza report that their stocks of maintenance materials are running out, including materials that Cluster partners supplied prior to the escalation as emergency preparedness measures.
Expanding the fishing zone up to 20 nautical miles.
Rehabilitate damaged agricultural facilities, including water wells, irrigation systems, greenhouses, and livestock farms.
Provide food assistance to IDPs and other new and existing food-insecure people.
Provide conditional cash assistance to affected families to rebuild the productive capacities of small holders and small food factories (conditional cash for work activity).
Continue providing food assistance to the previously identified food insecure people, including in-kind food and cash-based interventions comprised of electronic vouchers and multi-purpose cash assistance.
Responses already implemented
The Food Security Sector assisted 323,896 people during September with food security interventions through the World Food Programme (WFP), 243,754 people in Gaza and 80,142 people in the West Bank.
The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) in Gaza verified the damage assessment as US$ 56 million, in line with the World Bank estimate that damages and losses in the agricultural sector totalled $55-60 million.
WFP continues providing food assistance to the severely food insecure in Gaza.
Various UN Agencies and international NGOs are using WFP’s Cash-Based Transfer (e-voucher) platform for the delivery of multi-sectoral assistance to affected people.
Rehabilitation of damaged agricultural facilities efforts are delayed due to lack of funding.
Power shortages, coupled with damage to solar power systems, are affecting farming livelihoods specifically interrupting irrigation schedules, placing about 35,000 farming and breeding households at risk.
The marketing of Gaza-grown tomatoes in the West Bank is still on hold due to the Israeli rules banning the exit of tomatoes with the green stem. Tomatoes are the most important crop to be transferred from Gaza and it generally make up 80 per cent of the overall vegetables transported out of Gaza, but since January 2021 this has declined to only 30 per cent.
Fodder shortages in the local market have led to higher poultry prices, which has implications for the purchasing power of Gazan households who are resorting to negative copying strategies, including eating less.
Continued unhindered access remains key to all humanitarian support and food assistance.
Coordination and support services
Partners still need to fully share data on their importation requirements in order to enhance the leverage of the logistics hub to facilitate access of goods into Gaza.
Responses already implemented
An online platform for data collection has been developed to facilitate sharing of information.
The Logistics Hub continues to follow up on the number of trucks crossing the Kerem Shalom Crossing for the private sector. In September, approximately 4,500 trucks crossed into Gaza for the private sector, in addition to 3,735 trucks from the UN and NGOs.
The Sector has also facilitated a presentation on how to access the GRM mechanism for importation of materials and is developing a warehouse management training.
NGOs are still facing obstacles on the importation of materials into Gaza, with little improvement recorded for private contractors’ mechanism for importation of goods.
Some partners need support to import drugs, medicines and medical equipment into Gaza, and the Sector is liaising directly with the Israeli authorities on their behalf.