Response to the escalation in the oPt | Situation Report No. 6 (25 June–1 July 2021)
In Gaza, about 8,200 internally displaced people (IDPs) remain with host families and or in rented accommodation.
For the first time since the beginning of the 10-21 May escalation, the Israeli authorities have allowed Qatari-funded fuel for the Gaza Power Plant to enter Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing.
Israeli forces in the West Bank injured at least 500 Palestinians, mainly in demonstrations against settlement expansion.
The humanitarian community has raised US$44.3 million of the $95 million requested in the emergency response plan to support 1.1 million Palestinians for three months.
The ceasefire continues to largely hold. On 27 June, in a statement on the occasion of the resumption of fuel supplies through Israel to the Gaza Power Plant, funded by Qatar, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland welcomed “all steps taken to de-escalate the situation”, noting that “the UN will continue to work with all concerned parties and partners to solidify a ceasefire and help the people of Gaza.”
According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), during the escalation in Gaza, 260 Palestinians, were killed, including 66 children. It has been assessed that 129 of the fatalities were civilians and 64 were members of armed groups, while the status of the remaining 67 has not been determined. Over 2,200 Palestinians were injured during the hostilities, including 685 children and 480 women, some of whom may suffer a long-term disability requiring rehabilitation.
At the height of the escalation, 113,000 IDPs sought shelter and protection at UNRWA schools or with hosting families. There are still about 8,230 IDPs living with host families or at rented accommodation primarily those whose houses were destroyed or so severely damaged as to be uninhabitable. Damage assessments are still continuing, with the local authorities reporting that some 2,087 housing units were destroyed or severely damaged. In addition, an estimated 44,142 housing units sustained partial damage, as did, 179 government and UNRWA schools, 80 kindergartens and 33 health facilities.
The WASH Cluster reports that during the escalation 290 water, sanitation and hygiene facilities were partially damaged or completed destroyed, including water wells, water pumping stations, and distribution networks. Consequently, water supply per capita decreased by 30 per cent, adversely affecting the access of 800,000 Palestinians to water. Wastewater infrastructure sites were also affected, disrupting the transmission of sewage to waste-water treatment plants, and increasing the amount of raw sewage discharged into the sea. Stormwater infrastructure sites were also damaged. The total cost of the WASH reconstruction and recovery interventions is estimated to be $13.34 million.
Following the repair to most electricity lines and the resumption of Qatari-fund fuel into Gaza, electricity is now available for 13 hours per day across Gaza, compared with 12 hours last week.
As of 23 June, the Israeli authorities eased some movement restrictions to allow for the departure of patients with Israeli-issued permits for life-saving treatment unavailable in Gaza, as well as the exit of Palestinians to visit terminally ill relatives, or those who need longer-term treatment. However, the vast majority of Palestinians in Gaza remain prohibited from exiting, as has been the case at least since the imposition of the blockade 14 years ago.
The Israeli authorities have kept the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing open for the entry of basic commodities, but construction materials and items they consider to have potential dual civilian/military use remain prohibited. As of 21 June, the Israeli authorities have allowed a limited number of agricultural commodities and textiles to be exported abroad or transferred to the West Bank through Kerem Shalom for the first time since the escalation. As of 1 July, following the cancellation of regulations imposed by Israel on the exit of tomatoes on 24 June, Gaza farmers have resumed the export/transfer of agricultural products from Gaza.
Aid, including food and medicine from Egypt and other countries, continue to enter through the Rafah crossing on most days. The Egyptian authorities have also kept the crossing open for the entry and exit of authorized travellers, including Palestinians injured in the recent escalation who are receiving medical treatment in Egypt. They are also allowing commercial supplies such as food, fuel and construction materials to enter Gaza through the Salah Ad Din gate.
West Bank, including East Jerusalem
During the reporting period, at least 500 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces during clashes that erupted during ongoing protests against Israeli settlement expansion in Beita and Beit Dajan in Nablus and in Kafr Qaddum in Qalqiliya. In Beita, a Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) ambulance was shot at, injuring two PRCS paramedics.
On 29 June, the Israeli authorities demolished two Palestinian-owned structures in East Jerusalem: a home in Ras al Amud and a shop in Silwan. Two boys and their parents were displaced, and another nine Palestinians lost their source of income. Palestinians protested against the demolitions, with Israeli forces shooting tear gas canisters and rubber bullets, injuring at least 19 people, including a woman, and arresting nine. According to the affected families, Israeli police prevented an ambulance from accessing one of the areas in Silwan and from providing medical treatment to the injured. Following the demolitions, Palestinian residents organized a solidarity stand in Silwan, protesting the Israeli authorities’ plan to demolish much of the Al Bustan neighbourhood. Israeli forces fired rubber bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs, injuring eight Palestinians, and arrested four people.
Palestinian have also been injured by Palestinian forces, during ongoing protests across the West Bank, following the death of a Palestinian political activist and critic of the Palestinian government in Palestinian Authority custody on 24 June. For more on West Bank incidents see latest Protection of Civilians report.
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. The High Court of Justice is set to hold a hearing on 2 August regarding the forced eviction of four families.
Since 3 May, Israeli forces have been stationed at all five entrances to Karm Al Jaouni, allowing entry only to Palestinian neighbourhood residents, who are ordered to present identifying documents, as well as to Israeli settlers, journalists, ambulances and UN vehicles. According to the community, access by Israeli settlers has been permitted without ID checks by Israeli forces. For two consecutive days on 29 and 30 June, Israeli forces withdrew from all five checkpoints, leaving the entrances unstaffed, with Israeli police still present inside the neighbourhood. On 1 July, Israeli forces resumed staffing the five checkpoints.
During the reporting period, clashes between Palestinian residents and Israeli settlers of Karm Al Jaouni continued on an almost daily basis. In at least four separate incidents, Israeli settlers threw stones and pepper-sprayed Palestinian residents, and the latter threw empty bottles and firecrackers at settlers and at Israeli police. While no injuries were reported, several Palestinian-owned properties were damaged. Subsequently, Israeli forces carried out four search-and-arrest operations in the neighbourhood, triggering additional clashes with Palestinian residents. As a result, three Palestinians (including two women) were physically assaulted and injured and six others were arrested.
As reported previously, 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 envisages 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 complements the $417 million appealed for in the 2021 oPt Humanitarian Response Plan, covering pre-existing humanitarian needs.
So far, $44.3 million, or 47 per cent per cent of the amount requested in the Flash Appeal has been raised. Including resources not directly supporting Flash Appeal activities, $54.8 million has been mobilized in support of humanitarian response following the escalation.
Also, before the reporting period, the Humanitarian Coordinator released $18 million from the oPt Humanitarian Fund, with 95 per cent of the funding allocated to Gaza, and five per cent to health, protection and shelter activities in the West Bank. The Emergency Relief Coordinator in New York released $4.5 for the Gaza humanitarian response, including for the safe removal of explosive remnants of war (ERW), rental subsidies for refugees whose homes were destroyed, and the restoration of basic services such as health care and water.
Total funding for Flash Appeal response by donors
Inside the Response Plan
Outside the Response Plan
Total in US$
France - CDCS
*Other funding includes contributions from donors in the amount below US$900,000, as follows: AECID, Alliance 2015, Anera, Bank of Palestine, Danida Emergency Response Fund (DERF), Diakonia/NAD, Fundo Alava Emergencia, Human Appeal – UK, Islamic Relief Worldwide, MDM, Oxfam, Qatar Charity, Qatar Red Crescent (QRC), Save the Children International, Secours Islamique France (SIF), SIDA, Swiss Solidarity, UNICEF.
As of 1 July, the number of people confirmed to currently have COVID-19 across the oPt was 2,420, down from 2,985 last week. Since the outbreak began, about 337,000 of the approximately 343,000 cases have recovered, and 3,833 have died. The number of patients in intensive care units is eight, with two people requiring mechanical ventilation. Twelve patients are being treated in Corona hospital centres and departments in the West Bank. The Case Fatality Rate (CFR), the proportion of deaths among confirmed cases, remains at 1.1 per cent.
In Gaza, as of 1 July, some 2,268 active cases were reported, down from 2,818 last week, who were isolated either at home or in hospitals designated for COVID-19 treatment by the Ministry of Health (MoH). The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases is 114,453, with 111,121 people recovered, and 1,064 deaths recorded. Gaza continues to account for 94 per cent of all active cases in the oPt.
The West Bank continues to witness a decline in confirmed COVID-19 cases, with only 152 recorded, and in related deaths. During the reporting period, the MoH announced that 20 cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant were detected in West Bank and are in isolation. The MoH has implemented a 14-day quarantine for arrivals from Gulf countries and is encouraging members of the public to take the COVID-19 vaccination. As of 1 July, about 500,000 Palestinians have been vaccinated, including about 110,000 Palestinian workers who have been vaccinated by the Israeli authorities.
For latest World Health Organization COVID-19 update, see here.
Humanitarian response & ongoing needs
There is an urgent need to scale up psychosocial support (PSS) activities for children and families, including non-structural recreational activities and open days. Cluster partners continue to report a large volume of calls to the national helpline. One partner-run helpline received over 22,600 calls in June so far and responded to about 20 per cent.
Children, caregivers, teachers, and counsellors are all in need of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS). There is a need for PSS kits and cash for protection services, including voucher assistance to affected families, as well as to educate civilians, especially children, about recognizing and mitigating explosive risks remains urgent, particularly for IDPs, rubble removers and scrap metal collectors.
Responses already implemented
In Gaza, Cluster partners provided structured psychosocial support activities, including individual and group counselling sessions to some 540 people, including 270 children, and case management to some 40 children. Specialized mental health services were provided to 840 people, including 120 children, in addition to supportive supervision and stress management sessions for some 180 professionals and caregivers.
In Gaza, 100 children participated in open days and recreational activities, while some 80 adults received awareness-raising sessions on child protection and how to support traumatized children. Cluster partners also distributed 1,500 family recreational kits. One of the helplines in Gaza provided some 116 callers with telephone counselling services, while some 230 people, including 125 children received risk education sessions on ERW.
Cluster partners provided COVID-19 awareness sessions to some 90 people, including 30 children, focusing on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and how to support children during a pandemic to reduce the level of distress.
In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, one implementing partner provided psychosocial services to some 100 people affected by conflict-related incidents. In addition, 15 children continued receiving structured PSS in Hebron. Legal assistance was provided to some 190 children detained by Israeli forces.
In East Jerusalem, some 133 children received PSS and recreational and structured psychosocial activities, while 29 adults received individual MHPSS sessions. In addition, some 700 children participated in 80 sports sessions; 17 students received awareness raising session on their legal rights; 51 students from the Old City received recreational and stress relief outdoor activities; while some 70 caregivers in Silwan and the Old City received awareness sessions on positive parenting in general, and how to best support children.
Adequate funding has yet to be identified to deliver needed MHPSS services. There is also a lack of funding for recreational activities, structured PSS and specialized mental health services.
In Gaza, the COVID-19 outbreak impedes partner’s ability to reach children and families with face-to-face interventions.
No additional funding has been reported.
Trauma and emergency care, including the pre-positioning of supplies.
Access to essential health services, including primary health care, maternal and child health, non-communicable disease management, sexual and reproductive health, and COVID-19 response.
Stronger partner coordination and information management.
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.
A Gaza Health Cluster meeting was held focusing on the current situation and responses.
Response activities related to COVID-19 have-intensified, including diagnostics, case management, infection prevention and vaccinations.
Partners have continued to provide first aid and emergency services to those injured in clashes across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
No additional funding has been reported.
Temporary shelter solutions for IDPs through cash assistance, alongside support for host families.
Repair of uninhabitable homes to reduce displacement and meet the growing need for homes.
Repair of damaged homes and assistance for the most vulnerable, including female-headed households, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.
Provision of essential non-food items.
Responses already implemented
Coordination with the relevant local authorities to better estimate the number of housing units destroyed or damaged and the number of IDPs.
Since the start of the escalation, NFIs kits, hygiene kits, e-vouchers and multipurpose cash have been distributed to some 5,500 households.
Inadequate access to construction materials, due to import restrictions on Gaza.
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.
The United Nations Development Programme has secured about $1.75 million to cover temporary shelter cash assistance and cash support, including for some 500 families with destroyed or otherwise uninhabitable homes, until the end of June 2022.
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 education facilities and the provision of non-formal education services during the summer break.
Rehabilitation of 59 UNRWA schools used as temporary shelters, before they can re-open in August.
Responses already implemented
The findings of a school assessment carried out by the PA were disseminated to relevant stakeholders. Assessments of private schools, higher education facilities and kindergartens are ongoing.
The Cluster has established temporary thematic working groups to coordinate the school rehabilitation response and summer programmes for vulnerable children. This includes the provision of MHPSS services and remedial education.
The minimum standards for summer programmes are being developed and will be circulated to all implementing partners to coordinate summer activities among the various service providers.
Partners are implementing remote MHPSS interventions, targeting children and their caregivers.
Cluster partners have started the rehabilitation of damaged schools.
Children’s ability to access education, both at school and at home, is undermined by Gaza’s chronic electricity deficit, worsened due to the escalation. Electricity cuts particularly undermine the 12th grade examination process, which started on 24 June.
The timeframe for rehabilitating schools in Gaza, considering the new academic year begins in mid-August.
Insufficient funding allocated for Education in Emergencies, including the rehabilitation of education facilities and for summer activities.
Some $1.8 million allocated from Education Cannot Wait to UNRWA and UNICEF to rehabilitate damaged schools and implement summer programmes.
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
In Gaza, partners are delivering 450,000 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 1,760 families in Gaza with the rapid rehabilitation of household WASH facilities.
In Gaza, some 200,000 people are lacking regular access to safe piped water, due to damage caused to WASH infrastructure during the escalation.
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.
WASH Cluster partners have secured $6.2 million, targeting 600,000 people.
In Gaza, ensure the opening of Kerem Shalom crossing to ensure entry and exit of agricultural inputs and products, including the entry of agricultural machinery and materials needed to rehabilitate damaged agricultural facilities.
Ensuring humanitarian access to agricultural land in Gaza to assess damages and losses.
Expanding the fishing zone for fishermen from nine 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.
Conduct an inventory of the stored pesticides and fertilizers that were destroyed.
Provide assistance to rebuild the productive capacities of small holders and small food factories (conditional cash-for-work activity).
Responses already implemented
An initial assessment by the Ministry of Agriculture of damage to agricultural wells, ponds, reservoirs, greenhouses, and livestock farms is ongoing.
Cluster partners continued providing cash assistance, in the form of food e-vouchers and multipurpose cash assistance to over 130,000 people to the value of $3 million.
Cluster partners continue providing food assistance to severely food insecure people in Gaza.
Funding gaps are hindering the rehabilitation of damaged agricultural facilities.
Power shortages, coupled with damage to solar powered systems, are hindering farmers from irrigating their crops and breeders from providing water to livestock and poultry. This is placing some 35,000 families at risk of losing their livelihoods.
The nine nautical mile fishing restriction is limiting fisher livelihoods.
As a result of fodder shortages, poultry meat prices continue to increase, severely reducing the purchasing power of Gazan households and forcing many to adopt negative copying strategies, such as skipping meals or eating less.
FAO has secured $610,000 to provide urgent fodder to affected breeders. Another $1 million is allocated for the same purpose through the Humanitarian Fund.
WFP requires around $22 million to continue providing regular food assistance until December 2021 to more than 435,000 vulnerable people in the oPt who rely on its regular support.
WFP urgently requires $9.3 million able to provide emergency and recovery assistance over the coming three months to affected people in Gaza.
WFP received a contribution of $2,7 from the United Arab Emirates, EUR 500,000 from France, EUR 6.5 million from Germany and $1.65 from Canada
Coordination and support services
Deliveries of life-saving humanitarian items into Gaza, including medicine and medical supplies, vaccines, food commodities, first aid kits and fire extinguishers.
Responses already implemented
The Logistics Cluster continued following up on the Kerem Shalom Crossing and the number of trucks crossing for the private sector. Between 23 and 29 June, 1,047 trucks entered Gaza, containing medical supplies and materials for human and animal consumption. Qatari Fuel Trucks also entered Gaza. In addition, 16 trucks containing vegetables, clothes, plastics boxes and pallets exited Gaza.
On 29 June, the Logistics Cluster held a meeting with humanitarian actors where several issues and constraints were identified and discussed.
The restrictions on the border crossings remain a major challenge.
Several partners are facing Custom issues and quality/technical assurance, as the Israeli Customs authorities often add additional layers of controls, particularly for pharmaceutical and medical items. Recently, the Israeli authorities are sampling each item entering Gaza, causing delays for partners or the blocking of entire shipments upon finding faulty items.
Donation process are slow and may reach up to 60 days.