Response to the escalation in the oPt | Situation Report No. 9 (August 2021)


  • Unrest increases in Gaza, following the resumption of protests near Israel’s perimeter fence around the Gaza Strip. 
  • The Israeli authorities have eased some of the fishing, import and other 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 seven Palestinians, including one child, in various incidents. and injured at least 400 others. 
  • The humanitarian community has raised US$64.1 million of the $95 million requested in the emergency response plan to support 1.1 million Palestinians for three months.

Situation overview

Gaza Strip

Tension has increased between Palestinian armed groups and Israel during the reporting period. On 16 August, armed groups launched two rockets from Gaza towards southern Israel, the first since the end of May. The launching of incendiary balloons by armed groups in Gaza has also increased, sparking fires in Israel. On 21 August, a ‘day of rage’ was announced, with protestors urged to participate in a planned demonstration near Israel’s perimeter fence around Gaza. This has been followed by another demonstration on 23 August and the resumption of night protests near the fence.  A 31-year-old man and a 12-year-old child were killed by Israeli gunfire and over 100 people were injured in these protests; an Israeli soldier was also fatally injured by Palestinian gunfire.

According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), during the escalation in Gaza in May, 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. 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. 

Schools in Gaza and the West Bank reopened for the new school year on 16 August. Education is now taking place face-to-face in all schools, subject to COVID 19 related protocols set by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and Ministry of Education (MoE). In Gaza, pupils of three damaged schools are attending nearby facilities until reconstruction is complete; Education Cluster partners have managed to finish all major rehabilitation work in the other affected schools.

On 19 August, the State of Qatar announced a contribution of US$ 40 million over four months to the United Nations to provide cash assistance to some 100,000 needy families in Gaza; this is in addition to the $ 10 million per month that Qatar provides for fuel to the Gaza Power Plant. The UN Special Coordinator, Tor Wennesland, welcomed Qatar’s contribution as “vital to improving the dire socioeconomic and humanitarian situation in Gaza.”

On 30 August, the Israeli authorities resumed the entry of certain construction materials into Gaza, after a more than three-month ban on such imports for the private sector. This followed the re-entry of construction materials for humanitarian projects the previous week, whose blockage was critical in delaying the reconstruction process. 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 another 5,000 permits for businessmen to exit Gaza; expanding the operation of Kerem Shalom crossing for the transfer of goods and equipment; and increasing the sale of water to Gaza from 12 to 17 million cubic metres.

The Rafah crossing with Egypt was closed on 23 August for three consecutive days in both directions and in one direction on 26 August, allowing only the entry of stranded Palestinians in Egypt. Rafah has resumed functioning since 29 August, with aid, including food and medicine from Egypt and other countries, continuing to enter through the crossing on most days. Egypt continues to allow commercial supplies, such as food, fuel and construction materials to enter Gaza through the Salah Ad Din gate.

West Bank, including East Jerusalem

During August, the Israeli authorities demolished, seized or forced people to demolish 108 Palestinian-owned structures across the West Bank due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits. This caused the displacement of 160 people, including 97 children, and affected the livelihoods of over 1,000 other people. All targeted structures were recorded in Area C of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

On 28 August, a 17-year-old Palestinian died after a concrete wall fell on him while he was helping his neighbours to demolish their home in Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem. The ‘self-demolition’ followed a demolition order issued by the Jerusalem municipality; such actions are typically carried out so that the owners avoid paying fines and the cost of the Israeli authorities carrying out the demolition. So far in 2021, 54 ‘self-demolitions’ have been carried out in East Jerusalem. 

The high casualty rate has continued in the West Bank in August, with seven Palestinians, including a child, killed by Israeli forces. These included four Palestinians killed during a night-time operation in the Jenin refugee camp on 15 August, as a result of a reported clash with an Israeli undercover unit. Near-daily clashes continued near Beita village in the northern West Bank in the context of protests against the nearby settlement outpost of Evyatar, which is held by Israel security forces after settlers evacuated the location in July. These resulted in the death of one Palestinian man and injury to 273 others.

Demolition of residential structure Al Walja , Bethlehem 25 Aug 202 , ©Photo by OCHA
Demolition of residential structure Al Walja , Bethlehem 25 Aug 202 , ©Photo by OCHA

Sheikh Jarrah

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. On 2 August, the Israeli High Court (IHC) considered an appeal request by four of the at-risk families. The IHC proposed a settlement including a protected tenancy arrangement for family members: the hearing was adjourned without a decision concluded and with no date to reconvene. On 15 August, the High Court postponed the eviction of several other Palestinian families living in Sheikh Jarrah, pending a decision on their request to appeal the decision to evict them. On 11 August, the Jerusalem Local Affairs Court froze the demolition of several dozen structures in the Al -Bustan section of the Silwan neighbourhood until 10 February 2022, pending planning discussions that are underway.

On 11 August, a one-story building was demolished by its owners, displacing four families (15 people) in the Shu’fat neighbourhood of East Jerusalem. This followed a final decision by the IHC, which ruled that settlers owned the land on which the houses were built, giving the families 20 days to evacuate their houses.


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, $64.1 million, or 66 per cent per cent of the amount requested in the Flash Appeal has been raised. Including resources not directly supporting Flash Appeal activities, $79.7 million has been mobilized in support of humanitarian response following the escalation. Protection and Shelter are the least funded Clusters currently. 

Also, prior to 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 million 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$

oPt HF





6,978,037 500,000 7,478,037
ECHO 6,841,416 500,000 7,341,416



4,504,192 5,956,099
UAE 4,700,000


CERF 4,500,000


Germany 4,300,000


Japan 3,000,000






ECW FER 1,700,000


CDCS - Le Centre de Crise et de Soutien


232,165 1,506,165




Save the Children International 1,230,268   1,230,268
WHO   1,200,000 1,200,000
SIDA 730,758 392,392 1,123,150
Oxfam 810,918 267,000 1,077,918
Arab Fund Kuwait   1,000,000 1,000,000
Belgium   1,000,000 1,000,000
World Bank   1,000,000 1,000,000
Other Funding* 4,345,640 3,942,799 8,288,439

Grand Total

64,143,320 15,513,548 79,656,868
*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 West Bank is now experiencing the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, while Gaza is experiencing its third wave. On 23 August, local authorities confirmed the presence of the COVID-19 Delta variant in Gaza. 

As of 31 August, the number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 across the oPt was 20,531, up from 1,172 at the end of July. Since the outbreak began, around 347,000 of the approximately 371,000 cases have recovered, and 3,948 have died. Across the oPt, there are 86 patients in intensive care units, with 12 requiring mechanical ventilation; the respective figures were 10 and 1 at the end of July. Some 364 patients are being treated in Corona COVID-19 hospital centres and departments. The Case Fatality Rate, the proportion of deaths among confirmed cases, remains at 1.1 per cent. 

In Gaza, as of 31 August, some 11,882 active cases were reported, up from 945 at the end of July. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases was 130,475, with 117,453 people recovered, and 1,140 deaths recorded. Gaza accounts for about 58 per cent of all active cases in the oPt.  

The West Bank has also witnessed an upsurge in cases as a result of the Delta variant. As of 31 August, 8,649 active cases were reported, up from 159 reported at the end of July. The northern West Bank accounts for the highest percentages of accumulated active cases, Nablus (33 per cent) and Tulkarm (22 per cent). The hospitalization rate is also increasing in northern treatment centres, with several governorates re-opening medical facilities for treatment and testing, in addition to new centres opening to avoid over-crowding. According to a medical representative in the north, hospitalization continues to be largely limited to unvaccinated patients, with a small percentage of vaccinated people experiencing mild symptoms. 

The MoH continues to encourage the public to be vaccinated and to observe safety measures, such as social distancing and the use of facemasks. The MoH has introduced strategies aimed at encouraging higher vaccine uptake by the public. There are currently 151 vaccination centres across oPt (101 in the West Bank and 50 in Gaza). In Gaza, the number of vaccinated has significantly increased, with an average of 12,000 people receiving vaccinations per day in the last ten days of the month, compared with an average of 3,500 people in July in general. 

As of 31 August, about 935,756 Palestinians have been vaccinated including about 110,000 Palestinian workers vaccinated by the Israeli authorities. Among the vaccinated, around 456,543 have received two doses.

For latest World Health Organization COVID-19 update, see here.

For vaccine tracking, see table below.

Arrived from all sources: 2,962,410 doses in total


No. of doses




504,500  IL/  COVAX-USA 200,000 allocated to Gaza

Sputnik V



62,000 to Gaza

Sputnik light



179,200 allocated to Gaza




58,000 to Gaza




208,418 allocated to Gaza



China/ Jordan 

20,000 to Gaza

Status: In pipeline: Donation (estimated)


No. of doses






Bilateral donation from Jordanian private company

Sputnik V



Donation to Gaza

Status: In ipeline: Bilateral Deals (estimated)


No. of doses





PA purchase 

Ongoing deliveries in batches

Sputnik V 


PA purchase 

Under negotiation 




To be procured via cost sharing agreement with COVAX

Humanitarian response & ongoing needs


Priority needs

  • Legal aid for owners of housing units totally destroyed during May escalation. 
  • Increase in the number of high risk GBV cases in need of medical and shelter services and continuing high demands from GBV survivors for hygiene kits, food, NFIs and cash assistance.
  • UNMAS has received requests for over 200 assessments from UN, development and humanitarian partners. At least 16 Deep Buried Bombs (DBB) remain to be excavated and made safe. Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) accidents continue to be reported, causing the death of one boy and injuries of six others. 
  • UN personnel require Emergency Trauma Bag (ETB) training to mitigate explosive risks.

Responses already implemented

  • A GBV Rapid Needs Assessment Report was finalized this month on the impact of the May escalation on women and girls in Gaza.  
  • UNMAS referred ERW cases to relevant service providers through the Mine Action Working Group. One DBB located in a private home in Gaza city, was safely removed from the site.
  • UNMAS carried out risk assessments at the 40 UNDP rubble removal sites where explosive ordnance was suspected. 
  • Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) sessions reached 4,000 people and partners in Gaza continue to provide MHPSS interventions for children.
  • Legal air partners continued HLP work through preparing legal documents ahead of the anticipated reconstruction process. 
  • In the West Bank, Mental Health and Psycho-social Support Service (MHPSS) partners provided 388 adults and 370 children with psychosocial support through a rehabilitation programme for children affected by the conflict.
  • In East Jerusalem, 226 children benefitted from structured psychosocial and recreational activities; 40 female caregivers participated in positive parenting sessions; 31 detained/arrested boys received legal counselling services.

Key constraints/gaps

  • The ongoing COVID-19 epidemic in Gaza continues to challenge direct interventions and face-to-face services with children and family members.


Priority needs

  • 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. 
  • Prepositioning 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.


Priority needs

  • Temporary shelter solutions for IDPs through cash assistance, alongside support for host families.
  • 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.

Responses already implemented

  • Provision of NFIs kits, hygiene kits, e-vouchers and multi-purpose cash to some 6,800 households.
  • Coordination with the relevant local authorities to better estimate the number of housing units destroyed or damaged and the number of IDPs.
  • UNRWA assessed 1,200 totally destroyed and severely-damaged refugee housing units and provided families with Transitional Shelter Cash Assistance (TSCA) for six months rental support and one-off reintegration cash. UNDP assessed 500 totally destroyed and severely-damaged non-refugee housing units and provided families with TSCA for one year rental support and one-off reintegration cash. 
  • Repair assistance of less than $500 provided for 31,500 housing units; $1,000 for 16,215 housing units; $2,000 for 450 housing units; $ 10,000 for 235 housing units.

Key constraints/gaps

  • 1255 housing units in need of reconstruction.
  • 9,585 housing units in need of urgent repair. 
  • Inadequate access to construction materials, due to import restrictions on Gaza, is hindering the reconstruction and repair of destroyed and damaged housing units.
  • 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.


Priority needs

  • 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.

Key constraints/gaps

  • Summer Programmes for children in Gaza only targeted 190,000 children, due to lack of financial resources.
  • 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)

Priority needs

  • 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. 

Key constraints/gaps

  • 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.

Food Security

Priority needs

  • 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.
  • Local authorities should facilitate humanitarian access to agricultural land in Gaza to finalize remote-sensing base damage/losses assessment.
  • Provide conditional cash assistance to affected families to rebuild the productive capacities of small holders and small food factories (conditional cash for work activity).

Responses already implemented

  • The Food Security Sector assisted 312,664 people during August through food security interventions.
  • 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. 
  • World Food Programme (WFP) continues providing food assistance to the severely food insecure in Gaza. 
  • Various UN Agencies and INGOs are using WFP’s Cash- Based Transfer (electronic voucher) platform for the delivery of multi-sectoral assistance to affected people. 

Key constraints/gaps

  • Funding gaps are hindering the rehabilitation of damaged agricultural facilities. 
  • Power shortages, coupled with damage to solar power systems, are impacting farming livelihoods specifically interrupting irrigation schedules, placing around 35,000 farming and breeding households at risk.
  • Despite the recent easings in fishing restrictions in Gaza fisher livelihoods remain at risk.
  • Fodder shortages in the local market have led to higher poultry prices. This has implications for the purchasing power of Gazan households, with some resorting to negative copying strategies, including missing meals or eating less.
  • Limitations on access, imposed by the local authorities, to certain areas is affecting the verification and triangulation of data about damage sustained during the escalation. Continued unhindered access remains key to all humanitarian support and food assistance.

Coordination and support services

Priority needs

  • The Logistics Sector is still lacking a considerable amount of data from partners and continues to advocate for the importance of sharing and updating data related to implementation projects that require the importation of material.

Responses already implemented

  • A preview of the online platform data collection has been shared with OCHA and UNSCO for their feedback. 
  • The Logistics Cluster continues to follow up on the Kerem Shalom Crossing and the number of trucks crossing for the private sector. In the past two weeks, cement was allowed into Gaza for UNRWA, UNOPS and UNDP; solar panels, batteries and construction materials for UNDP; glass and aluminum for the ICRC for the first time since the May escalation; Covid-19 vaccines, and electrical equipment for the Desalination plant for UNOCEF; UNRWA received approval for truck coordination for all its construction projects.

Key constraints/gaps

  • NGOs are still facing obstacles on the importation of materials into Gaza. 
  • Some partners are still waiting for approval on IT equipment, medical equipment, generators and solar energy systems.