Based on the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan
The occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) is a protracted political crisis characterized by 55 years of Israeli military occupation. This crisis is exacerbated by a lack of adherence to international humanitarian and human rights law, internal Palestinian divisions, and the recurrent escalation of hostilities between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups. The results are chronic protection concerns and humanitarian needs which will continue in the absence of a sustainable political solution and opportunities for further development.
At the same time, the oPt has undergone rapid demographic growth and urbanization, trends that will continue for the foreseeable future. The absence of and barriers to livelihood opportunities are subsequently driving a cycle of aid-dependency and reliance on negative coping strategies to meet basic needs. The high reported levels of debt, and use of savings to meet basic needs further exacerbate the financial precariousness of households and may reduce their resilience or ability to recover from future shocks.
In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli occupation and years of movement restrictions, including an Israeli-imposed blockade, and recurrent escalations between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups have contributed to dire living conditions. In June 2007, after the 2006 legislative elections and following the takeover of Gaza by Hamas, the Israeli authorities implemented a blockade citing security concerns, virtually isolating Palestinians in Gaza, 2.2 million people as of 2023, from the rest of the oPt and the world more broadly. This land, sea and air blockade on Gaza intensified previous restrictions, imposing strict limits on the number and specified categories of people and goods allowed through the Israeli-controlled crossings. Restrictions imposed by the Egyptian authorities on the movement and access of people and goods at Rafah, the Gaza-Egypt crossing, further exacerbate the situation. Rapid population growth, coinciding with challenges to development gains and limited resources, has resulted in further deterioration of living standards and development prospects in Gaza.
In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Israel’s military occupation continues to impede basic human rights of Palestinians. Under the Oslo Accords, most of the West Bank was divided into East Jerusalem and Areas A, B and C, whereby each area is governed by different administrative and security regulations. In 2002, the Israeli authorities initiated the construction of a barrier, 712 kiloetres long, with the stated aim of preventing violent attacks inside Israel by Palestinians from the West Bank. In 2004, the International Court of Justice found the route of the Barrier to be illegal where it runs inside the West Bank. It is now a key component of a range of restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities on the movement of Palestinians, which are implemented using physical obstacles, permit requirements and the designation of areas as “restricted” or “closed” to be used as firing or military zones. The Barrier has transformed the geography, economy, and social life of Palestinians living in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The geographic and administrative fragmentation in the West Bank isolates families and communities from each other and from needed services, directly affecting the wellbeing, both physical and psychosocial, of Palestinians.
More generally, the ongoing conflict, the conduct of hostilities by Israeli forces, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other armed groups, where concerns have been raised on indiscriminate, disproportionate or otherwise unlawful use of force, alongside a series of occupation-related practices, including the possible excessive use of force, demolitions, evictions, settlement expansion and settler-related violence – all drive insecurity, reverse and prevent socioeconomic progress, breed a climate of mistrust and tension between Palestinians and Israelis, and undermine political solutions.
Moreover, the intra-Palestinian divide between Hamas (in Gaza) and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (in parts of the West Bank) that began in 2007 remains unresolved, deepening territorial fragmentation between both areas, and reducing the capacity of local institutions in Gaza to deliver basic services. Political divisions and a sense of disenfranchisement in the West Bank are further entrenched given the absence of elections since 2006, the dismissal of the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2018 and the issuance of Presidential decrees.