The following text is based on the Humanitarian Response Plan 2021.
A protracted protection crisis facing women, men, boys and girls continues in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), leaving many Palestinians struggling to live a life with dignity. It is driven by Israel’s military occupation, including the blockade on the Gaza Strip, insufficient respect for international law, continuing internal Palestinian political divisions, and recurrent escalations of hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups.
In the Gaza Strip, two million Palestinians have been living under intensified access restrictions since 2007, and are largely isolated from the external world. Longstanding import restrictions imposed by Israel citing security concerns, as well as lack of agreement and coordination between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel, impede the implementation of infrastructure projects, economic recovery and employment generation. Continuing insecurity discourages farming activity in land located up to 1,000 metres from Israel’s perimeter fence, while fishing livelihoods are disrupted by Israeli restrictions on access to the sea off the Gaza coast.
Prolonged electricity blackouts negatively affect the delivery of essential services and increase the domestic burden on women and girls, while unresolved divisions between Hamas and the Fatah-led PA undermine the payment of salaries to civil servants, and the local authorities’ ability to meet the needs of the Gaza’s population in general. Combined, these factors have increased unemployment, which reached an historical high of over 49 per cent in the second quarter of 2020 (in the context of COVID-19), while further reducing the already low labour force participation rate.
In the West Bank, Palestinian households and communities in Area C, East Jerusalem and the H2 area of Hebron city face a coercive environment, due to a range of longstanding Israeli policies and practices. The restrictive and discriminatory planning regime applied in Area C and in East Jerusalem prevents Palestinians from addressing basic housing, livelihood and service needs. The Israeli authorities regularly demolish, seize or force Palestinians to demolished homes and other structures for lack of building permits, which are often impossible to obtain. Further components of the coercive environment of continuing concern are attacks and intimidation by Israeli settlers, along with the Israeli authorities’ lack of adequate law enforcement; and movement restrictions.
Many of the above restrictions are aimed at protecting and providing space for the growth of Israeli settlements and their gradual annexation to Israel, some de jure (as in East Jerusalem) and others de facto (as in Area C), in contravention to international law.