Najwa Hamad is a 39-year-old resident of Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip. Since she and her husband are unemployed, the family does not have a fixed income and relies on financial assistance from various sources, including their extended family.
About 68 per cent of households in Gaza experience severe or moderate levels of food insecurity, and the unemployment rate increased from 44 per cent in 2017 to 52 per cent in 2018. In an increasingly destabilized economy and weakened social fabric, families’ resilience capacities are increasingly eroded, and the vulnerability of certain groups, particularly children, is exacerbated. Child labour, including children engaging in hazardous occupations, has become a commonly used mechanism to alleviate poverty and secure daily expenses.
In East Jerusalem, as in Area C of the West Bank, a restrictive planning regime applied by Israel makes it virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits, impeding the development of adequate housing, infrastructure and livelihoods. Only 13 per cent of East Jerusalem is zoned for Palestinian construction, much of which is already built up, while 35 per cent has been allocated for Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.
Early May witnessed the most serious outbreak of hostilities in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel since the 2014 conflict, and the fifth recorded in the past year. This followed the wounding of two Israeli soldiers by a sniper during the weekly Friday “Great March of Return” protests on 3 May, and the Israeli Air Force’s targeting of a Hamas post, which killed two Hamas members. Over the following days, Israeli forces struck around 320 targets in Gaza and Palestinian armed groups fired nearly 700 rockets at Israel. Twenty-five Palestinians were killed, including militants, four women and two children, and about 154 were injured, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza. Four Israeli civilians were killed and dozens wounded.
Between 25 and 27 March, the Gaza Strip and southern Israel witnessed one of the most significant escalations of hostilities since 2014, up to that point, after a rocket was fired from Gaza, severely damaging a house in central Israel, injuring seven Israelis. Following the incident, Israeli air force struck multiple locations across Gaza while Palestinian armed groups fired dozens of projectiles towards southern Israel.