The total number of people with COVID-19 quadrupled during the reporting period, with the epicenter in the Hebron governorate. Three more people died in the West Bank and 13 are in serious or critical conditions. Revised Inter-Agency Response Plan for COVID-19 crisis is 66 per cent funded.
An oPt Humanitarian Fund success story: Most Palestinian households in Gaza cannot afford to buy sufficient amounts of nutritious food. Intisar’s family from the village of Az Zawayda is one of them. They are two parents and five children who live together in a small room, in a house shared with their extended family, where thirty people are forced to use a single bathroom. Intisar’s husband has a disability and is unable to work. She takes care of him and their children, and thus cannot seek paid work.
As part of the measures to contain the pandemic, the de facto authorities announced the full closure of the two passenger crossings, from 23 May till the end of June; however, limited movement through the Erez crossing with Israel, continued in both directions. Exit of people through the Erez crossing has been also disrupted following the suspension of coordination between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel while movement of goods through the Kerem Shalom crossing remained unchanged. A week-long heat wave triggered power cuts of 12 hours per day, up from nine hours during the rest of the month. The unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2020 stood at 46 per cent, the same as during the equivalent period in 2019; the figure only partially captures the impact of the COVID-19 measures, imposed since March.
An oPt Humanitarian Fund success story: When Mohannad started elementary school, it was not an easy period for him. His mother says that her divorce affected him a lot back then. He gradually fell behind and lost his self-confidence. By the time he reached the eighth grade, he could not read, write or count as well as his peers. Having a hard time following his teachers, he would sit in the back of the classroom, bored and lonely, until he eventually dropped out and started wandering the streets.
Fifty structures demolished or seized during May. Unprecedented number of demolitions during Ramadan, compared to previous years. First demolitions recorded in East Jerusalem since March. Two aid structures, worth almost EUR 10,500, demolished or seized.
On 16 April, 40-year-old Issa Qattash and his brother were severely beaten and injured by a group of Israeli settlers, while having a picnic with their families in a forest outside of Jibya village (north of Ramallah). “One of the settlers carried a rifle and another an axe”, Issa explained. “My brother Moussa managed to escape to call for help… I laid some time injured on the ground and then the settlers began dragging me out of the area… but then Israeli soldiers arrived and released me, while letting the settlers go.” Fatima Qattash, Issa’s 70-year-old mother, who witnessed the event added: “we were all shocked and scared… the children are still having nightmares!”
Seventy Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized in the West Bank due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, displacing 90 people and affecting over 280. This represents a 250 per cent increase compared with the weekly average of structures targeted since the beginning of the year (10). Sixty-one of the affected structures were located in Area C, including nine previously provided as humanitarian assistance.
60 new COVID-19 cases recorded during the reporting period. The number of people in home or facility-based quarantine declines significantly. Revised Inter-Agency Response Plan for COVID-19 crisis is 61 per cent funded.
As is the case globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has been the dominant concern in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in recent months. On 5 March 2020, the Palestinian Prime Minister declared a State of Emergency after the first cases were confirmed in Bethlehem city. Measures included the suspension of most commercial and all educational activities, a prohibition on public gatherings, and strict movement restrictions. The emergency was subsequently extended until early June, but has effectively ended since late May, with banks, government ministries, shops, and public transportation networks reopening. In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli-controlled Erez Crossing and Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing have been largely closed since mid-March, with incoming travellers sent to quarantine facilities for 14 days, subsequently extended to 21 days. Overall across the oPt, there has been a remarkably low incidence of cases by global standards, with just five fatalities recorded. As of the beginning of June, 630 Palestinians in total are confirmed to have contracted COVID-19, including 179 in East Jerusalem, 390 in the remainder of the West Bank, and 61 in the Gaza Strip