Over 560,000 Palestinians in Gaza residing in areas prone to flooding are at risk of temporary displacement due to the precarious state of infrastructure.
2017 marked a record of US$18.2 million in revenue for agricultural exports from Gaza in an otherwise poor economic situation, with the unemployment rate reaching over 46 per cent.
Around 1,300 Palestinians in twelve herding communities in southern Hebron affected by intense Israeli military training and additional access restrictions, exacerbating the coercive environment facing them.
The 2017 olive harvest season in the West Bank impacted by a rise in incidents of settler violence, and access restrictions to lands behind the Barrier and near Israeli settlements.
Intense military training exercises over the past two months and the obstruction of key access routes have exacerbated the coercive environment imposed on approximately 1,300 residents of 12 Palestinian herding communities in southern Hebron.
The second week of December 2017 has been marked by heightened unrest across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The 6 December announcement concerning the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel triggered widespread demonstrations and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces.
The 2017 olive harvest season, which lasted roughly from mid-September to mid-November, was reported to have proceeded relatively smoothly. However, an increase in incidents of settler violence, including theft of and damage to olive trees, and restrictions on access to olive groves behind the Barrier and near Israeli settlements, continue to pose challenges for Palestinian farmers.
In the Gaza Strip, another winter season brings with it the threat of temporary displacement, property losses and health risks due to flooding and poor housing conditions. Insufficient funding, import restrictions, the ongoing energy crisis and the limited capacity of the Palestinian Civil Defense (PCD) are key factors that hinder the ability of the relevant actors to reduce vulnerability and respond effectively.
November marked the beginning of the peak season for the export of high-value cash crops such as strawberries. Growth in agricultural trade from the Gaza Strip in 2017 is encouraging news within an economic context characterized by sluggish growth and unemployment peaking at 46.6 per cent in the third quarter of 2017.
Longstanding restrictions on the movement of people and goods to and from Gaza have undermined the living conditions of approximately two million Palestinians in that area. Many of the current restrictions, originally imposed by Israel in the early 1990s, were intensified after June 2007, following the Hamas takeover of Gaza and the imposition of a blockade. These restrictions continue to reduce access to livelihoods, essential services and housing, disrupt family life, and undermine people’s hopes for a secure and prosperous future. The situation has been compounded by the restrictions imposed since June 2013 by the Egyptian authorities at Rafah Crossing, which had become the main crossing point used by Palestinian passengers in the Gaza Strip, given the restrictions on the Israeli-controlled crossings. On 1 November 2017, pursuant to the Palestinian reconciliation agreement reached on 12 October, the Hamas authorities handed over control of the Gaza side of the Erez, Kerem Shalom and Rafah crossings to the Palestinian Authority; a Hamas-run checkpoint that controlled access to the Erez crossing (“Arba’ Arba’”) was dismantled.
Today, the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities, Robert Piper, released US$ 2.2 million from the occupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund (oPt HF) to cover urgent additional needs in the Gaza Strip in the areas of health and food security.
On 30 November, a 48-year-old male Palestinian farmer was shot and killed by an Israeli settler, who was accompanying a group of settler youths hiking in an agricultural area near Qusra village (Nablus). While Palestinian eyewitnesses reported that the shooting was preceded by a verbal altercation between the settler group and the farmer, the Israeli media reported that the shooter opened fire in response to Palestinian stone throwing. The body of the farmer was withheld for autopsy by the Israeli authorities for two days. Immediately after the killing, residents of Qusra gathered at the site and threw stones at the settlers, who were hiding in a cave and responded with gunfire, resulting in the injury of one Palestinian by live ammunition and two settlers by stones. The Israeli police have opened a criminal investigation into the case.
On 17 November, a 17-year-old Palestinian boy drove his vehicle into Israeli settlers in two separate, but sequenced incidents, first at the Efrata junction and then at Gush Etzion junction (Bethlehem), injuring two Israelis, and was, subsequently, shot and severely injured by Israeli soldiers. In the latter incident, the driver stepped out of the car and attempted to stab a soldier before being shot. The Gush Etzion junction has witnessed 20 Palestinian attacks and alleged attacks since October 2015, resulting in the killing of four Israelis and 12 Palestinians, all but one perpetrators or alleged perpetrators.