On 9 April, the right leg of Mohammed Al Ajouri, a 16-year-old boy and an athlete from Gaza featured in this Humanitarian Bulletin, was amputated. Ten days earlier he was shot and injured by Israeli forces while participating in the first of the “Great March of Return” series of Friday demonstrations, near the perimeter fence around Gaza. He is one of the nearly 2,000 Palestinians who, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health figures, were injured by live ammunition since 30 March in such events. As of 30 April, 40 Palestinians have also been killed by Israeli forces during these demonstrations, and another ten in other circumstances. On successive Fridays since 30 March, hundreds of demonstrators, out of thousands, have approached the fence and attempted to damage it, burned tires, thrown stones and, to a lesser extent, Molotov cocktails towards Israeli forces deployed on the other side of the fence. No Israeli injuries have been reported. At present, there is no evidence that the demonstrators killed or injured by live ammunition have posed an imminent threat of death or risk of serious injury to Israeli soldiers, hence raising strong concerns of excessive use of force, according to the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The Humanitarian Fund of the occupied Palestinian territory continues to be a valuable tool to leverage the leadership of the Humanitarian Coordinator and activate the humanitarian architecture to meet needs, in close collaboration with the Fund’s donors locally. With support from the OCHA oPt Country Office, this relatively small Fund has been to ensure the greatest benefit to the largest number of beneficiaries in need.
A series of demonstrations in the Gaza Strip since 30 March, near the perimeter fence with Israel, have resulted in large numbers of casualties and have raised serious protection concerns.
Humanitarian actors have identified three critical areas of intervention arising from the events in Gaza, namely: providing immediate lifesaving healthcare; scaling up the provision of mental health and psychological support for people injured or otherwise affected by the events; and monitoring, verifying and documenting possible protection violations.
In the Gaza Strip, recurrent conflict and the ensuing damage and destruction of educational facilities have disrupted services and impacted the psychosocial wellbeing of children and teachers.
The extent of domestic, gender-based violence (GBV) across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) is believed to be significant. A 2010 survey by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) revealed that 37 per cent of married Palestinian women had been subject to violence by their husbands, while nearly two-thirds of them (65.3 per cent) reported that they chose not to report the violence: only 0.7 per cent of these women sought assistance from specialized organizations. The survey indicated that the incidence of GBV in the Gaza Strip is significantly higher than in the West Bank.
In what amounted to the highest number of casualties in a single day in the Gaza Strip since the 2014 hostilities, on 30 March, 18 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces (or died of wounds sustained that day), and another 1,400 were injured, including over half of them by live ammunition, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH). The Israeli authorities accused the MoH of inflating the number of wounded by live ammunition. No Israeli casualties were reported. The majority of the casualties occurred in the context of the first in a series of mass demonstrations, organized as part of the ‘Great March of Return’ and scheduled to take place near the perimeter fence with Israel, between 30 March (‘Land Day’) and 15 May, the 70th anniversary of what Palestinians refer to as the 1948 ‘Nakba’.
The hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups from 7 July to 26 August 2014 were the most devastating in the Gaza Strip since the start of the Israeli occupation in 1967. In addition to the 1,460 Palestinian civilians killed, including 556 children,3 some 17,800 housing units were destroyed or severely damaged, causing approximately 100,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs). Three and a half years after the ceasefire, more than 22,000 people (4,162 families) are still displaced (as of the end of February 2018).4 As highlighted below, many of them continue to live in precarious conditions with uncertainty regarding their immediate future.
In 1994, a permitted fishing range of 20 nautical miles (NM) was agreed between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). In practice, Israel only allowed fishing up to 12 NM until 2006, when the fishing zone was reduced to six and later to three NM. According to the Israeli authorities, “Hamas has established naval forces with significant military capabilities, as seen during operation “Protective Edge” when Hamas naval commando infiltrated Israel and were detected near an Israeli village. This situation required Israel to tighten its security restrictions at sea to prevent similar future attacks.”
Over 220,000 Palestinians living in 189 communities across the West Bank lack a permanent clinic and face critical challenges in accessing basic health services. These communities include, primarily, those located in Area C, in the Israeli-controlled parts of Hebron city (H2), and in the closed areas behind the Barrier (the Seam Zone). In many of these areas, the journey to the nearest clinic has lengthened because of the need to travel circuitous ways around settlements and barriers. Access to healthcare can be hampered by the unavailability or high costs of transportation, and in some communities, access to emergency services is challenging as even ambulances face delays.