Articles

11 March 2017 |
Khan Al Ahmar school at risk of demolition after receiving demolition order from the ICA on 5 March 2017. © Archive photo by OCHA, 2013

On 28 February 2017, the Israeli State Comptroller released the findings of its investigation into decision-making by the Israeli Cabinet prior to the 2014 hostilities in the Gaza Strip. According to the report, the Cabinet ignored the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza, despite early warnings provided by the military, particularly regarding the state of Gaza’s infrastructure. Addressing issues such as the hardship in Gaza ahead of time, according to the State Comptroller, “could have probably prevented the escalation”.

11 March 2017 |
Salem from Jabal al Baba between the rubble of his demolished house , January 2017. © Photo by OCHA

Since the beginning of 2017, a number of developments have generated additional pressure on Palestinian Bedouin communities located within and around the area designated by the Israeli authorities for the E1 settlement plan and the expansion of Ma’ale Adumim settlement in eastern Jerusalem governorate. The 18 communities in this area belong to a larger group of 46 Bedouin communities in the central West Bank, which the Israeli authorities seek to “relocate” to three designated sites.

11 March 2017 |
Newly inaugurated desalination plant in Deir al Balah, Gaza 2017. © Photo by UNICEF

In the Gaza Strip more than 95 per cent of the water extracted from the aquifer lying underneath it is unfit for human consumption. This stems mainly from long-standing over-extraction, compounded by infiltration of raw sewage and seawater. Chloride and nitrate levels in the water extracted in most areas exceed the levels recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for potable water by up to eight times. As Gaza’s population continues to grow, a 2012 UN report predicted that water demand in Gaza would increase by 60 per cent by 2020, while damage to the aquifer may become irreversible.

11 March 2017 |
Girl looking at destruction site after Gaza 2008-2009 conflict, February 2009. © Photo by UNICEF

Accountability for violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law by all sides during successive hostilities in Gaza is an urgent priority. Failure to ensure effective accountability for lives lost, homes destroyed and damage wrought fuels a culture of impunity that can lead to further violations. Eight years after the 2008-2009 (Cast Lead) hostilities in Gaza, victims are still bearing the consequences while lack of accountability persists.

11 March 2017 |
'Ein al Kabireh waterspring and ponds taken over by Elon Moreh settlement and turned into tourist attraction, November 2016. © Photo by OCHA

The three cases highlighted in this study describe the ongoing efforts by Israeli settlers to increase their spatial control over surrounding areas and natural resources through the development of new infrastructure and activities, alongside attempts to remove a Palestinian presence.

10 February 2017 |
הריסה בקהילת אל־ג׳יפתליכ אבו אל־עג׳ג׳ (נפת יריחו), ינואר 2017 / © משרד האו״ם לתיאום עניינים הומניטריים
Last year ended with a record number of demolitions and seizures of Palestinian property (nearly 1,100 structures targeted) by the Israeli authorities across the West Bank, mostly on the grounds of lack of building permits, which are almost impossible to obtain. The practice accelerated in the first month of 2017 with 140 structures destroyed or seized, more than 50 per cent higher than the monthly average in 2016. Among the hardest hit was the herding community of Khirbet Tana (Nablus) which witnessed the fifth wave of demolitions since February 2016. The destruction of homes and sources of livelihood, along with other practices such as access restrictions, the denial of basic services and relocation plans, has generated a coercive environment that places already vulnerable communities at risk of forcible transfer.
10 February 2017 |
During January 2017, OCHA recorded the demolition of 140 structures by the Israeli authorities, displacing around 240 Palestinians and affecting another 4,000. The number of structures demolished during the first month of the year was over 50 per cent higher than the monthly average of structures targeted in 2016 (91). All of these demolitions were carried out in Area C and East Jerusalem on the grounds of lack of building permits, although these are nearly impossible to obtain for Palestinians.
10 February 2017 |
פלסטינים במעבר רפיח, פברואר 2016 / © צילום: משרד האו״ם לתיאום עניינים הומניטריים
As part of the “policy of separation” between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the Israeli authorities prohibit the passage of Palestinians in and out of Gaza. Exceptions are made for certain categories - principally businesspeople, medical patients and their companions, employees of international organizations and specific humanitarian cases - who are eligible for exit permits, subject to security checks. The situation has been compounded by the restrictions imposed by the Egyptian authorities on the Rafah Crossing since October 2014 and the inability of the Government of National Consensus to assume control over of the Palestinian side of the crossings, due to the ongoing internal divide.
10 February 2017 |
Eight winter-related projects of the 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan are underway following the allocation of around $3 million by the oPt Humanitarian Fund (HF) in late November 2016. More than two thirds of the projects are run by national NGOs either directly or in partnership with UN agencies/ international NGOs. The projects target more than 181,000 Palestinians who are at risk of displacement and/or face safety hazards due to winter weather conditions, particularly flooding and storms. Six projects are in the Gaza Strip and two in the West Bank.
10 February 2017 |
A research to improve humanitarian response and preparedness: The following case study of Elon Moreh settlement in the Nablus governorate is the third in a series of Humanitarian Bulletin articles on the findings of this research.