Following the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on 6 December 2017, the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) experienced heightened tensions and violence, mainly Palestinian protests and clashes, which resulted in a significant rise in casualties versus previous months.
According to UN Women, gender-based violence (GBV) in the oPt has assumed a higher profile in recent years. In 2010 the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) undertook a survey which revealed that levels of domestic violence had declined in the West Bank compared with 2005, but had increased in the Gaza Strip. The rise in GBV in Gaza was attributed to the deteriorating humanitarian situation following the Israeli blockade imposed after the Hamas takeover in 2007, and the devastating impact of the ‘Cast Lead’ hostilities in December 2008-January 2009.
Since the announcement, on 6 December 2017, of the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, widespread demonstrations by Palestinians have resulted in clashes with Israeli forces across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). In the West Bank, as of 31 December, three Palestinians have been killed and 3,590 injured. The majority of injuries (almost 70 per cent) were due to tear gas inhalation requiring medical treatment, followed by rubber bullets and live ammunition.
The number of Palestinians allowed to move in and out of Gaza declined significantly in 2017 compared with 2016. At the Erez crossing, movement via Israel has been in decline since mid-2016. Palestinian access via Rafah, the Egyptian-controlled crossing, also declined during the year from an already extremely low level. As the internal Palestinian divide escalated, access for medical purposes was also restricted during most of 2017 by the PA Ministry of Health, which delayed or suspended payments for patients referred for medical treatment outside Gaza.
Many Palestinians in East Jerusalem are subject to a coercive environment with the risk of forcible transfer due to Israeli policies such as home demolitions, forced evictions and revocation of residency status. As is the case in Area C, a restrictive and discriminatory planning regime makes it virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain the requisite Israeli building permits: only 13 per cent of East Jerusalem is zoned for Palestinian construction and much of this is already built-up. Palestinians who build without permits face the risk of home demolition and other penalties, including costly fines, the payment of which does not exempt the owner from the requirement to obtain a building permit.3At least a third of all Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem lack an Israeli-issued building permit, potentially placing over 100,000 residents at risk of displacement.
About 2.5 million Palestinians across the oPt, or roughly half of the population, were identified as in need of humanitarian assistance and protection according to the 2018 Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) released in December 2017. Of those, 1.9 million, identified as the most vulnerable, will be targeted in 2018 by a range of interventions outlined in the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), at a total cost of $539.7 million, ten per cent lower than the 2017 request.
The humanitarian context in the oPt has a differentiated impact on men, women, boys and girls. Gender analysis assists in identifying groups of the affected population that should be prioritized in the humanitarian response, defining their humanitarian needs based on the differentiated impact, and ensuring gender responsive humanitarian interventions that mitigate negative coping mechanisms prioritizing needs of people with disabilities, divorced or widowed women, adolescent girls and boys, and the elderly. Gender analysis also expands on household level vulnerability from a focus on female-headed households to include also households with high dependency ratios, headed by a person with a disability or a person in detention, married women who are in a separated or polygamous marriage, and widows and divorcees without secure tenure rights.
The occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) is vulnerable to manmade and natural disasters. The most recent overall assessment of risks in the oPt identified the following main risks: natural hazards, including earthquakes, floods, droughts and landslides; and manmade hazards, including conflict escalation, severe stress on natural resources, environmental degradation, and rapid and unregulated urbanization.
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.
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.