Since September 2000, citing security concerns, Israel has tightened restrictions on Palestinian access to land located along the northern and eastern side of the perimeter fence in Gaza, which have fluctuated over time.
Israel exercises direct control over the 20% of Hebron City, known as H2, which is home to approximately 40,000 Palestinians and a few hundred Israeli settlers living in five settlement compounds. Policies and practices implemented by the Israeli authorities, citing security concerns, have resulted in the forcible transfer of Palestinians from their homes in Hebron city, reducing a once thriving area to a ‘ghost town’. The living conditions of those Palestinians who remain in the closed and restricted areas have been gradually undermined, including with regard to basic services and sources of livelihood.
This publication brings together a series of factsheets that were published by OCHA over the course of the past five years, highlighting different issues of humanitarian concern in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The facts and figures have been reviewed and updated for this compilation, which comes on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the start of Israel’s military occupation.
In June 2007, following hostilities between Fatah and Hamas, the latter took control of the Gaza Strip, starting a divide between the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) and the de-facto Hamas authorities in Gaza, which still continues.
In June 2007, following the takeover of Gaza by Hamas, Israel imposed a land, sea and air blockade on the Gaza Strip, which intensified earlier access restrictions.
l On average, some 460 Palestinians were allowed every day out of Gaza via Israel in 2016 (Jan-Oct). This is nearly the same as in 2007 before the blockade, but less than 2% of the figure in September 2000, prior to the second Intifada.
l About one third of the applications for exit permits for medical treatment outside Gaza submitted in 2016 were rejected or delayed (meaning that patients lost their appointments), marking a seven year low.
Of the approximately 100,000 Palestinians who had their homes destroyed or severely damaged during the 2014 hostilities, 65,000 remain displaced; over half of them may not receive any cash assistance during the second half of 2016, due to lack of funding. Some 900 people, a third of them children, sustained some form of permanent disability during the hostilities and about 100 underwent amputation of limbs. Over 160,000 children are estimated to be in need of continuous psychosocial support.
Women and girls in the Gaza Strip have been disproportionately affected by the 2014 summer hostilities in multiple aspects of life. This has exacerbated pre-existing vulnerabilities stemming from the longstanding Israeli blockade and the discrimination against women within Palestinian society. Of particular concern is the situation of widows, internally displaced females, women and girls with disabilities, adolescent girls, and female farmers.
The summer 2014 hostilities resulted in the largest displacement recorded in Gaza since 1967. The massive scope of destruction of houses can be attributed to practices adopted in the conduct of hostilities, including Israeli airstrikes targeting residential buildings, Israel’s use of artillery barrages in residential neighborhoods, and the Palestinian armed factions’ practice of launching attacks nearby, or from within, heavily populated areas. Multiple incidents in the context of these practices have raised concerns about respect for the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution in attack under international humanitarian law (IHL), and may amount to war crimes.
An Israeli airstrike in June 2006 targeting the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) marked the start of an electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip, which is still ongoing. Since then, the chronic electricity deficit has disrupted the delivery of basic services and undermined already vulnerable livelihoods and living conditions. In the short term, all stakeholders need to ensure that the GPP is supplied with enough fuel to operate at full capacity.
1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza are ‘locked in’, denied free access to the remainder of the occupied Palestinian territory and the outside world. Movement restrictions imposed by Israel since the early 1990’s and intensified in June 2007, citing security concerns, have undermined the living conditions in Gaza and fragmented the oPt and its economic and social fabric.