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.
Susiya residents in Area C are at imminent risk of forced displacement. All structures located in Area C have been served with demolition orders, which can be implemented at any moment. In addition, the Israeli authorities have recently expressed their intention to “relocate” this community to a nearby site. Combined with the longstanding access restrictions to basic services and grazing land, and systematic intimidation by Israeli settlers, this creates a coercive environment, which raises concerns about forcible transfer.
Israeli policies and practices applied since the beginning of the occupation, which have accelerated in recent years, have resulted in the increasing fragmentation of the Bethlehem governorate and its population. These include the annexation of areas to Israel; the seizure of land and its allocation for settlement development and for military training; the imposition of physical and administrative access restrictions; the inadequate planning and zoning regime; and ineffective enforcement of the law on Israeli settlers, among others.
Bedouin communities in the hills to the east of Jerusalem and in the central West Bank are at risk of forcible transfer due to a “relocation” plan advanced by the Israeli authorities. The authorities have justified the plan claiming that the residents lack title over the land and that the relocation will improve their living conditions. The residents, however, have not been genuinely consulted about the plan; they firmly oppose this plan and insist on their right to return to their original homes and lands in southern Israel. In the meantime, they have requested protection and assistance in their current location, including adequate planning and permits
for their homes and livelihoods.
Most of Area C has been allocated for the benefit of Israeli settlements, which receive preferential treatment at the expense of Palestinian communities, including with regard to access to land and resources, planning, construction, development of infrastructure, and law enforcement.