On 2 November, a 27-year-old Palestinian civilian man was killed and another one was injured during a series of Israeli air strikes targeting military sites and open areas across the Gaza Strip. The two men were hit south-west of Khan Younis, while inside an agricultural structure that according to Israeli sources was used for military purposes. During the two preceding days, a Palestinian armed group had fired several rockets towards southern Israel, one of which hit a building in Sderot town, resulting in damage
Demonstrations in the context of the ‘Great March of Return’ continued for the 80th time since the weekly protests began on 30 March 2018, resulting in the injury of 335 Palestinians, including 168 children by Israeli forces, with no fatalities reported. Among the total number of injuries, 68 people, including 29 children, were shot with live ammunition. Israeli sources reported that improvised explosive devices, hand grenades and Molotov cocktails were thrown at Israeli forces, and that there were several attempts to breach the fence; no Israeli casualties were reported.
So far in 2019, 547 Palestinians have lost their homes due to demolitions in the West Bank, exceeding the figure for all of 2018. More than 90 per cent of families affected by demolitions in 2019 have remained in their communities, in part due to the aid provided to them. Over half of essential medicines in Gaza have less than a month’s supply.
Recent statements by both Israeli and Palestinian officials have called into question the 25-year old division of the West Bank into Areas A, B & C, established as part of the 1990s Oslo Accords. On the one hand, Israel’s Prime Minister declared his intention, if re-elected, to “apply Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea” as a first step to the formal annexation of all Israeli settlements in Area C. On the other hand, Palestine’s Prime Minister stated that the A, B & C division is no longer valid and issued a directive to expand Palestinian master planning in Area C. It still remains unclear if these announcements will be implemented and what the humanitarian impact would be.
Aziz, is a 25 years old Palestinian from Khirbet ar Ras al Ahmar, a small Bedouin community in the northern Jordan Valley. Over the past six years, Aziz has experienced four demolitions by the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA). In February 2019, the ICA demolished seven structures belonging to Aziz, including the tents in which his family resides and shelters for his livestock. Rendered homeless, Aziz, his mother, brother and two sisters were forced to seek refuge in Tammum town (Tubas governorate) for a period of two weeks and leave his livestock behind, exposed to the harsh winter conditions.
For Sahar Al Nabaheen, the lack of access to regular, high-quality family planning information and services has all but defined her life. At 31, she lives with her husband and their six children in Al Bureij Camp, Middle Area Gaza. Three of Sahar’s pregnancies were unplanned due to a lack of available contraceptives. With her and her husband unable to find work, her family of eight are living on no income.
Since 30 March 2018, the Gaza Strip has witnessed a significant increase in Palestinian casualties in the context of mass demonstrations and other activities along Israel’s perimeter fence with Gaza, taking place as part of the «Great March of Return» (GMR), as well as during hostilities and access related incidents. The large number of casualties among unarmed Palestinian demonstrators, including a high percentage of demonstrators injured by live ammunition, has raised concerns about excessive use of force by Israeli troops. Exposure of children to violence and lack of protection for medical teams are also of concern. Despite significant assistance provided, addressing the resulting multiple needs of the mass influx of casualties remains challenging due to the lack of funds, years of blockade, the internal Palestinian political divide and a chronic energy crisis.
Longstanding restrictions on the movement of people and goods to and from the Gaza Strip have undermined the living conditions of about two million Palestinians. Many of the restrictions, originally imposed by Israel in the early 1990s and also 2000s, when Israel shut down the Gaza airport and safe passage between Gaza and West Bank, were intensified after June 2007, following the Hamas takeover of Gaza, the imposition of a blockade and the closure of the Rafah crossing with Egypt. These restrictions limit access to livelihoods, essential basic services and housing, disrupt family life, and undermine people’s hopes for a secure and prosperous future. In recent months, OCHA has witnessed some easing of restrictions such as the opening Kerem Shalom crossing on Fridays for the entry of Qatari-funded fuel for the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) and an increase in the number of permits issued to Palestinians classified as business people.
The Gaza Strip faces a chronic humanitarian crisis, impacting the livelihoods and access to essential services by its two million residents. This crisis has been driven by over 12 years of an Israeli blockade and an unsolved internal Palestinian divide, exacerbated since March 2018 by the massive increase in Palestinian casualties in the context of demonstrations taking place near Israel’s perimeter fence, as well as limited escalations in hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups. The following indicators were identified by the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) to monitor specific aspects of the crisis, identify areas of further deterioration and trigger humanitarian action.
On 4 October, a 28-year-old Palestinian man was shot and killed by Israeli forces during a ‘Great March of Return’ (GMR) demonstration east of Jabalia (Gaza north), near Israel’s fence with Gaza. Another 20-year-old Palestinian man died on 7 October of wounds sustained during a protest in April 2019. Overall, 210 Palestinians, including 46 children, have been killed in the GMR protests since they started in March 2018. Also, during the reporting period, 261 Palestinians, including 127 children, were injured by Israeli forces in the protests; 48 people were shot with live ammunition. Israeli sources reported that improvised explosive devices, hand grenades and Molotov cocktails were thrown at Israeli forces, and that there were several attempts to breach the fence; no Israeli casualties were reported. In a statement, issued in advance of the 11 October protest organized around the theme of “Our Child Martyrs”, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the oPt, Jamie McGoldrick, called on Israel and Hamas to protect children, reiterating that “children must never be the target of violence, nor should they be put at risk of violence or encouraged to participate in violence.”