About 2.5 million Palestinians across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), or approximately half of the population, are identified as in need of humanitarian assistance and protection according to the 2019 Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO). Of these, 1.4 million, identified as the most vulnerable, are to be targeted in 2019 by a range of interventions outlined in the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) at a total cost of US$350 million. The 2019 HRP was launched jointly by Jamie McGoldrick, the Humanitarian Coordinator, with the Minister of Social Development of the State of Palestine, Dr. Ibrahim Al Shaer, in Ramallah on 17 December.
Attempts to delegitimize humanitarian and human rights organizations operating in the oPt, particularly NGOs, have been on the rise in recent years. This has a negative impact on the ability of these organisations to deliver assistance and advocate on behalf of Palestinian rights. The situation is further compounded by longstanding access restrictions imposed on humanitarian staff and operations, restrictive legislation and attacks on human rights defenders. The shrinking of the operational space available for humanitarian work as a result of these pressures has contributed to the reduction of the 2019 humanitarian appeal for the oPt.
The impact of violence and casualties incurred during Gaza’s Great March of Return (GMR) demonstrations differs by sex due to social norms. Between May and June 2018, UNFPA carried out a rapid assessment to identify the specific impact of the GMR on Palestinian women and girls. It consisted of five focus discussions and ten in-depth structured interviews. Each focus group was composed of women who participated in or were directly affected by the demonstrations, along with female representatives of institutions providing social services to women.
Five Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli forces during the Friday demonstrations near the perimeter fence in Gaza, and 275 others were injured. Four of the fatalities, including a 16-year-old boy, were shot with live ammunition on 21 December, which recorded more violent clashes than in previous weeks. A balloon carrying an explosive device reportedly landed near a kindergarten in southern Israel but did not explode. The fifth fatality, a man with a mental disability, was shot in the head during a demonstration on 28 December. These bring to 180 the number of Palestinians killed in Gaza during protests since the start of the ‘Great March of Return’ on 30 March 2018. Of the people injured during the reporting period, 214 were hospitalized, 46 per cent of them hit by live ammunition, and the rest were treated in the field, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza.
In November, 60 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized by the Israeli authorities in Area C and East Jerusalem, displacing 35 people and otherwise affecting over 670 others. This is the highest number of structures targeted in a single month in almost two years (last higher figure in January 2017). All the demolitions and seizures were carried out on grounds of lack of Israeli-issued building permits, which are almost impossible to obtain.
Today, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) released a summary of data collected during 2018. Further breakdowns and statistics from previous years are available through links.
Longstanding restrictions on the movement of people and goods to and from Gaza have undermined the living conditions of about two million Palestinians in that area. Many of the restrictions, originally imposed by Israel in the early 1990s, were intensified after June 2007, following the Hamas takeover of Gaza and the imposition of a blockade, including restrictions on the movement of people and goods between Gaza and Egypt. These restrictions continue to reduce access to livelihoods, essential services and housing, disrupt family life, and undermine people’s hopes for a secure and prosperous future.
An oPt Humanitarian Fund success story: Miassar Zo’orb is a 48-year-old widowed mother who lives with four of her children in Khan Younis. She is the only breadwinner for her family, and her main income comes from humanitarian aid. Her home consists of two bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchen and a living room, and it is footsteps away from the local waste dump.
An escalation of violence has been ongoing in the West Bank since 9 December, resulting in the killing of seven Palestinians and three Israelis and the injury of 481 Palestinians and 16 Israelis, alongside multiple search and arrest operations, violent clashes, punitive demolitions and severe access restrictions. The situation in the Gaza Strip remained relatively calm during the reporting period. In a statement issued on 16 December the Humanitarian Coordinator for the oPt, Jamie McGoldrick, called “on all actors – including armed groups, security forces and armed civilians – to refrain from attacks on civilians and other actions that would further escalate the violence”, as well as to ensure that “law and order operations are conducted with restraint and that protection is provided to ambulances, children, schools and civilians at large.”
2019 Humanitarian Response Plan for the occupied Palestinian territory targets rising needs amidst new challenges: Today, the Minister of Social Development of the State of Palestine, H.E. Dr. Ibrahim Al-Shaer, and the Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Jamie McGoldrick, launched the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for 2019 in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).