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.
On 19 June, the Israeli electricity company began reducing its electricity supply to the Gaza Strip, extending blackouts in certain areas from 19-20 to 20-21 hours a day.
Following the decision of the Palestinian government in Ramallah to reduce its monthly payments to Israel for its supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip, on 11 June the Israeli cabinet approved a 30 per cent cut in that supply. If implemented, electricity will be reduced to about two hours per day, down from four hours currently, placing essential services at risk of collapse. In mid-April, Gaza’s sole power plant, which previously provided about one third of Gaza’s electricity, shut down after a dispute between the Ramallah and Gaza authorities over the taxation of fuel and revenue collection.
Longstanding restrictions on the movement of people and goods to and from Gaza have undermined the living conditions of 1.9 million Palestinians in that area. Many of the current 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.
The Gaza electricity crisis deepened, with Palestinian authorities in Ramallah reportedly announcing a cut in funding for electricity delivered from Israel. If implemented, this would further extend the existing scheduled power cuts of 18-20 to over 22 hours a day. In the meantime, the Gaza Power Plant, which shut down on 16 April after exhausting its fuel reserves, has remained closed. The Ministry of Health in Gaza announced that at least a third of surgeries are now being postponed, due to the worsening electricity crisis and the growing shortage of medical supplies. Also, Gaza is expected to suffer a lack of necessary food items, combined with a stark rise in some food prices during the upcoming summer season, due to lack of power and/or fuel for irrigation. The situation continues to undermine the delivery of essential services, which are operating at minimal levels and rely primarily on backup generators.
This is the sixth year in which the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has detailed the key humanitarian concerns in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The purpose of the report is to provide a trend analysis of some of the key indicators underlying humanitarian vulnerabilities in the oPt in a given year.
Four stabbing attacks and attempted attacks against Israeli forces resulted in the killing of two suspected perpetrators, including a Palestinian child and a national of Jordan, and the injury of one Israeli and two Palestinians.
Longstanding restrictions on the movement of people and goods to and from Gaza have undermined the living conditions of 1.9 million Palestinians in that area. Many of the current 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. 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. The situation has been compounded by the restrictions imposed since June 2013 by the Egyptian authorities at Rafah Crossing, which had become the main crossing point used by Palestinian passengers in the Gaza Strip, given the above restrictions on the Israeli-controlled crossings.
Unless additional funds are provided, fuel reserves for the 186 most critical health, water and sanitation facilities in the Gaza Strip will be exhausted in June.
The Gaza Power Plant, which shut down on 17 April after exhausting its fuel reserves, has remained not operational through the end of the reporting period. Additionally, on 24 April, electricity supply from Egypt came to halt due to a malfunctioning of the lines, which has yet to be repaired. With electricity being supplied only from Israel, power cuts of 20-22 hours a day continued during the period, severely undermining the already precarious living conditions. To avoid further deterioration, on 27 April the oPt Humanitarian Fund allocated US$ 500,000 for the purchase of emergency fuel to maintain the delivery of essential services at hospitals and other emergency medical facilities.