18 Palestinians killed and 1,400 injured by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, the majority during demonstrations at the perimeter fence; concern over possible excessive use of force by Israeli soldiers. Some 22,000 people in Gaza are still displaced from the 2014 hostilities, primarily due to the lack of funding for reconstruction, and are living in precarious conditions and constant uncertainty. Seasonal expansions of the permitted fishing areas in Gaza have significantly increased the total catch, but this remains limited to low-value sardines; concern over the methods used to enforce access restrictions remain. The operation of mobile health clinics in 35 vulnerable communities in the West Bank has been halted, and is at risk in another 154 communities, due to severe funding gaps.
Donations of $3.5 million avert a halt of emergency fuel program in Gaza, preventing the collapse of vital services; available funding will be exhausted by mid-2018. Newly-built classrooms demolished in a Bedouin community located in an area planned for settlement expansion; 44 schools in Area C and East Jerusalem at risk of demolition. Closure of a West Bank village, ongoing for over one month, generates hardship and raises concern about collective punishment.
UNRWA is facing an unprecedented financial crisis, risking the agency’s ability to deliver urgent humanitarian assistance in the oPt, including to almost one million people in the Gaza Strip. Electricity outages of up to 16 hours a day, continue to undermine the provision of basic services in the Gaza Strip, despite an increase in electricity supply from Israel. Funding for emergency fuel distributed by the UN to 175 critical facilities will be exhausted by mid-February; $5.6 million is urgently required to prevent a collapse of services. 17 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces across the oPt between 6 December 2017 and 30 January 2018 during protests and clashes, with some cases raising concern about excessive use of force.
The number of Palestinians allowed to move in and out of Gaza declined by almost 50 per cent in 2017 compared with 2016. High level of demolition of Palestinian structures in East Jerusalem in 2017 in contrast to significant decline in Area C. 2.5 million Palestinians across the oPt in need of humanitarian assistance and protection in 2018.
Over 560,000 Palestinians in Gaza residing in areas prone to flooding are at risk of temporary displacement due to the precarious state of infrastructure. 2017 marked a record of US$18.2 million in revenue for agricultural exports from Gaza in an otherwise poor economic situation, with the unemployment rate reaching over 46 per cent. Around 1,300 Palestinians in twelve herding communities in southern Hebron affected by intense Israeli military training and additional access restrictions, exacerbating the coercive environment facing them. The 2017 olive harvest season in the West Bank impacted by a rise in incidents of settler violence, and access restrictions to lands behind the Barrier and near Israeli settlements.
The continuation of the electricity crisis and the lack of funding for WASH interventions have rendered 1.45 million people in the Gaza Strip at risk of contracting waterborne, diseases, including as a result of flooding. Despite the evacuation of settlers from privately-owned Palestinian land, which was taken over or officially seized for the establishment or expansion of settlements, the Palestinian owners continue to face severe restrictions in accessing their land. 171 Palestinians in four herding communities in the northern Jordan Valley are at risk of forcible transfer, following the approval of demolitions by the Israeli High Court of Justice. Despite the positive developments regarding the Fatah and Hamas reconciliation agreement, it has not led, so far, to the reversal of the measures that triggered the latest deterioration in the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
Gaza energy crisis further undermines the access of over 49,000 people with disabilities to critical life-saving services and devices. The rate of approval of patients’ applications for exit permits via Israel declined to an average of 53 per cent so far in 2017, compounded by delays in the financial approval for such referrals by the Ramallah-based Ministry of Health. Access of some 1,800 Palestinians in the H2 area of Hebron to services and livelihoods is further restricted due to a new fence and gate installed by the Israeli authorities. Nine educational-related structures seized on the eve of the new school year on grounds of lack of building permits, in three Area C communities, already affected by a coercive environment.
Gaza energy crisis: nearly 40 percent of areas planted with seasonal vegetable crops are at risk due to irregular irrigation; outages of 18-20 hours a day continue to undermine basic services. Funding shortages jeopardize the continuation of shelter cash assistance to about 29,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, still displaced from the 2014 hostilities.
Only 24 per cent of the US$25 million appeal for urgent humanitarian interventions in the Gaza Strip, launched in early July, have been secured so far; ongoing electricity blackouts for 18-20 hours a day
Since the 2014 conflict, UNMAS destroyed 29 metric tonnes of explosive material from 149 unexploded aerial bombs, bringing clearance operations to a close.
This Humanitarian Bulletin coincides with the 50th anniversary of the June 1967 war and the start of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. To mark the occasion, this issue revisits the cases of ten Palestinians who featured in previous OCHA publications, to illustrate some of the enduring humanitarian concerns in the occupied Palestinian territory.