Access to Services

Articles, statements and press releases

5 August 2017 |
Untreated sewage discharged into the Mediterranean Sea. © Photo by OCHA.

In July, humanitarian agencies in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) appealed to the international community to provide US$25 million in humanitarian funding for urgent lifesaving interventions to stabilize the situation in the Gaza Strip.

4 July 2017 |
Kafr ‘Aqab, East Jerusalem, 2009. ©  Photo by OCHA.

Following a wave of Palestinian attacks, including suicide bombings, Israel began building a Barrier in 2002 with the stated aim of preventing such attacks. The Barrier’s deviation from the Israeli-declared municipal boundary of Jerusalem has resulted in some Palestinian localities in East Jerusalem, especially Kafr Aqab and Shufat camp area, becoming separated from the urban centre. Although residents retain their permanent residency status and continue to pay municipal taxes, these areas have effectively been abandoned by the municipality.

4 July 2017 |
Palestinian herder from al Baqaia area, Jordan Valley, May 2017. ©  Photo by OCHA.

The restrictive planning regime applied in Area C, which comprises over 60 per cent of the West Bank and where Israel retains near exclusive control, makes it virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits. This prevents them from developing basic services in their communities, including education. Over a third of the residential areas in Area C (189 out of 532) lack a primary school and children are forced to travel long distances, sometimes on foot, to reach the nearest school.

4 July 2017 |
עביר א־נמנם, מחנה הפליטים א־שאטי, עזה, אפריל 2014. תצלום: משרד האו״ם לתיאום עניינים הומניטריים

For the past decade, the Gaza Strip has suffered from a chronic electricity deficit that has undermined its already fragile living conditions. The functioning of Gaza’s sole power plant (GPP) is impaired by disputes between the Palestinian authorities in Gaza and Ramallah over the funding and taxation of fuel; the inadequate collection of bills from consumers; the destruction of fuel storage tanks by an Israeli strike in July 2014; and Israeli restrictions on imports of spare parts and equipment, citing security concerns. In April 2017 the GPP shut down completely after exhausting its fuel reserves. It resumed partial operations in late June with fuel purchased from Egypt. Gaza also relies on the purchase of electricity from Israel and Egypt.

4 July 2017 |
Siham al Tatari receving treatment at Augusta Victoria Hospital, East Jerusalem, January 2017. ©  Photo by OCHA.

In June 2007, following the takeover of the Gaza Strip by Hamas and citing security concerns, Israel imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Gaza that intensified previous access restrictions. Along with the closure of the Rafah crossing by Egypt, the blockade ‘locked in’ nearly two million Palestinians in Gaza, unable to access the remainder of the oPt and the outside world. Exceptions are made for certain categories, including medical patients and their companions who must apply for a permit from the Israeli authorities to cross via the Erez crossing.

3 July 2017 |
North Gaza Sewage lagoons. Photo by OCHA, 2017

Humanitarian agencies in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) are calling upon the international community to provide US$25 million in new humanitarian funding to stabilize the spiralling humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. In a document presented to diplomats today in Jerusalem, agencies identified top-priority, life-saving interventions in health, water, sanitation and hygiene, and food security sectors.