The protracted conflict and the occupation have compromised the access to education in the occupied Palestinian territory. In the West Bank, access to education is undermined due to the detention of children, military operations and settler-related incidents; the shortage of physical infrastructure due to building restrictions in Area C and East Jerusalem; and movement restrictions such as the checkpoints and the Barrier. In the Gaza Strip, armed conflict and the resulting damage and destruction of facilities, the Israeli Blockade, and the internal Palestinian divide, have severely disrupted services, including the ability to conduct regular educational activities. Combined with their negative psychosocial effects, these factors have affected student wellbeing, performance and completion rates.
UNRWA, in partnership with UNICEF and with the support of the European Union, has concluded the “Keeping Kids Active” (KKA) project in Gaza. Over five weeks, from 29 June to 1 August, KKA reached approximately 100,000 children throughout Gaza, providing recreational activities, psychosocial assistance, and referrals to more specialized mental health services, where needed.
About 68 per cent of households in Gaza experience severe or moderate levels of food insecurity, and the unemployment rate increased from 44 per cent in 2017 to 52 per cent in 2018. In an increasingly destabilized economy and weakened social fabric, families’ resilience capacities are increasingly eroded, and the vulnerability of certain groups, particularly children, is exacerbated. Child labour, including children engaging in hazardous occupations, has become a commonly used mechanism to alleviate poverty and secure daily expenses.
The Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) has left the H2 area of Hebron city following the Israeli government’s decision not to renew its mandate beyond 31 January 2019. Combined with intensified harassment and restrictions against residents and the remaining protective presence actors in the area, this increases the protection risks faced by the population, particularly schoolchildren. In his remarks to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, UN Secretary General António Guterres expressed regret at Israel’s decision not to renew TIPH’s mandate. He expressed the hope that an agreement can be reached to “preserve this long-standing and valuable arrangement”.
East Jerusalem/Ramallah, 30 January 2019 - “As the second school term resumes in the State of Palestine, we remain deeply concerned by the high number of reported incidents of interference in or near schools in the West Bank since the beginning of the school year. These incidents are impacting children’s safe access to education. Incidents of interference in schools by Israeli Forces, demolitions, threats of demolition, clashes on the way to school between students and security forces, teachers stopped at checkpoints, and the violent actions of Israeli forces and settlers on some occasions, are impacting access to a safe learning environment and the right to quality education for thousands of Palestinian children.
This school year (since August 2018), the Education Cluster has observed an upward trend in the number of incidents involving Israeli forces and/or settlers reported as taking place in or near Palestinian schools in the West Bank and that disrupt access to and activities at these schools. Incidents recorded include delays and harassment of children travelling to school, at checkpoints and elsewhere; clashes in the vicinity of schools; and violent raids and search operations inside schools.
Over 68 per cent of households in the Gaza Strip, or about 1.3 million people, are severely or moderately food insecure, according to the preliminary findings of the latest Socio-Economic and Food Security Survey (SefSec) carried out in 2018. 4 This is despite the fact that 69 per cent of households in Gaza reported in the survey that they receive some form of food assistance or other forms of social transfers from Palestinian governmental bodies or international organizations. The current food insecurity rate in Gaza constitutes a rise of 9 percentage points from the equivalent figure for 2014 (59 per cent), the last time the SefSec was conducted. By contrast, food insecurity in the West Bank stands at nearly 12 per cent of households according to the same survey, down from 15 per cent in 2014.