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In the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), as elsewhere, women, men, boys and girls may have different humanitarian needs and vulnerabilities based on their gender. Israel’s policies in the oPt restrict and affect these groups in different ways, and gender roles and relations in Palestinian society determine varying levels of access to resources and opportunities. Relevant factors that determine the different impacts of occupation include types of human rights violations, livelihood-related vulnerabilities, gender-based division of labour, discriminatory norms and possible gender bias in the design of humanitarian assistance. Additionally, the intra-Palestinian divide and the limited authority exercised by the State of Palestine in Gaza, Area C and East Jerusalem compound gaps in legal protection for women. The humanitarian community in the oPt collects sex-disaggregated data in order to refine the identification of needs, address gender-based vulnerabilities and ensure an equitable and effective humanitarian response.
Articles, statements and press releases
Settler violence and poor law enforcement by the Israeli authorities have been longstanding concerns. They have undermined the physical security and agricultural livelihoods of tens of thousands of Palestinians in some areas of the West Bank and generated the need for assistance and protection by humanitarian actors, especially for vulnerable groups such as children and women. Humanitarian interventions coordinated by the Protection Cluster include the deployment of a protective presence in high-risk areas; psychosocial support to victims; the installation of protective infrastructure (see case study); the documentation of cases and advocacy; and legal counselling.
For the past three years, approximately 700 Palestinian children in East Jerusalem have been detained by Israeli forces every year, usually on charges of stone-throwing and, more recently, incitement to violence in social media. Some of these cases have triggered allegations of abuses during the arrest, transfer and/or interrogation. Also of concern are recent changes to Israeli legislation that allow harsher prison sentences for children convicted of crimes such as stone-throwing, including children as young as 12 who start serving their sentences when they turn 14. Some Palestinian children convicted or awaiting trial have been placed under house arrest. Although preferable than imprisonment for children, this puts additional strain on the families affected.
Following a rise in Palestinian attacks since October 2015, and citing the need for deterrence and prevention, the Israeli authorities have implemented measures that penalize Palestinians for acts that they did not commit and for which they are not criminally responsible. These measures include the destruction of the family homes of Palestinians who carried out an attack or are suspected of carrying out or planning attacks, and the closure of localities where some of these suspects lived. These practices raise concerns about collective punishment, which is prohibited under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
A rapid survey carried out by OCHA during the last week of 2015 found that since the escalation in violence in October 2015, Israeli security forces have deployed 91 new obstacles (checkpoints, roadblocks, earth mounds, etc.) on West Bank roads to restrict Palestinian vehicular movement. This figure includes only those obstacles involving some kind of fixed infrastructure on the ground, thus excluding ad-hoc “flying” checkpoints (see table and map below). These obstacles are in addition to 452 pre-existing obstacles, representing a 20 per cent increase in their overall number.
Of the 216 projects in the 2015 Strategic Response Plan (SRP), only eight projects specify gender equality as a principal purpose of the project (i.e. having a 2b Gender Marker Code). The total requested budget for those eight projects is US$ 2,417,335 - representing 0.34 per cent of the total requested budget. Seven of the eight projects focus on Gaza and one project focuses on Area C of the West Bank. Five projects focus on Gender Based Violence (GBV) interventions; two projects focus on food security and livelihood needs related to women with disabilities and rural women; and one project is related to coordination.