oPt

2015 Humanitarian Needs Overview: occupied Palestinian territory, November 2014

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KEY HUMANITARIAN ISSUES

The context in the oPt is a protracted protection crisis with humanitarian consequences, driven by insufficient respect for international law by all sides . Palestinians in the oPt face a range of serious protection threats related to these factors including threats to life, liberty and security, destruction or damage to homes and other property, forced displacement, restrictions on freedom of movement and on access to livelihoods, and lack of accountability and effective remedy. These threats are exacerbated by the inability of the sides to reach a political agreement, which could end the longstanding occupation and conflict. The seasonal winter flooding further exacerbates pre-existing humanitarian needs. In 2014, there was a sharp increase in the severity of humanitarian needs in the Gaza Strip as a result of the July-August conflict. Across the oPt the main issues of concern include:

Threats to life, liberty and security

Palestinian civilians across oPt continue to be subject to various threats to their life, physical safety and liberty, stemming from Israeli military and law enforcement operations, settler violence and the actions of Palestinian armed groups and security forces. This year has seen a marked increase in fatalities in the West Bank, an unprecedented (since 1967) civilian death toll and destruction of civilian objects and infrastructure in the Gaza Strip during the July-August 2014 conflict. The conflict has also resulted in an extensive presence of explosive remnants of war and other explosive hazards posing a serious threat to the life and physical integrity of Palestinians and humanitarian workers in Gaza, and restricting resumption of livelihoods.

Displacement

Thousands of Palestinians throughout the oPt have been forcibly displaced or are at acute risk of forced displacement or even forcible transfer as a result of multiple factors including policies and practices related to the ongoing occupation, recurrent hostilities, violence and abuse. In Gaza, over 100,000 people remain internally displaced as a result of the July-August hostilities due to the severe damage/ destruction of 20,000 housing units, while in the West Bank, of particular concern, currently are over 7,00 Bedouins and herders from 46 communities in Area C who are at risk of forcible transfer. The Israeli authorities have claimed that these Bedouin communities lack title over the land and that the “relocation” will improve their living conditions.

Erosion of livelihoods and lack of economic opportunities and access to food

Results of the Socio-Economic and Food Security survey (SEFSec) indicated a continued high level of food insecurity in oPt in 2013 with 1.million Palestinians deemed food insecure. Food insecurity in oPt is primarily due to a lack of economic access to food, stemming from a low and a decreasing purchasing power of Palestinian families directly related to the cumulative impact of the occupation, namely restrictions on access to land, water and markets; the lack of free movement of people and goods within and bet ween West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip; and the inability to freely and predictably access regional and international markets for goods and services combined with reduced international aid and the PA’s fiscal crisis. Women’s low economic participation contributes to food insecurity and high economic dependence ratios at the household levels which stands at 76.3%. The deteriorating economic situation in oPt is particularly prevalent in the agricultural sector.

Restricted access to basic services

Access to basic healthcare, education, water and sanitation services and shelter remains severely restricted for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Restricted access to services is primarily the result of physical and administrative obstacle s to freedom of movement of people and service providers including checkpoints, the permit regime and designation of closed military or restricted areas; restrictions on repair, rehabilitation and development of essential service infrastructure; military operations carried out to address security concerns, or settler violence; and lack of investment due to the dire economic situation. Women are particularly impacted by the restrictions on access to health, education, WASH, energy and housing that have implications to increasing the burden of care work i n the Gaza Strip, chronic problems in the service delivery sectors, including electricity, water and sanitation, health, and education, were compounded by the July-August 2014 hostilities which caused extensiv e and unprecedented damage to public infrastructure.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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