Escalation in occupied Palestinian territory Issue 2, 17 May 2021 (Data collated as of 12:00 pm)

Situation Report
Originally published



  • Aerial bombardment of the Gaza Strip, and escalations and settler-related violence in the West Bank including East Jerusalem, have resulted in a substantial number of fatalities and injuries in recent weeks.

  • From 7 to 17 May 2021, 222 Palestinians have been killed and 6,046 injured across the oPt.


  • 91 attacks against health care in the oPt since start of Ramadan, of which 70 occurred in West Bank including East Jerusalem, and 21 in Gaza Strip

  • In Gaza Strip, 19 health facilities damaged including destruction of Hala Al-Shawa primary health care clinic

  • In West Bank, 41 health workers injured, and 21 health vehicles damaged, detained or confiscated


  • Damage to six hospitals and eight primary care clinics in Gaza Strip, with severe damage and end to functioning of the Hala Al-Shawa primary care clinic

  • Also in Gaza, electricity outages affecting health care functioning with reduced services for chemotherapy patients at Al Hayat Specialized Hospital, related to outstanding arrears for referral services

  • In the Gaza Strip, 46% of essential drugs and 33% of essential medical supplies are at zero stock (<1 month)

  • Damage to WASH infrastructure, including wastewater networks and the North Gaza Seawater Desalination Plant, affecting public health measures during COVID-19 and risk of waterborne diseases

  • As of 16 May, displacement and crowding of 41,000 Palestinians seeking refuge in UNRWA schools in Gaza Strip limiting physical distancing during COVID-19


  • Beit Hanoun/Erez crossing between Gaza Strip and Israel closed since 11 May, affecting approximately 100 referral patients each day

  • No entry of medical supplies to Gaza through Karam Abu Salem/Kerem Shalom checkpoint since 11 May

  • 3 injured persons evacuated from Gaza across Rafah border terminal to Egypt on 17 May

  • Heavy damage to road infrastructure in Gaza, including main road to Shifa Hospital, one of Gaza’s major hospitals, obstructing ambulance access

  • 36 recorded incidents of obstruction to access for medical teams in the West Bank since 12 May, including prevention of humanitarian health access to at least 2 persons fatally wounded


  • The Palestinian Ministry of Health has activated the Joint Emergency Operations Room for the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with technical assistance and representation from WHO

  • WHO locally procured US$160K of essential medicines and disposable items to support trauma care and ambulance services in the Gaza Strip. Additional supplies US$500K are underway

  • WHO procured and delivered US$ 200K of essential medicines and disposables to the PRCS and Makassed Hospitals in East Jerusalem, enough to provide care for around 1,000 injured persons

  • US$ 11 million needed for the Health Cluster response over the next three months


  • End violence and ensure respect and protection of civilians and health care, in line with international law

  • Facilitate access to essential health care, including evacuation of patients and continuity of referral access, to relieve the pressure on the health system – particularly in the Gaza Strip

  • Ensure provision of needed resources and humanitarian medical supplies to the oPt and unhindered entry to Gaza for an effective health response and the protection of public health, including against COVID-19

Further information:

  • Dr Richard Peeperkorn, WHO oPt Head of Office, peeperkornr@who.int
  • Dr Ayadil Saparbekov, WHO oPt Health Emergencies Team Lead, asaparbekov@who.int
  • Nicola Baldwin, WHO oPt External Relations and Communications Officer, baldwinn@who.int