Prolonged conflict and occupation are directly impacting the livelihoods of 2.4 million Palestinians and denying them safety and access to essential services, such as health care, safe drinking water and education. The divide between the West Bank and Gaza and the fiscal crisis are affecting institutions and exacerbating vulnerabilities. The 12-year blockade on Gaza has limited the access of 1 million children to basic commodities and restricted freedom of movement. Since 30 March 2018, demonstrations at the fence between Israel and Gaza in the context of the Great March of Return have continued, leaving nearly 7,700 children injured and 43 children dead. The deterioration in the humanitarian situation in Gaza has led to increasing poverty and overwhelmed social services. In 2019, children in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have been affected by increases in insecurity, attacks on schools, settler violence, forcible transfer and movement restrictions. Children in contact with security forces, especially boys, continue to face grave protection risks, with potential long-term impacts. The realization of the right to education is compromised due to search operations in schools and violence towards students and teachers. Services addressing gender-based violence remain insufficient, nationwide.
UNICEF will work closely with partners in the State of Palestine to foster synergies between humanitarian and development assistance, emphasizing emergency preparedness. Given the deterioration of the water and sanitation situation and the energy crisis, UNICEF will provide safe drinking water through solar power, water tank rehabilitation and network upgrades. Households will receive drinking water taps, latrines, sewage connections and hygiene promotion activities. To address the deteriorating security and protection situation, UNICEF will continue to prioritize strengthening child protection systems, including case management and referrals, psychosocial support, legal aid and counselling, and addressing negative coping mechanisms for adolescents. Monitoring and reporting on child rights and other assessments will inform evidence-based advocacy for improved child protection. In line with the National Health Strategy (2017– 2022), UNICEF will support neonatal emergency health care, postnatal care and early childhood development, focusing on children with developmental delays and disabilities. In line with the Education Sector Strategic Plan (2017–2022), UNICEF will ensure that more Palestinian children and adolescents benefit from improved access to quality and inclusive learning opportunities in safe and protected environments and are enabled to contribute to their communities and national development. UNICEF will also support flood preparedness and mitigation activities in high-risk areas.
Results from 2019
As of 31 August 2019, UNICEF had US$13.7 million available against the US$21 million appeal (65 per cent funded). With UNICEF support, over 30,000 people have benefited from improved access to water and over 4,100 households have received portable and domestic water tanks. Additional water system interventions are underway to improve access by the end of 2019. Nearly 6,400 children received life-skills education, counselling and child-parent programmes, and over 90,000 children and adolescents in Gaza participated in summer life-skills activities. Through UNICEF education programmes, nearly 6,200 children safely accessed school, and nearly 4,600 children received assistance to improve their literacy and numeracy. With UNICEF support, partners delivered essential postnatal home visits to reduce mother- and infantrelated morbidity in Gaza, reaching 13,000 neonates and mothers. Nearly 98,700 children under 5 years and women benefited from lifesaving medical supplies. Over 3,000 children under 5 years were screened for malnutrition, and 82 children with severe acute malnutrition and 237 children with moderate acute malnutrition received treatment. A nutrition assessment for Gaza was finalized and will inform action planning with other humanitarian actors. UNICEF is also working with interagency and implementing partners to strengthen capacities on the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.