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occupied Palestinian territory Emergency Appeal 2020 [EN/AR]

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Executive Summary

The lives of Palestine refugees in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) continue to be disrupted by the impact of more than fifty years of occupation, repeated violations of human rights and other applicable norms of international law and high levels of violence, with individual, familial and community resilience stretched to the limit.

In Gaza, Palestine refugees face the socio-economic and humanitarian consequences of a land, air and sea blockade that will enter its fourteenth year in 2020. In 2019, the security situation in Gaza remained volatile, with recurring incidents of violence, incursions and airstrikes by the Israeli security forces (ISF) alongside the firing of rockets by Palestinian militants.

The Great March of Return (GMR) demonstrations have continued throughout the year, albeit at a reduced intensity compared to 2018. However, caring for the high number of casualties, including many Palestinians injured by live ammunition with long-term needs for injury care, continued to put an enormous pressure on Gaza’s already overstretched health system. Between January and September 2019, the percentage of applications for medical permits to travel outside Gaza approved by the Israeli authorities stood at 66 per cent, representing a slight improvement as compared with the year prior (60 per cent), but still denying many vulnerable patients access to specialized treatment not available in Gaza.

In 2019, US$ 138 million was needed to cover the costs of UNRWA emergency interventions in the oPt. However, as of 31 October 2019, only US$ 74.8 million had been pledged, corresponding to 54 per cent of total financial requirements.

UNRWA would like to acknowledge the continued and generous support from its many donors. However, the Agency was only able to avoid a disruption in critical interventions, most notably food aid in Gaza, by exceptionally advancing funds from its programme budget and by securing a loan from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).
In 2020, in order to maintain the provision of essential humanitarian assistance to Palestine refugees in the oPt, UNRWA will continue to prioritize the most critical interventions in its emergency appeal, in line with the approach adopted by the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) in the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for the oPt.

In Gaza, this includes the provision of food assistance to one million Palestine refugees; the creation of short-term employment opportunities for vulnerable households; emergency health interventions, including support to vulnerable patients in need of secondary and tertiary health care; and the delivery of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) activities through UNRWA schools and health centres (HCs). Funding is also sought for Education in Emergencies (EiE) and protection and neutrality interventions.

In the West Bank, UNRWA emergency activities will remain focused on alleviating food insecurity amongst the most vulnerable Palestine refugee and on ensuring critical protection services to vulnerable refugees impacted by protection threats due to the on-going occupation. In partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP), the Agency will deliver food parcels to 37,000 individuals from Bedouin and herder communities and will provide emergency cash assistance to 3,573 abject poor refugee households inside and outside camps. Protection threats will be mitigated through monitoring, documenting and reporting on alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights Law (IHRL) affecting refugees and through the provision of targeted assistance to identified vulnerable refugees through UNRWA Crisis Intervention Model.

Within an extremely constrained funding environment, it is more crucial than ever to ensure predictable and sufficient funding to UNRWA emergency interventions in 2020, in order to address the priority humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees in Gaza and the West Bank. Any further reductions in emergency funding could have a detrimental impact on the human security of Palestine refugees, with potentially destabilizing effects on the oPt. The humanitarian problems faced by Palestine refugees today must be addressed as a matter of shared responsibility, pending a just and lasting

The socio-economic situation in Gaza remained bleak, as a direct result of the severe economic contraction that continued. Unemployment rates in the territory are by some margin the highest recorded anywhere in the world, as has been the case throughout much of the first two decades of the 21st century. Large proportions of the population are living in poverty and food insecurity and remain dependent on aid handouts. The situation is further compounded by ongoing internal political instability.

In the West Bank, UNRWA emergency activities will remain focused on alleviating food insecurity amongst the most vulnerable Palestine refugee and on ensuring critical protection services to vulnerable refugees impacted by protection threats due to the on-going occupation. In partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP), the Agency will deliver food parcels to 37,000 individuals from Bedouin and herder communities and will provide emergency cash assistance to 3,573 abject poor refugee households inside and outside camps. Protection threats will be mitigated through monitoring, documenting and reporting on alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights Law (IHRL) affecting refugees and through the provision of targeted assistance to identified vulnerable refugees through UNRWA Crisis Intervention Model.

Within an extremely constrained funding environment, it is more crucial than ever to ensure predictable and sufficient funding to UNRWA emergency interventions in 2020, in order to address the priority humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees in Gaza and the West Bank. Any further reductions in emergency funding could have a detrimental impact on the human security of Palestine refugees, with potentially destabilizing effects on the oPt. The humanitarian problems faced by Palestine refugees today must be addressed as a matter of shared responsibility, pending a just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the Palestine refugee question, in accordance with international law, including relevant UN General Assembly Resolutions.
In 2020, the UNRWA emergency appeal for the oPt will be guided by the following strategic priorities:

Strategic Priority 1: Crisis-affected Palestine refugee households facing acute shocks have increased economic access to food through food aid, Cash-for-Work (CfW) and e-cards targeting the most vulnerable households.

Strategic Priority 2: Palestine refugees maintain their access to critical services and assistance, including education and health and are protected from the most severe impacts of hostilities and violence through the provision of mental health and psychosocial assistance and monitoring, reporting and advocacy.

Strategic Priority 3: Effective management and coordination of the emergency response is ensured to safeguard the effectiveness, efficiency and neutrality of programme delivery.