Palestine faces a protracted crisis characterized by access restrictions to natural resources (water and land), recurrent conflict, a longstanding economic food-access crisis, the breakdown of livelihoods and insufficient institutional capacity to respond. The movement of goods and people into and out of Palestine has been severely restricted Palestine must be considered as a unique case with distinctive requirements in terms of interventions by the humanitarian and development community. The protracted nature of the crisis requires revisiting approaches of external assistance on a regular basis in order to match needs, challenges and institutional constraints with response.
The agricultural sector remains a foundation of Palestinian life and is an integral component of Palestinian cultural, economic and social fabric. In addition to its traditional significance, agriculture is particularly important for Palestinians as it embodies their perseverance, confrontation and adherence to their land under the threat of confiscation and settlement activities. Since 2002, FAO has supported the preparation for, and response to, food and agricultural threats and livelihood emergencies in Palestine through emergency relief, rehabilitation and revitalization of productive capacity of about 80 000 families.
High dependency on imported food (80–90 percent for most staple commodities), increased international food prices and vulnerability to drought have exacerbated the plight of Palestinians to provide for their families. Small-scale farmers, herders and fishers in the West Bank & Gaza Strip are among the hardest hit population, despite the potential of agriculture to reduce reliance on imported food, minimize vulnerability to international price hikes and increase economic access to food by enhancing employment and income.
In order to address these challenges, FAO has developed a Plan of Action (PoA) for the period 2011–2013, to serve as a strategic planning tool to guide FAO operations in Palestine through the design of food security-oriented responses to emergencies and protracted crises. This document is a ‘living’ and dynamic document, tailored to the current and expected reality in Palestine over the next three years.