• In 2017, a chronic humanitarian and protection crisis continued to affect Palestinian children and families, as tensions escalated in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The energy situation in Gaza continued to deteriorate, with regular rolling blackouts of 12-17 hours per day, and up to 19 hours a day at the end of the year. This had a direct impact on the delivery of services, including health, water and sanitation, and education.
• UNICEF supported the rehabilitation of water and sewage systems, and improved access to safe drinking water in the most vulnerable communities of the Gaza Strip and of the West Bank. In total, more than 32,685 people benefited from improved access to water as a result of UNICEF’s interventions in the West Bank and Gaza.
• A total of 85,384 children and 42,055 pregnant and lactating mothers living in vulnerable communities in the West Bank and Gaza benefited from emergency pediatric, neonatal and maternal medical supplies.
• UNICEF continued to work with its partners to ensure that children who must cross checkpoints on the way to school in the West Bank have safe access, and supported the provision of a protective accompaniment and presence to 8,123 children and 414 teachers on their way to and from schools. UNICEF also ensured that students affected by the conflict benefit from educational supplies and remedial learning.
• At least 769 Palestinian children were arrested / detained in East Jerusalem in 2017;
UNICEF provided legal support to 650 of them through its local partners.
• Funding constraints continue to hamper UNICEF’s ability to meet the needs of up to 221,396 children in need of humanitarian assistance, and to impact UNICEF’s response in the areas of child protection and education, with a funding gap of 69 per cent and 49 per cent respectively.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
In 2017, a chronic humanitarian and protection crisis continued to affect Palestinian children and their families. Tensions were especially high in December, with clashes between Palestinians and Israeli Security Forces resulting in child deaths, injuries and arrest. At least 120 Palestinian children were arrested in December in Jerusalem; 99 of them were provided with legal aid by UNICEF and its partners. In 2017, a total of 265,000 Palestinian children were in need of structured psychosocial support and child protection interventions.
In the Gaza Strip, the loss of development gains resulting from restrictions on movement of people and goods continued, and the energy and electricity situation deteriorated significantly from April 2017, with families receiving less than five hours of electricity daily in December. Added to a reduction in the salaries of civil servants and further cuts in services, it negatively affected the entire population of two million – half of them children – and deepened the humanitarian needs in terms of access to safe drinking water, sanitation and health. Hospitals were left mainly running on generators and emergency fuel funded by humanitarian pooled funds.
Palestinian children in the West Bank continued to be affected by restrictions on movement, in particular when trying to access hospitals in East Jerusalem, and schools. They were also affected by stop-work and demolition orders issued against schools, residential structures and WASH infrastructure in Area C of the West Bank.
The total number of people in need of access to WASH was 1.45 million in 2017 -- of which 90 per cent live in the Gaza Strip. At least 85 per cent of people in need of WASH services suffer from poor water quality due to poor infrastructure, restrictions on fuel supplies and acute power cu