• The relaxation of movement restrictions in mid-June combined with continued community level transmission has resulted in a sharp increase in the spread of COVID-19 in the West Bank. As of June 30, there were 2,698 confirmed cases in Palestine with case numbers continuing to rise.
• Despite the COVID-19 crisis and a shortfall in non-COVID related humanitarian funding, UNICEF has supported the continuation of essential services for most vulnerable children and caregivers. For example, UNICEF facilitated the delivery of 12 incubators for seven health facilities in Gaza in this quarter.
• UNICEF distributed essential hygiene and cleaning materials to disinfect and clean the 850 school premises used as examination centres to promote the safety of students and invigilators during the administration of the grade 12 examinations for 79,800 students.
• The threat of annexation of areas of the West Bank has been a significant concern since the signing of the Israeli coalition agreement in April 2020.
This threat has engendered fiscal hardship for the Palestinian Authority, compounding the socio-economic impact from COVID-19.
• UNICEF is advocating with donors to support the national immunization program with the financial crisis threatening vaccine stockouts.
• As of 30 June 2020, 80% of humanitarian funding needs remained unmet with only US$3.8 million available against the 2020 humanitarian action for children appeal. UNICEF has received a further US$ 10.7 million (67%) against its 2020 COVID-19 humanitarian appeal in the State of Palestine.
Funding Overview and Partnerships
The 2020 UNICEF State of Palestine Humanitarian Appeal is for US$ 19.6 million, with US$ 3.8 million (20 per cent) of the requirement available. In 2020 UNICEF has received US$ 1.9 million from the Government of Japan and the UNICEF Global Thematic Humanitarian Fund. There were also US$ 1.9 million carried forward from 2019.
UNICEF State of Palestine has a complementary appeal for US$ 16.1 million under the COVID-19 response under the UNICEF Coronavirus (COVID-19) Global Response Appeal against which US$ 10.7 million (67 per cent) has been received to date. Donors which have contributed are the Government of Canada, Education Cannot Wait, the Government of Japan, OCHA Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and OCHA the Humanitarian Pooled Fund (HPF), the Government of Poland, the United Kingdom/ DFID, and UNICEF Global Thematic Education Funds.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
The COVID-19 crisis continues to exacerbate existing vulnerabilities and limit children’s access to critical services such as basic health care, water and sanitation, education, as well as protection. The relaxation of COVID19 restrictions in mid-June and issues with compliance around public health regulations resulted in a sharp increase in virus spread in the West Bank. As of June 30, there were 2,698 confirmed cases (2,626 in the West Bank and 72 in Gaza), from this caseload 8 people are deceased in Palestine. Going into July 2020 the number of cases of COVID-19 was continuing to increase across the West Bank.
Amid the COVID-19 crisis, there were continued cases of settler violence in the West Bank resulting in casualties or property damage, in particular these cases were documented in March and April1 . Meanwhile there was relative calm in the Gaza Strip, with the Great March of Return protests remaining suspended.
The coalition agreement for the formation of the Israeli government in April 2020 included an intent to annex parts of the West Bank, with the possibility to start discussions on annexation from 1 July 2020. This plan has led to significant tension within Palestinian society, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have both suspended all coordination with the Israeli government, including security cooperation and refused to accept the Clearance Revenue taxes from the Israeli government which make up over 60 per cent of PA revenues. As such the PA is going through a severe financial crisis exacerbated by the socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis.