The oPt Humanitarian Fund launched an $8.3 million allocation for the implementation of some critical but unfunded HRP projects, the majority in the Gaza Strip. Less than 60 per cent of applications for exit permit by patients seeking treatment outside Gaza were approved by the Israeli authorities in the first half of 2018. The continuous opening of the Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing has been impaired by factors, including the reduced number of passengers allowed through and the obscure criteria used for selecting travelers. OCHA recorded 705 permanent checkpoints and roadblocks restricting or controlling Palestinian vehicular or pedestrian, movement across the West Bank.
Participants in the 27 September meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), the minister-level gathering of oPt donors, in New York, were unanimous regarding the disastrous humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. Among other remarks, The World Bank warned that the Gaza economy “is in free fall registering minus 6 percent growth in the first quarter of 2018, and an unemployment rate of 53 percent (over 70 percent for youth) … Given that every second person in Gaza lived below the poverty line before these latest developments, the deterioration is alarming.”
Funding for humanitarian activities in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) is at an all-time low. At the end of September, only $159 million had been secured of a requested $539.7 million for the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), the multi-agency strategy and funding appeal for the humanitarian community in the oPt. Funding for the oPt HRP is at only 30 per cent, significantly lower than the current global average of 42 per cent.
Since 30 March 2018, the Gaza Strip has witnessed a significant increase in Palestinian casualties in the context of mass demonstrations taking place along Israel’s perimeter fence with Gaza and hostilities. The large number of casualties among unarmed Palestinian demonstrators, including a high percentage of demonstrators hit by live ammunition, has raised concerns about excessive use of force by Israeli troops. Despite significant assistance provided, Gaza's health sector is struggling to cope with the mass influx of casualties, due to years of blockade, the internal divide and a chronic energy crisis, which have left essential services in Gaza barely able to function.
I am deeply saddened by reports that seven Palestinians, including two children, were killed, and hundreds of others injured, by Israeli forces during demonstrations in the Gaza Strip yesterday. This is the highest fatality toll in a single day since 14 May 2018, when 42 Palestinians were killed.
Nine Palestinians, including three children, were killed by Israeli forces during events related to the ‘Great March of Return’ in the Gaza Strip, and another 829 were injured. Four of the fatalities, including three men and one boy, were killed during demonstrations that took place on Friday 14 and 21 September near the fence, which have witnessed a significant increase in the overall number of participants. The other Palestinian fatalities were recorded during additional events that have begun to take place on a regular basis, including night demonstrations near the fence (a man and a boy killed); attempts to break the naval blockade (one male fatality); and demonstrations near the Erez passenger crossing with Israel (one male fatality). Another 16-year-old boy died of wounds sustained during a previous demonstration in early August (not included in the total). Of the people injured during the reporting period, 629 were hospitalized, including 261 people (41 per cent) hit by live ammunition and the rest were treated in the field, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza. From the total number of injuries, there were 97 children, of which, 59 were hit with live ammunition, and six women, including three hit with live ammunition.
In 2017, with funding received through the Humanitarian Fund for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt HF), the Rural Women’s Development Society initiated a project aimed at providing Palestinian farmers in Gaza with solar alternatives to operate irrigation wells and pumping systems.
With funding received through the Humanitarian Fund for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt HF), World Vision provided a 50-hour training course for 15 school counsellors from the southern Hebron area, including Susiya. The counsellors learned how to provide psychological support to students like Kasim, through extracurricular activities. The training was implemented as part of a project called “Building the Resilience of Vulnerable Schools.”
Today, the Humanitarian Coordinator, Jamie McGoldrick, announced the release of US$1 million from the Humanitarian Fund for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt HF) to prevent the collapse of life-saving services in the Gaza Strip. The allocation will go to the UN-Assisted Emergency Fuel Programme, which provides emergency fuel, mainly for back-up electricity generators, at around 250 critical health, water and sanitation facilities in the Gaza Strip.
In August, a total of 25 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized and 14 people displaced, compared to monthly averages of 36 structures and 39 people, respectively, recorded in the past seven months. As of 31 August, 277 structures had been demolished or seized and 287 people displaced, marking a 14 and 43 per cent decline, respectively, compared to the equivalent figures in 2017. All but one of the structures demolished this month were due to the lack of Israeli-issued permits, which are nearly impossible to obtain.