Five Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli forces during the Friday demonstrations near the perimeter fence in Gaza, and 275 others were injured. Four of the fatalities, including a 16-year-old boy, were shot with live ammunition on 21 December, which recorded more violent clashes than in previous weeks. A balloon carrying an explosive device reportedly landed near a kindergarten in southern Israel but did not explode. The fifth fatality, a man with a mental disability, was shot in the head during a demonstration on 28 December. These bring to 180 the number of Palestinians killed in Gaza during protests since the start of the ‘Great March of Return’ on 30 March 2018. Of the people injured during the reporting period, 214 were hospitalized, 46 per cent of them hit by live ammunition, and the rest were treated in the field, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza.
In November, 60 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized by the Israeli authorities in Area C and East Jerusalem, displacing 35 people and otherwise affecting over 670 others. This is the highest number of structures targeted in a single month in almost two years (last higher figure in January 2017). All the demolitions and seizures were carried out on grounds of lack of Israeli-issued building permits, which are almost impossible to obtain.
Today, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) released a summary of data collected during 2018. Further breakdowns and statistics from previous years are available through links.
Longstanding restrictions on the movement of people and goods to and from Gaza have undermined the living conditions of about two million Palestinians in that area. Many of the restrictions, originally imposed by Israel in the early 1990s, were intensified after June 2007, following the Hamas takeover of Gaza and the imposition of a blockade, including restrictions on the movement of people and goods between Gaza and Egypt. These restrictions continue to reduce access to livelihoods, essential services and housing, disrupt family life, and undermine people’s hopes for a secure and prosperous future.
An oPt Humanitarian Fund success story: Miassar Zo’orb is a 48-year-old widowed mother who lives with four of her children in Khan Younis. She is the only breadwinner for her family, and her main income comes from humanitarian aid. Her home consists of two bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchen and a living room, and it is footsteps away from the local waste dump.
An escalation of violence has been ongoing in the West Bank since 9 December, resulting in the killing of seven Palestinians and three Israelis and the injury of 481 Palestinians and 16 Israelis, alongside multiple search and arrest operations, violent clashes, punitive demolitions and severe access restrictions. The situation in the Gaza Strip remained relatively calm during the reporting period. In a statement issued on 16 December the Humanitarian Coordinator for the oPt, Jamie McGoldrick, called “on all actors – including armed groups, security forces and armed civilians – to refrain from attacks on civilians and other actions that would further escalate the violence”, as well as to ensure that “law and order operations are conducted with restraint and that protection is provided to ambulances, children, schools and civilians at large.”
2019 Humanitarian Response Plan for the occupied Palestinian territory targets rising needs amidst new challenges: Today, the Minister of Social Development of the State of Palestine, H.E. Dr. Ibrahim Al-Shaer, and the Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Jamie McGoldrick, launched the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for 2019 in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
Today, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, Mr. Jamie McGoldrick, expressed concern over the deteriorating security situation in the West Bank. Since 9 December, three Israelis and five Palestinians have been killed across the West Bank in attacks, clashes and arrest operations. Over 400 Palestinians and at least 13 Israelis were injured, and more than 200 Palestinians have reportedly been arrested.
Relative quiet returns to Gaza after serious escalation of hostilities in November. Significant increase in the supply of water in Gaza following increase in electricity supply from previous 5 to 16-18 hours a day. Food insecurity in Gaza affects 68% of households; unemployment at all-time high of nearly 55%. Increase in incidents by Israeli soldiers and settlers at Palestinian schools disrupts access to education in West Bank.
The period between 11 and 13 November witnessed one of the most serious rounds of hostilities in Gaza and southern Israel since the 2014 escalation. It resulted in the killing of 15 Palestinians, including at least three civilians (one of them by Palestinian rocket fire), and one Israeli soldier; dozens of homes in Gaza and southern Israel were destroyed or damaged, displacing at least 33 Palestinian and 15 Israeli families. An informal ceasefire was reached on 13 November, with the support of Egypt and the UN, which is still holding.