July 8th marked five years since the 2014 Israeli conflict in Gaza, which left over 2,000 dead and 100,000 Gazans displaced. In response to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza as a consequence of the war, ActionAid began an emergency programme with a number of local partners in Gaza supporting approximately 16,870 individuals (2,410 families).
Last week, the United States government announced that it no longer believes that Israeli settlements in the West Bank violate international law. US foreign policy has been moving in this direction for some time. All of this, in addition to recent cuts in US aid to Palestinians, has led to a resurgence of conflict and unrest on the ground. Illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land continue to result in dispossession, forcible transfer and impoverishment of Palestinians. House demolition, loss of property, memories and hope continues and unrest on the ground is increasing.
This has led to the further deterioration of food supply particularly to young children in the region. Children are in need of food aid and ActionAid are required to increase our food assistance programmes urgently. In Palestine, ActionAid is providing long term development support in conflict-affected areas and is scaling up its response.
Occupied Palestinian territory
The occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) consists of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip. It has been occupied by Israel since 1967. Three wars have been fought in Gaza since 2008, leaving thousands dead and many more injured and homeless.
Following the humanitarian crisis in Gaza in 2014, ActionAid began an emergency response programme providing cash vouchers for essential supplies like food and water, emotional support for traumatised women and children, and practical opportunities for women to earn money.
Why we work in Gaza
Since 2007, Gaza has been living under a blockade, meaning people and goods are prevented from freely entering and leaving Gaza by land, sea or air. This severely limits basic necessities like food, medicine and building materials from getting into Gaza.
The blockade makes life near impossible for the 1.8 million people who live there – 1.2 million of whom are refugees. Most people have little or no access to essential resources such as electricity, water, and sewage removal.
Half the population of Gaza are children. Many have experienced conflict for a large part of their life and are battling with severe trauma and emotional distress. And their education has been affected too: over 250 schools were damaged or destroyed in 2014 alone.
The blockade, repeated conflict and increasing poverty has had a devastating impact on Gaza’s economy. Three out of seven people are unemployed, giving Gaza the highest unemployment rate in the world.
Why we work in the West Bank
Many Palestinians living in the West Bank are faced with little or no access to basic rights such as water, electricity, health, sanitation, education or livelihood, and are unable to build homes or infrastructure.
Palestinian people face systematic human rights violations including unlawful demolitions, forced displacement and arbitrary arrests and few have adequate access to legal representation. A system of checkpoints and closures severely limits freedom of movement.
More than a half million Israeli settlers live in 237 “settlements” in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, all of which are illegal under international law.
780 Palestinians are now displaced as a result of this recent escalation of targeted attacks against civilians, 44% of whom are children. One mosque, four medical facilities, five media houses and 10 civil institutions were also damaged or destroyed.
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