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West Bank/Gaza - Palestine Humanitarian Crisis

A woman wearing dark clothing walks by the ruins of a destroyed building.

Photo by Ahmed Zakot/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Photo by Ahmed Zakot/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images


Tensions and communal violence across the entire country are mounting, and the already grave humanitarian situation in Gaza is rapidly worsening.

About the West Bank/Gaza Humanitarian Crisis 

The protracted crisis has recently escalated in Palestine, driven by Israel’s occupation, including insufficient respect for international law and recurring hostilities between Israeli military forces and Palestinian armed groups. This escalation of violence puts a severe burden on children who are in many cases still traumatized from past clashes.

In Gaza, the humanitarian situation remains dire. There is increasing poverty, unemployment, food insecurity, and sporadic outbreaks of violence. In the West Bank, the rate of demolitions of Palestinian-owned structures and settler violence remain high.

The Gaza Strip hosts 2.2 million people and has very limited infrastructure. Travel routes are controlled by Egypt and Israel, making escaping practically impossible. As a result of the ongoing military air strikes on Gaza and the violence in the West Bank including East Jerusalem, at least 220 people have been killed, among them are 58 children, and no less than 6,300 have been injured.

On the Israeli side, 10 people have been killed, including 2 children and around 300 have been injured. Hostilities have also resulted in significant additional displacement of Palestinians, with over 38,000 displaced persons taking shelter in 48 UNRWA schools across Gaza. This is almost 10% of the displaced persons during the 2014 war (which lasted 51 days). On May 17, 2021, the Ministry of Health in Gaza announced its incapacity to provide COVID-19 tests due to the air strikes on their building.

Many Palestinians face the risk of forcible transfer. Violence in part exacerbated by the most recent threats of imminent and forced removal of families residing in the east Jerusalem neighborhood or Sheikh Jarrah is escalating each day. Forced removal of Palestinians, home demolitions, and the ongoing confiscation of Palestinian properties, have put 970 people, including 424 children, at risk of displacement, and de-facto expulsion from the city.

De jure annexation and settler violence are in contravention of the provisions of International Humanitarian Law that obligate Israel, as an Occupying Power, to ensure the rights and protection of Palestinians residing in the occupied Palestinian territories. It is also in violation of Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention that prohibits an Occupying Power from transferring parts of its civilian population to the occupied territory.

Restricted access to Gaza and to Area C communities in the West Bank can make it difficult for both civilians and aid workers to move safely through the region.



displaced Palestinians are taking shelter in schools across Gaza.

How to Help West Bank/Gaza – What CARE is Doing

CARE International strongly condemns and stands against the egregious violations of human rights and dignity of people in Palestine and Israel and urges the parties to the conflict to immediately stop all violence.

In order to respond to the ongoing and urgent needs resulting from the escalating violence, CARE calls for the immediate, safe, and unfettered movement of humanitarian and medical personnel to conduct rapid life-saving interventions. Access is critical to support people in need of humanitarian assistance and medical support, as Gaza’s overburdened health sector is struggling to meet urgent needs.

CARE has been operating in Israel and Palestine since 1948. For the past several decades, we have been working in Palestine to assist the most vulnerable residents in meeting their basic food and health needs.

In Area C communities in Bethlehem, Hebron, and Jordan Valley districts in the West Bank, CARE focuses on assisting women, youth, and farmers. In Gaza, CARE aims to enhance women and youth economic empowerment and participation in the public sphere.

Gaza previously faced a major crisis in December 2008. A violent conflict deteriorated the existing humanitarian situation. Over three weeks, the conflict resulted in nearly 1,000 civilian deaths and left thousands maimed and injured. CARE responded within hours after the start of the conflict, distributing urgently needed food, medicine, and emergencies supplies to families, hospitals, and orphanages.

In November 2012, there was another spike in violence that lasted for eight days and caused civilians in Gaza and Israel to fear another widespread humanitarian disaster. CARE’s office was damaged in air strikes. However, we continued our emergency response with 80,000 vulnerable residents of the Gaza Strip, while calling for an end to the violence along with other humanitarian agencies.

CARE has a long-term commitment to engage Palestinian communities in development processes that enable them to determine their futures, realize their rights, and live in peace and dignity. CARE empowers Palestinian local organizations to become more effective advocates of their own interests and rights. CARE also promotes gender equality as a fundamental element of our work to fight poverty and improve standards of living.

In addition, CARE advocates for conflict mitigation and works with various audiences to create a network of Palestinian women, men, children, and community-based organizations that are skilled in developing conflict mitigation and resolutions.

*Last updated May 2021