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.