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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
18 November 2003

Occupied Palestine Territory


Cost of closures

As Palestinians face a fourth year under an Israeli-imposed closure system, survival has become yet more difficult and hopes for peace are fading.

With people prevented from moving throughout the West Bank and Gaza, the Palestinian economy has been devastated by the closures.

Poverty rates have tripled. Some 60 per cent of people live below the poverty line; almost 2.5 million people live on under US$ 2 per day.

People's coping mechanisms, such as relying on credit, selling assets, and reduced spending, are now collapsing.

Palestinians who live around a new Israeli-built Wall, which separates Israel from the West Bank and cuts deep into Palestinian territory, are also at risk. Some 210,000 people will be economically and socially cut off from their former neighbourhoods by 2004.

Moreover, today's children grow up knowing only oppression and violence. A study of 1,266 children in the West Bank and Gaza Strip showed that 48 per cent had personally experienced violence or witnessed an incident involving an immediate family member.

The death rate on both sides has continued to climb. Since 29 September 2000, 723 Israelis have been killed in suicide attacks. The toll of Palestinians killed by Israeli military action was 2,334 by October 2003.

Of these deaths, 13 per cent of Israeli casualties and 20 per cent of Palestinian casualties were children.

The consequences of a peace process, currently stalled or failed, could be especially dire for Palestinian civilians.

Palestinians have endured a worsening economic, social and humanitarian crisis. They have been living under occupation since 1967.

Limited impact

The UN's 2004 programme aims to assist people who otherwise will not be helped.

The Appeal aims to alleviate the dire humanitarian circumstances facing Palestinians, but acknowledges humanitarian assistance can only have a limited short-term impact in the context of occupation.

In this year's Appeal, the United Nations seeks to assist the Palestinian Authority to meet humanitarian needs on its behalf within the overall framework of its Economic Stabilization and Recovery Strategy.

As the occupying power under International Humanitarian Law, Israel is under obligation to provide humanitarian assistance.

Despite taking on this obligation, the United Nations has frequently been denied humanitarian access.

If prospects for a two-state solution recede, emphasis on humanitarian aid may increase and the civilian population could become more dependent on emergency aid.


This UN Consolidated Appeal in 2004 is for US$ 305,133,153.

For further information, please contact:
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Jerusalem, Palestinian Territories
Head of Office, Mr. David Shearer
Tel: +972 (2) 589 04 59; Fax: +972 (2) 589 04 59

[extracted from Humanitarian appeal 2004, a
publication of the Office for the Coordination
of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)]

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