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Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
31 December 2012
Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory continue to have humanitarian needs that are rooted in protection concerns related to international humanitarian and human rights law in the context of the ongoing occupation, recurrent escalations in hostilities and internal Palestinian divisions. Threats to life, liberty and security, restrictions on free movement, and the risk of forced displacement undermine the ability of up to 1.8 million Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, to live normal, self-sustaining lives. Of these, an estimated 1.26 million Palestinians are food-insecure and approximately 980,000 receive less than 60 litres of water a day.
In the Gaza Strip, the ongoing land, sea, and air blockade has continued to affect all aspects of civilian life, undermining livelihoods, entrenching poverty and impeding the development of services and infrastructure for education, healthcare and water/sanitation. While Israel has legitimate security concerns, the restrictions it imposes on the movement of people and goods to, from and within the Gaza Strip run counter to international law and amount to collective punishment. There are also concerns regarding the adherence of Palestinian armed groups to international humanitarian law, with respect to the protection of civilians in Gaza and southern Israel.
In the West Bank, continued settlement expansion and a multilayered system of restrictions on movement and access to land and resources, planning and construction has resulted in increased fragmentation and undermined livelihoods and access to services. In Area C and East Jerusalem thousands of Palestinians remain at risk of displacement, particularly as a result of forced evictions and demolitions. Restrictions on the movement of Palestinians to East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank and Gaza Strip continue to undermine access to education and specialized health services.
Overall, the lack of accountability for violations of human rights and humanitarian law, along with a failure to effectively enforce the rule of law, has created a climate of impunity that contributes to further violence.
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