The Palestinian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) totals approximately 3.3 million people (2.1 million live in the West Bank and 1 million live in the Gaza Strip). This figure includes 1.8 million Palestinian children constituting 53% of the Palestinian population.
Since the outbreak of increased violence between Israelis and Palestinians in September 2000, the decline in the quality of life of Palestinian children has been rapid and profound. This is directly linked to the violence and mobility restrictions children experience daily, including the death and injury to their person and that of their family and friends, damage to their property including the demolition of their homes, and the frustration and poverty they sustain.
405 Palestinian and 92 Israeli children have been killed in the current conflict .1 Over 8,000 Palestinian children have been injured. The Israeli military has damaged or destroyed at least 655 Palestinian homes since September 28, 2002, displacing at least 5,124 Palestinians.
The situation has, for the last months, been characterized by unprecedented levels of violence and by the most severe, sustained mobility restrictions imposed on the West Bank and Gaza since 1997. Israeli military-imposed closure and curfews along with border closures and other mobility restrictions have had severe impact on the Palestinian economy. The decline in economic activity has been accelerating further in recent months, and prospects for any short-term economic recovery are now grim. The resulting loss of livelihoods and income is one of the primary causes of increasing poverty and the deepening humanitarian crisis.
Twenty-seven months after the outbreak of violence, the number of people living below the poverty line has tripled from 637,000 in September 2000 to nearly 2 million today. Unemployment has increased dramatically from 10 percent in September 2000 to over 50 percent in March 2003. 2 According to World Bank estimates, 60 percent of the population in the West Bank and Gaza live under a poverty line of US$2 per day.3
1 Defense for Children International; BT'selem 13 March 2003
2 World Bank estimate includes those no longer seeking work. Under the more restrictive definition of employment, the current rate is estimated at 42 percent.
3 World Bank, 5 March 2003, Two Years of Intifada, Closures and Palestinian Economic Crisis - An Assessment, World Bank
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