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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
30 April 2012




The Monthly Humanitarian Monitor

April 2012




April overview
Events in April highlighted two worrying trends reflecting the vulnerability of parts of the Palestinian population in the West Bank, as well as a potential source of greater instability. During the month, 150 Palestinian civilians were injured by Israeli forces, bringing the total number of such injuries since the beginning of the year to 730, a 25 percent increase compared to the equivalent figure in 2011. Over 85 percent of this year’s injuries occurred in the course of clashes with Israeli forces in demonstrations held in protest against the takeover of land by Israeli settlements, or access restrictions implemented by the Israeli authorities to protect Israeli settlements and facilitate their expansion.

The second worrying trend concerns the demolition of Palestinian structures built in Area C without Israeli-issued permits. April 2012 registered 84 such demolitions, the highest figure in a given month since the beginning of the year, resulting in the displacement of 116 people, including 55 children.. The monthly average of demolitions in 2012 has increased by 25 percent compared to the already elevated monthly average in the previous year. These demolitions come in the context of a planning regime that allocates some 70 percent of Area C to Israeli settlements or military training, while allowing less than one percent for Palestinian development.

Of particular concern is the vulnerability of 12 Palestinian communities (combined population of 1600) located in the south-eastern part of the Hebron district, in an area which the Israeli military declared closed for training. The communities in this area, which is among the most water-scarce in the West Bank, receive only 24 liters per capita per day, well below the West Bank average of 70 l/c/d. While humanitarian organizations have made substantial investment in attempts to reduce households’ vulnerability to water scarcity, many of the water-related structures installed have been served with demolition orders. This month, the Israeli authorities announced that they are about to issue a statement their position on the future of this area, in the context of a long standing petition submitted by the residents to the Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ). Residents and human rights organizations have expressed concerns that developments at the HCJ may result in further deterioration.



In the northern and central parts of the West Bank, the Israeli Authorities implemented positive new measures, including the removal of existing roadblocks and the opening of road gates, to improve access of tens of thousands of residents in villages to their nearest service centers (the cities of Nablus, Tulkarm, Salfit and Ramallah). These follow similar measures implemented in the past three years that have reduced travel times to and from the main West Bank cities, excluding East Jerusalem. At the same time, little improvement is observed with regard to Palestinian access to (or within) areas behind the Barrier, including East Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley, and the Israeli-controlled part of Hebron City.

Access to agricultural land behind the Barrier has been particularly difficult for eight communities (pop. 30,000) in the Jerusalem area, known as the “Biddu enclave”: so far in 2012, the five barrier gates controlling access to these areas have been opened on only 16 occasions - less than half the monthly average of openings in 2009. By contrast, for farmers in the Nablus area there has been a mild improvement in access to areas in the vicinity of Israeli settlements. For the past few years, farmers were allowed to reach these areas only through coordination with the Israeli authorities, mostly during the olive harvest season (October-November). This month, 31 communities throughout the governorate were allocated between two to four days to plow agricultural land adjacent to 11 different settlements.

The living conditions in the Gaza Strip have also remained of high concern. Four months of fuel shortages have precipitated extended power outages that severely disrupt the lives and livelihoods of the region’s 1.6 million residents. Throughout the month of April, the Gaza Power Plant produced electricity at less than 30 per cent of its capacity, causing severe disruptions to basic services, including water, health and sanitation. The crisis has also further impacted Gaza’s fuel-dependent fishing industry, which is already crippled by access restrictions to fishing waters imposed within the context of the Israeli blockade.

Funding constraints continue to hamper the humanitarian community’s ability to respond to the humanitarian challenges in the oPt. So far in 2012, both Consolidated Appeals (CAP) and UNRWA’s Emergency Appeal are underfunded, registering at 38 percent and 25 percent of requested funding, respectively . This month, the funding shortage has resulted in a temporary reduction in UNRWA food rations provided to approximately 680,000 refugees in Gaza. Without additional pledges for the 2012 CAP and the Emergency Appeal, further reductions in humanitarian activities across the oPt are expected in the second half of 2012.

SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN NUMBER OF WEST BANK PALESTINIANS INJURED BY ISRAELI FORCES

Concern over the Israeli misuse of tear gas canisters against demonstrators

In the first four months of 2012 a total of 730 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces in various circumstances, including 150 in April.

Taken as a monthly average, this figure represents a 25 percent increase compared to the equivalent figure in 2011, and more than two and a half times the 2009 average.

Over 85 percent of this year’s injuries occurred in the context demonstrations, compared to approximately 30-50 percent in 2009-2011.

Demonstrations in the West Bank are usually held in protest against the takeover of land by Israeli settlements, or access restrictions implemented by the Israeli authorities to protect Israeli settlements and safeguard space for their development. They include weekly demonstrations held in the villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin in protest of the Barrier’s route, which cuts into and isolates some of the villages’ agricultural lands. Other demonstrations have been held in protest of settler activities, most notably settlement expansion into areas owned and cultivated by Palestinian communities. The largest and most regular of these demonstrations are held in the village of An Nabi Saleh, in protest of the takeover of private land and water springs by settlers from the nearby Hallamish settlement (Ramallah). Other demonstrations are held against the closure of the main entrance to Kafr Qaddum village, next to Qedumim settlement (Qalqiliya), and the access restrictions to farm land belonging to Beit Ummar village, next to the Karmei Zur settlement (Hebron).

These demonstrations often evolve into clashes between the Palestinian protesters and armed Israeli troops, that usually involve the firing of tear gas, stun grenades and pepper spray, as well as physical assault by the Israeli forces, and stone throwing by demonstrators. Rubber-coated metal bullets and live ammunition have been also used, albeit less frequently.


Monthly average of Palestinians injured by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank



Palestinians directly hit with tear gas canisters, WB Monthly Average


Furthermore, an increasing number of injuries during demonstrations are caused by Israeli forces launching high-velocity tear gas canisters that hit the heads or torsos of Palestinian demonstrators. The monthly average of people hit with tear gas canisters is almost twice the rate of 2011, and four times the rate in 2009. In April, direct hits by tear gas canisters accounted for 28 percent (37 injuries) of the 131 Palestinians injured in demonstrations.

The firing of high-velocity tear gas canisters at demonstrators by Israeli forces has been a long standing cause for concern. Because they use high-velocity rounds, are made of aluminum, and are imprecise in nature, these canisters can cause serious harm or even kill when fired directly into a crowd or at specific persons. Therefore,, the Israeli military officially prohibits their use in this manner. However, despite this prohibition, since the beginning of 2009, two demonstrators have been killed and 474 others, including 78 in the first four months of 2012, have been injured in these circumstances.

DEMOLITIONS ON THE RISE IN 2012

Concerns due to rise in demolitions of cisterns and changes to permit process

This month, Israeli forces demolished 84 structures in the West Bank – all in Area C, displacing 116 civilians, including 55 children. This is the largest number of structures demolished in a single month in 2012. Overall, there has been a 25 percent increase in the monthly average of structures demolished in the first four months of 2012.

The demolished structures included 27 residential structures, 11 livestock-related structures, and 14 water-related structures, including 12 water collection cisterns. This brings the total number of cisterns demolished in 2012 to 21, representing a significant rise in the Israeli authorities’ demolition of cisterns in Area C: this year’s figure is equivalent

to 75 percent of the cisterns demolished in all of 2011 (28) and 10 percent higher than those demolished in all of 2010 (19). The destruction of cisterns places serious strains on the resilience and coping mechanisms of these communities, which are bound to become increasingly dependent on economically unsustainable sources such as tankered water.

These developments come in the context of changes to the permit application process, that are creating additional pressures on already vulnerable communities and posing challenges to legal and advocacy strategies designed to support them. Under the highly restrictive planning and zoning regime applied by the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) in Area C, one strategy applied by human rights attorneys has been to delay the demolition process for as long as possible, by thoroughly exhausting all legal possibilities, even if chances of success are slim. However, a number of measures currently being implemented are limiting the effectiveness of this approach.

For example, according to attorneys representing affected home-owners, the period of time in which Palestinians are able to submit a building permit application, after receiving a stop work order, has been shortened from one month to two weeks.1 Attorneys also report that the time allowed to appeal a final demolition order, which follows the receipt of a stop-work order and a demolition order, has in many cases decreased in effect, from three days to one. Finally, once the appeal has been rejected, there is no longer any additional time provided , during which a detailed plan may be submitted; the submission for a detailed plan can succeed in postponing a demolition until a decision on the plan has been made by the relevant ICA subcommittee. As a result, if communities want to submit a detailed plan, they must have one prepared and ready for submission immediately upon hearing that a resident’s appeal has been rejected.


Monthly average of demolished Palestinian structures


The planning and zoning system currently imposed by the Israeli authorities in Area C excludes Palestinians, deprives them of appropriate housing, prevents the expansion of their communities and results in the continued demolition of Palestinian-owned structures. This restrictive system, combined with other Israeli policies and practices, including settlement expansion, settler violence, and restrictions on movement and access, has resulted in the fragmentation of West Bank territory, a shrinking of space for Palestinians and an undermining of their presence.As the occupying power in the West Bank, Israel has the obligation to protect Palestinian civilians and to administer the territory for their benefit. International law prohibits the forced displacement or transfer of civilians, as well as the destruction of private property, unless absolutely necessary for military operations.

SOUTH HEBRON COMMUNITIES AT RISK OF DISPLACEMENT

Affected area the site of extensive humanitarian intervention

Concerns were raised this month over the ongoing displacement risk facing remote communities in an area declared closed for training by the Israeli military – “firing zone 918” – in South Hebron. This area is one of the most vulnerable areas in the West Bank in terms of humanitarian needs, and the site of extensive humanitarian intervention.

Land included in the firing zone is some 30,000 dunams in size, and is home to 12 Palestinian communities, with a combined population of 1,600.2 According to the Israeli human rights organization Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR), which is representing some of the communities, in 1999 many of the residents were served with eviction orders by the Israeli military and several months later, around 700 people were forcibly evicted from the area. A number of the families subsequently petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ), requesting a temporary injunction that would allow them to return to their homes; this request was granted in March 2000, enabling the petitioners to return to the area. The petitioners argue that they are permanent residents of the area, but the Israeli military has argued to the contrary. According to RHR, Israeli military orders allow Israeli forces to remove persons from a fire zone or limit their mobility within the area, except in the case of permanent residents.

Three of the affected communities -- Sfai, Jinba, and Majaz – are also involved in High Court litigation concerning demolition orders issued against 15 cisterns and 19 restrooms with cesspits. These structures, which benefit around 320 residents, were built in the context of a humanitarian project to provide clean drinking water and basic sanitation services, funded by an international donor. The Israeli military has argued that the construction of the structures contradicts the terms of the 2000 interim injunction, which required the petitioners to maintain the status quo in the area, despite natural growth needs over the period since then. The petitioners are requesting that the demolition orders be nullified and that the Israeli Civil Administration initiate a planning procedure for the area that would allow, among other things, the construction or installation of basic humanitarian assistance.

There is a range of other humanitarian interventions in the area, particularly WASH projects. According to the WASH cluster, this is one of the most water-scarce areas in the West Bank and communities are not connected to the water network. On average, the communities receive only 24 liters per capita per day, compared to the West Bank average of 70 liters per capita per day. They pay an average of 33 NIS per cubic meter for tankered water to fill their tanks or cisterns. Substantial investment has been made in this area in order to reduce households’ vulnerability to water scarcity. According to the WASH cluster, since the beginning of 2011 alone there have been at least 35 WASH interventions in the area of the “918” firing zone. Eighteen of these were non-infrastructure related interventions, including emergency water distribution and water quality monitoring in the area. The remaining 17 projects included rehabilitation or construction of rainwater harvesting and water storage systems, or the cleaning of water systems and the installation of water treatment systems. All of these interventions were funded either by ECHO or the Humanitarian Response Fund (HRF).

April saw new developments in the HCJ case affecting these communities; on 17 April, community petitioners were informed that the Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) had arrived at a recommendation for the firing zone, which is to be submitted to the court within 30 days. This recommendation will affect the original case from 1999, as well as the case concerning the demolition orders issued in 2005. RHR is concerned that the Minister of Defense’s recommendation may have very negative consequences for the community, particularly if the MoD recommends maintaining the status quo of the area as a “firing zone”. This would not only increase the already high risk of displacement faced by these communities, but would also increase the vulnerability of existing humanitarian interventions in the area. Recent developments, including the reported confiscation of a vehicle used to transport teachers to a school in the area (prompting the school’s closure) and other related activities, reinforce concerns regarding the Israeli military’s position vis-a-via the presence of these communities.3

ACCESS TO FOUR WEST BANK CITIES IMPROVED

Road gates were opened but not removed

This month the Israeli authorities implemented a number of measures easing Palestinian movement to and from four main cities in the West Bank: Nablus, Tulkarm, Salfit and Ramallah. These measures reduce the distances that tens of thousands of villagers have to travel to access the nearest city, thus improving access to services and livelihoods. Some of the restrictions have been in place since the beginning of the second Intifada (2000).

Nablus: a road gate that blocked the main entrance to Beit Dajan village has been opened, though it remains in place. As a result, the village’s residents, numbering approximately 4,000, can now access Nablus City directly, avoiding the long detour via Beit Furik village that they had to use for the past decade. However, Road 557, which connects the village to Road 60 (the main north-south traffic artery), is still used exclusively by settlers (primarily from Elon Moreh), and Palestinians are prohibited from using it; to access Road 60, villagers must go through Nablus City. In the same area, a checkpoint that controlled one of the southern entrances to Nablus City (At Tur checkpoint) is no longer staffed and its infrastructure was partially removed, improving access to and from the Samaritan community area in the city (300 people). Finally, an earth mound blocking one of the entrances to Zawata village (population approx. 2,000) was removed, facilitating access to agricultural land. This may also allow the completion of three housing projects that were suspended due to access impediments.

Tulkarm: a road block along the only route linking the western and eastern parts of Shufa village, and connecting the village to Tulkarm City was removed, and an adjacent road gate, while still in place, has been opened. Consequently, the residents of Shufa (approx. 2,700) and the nearby village of Saffarin (approx. 900) are no longer required to make a long detour to reach hospitals, higher education and commercial markets.

Salfit: the checkpoint controlling access into the road connecting ten villages in the northern part of the Salfit governorate to Salfit City, began allowing all public transportation through. This follows a prior easing implemented in November 2010, when when use of the road was permitted for only a limited number of pre-registered public vehicles. . Private vehicles are still required to make a detour of up to 20 km to the eastern entrance to Salfit, , to reach services and markets in the city. .

Ramallah: a road gate on the old route of Road 60 has been opened (but remained in place), re-establishing the direct connection between Al Jalazone camp and surrounding villages (approx. 13,800 people) and Ramallah City. The old Road 60, however, remains blocked at its northern end, diverting all traffic between Ramallah and the northern West Bank to a single main road (through ‘Atara partial checkpoint).

Over the past three years, the Israeli authorities have implemented similar measures which have reduced travel time to and from the main West Bank cities (excluding East Jerusalem), and lowered the level of friction between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers at checkpoints. Among others, dozens of roadblocks and earth mounds have either been completely removed or replaced with road gates, allowing for increased access while keeping the infrastructure intact. Similar to “partial checkpoints” staffed on an ad-hoc basis, road gates allow the closure of entire areas at any given moment with a minimum amount of resources.

Despite these easings, around 500 obstacles to movement on the ground are still impeding Palestinian movement within the West Bank. Of particular concern are communities located in, or depending on access to, areas behind the Barrier, including East Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley, and the Israeli-controlled part of Hebron City.

RESTRICTIONS ON ACCESS TO FARMING LAND BEHIND THE BARRIER AND NEXT TO SETTLEMENTS

Ongoing concern in the Jerusalem area; mild improvement in the Nablus area

Over the past decade, Palestinian farmers’ access to large swathes of agricultural land located between the Barrier and the Green Line (also called the Seam Zone), or in the vicinity of certain Israeli settlements, has been significantly restricted. The permit or “prior coordination” requirements implemented have limited the number of farmers who are able to reach these areas, as well as the frequency of their access, undermining the agricultural livelihoods of certain communities. Developments during April highlight the concern over access to land in Barrier-affected communities in the Jerusalem area, along a mild improvement in settlement-affected communities in the Nablus area.

The “Biddu enclave” (Jerusalem)

The so-called “Biddu enclave” is a cluster of eight Palestinian communities (population: approx. 30,000) located in the north-western section of the Jerusalem governorate, which is surrounded by the Barrier on three sides and by the restricted 443 Highway on the remaining side. Farmers in three of these communities - Beit Ijza, Biddu, and Beit Surik – own approximately 6,000 dunums of land located in the Seam Zone and planted with olive, grape, almond, fig and peach trees, as well as various field crops.

This area can be reached only through five “agricultural gates” installed along the Barrier. Four of these gates are operated under a “prior coordination” regime, by which farmers are required to register with Israeli District Coordination Liaison (DCL) office to be allowed through. To cross the other gate (known the “Har Adar gate”), which leads to part of Beit Surik’s land, farmers must apply for a “visitor permit”, a process which requires them to pass a security check and prove their “connection to the land”. The large majority of applications submitted during the last year were rejected.4

Irrespective of the type of regime applied, all five gates open simultaneously on certain days, pre-announced by the Israeli DCL. However, in the past three years the number of “opening days” has been gradually declining - 97 days in 2009, 37 days in 2011, and only 16 days in the first four months of 2012. In the case of the “Har Adar gate” this limited opening regime is selectively applied only on farmers: in practice, the gate is operated five days a week and used by Palestinian permit holders employed in the nearby Israeli settlement of Har Adar. Moreover, while the general periods during which the gates will be opened are communicated a year in advance – the specific days remain unclear until the last moment.




According to the Israeli DCL, the reduction in the number of opening days is due to the low number of farmers that show up at each opening.

The Barrier, combined with the limited and unpredictable openings of its agricultural gates, has severely undermined the sustainability of agricultural livelihoods of many farmers in the “Biddu enclave”. For example, during the 2010 and 2011 harvest seasons, farmers of Beit Ijza and Biddu were unable to harvest any grapes in the Seam Zone as the gates were kept closed in August and September. This resulted in significant losses of both income and time.. The access restrictions have taken their toll even on olive trees, which are considered to require less care and maintenance than other crops.

Nablus: Plowing the land near settlements

The “prior coordination” regime is also applied by the Israeli authorities on Palestinian access to private agricultural land located within the outer limits (fenced off areas) of Israeli settlements and settlement outposts, or in areas where incidents of settler violence are recurrent. Farmers registered with an Israeli DCL are allocated a limited number of days during which they can access their land through the settlement gate and/or be protected by Israeli forces during the time they work in the field. This access regime has been implemented in the past few years mostly during the olive harvest season (October-November), rendering access at other times uncertain and dangerous.

This month, however, following negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian DCL offices, supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), farmers in the Nablus Governorate were allowed to reach their land next to settlements with their tractors, for the purpose of plowing. Overall, 31 communities throughout the governorate were allocated between two to four days to plow areas adjacent to 11 different settlements. This initiative has been supported by the Nablus Governorate office, as well as by the office of the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority.

In most cases the initiative was implemented smoothly, with farmers being able to access the land and work as scheduled. A few settler incidents were nonetheless reported during this period. These included the unleashing of attack dogs at farmers from Yanun and Aqraba in one incident; the damaging of tractor wheels belonging to farmers from Burin in five separate occasions; the intimidation and expulsion from the land of farmers from As Sawiya on one of the allocated days; and the prevention of access to land next to the Elon Moreh settlement.

The extra access granted this year for plowing is likely to contribute to raising the productivity of the affected land and trees, which could translate into increased income. Yet, the application of the “prior coordination” regime as such continues to be of concern. This regime not only puts the onus of adapting to the access restrictions on the Palestinian farmers, rather than on the violent settlers, but has also proven largely ineffective in preventing attacks against trees and crops, as most attacks occur outside the times allocated through the coordination process. In 2011, over 10,000 olive trees were burned, uprooted, poisoned with chemicals or otherwise vandalized, mostly in areas adjacent to settlements at times that Palestinian access was restricted.

POWER AND FUEL SHORTAGES DISRUPT LIVELIHOODS OF 1.6 MILLION PEOPLE IN GAZA

After four consecutive months of fuel supply shortages, the population in Gaza continues to face severe disruptions to the provision of all vital services, particularly water, health and sanitation.

Due to the lack of fuel, for the duration of April, Gaza’s sole power plant (GPP) operated only one of its three turbines, resulting in an electricity output of less than 30 per cent of its current full capacity. Following an Egyptian-brokered agreement between the de facto authorities in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah, 6.7 million liters of industrial fuel were imported from Israel for the GPP. However, this amount constitutes less than 45 per cent of the amount needed for the plant to reach its full production capacity of 80 Megawatts (MWs).


As a result of the crisis, the population throughout the Gaza Strip has experienced rolling power cuts of up to 12 hours per day. Fuel shortages not only affect electricity output at the power plant: standby mobile generators requiring fuel are also affected. The Gas Station Owners Association (GSOA) indicated that fuel that entered through the tunnels in April was less than 10 per cent the amount entered prior to the onset of the fuel crisis, in December 2011. Additionally, since the fuel purchased from Israel is more than double the price of Egyptian fuel, it is unaffordable for most Gazans and the amounts purchased were insufficient to meet the needs of the populace.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza reports that power outages and fuel shortages have impacted routine operations at hospitals, and have forced the ministry to reduce services at primary health care (PHC) centers and postpone many elective surgeries. Insufficient access to healthcare has especially threatened the lives of those suffering from chronic life-threatening illnesses.

According to the Gaza City municipality, fuel shortage has crippled the Gaza Strip’s garbage collection, and local governments have been forced to reduce the collection times by half, and have in some cases resorted to donkey carts for the house to house collections. As the municipality is unable to transport the rubbish to the dumping site, over 100,000 tonnes of garbage have accumulated in the streets and/or at the temporary collection sites of Gaza City. In order to maintain a regular and efficient waste collection, Gaza’s municipality indicates it needs over 55,000 liters of fuel a month.

In addition, water and sanitation treatment plants have also been affected: while since 2007 approximately 80 million liters of partially treated sewage have been dumped daily into Gaza’s coast , since the beginning of the electricity crisis, the level of treatment has been further reduced, posing serious environmental and health risks. Access to running water has also been affected. (See graph herein)

The Fishermen Syndicate reports that the fuel crisis has heavily impacted the already ailing sardine fishing season (because of Israeli restrictions on allowed fishing areas). Gaza’s fishermen have been forced reduce their fishing trips to less than four trips a month; by contrast, when fuel is available, fishing boats can have up to 15 trips per month. The Ministry of Agriculture in Gaza has been employing a fuel rationing mechanism allocating only 20 litres of fuel a week per fishing boat, a quantity which, according to the syndicate, is not even enough for a single day’s trip. Fuel is necessary to power the boats, light them for night fishing and also to run the refrigerators keeping the stock fresh.


The fishing industry, a source of livelihood to over 65,000 people in Gaza, is struggling due to a combination of Israeli imposed access restrictions on fishing space to three nautical miles only. as well as the recent fuel crisis. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the overall fishing catch in April has reached 99.6 tonnes, including 5.6 tonnes of sardines. By comparison, over 291 tonnes of fish were caught off Gaza’s coast in 2007, including 211 tonnes of sardines.

ONGOING CONCERN OVER UNDERFUNDING OF HUMANITARIAN ACTIVITIES

Refugees served by UNWRA particularly affected

The low level of funding for the 2012 Consolidated Appeal (CAP) and UNRWA’s 2012 Emergency Appeal remains of high concern.5 Regarding the former, as of mid May 2012, US $158.7 million have been received out of a total of US $416.7 million requested, a sum which constitutes 38 percent of the total CAP requirements. This is the third consecutive year of low funding in the oPt, and this consistent lack of funding has had a major impact on agencies’ ability to respond to humanitarian needs, which given the ongoing occupation and political stalemate, remain critical.

UNRWA is the largest UN implementing agency in the oPt. The funding level of its 2012 Appeal is of even greater concern. As of 15 May, only 25 percent of the total appeal requirement, i.e. US $74 out of 300 million, has been secured for this year. About three quarters of the appeal cover activities in the Gaza Strip. Funds received to date only cover 19 percent (or US$ 43 million out of US$225 million) of Gaza-specific Emergency Appeal requirements to meet the humanitarian needs of refugees. Even under optimistic funding projections, an additional $20 million will be required to cover the most critical and basic food needs of around 700,000 refugees until the end of the year, of which $8 million is needed by July to procure the food necessary for the third round of distributions (starting in October). If funds are not received in time, this may result in a reduction in food rations as of October. The significant funding shortfalls have also translated into considerable cuts in other humanitarian services. For example, most recruitments for UNRWA’s Job Creation Programme (JCP) in Gaza have been frozen since the beginning of 2012. Most external projects have now been suspended, leading the suppression of 800 rolling jobs in sanitation services and 1,620 positions in the agricultural and fishing sectors.

In the West Bank, UNWRA is expecting only 40 percent of its requirements funded, a 27 percent decrease from 2011. Due to the lack of pledges, UNRWA had to reduce its service delivery in the first half of 2012 by cutting 40 percent of the number of job opportunities offered monthly to vulnerable refugees and putting its cash assistance programme for the poorest on hold.

In the absence of additional pledges for the 2012 CAP and Emergency Appeal, organisations will be forced to further scale back activities in the second half of 2012, with the impact felt across all humanitarian sectors, both in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. With humanitarian budgets under pressure due to the global economic slowdown and a number of large-scale crises throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East, decreased funding for the oPt has reduced the humanitarian community’s ability to implement a number of critical interventions. Some projects will either have to be eliminated altogether from humanitarian plans, or will have to be reduced in scope, with few development initiatives funded to provide long-term alternatives.
















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