Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter

Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
31 December 2010




The Humanitarian Monitor
December 2010



ISSUES COVERED THIS MONTH
West Bank: Significant increase in demolitions in December • 2010 olive harvest falls below annual average • Allegations of discrimination against Palestinians in the West Bank
Gaza Strip: “Cast Lead” victims to be denied their right to compensation • Imports into Gaza • Exports remain limited to strawberries and cut flowers • December Storm Damage
Issues across the oPt: Casualties from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: 2010 Overview • 1.4 million Palestinians continue to live in food insecurity • CAP 2010 remains funded at 50 percent


December Overview


As 2010 came to a close, the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) was characterized by regular exposure of large segments of the population to violence, harsh restrictions on access and movement, and persistent human rights violations. Coupled with on-going political stalemate preventing progress towards ending Israel’s military occupation, these factors have resulted in protracted humanitarian vulnerability.

Overall, far fewer Palestinians were killed and injured in the oPt in 2010 than in the previous year, due primarily to the exceptionally high number of casualties from Israel’s “Cast Lead” offensive in early 2009. However, when excluding the first month of both years, injuries in 2010 increased by more than 60 percent in comparison with the parallel period in 2009. In the Gaza Strip, the increase is mainly due to the Israeli military’s harsher enforcement of access restrictions in areas within the vicinity of the Gaza’s perimeter fence, where the majority of victims were unarmed civilians collecting rubble and scrap metal. In the West Bank, the increase stems from increasingly violent clashes between Israeli police and armed forces and unarmed Palestinian demonstrators, particularly in East Jerusalem.

The entrenched vulnerability of West Bank Palestinians, particularly in Area C and East Jerusalem, has been, in most cases, directly or indirectly related to Israeli policies regarding settlements, all of which have been established and expanded in violation of international law. With lax law enforcement on violent settlers1, the number of settler attacks against Palestinians and their property increased by some 70 percent in 2010, compared to 2009. While the ‘prior coordination’ mechanism, established to allow Palestinians’ exceptional access to their land in areas near settlements during the olive harvest functioned smoothly this year, attacks outside “coordination” times also increased compared to the previous two olive seasons. In addition, access to olive groves behind the Barrier continued to be restricted by permit requirements and limited access points.

In East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank, more structures were demolished in 2010 (431 structures) than in any year since OCHA began recording demolitions in 2005. While the number of people displaced slightly decreased from the previous year, the number of people affected by demolitions, mainly due to the loss of a structure related to their livelihood significantly increased. In December, the village of Khirbet Tana in the northern Jordan Valley experienced wide-scale demolitions for the third time, including of the village school. A report issued in December by Human Rights Watch (HRW) highlights discriminatory policies implemented in East Jerusalem and Area C, including in the area of planning and building, which deprive Palestinians of basic necessities, while providing generous amenities for Jewish settlements.

In Gaza, the Israeli decision from June 2010 to ease the blockade has resulted in an increase in imports, primarily consumer goods, and the approval of some international construction projects. Yet, some of the fundamental parameters of Israel’s blockade remain in place, namely the sweeping restrictions on the movement of people, on the import of basic construction materials and on the export of goods. While in December 2010 the Israeli authorities announced an ease on the latter, by the time of writing (17 January) this remains unimplemented. The limited operation of the conveyor belt at Karni Crossing (only two days a week), used for the transfer of grain and gravel, continues to be a significant constraint in the implementation of authorized projects, as well as in the maintenance of adequate reserves of wheat; this is despite an increase in the entry of both goods in December. Additionally, the closure of the Nahal Oz crossing at the beginning of 2010 affected the import of cooking gas, as the Kerem Shalom crossing used for this purpose lacks storage capacity. While a cooking gas pipeline was reportedly installed in a tunnel under the Egypt-Gaza border, the amounts imported were very limited. Therefore, this month a rationing system was re-introduced, giving priority to hospitals and bakeries. Overall, despite some signs of economic reactivation, Gaza has not seen sustainable economic growth and international assistance remains limited to mitigating the impact of the blockade and the consequences of “Cast Lead.” In addition, underground tunnels between the Gaza-Egyptian border, continue to pose risks on those who work in them; in 2010 46 Palestinians were killed and 89 others were injured in the tunnels.

Although the level of food insecurity in the oPt decreased by three percent from 2009 to 2010, approximately one third of the Palestinian population, or 1.43 million people, continue to be food insecure, i.e. lacking “secure access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and an active and healthy life.” The root causes of food insecurity

(i.e. unemployment and economic collapse) have not changed significantly, particularly in the Gaza Strip, where the private sector is still moribund and the economy is relying almost entirely on the public sector and humanitarian assistance.

Two years since Israel’s “Cast Lead” offensive, not only have most allegations of serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law not been investigated, Palestinian victims may be losing their last opportunity to seek compensation via the Israeli legal system, as the two year statute of limitations for filing suit expires. The large majority of victims have been unable to submit compensation claims due to the access restrictions, which prevent their meeting with the lawyers who will represent them in Israeli courts.

Without a complete lifting of the blockade on Gaza, along with the freezing of demolitions and evictions, dismantlement or re-routing of the Barrier to the Green Line, and the opening up of Area C to Palestinian use in the West Bank, the current humanitarian situation and protection condition of the affected Palestinians will continue to deteriorate. Moreover, without improved accountability for violations of international law, vulnerability and hopelessness among those living under occupation will persist.


West Bank

Significant increase in demolitions in December, 2010 displacement and demolition trends

Demolitions increased for the fourth consecutive month in December, with the Israeli authorities demolishing 84 Palestinian-owned structures in East Jerusalem and Area C, displacing 139 Palestinians, almost 2.5 times as many demolitions as in November 2010 (34). More structures were demolished in December than in any other month in 2010, except July, when 143 structures were demolished.

In East Jerusalem, there were more demolitions and displacement in December than in any other month in 2010. While most demolitions (15 of 22) occurred in one incident in the At Tur neighborhood2, almost 70 percent of displacement (37 of 54 persons displaced) resulted from two incidents of demolition of residential structures in Ras al Amud and Sur Bahir.3

In Area C, the majority of demolitions (43 out of 62 total) occurred in two incidents; the first in the village of Khirbet Tana (see box herein) in the Nablus governorate, and the second in the Bedouin communities of Umm Ad Daraj and Khashem ad Daraj in south Hebron, where 14 water cisterns were demolished, affecting around 960 people and 4,000 sheep. According to a WASH Cluster assessment, the cisterns – several of which were several decades old – were mainly used by herders to provide water to their livestock in remote areas. The total loss of storage is estimated at more than 1500 cubic meters. As a result, the pressure on other water resources has increased in one of the driest and least served areas of the West Bank.




The rise in demolitions in December prompted the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Maxwell Gaylard, to call on the Government of Israel to “take immediate steps to cease demolitions and evictions in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.” Mr. Gaylard said that Israel’s demolition of Palestinian structures and subsequent displacement “have a severe social and economic impact on the lives and welfare of Palestinians and increase their dependence on humanitarian assistance.” and that such practices “raise serious concerns with regard to Israel’s obligations under international law.”

Number of persons affected by demolitions increases significantly in 2010

In 2010 as-a-whole, OCHA recorded more demolitions than in any other year since it began its protection of civilians database in 2005; at least 431 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished, up 59 percent from the number of structures recorded demolished in 2009.4 While the number of persons displaced as a result of demolitions in 2010 decreased slightly,5 the number of people whose livelihoods were affected by demolitions increased dramatically. Demolitions of livelihood-related structures often have a devastating impact on the socio-economic status of the affected families.

In East Jerusalem, overall, the number of structures demolished in 2010 remained basically the same, compared to the previous year.6 However, there were significant changes in the nature of demolitions: for example, the number of residential structures dropped significantly, with the result being fewer Palestinians displaced.7 At the same time, however, there was a 55 percent increase in the number of persons affected (but not displaced) by demolitions, for example, due to the demolition of a livelihood structure. This latter trend was also witnessed in Area C, where the number of those affected increased exponentially, due to the high number of people affected by the Israeli authorities demolition of water wells and cisterns in Area C; such demolitions accounted for 94 percent of all those “affected” in 2010 However, if one excludes that type of demolition, the number of persons affected by demolitions still increased dramatically, up by 48 percent, compared to 2009.





In terms of demolition of structures in Area C, in contrast to East Jerusalem, there was an 85 percent increase, compared to 2009. The number of persons displaced by demolitions in Area C, some of whom were displaced multiple times, also rose significantly, by almost 50 percent. Over 82 percent of all West Bank demolitions in 2010 and over 80 percent of displacement occurred in Area C.

2010 olive harvest falls below annual average

The 2010 olive harvest season began in the second week of October and ended in December. It is estimated that olive groves account for nearly 45 percent of cultivated land in the oPt. Olive production follows a two-year cycle, with sharp fluctuations between alternating seasons. In a peak year, such as 2010, the olive industry can contribute as much as 15-19 percent to the national agriculture output, which in turn accounts for nearly 25 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Olive production provides the bulk of income for about 71,000 families throughout the oPt.

The average annual supply of olive oil in the oPt can reach up to 36,000 tonnes in a peak year, but in 2010, the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture estimated the yield at 32 percent less than average, due to adverse climatic conditions earlier in the year. This year’s production totalled 24,600 tonnes of olive oil, and, as average total local consumption is about 12,500 tonnes per year, this leaves a surplus of approximately 12,000 tonnes. Given that growers can sell olive oil at US$ 6 per kilogram, this surplus could potentially provide export revenues of approximately US$ 72 million. However, factors such as the low quality of olive oil due to improper cultivation, pre- and post-harvest practices and lack of necessary production inputs, equipment and education, continue to affect export efforts.

Access restrictions near settlements and settler attacks

The olive output in the West Bank is restricted by limited access, particularly to olive groves in the vicinity of settlements and to land behind the Barrier. Since a landmark judgment by the Israeli High Court of Justice in 2006, the Israeli army has designated limited periods when, following ‘prior coordination’ and under the protection of Israeli forces, farmers are permitted to access their olive groves in the vicinity of settlements. This procedure was implemented throughout the West Bank again this year and appears to have operated efficiently.

However, overall, and largely outside of the time allocated to the protection of Palestinian farmers, the olive harvest in 2010 witnessed a significant increase in the number of reported incidents of settler violence against Palestinian farmers and property, compared to the olive seasons of the last two years. Between 15 September and 15 December, OCHA recorded more than 30 incidents resulting in either Palestinian injuries or damage to olive trees, compared with 20 incidents in each of the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Additionally, dozens of other incidents were perpetrated by Israeli settlers, including intimidation, access prevention and pillage of olive produce. These attacks resulted in 17 injuries to Palestinians and the destruction of roughly 4000 thousand olive trees – many of them ancient. Palestinian villages around the settlements of Susiya (Hebron governorate), the Eli-Shilo-Ma’ale Levona bloc (Ramallah-Nablus), Yizhar (Nablus) and Qedumim (Qalqiliya) are among the most affected by settler violence.

Areas isolated by the Barrier

Since 2003, Palestinian farmers in the northern West Bank have been required to apply for ‘visitor permits’ to access their olive groves in the area between the Barrier and the Green Line (the so called “Seam Zone”). In 2009, this measure was extended to most areas in the central and southern West Bank. While a larger number of permits are approved each year on the eve of the olive season, many applications are still rejected, mainly due to ‘security reasons.’ Farmers are also rejected on the grounds of insufficient proof of ‘connection to the land’, as was the case in Wadi Shami in the Bethlehem area, where all 70 applicants were rejected due to lack of land ownership documents. Expecting refusal, others do not apply because of the lack of land ownership documents, which was the case in Beit Nuba and Deir Qaddis in Ramallah governorate. In Deir Qaddis, the village council estimates that the permit regime and resultant lack of access have affected 220 farmers who own an estimated 800 trees planted over 500 dunums of land.

In the northern and central West Bank, the percentage of permits granted ranged from about 80 percent in Tulkarm (1,930 out of 2,370), 63 percent in Ramallah (344 out of 545), to 45 percent (941 out of 2,100) and 56 percent (1,560 out of 2,783) in the Jenin/ Tubas and Qalqiliya governorates, respectively. Most rejections were based on security grounds. These figures do not capture those people who have stopped applying for permits, discouraged because of repeated refusal or due to the lack of land ownership documents. In the Jerusalem area, where a system of ‘prior coordination’ still applies at some gates, almost all those who submitted their names to be added onto coordination lists to access their olive groves from Beit Ijza, Biddu, Beit Surik, Al Jib and Hizma (some 1,900) were successful. By contrast, for four of the six gates requiring seam zone permits in Jerusalem governorate, farmers chose not to apply for permits, often as a matter of principle (e.g. Beit Surik, Beit Hanina, Kharayib Um Al Lahem), and in one case because the Israeli DCL clarified at short notive that permit regime and not coordination applies (Hizma checkpoint).

For those farmers granted access to the ‘Seam Zone’, either by permit or prior coordination, passage is restricted to Barrier gates and checkpoints. Most of the crossings along the Barrier are only open during the olive harvest period and only for a limited amount of time during those days. As a result, essential activities such as ploughing, pruning, fertilizing and pest and weed management cannot be carried out on a regular basis affecting the quality and quantity of the yield.

Allegations of discrimination against Palestinians in the West Bank

This month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a new report focused on discriminatory policies, implemented by the Israeli authorities in East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank, which deprive Palestinians of basic necessities while providing generous amenities for Jewish settlements.9

Through a series of case studies comparing Israel’s treatment of specific settlements with that of adjacent Palestinian communities, HRW singles out a number of practices, including “expropriating land from Palestinians for settlements and their supporting infrastructure; blocking Palestinians from using roads and reaching agricultural lands; denying access to electricity and water; denying building permits for houses, schools, clinics, and infrastructure; and demolishing homes and even entire communities.” According to HRW, such measures have frequently “had the effect of forcing residents to leave their communities.” In the report, HRW has identified discriminatory practices that, according to the organization, have no legitimate security or other justification.

The HRW report called on Israel to end violations of Palestinian human rights and abide by its international legal obligations, including withdrawing from the settlements. It also urged the US and EU member states and businesses with operations in settlement areas to avoid supporting Israeli settlement policies that are inherently discriminatory and that violate international law.

Gaza Strip

“Cast Lead” victims to be denied their right to compensation

Palestinian victims of violations of humanitarian and human rights law, committed during Israel’s “Cast Lead” offensive, may be losing their last opportunity to seek compensation via the Israeli legal system. This development is the result of two key factors: the first factor concerns an amendment to the Israeli Civil Wrongs Law, adopted in 2002 and also known as the “Intifada Law”. The amendment shortened the statute of limitation, or the period during which a resident of the oPt is entitled to sue the state for damages perpetrated by a state agent, from seven to two years since the occurrence of the alleged damage.10 As a result, the period allocated by the law to file claims in regard to the “Cast Lead” offensive will soon expire, between 27 December 2010 and 18 January 2011.

The second factor concerns the sweeping access restrictions imposed by Israel in the context of the blockade on the Gaza Strip. These restrictions are preventing potential claimants, or their representatives, from meeting their Israeli lawyers (who have access to Israeli courts) in order to evaluate evidence and prepare the claims. As a result, the large majority of victims have been unable to submit compensation claims.

Under international law, the payment of compensation for wrongful acts is a fundamental component of state accountability and a basic right of victims of violations.11 In order to prevent the de-facto denial of this right, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice this month demanding that the statute of limitation for “Cast Lead” incidents be extended for a period of two years from the moment that potential claimants are provided effective access to legal representation.12

An additional procedural constraint established in the 2002 amendment that, in order to claim compensation in court, the claimant must submit a “letter of notification” of the damage to the Israeli Ministry of Defense within 60 days of the alleged incident. During the relevant period, PCHR submitted 1,046 such letters on behalf of “Cast Lead” victims. So far, however, only 20 of these letters led to the submission of claims. These claims were submitted mainly due to fear of losing the opportunity to claim compensation and in the absence of proper preparation, for the reasons outlined above

The report of the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (Goldstone Report) submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2009, stated that the Mission had found evidence that Israel had violated international human rights and humanitarian law during “Cast Lead”, including acts amounting to war crimes. The Mission also found that Palestinian rocket attacks against Israeli population centers should be investigated as war crimes. Among its recommendations, the Mission called for independent and impartial investigations to be conducted into the conduct of both parties.


Imports into Gaza
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Significant increases in both wheat imports and aggregates; new pipeline installed under the Egypt-Gaza border

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

More than 17,000 tonnes of wheat entered Gaza through the conveyor belt at Karni Crossing in December, a significant increase from previous months. Also this month registered the second highest level of aggregates imports in 2010. Since October, Israeli authorities significantly increased the amount of aggregates allowed entry into Gaza through the Karni crossing. The conveyor belt remains operational on only two days per week and the rest of the crossing is closed.

Aggregates, as well as other basic construction materials, are only allowed for a few projects overseen by international organizations, while the ban on their import for the commercial markets continues; as a result, immense needs in the areas of housing and infrastructures remain unmet. As of the end of December, only 26 UNRWA projects were approved, representing only four percent of the UNRWA’s building plans in Gaza.

Also during December, a total of 2,742 tonnes of cooking gas entered Gaza – a 33 percent increase from the 2,059 tonnes entered during the previous month. Despite this improvement, the Gas Stations Owners Association (GSOA) indicates that this amount represents only 46 percent of the required amount. As a result, according to the GSOA, a rationing system was introduced in the last week of November, where only 10 out of 28 cooking gas stations operated at any given time. Cooking gas delivery is now controlled, with the need of hospitals and bakeries given the highest priority. At least half of Gaza’s population is negatively affected by the shortage.

Significantly, for the first time, on 10 December, a single cooking gas pipeline was installed from Egypt through the tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza border. Although up to 30 tonnes could reportedly be transferred through this line per day, currently only 5-10 tonnes are transferred per day, mainly due to the lack of supply from the Egyptian side.









Some reports indicate that the pipeline is poorly constructed and poses a high risk to the safety of the population living in its vicinity as well as labourers working inside the nearby tunnels. Previous attempts to lay pipes in the tunnels for pumping cooking gas were unsuccessful, with several explosions resulting in injuries.

Exports remain limited to strawberries and cut flowers

The 8 December 2010 announcement by the Israeli authorities to allow exports of textiles, furniture, and a greater variety of agriculture products (beyond strawberries and cut flowers) from Gaza remains mostly unimplemented; exports remained limited to a few shipments of strawberries and cut flowers. Since the beginning of the season on 28 November, a total of 103 truckloads of strawberries (177 tonnes), cut flowers (154,000 stems), and sweet peppers (one truckload carrying one tonne) were allowed to leave Gaza)

December Storm Damage

In early December 2010, a windstorm hit the oPt, causing significant damage to agricultural property in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Preliminary assessments have indicated that the value of damages reached approximately USD 3.5 million in the West Bank and USD 3 millions in the Gaza Strip.13 The main type of property affected was greenhouses, with 1,750 dunums fully or partially destroyed in the Gaza Strip and 3,300 dunums in the West Bank.

There has also been significant destruction to open field crops (3,000 dunums in Gaza and 6,600 in the West Bank) animal shelters and poultry farms. The storm also caused extensive damage to the fishing industry in the Gaza Strip. The latest figures from fisheries directorate indicate that 250 fishers have been affected, including the loss of seven large boats, 40 of the small Hasaka craft and 600 fishing nets.

The Ministry of Agriculture in Gaza is currently conducting a comprehensive assessment of the storm damages and the response measures adopted by farmers and fishermen. The Palestinian Authority Council of Ministers has also announced that the government will pledge an amount of NIS 10 million to cover the recent damages (five million), as well as to cover damages incurred in the severe frost experienced in 2009 in the northern West Bank.


Issues across occupied Palestinian territory

Casualties from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: 2010 Overview

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

More 60 percent increase in Palestinian injuries from 2009 to 2010

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In December, Israeli forces killed 13 Palestinians and injured 98 others throughout the occupied Palestinian territory? (oPt). All of those killed this month were in the Gaza Strip, and all but one were armed militants. By contrast, almost two thirds of the injuries (63) occurred in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), all of whom (confirm) were unarmed civilians. Two Israelis were also injured this month by Palestinians.

In 2010, a total of 87 Palestinians, including nine children, were killed and 1533 others, including 360 children, were injured throughout the oPt in due to direct Palestinian-Israeli conflict related violence. Although the overall number of Palestinian casualties in 2010 was far below the 2009 equivalent (over 1000 deaths and 6000 injuries), roughly 95 percent of 2009’s casualties fell during the Cast Lead military operation.

However, when January from both years (i.e. February through December) is excluded from the comparison, the number of Palestinians killed from year to year was similar. However, during the same period the number of injuries increased by more than a 60 percent. Although the increase affected both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the contexts in both areas sharply differ.

In the Gaza Strip, the increase in injuries can be primarily attributed to harsher Israeli military enforcement of access restrictions in areas within the vicinity of the Gaza’s perimeter fence (189 in 2010 compared to 71 in 2009). The majority of the victims were workers collecting rubble and scrap metal from former Israeli settlements and industrial areas, though framers and fishermen have also been affected. Scrap metal, which remains restricted due to the blockade, is used by the local industry mainly for the production of gravel. Overall, roughly 87 percent of the people injured in the Gaza Strip in 2010 were unarmed civilians.










In the West Bank, the increase in injuries stems from increasingly violent clashes between Israeli police and armed forces and Palestinian demonstrators, particularly in East Jerusalem, where roughly 47 percent of the injuries occurred. Most of these protests and clashes were either directly or indirectly triggered by Israeli policies regarding settlements. For example, the announcement of a plan to demolish dozens of Palestinian houses in the Silwan neighborhood in East Jerusalem to build an Israeli recreational park, a project spearheaded by an Israeli settler organization (El’Ad), generally heightened tensions in the neighborhood, resulting repeated confrontations, which often extended to other parts of the city. Ongoing attempts by settler organizations to take over houses in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood also contributed to tension in East Jerusalem. In other parts of the West Bank, weekly demonstrations against the route of the Barrier, which is largely determined by the location of the Israeli settlements as well as their planned expansion, frequently resulted in clashes with Israeli forces. West Bank demonstrations that took place in area excluding the Jerusalem areas resulted in 415 Palestinians being injured, as well as 24 members of the Israeli forces.

Interestingly, while the number of settler attacks against Palestinians and their property in 2010 also increased by some 70 percent in 2010 compared to 2009, the total number of Palestinian injuries as a result of these incidents decreased (107 vs. 145). This year, however, one Palestinian (a boy) was killed by settlers compared to none in 2009. Regardless of the fluctuations in the figures, Israeli settler violence is also closely related to a de facto policy of lax law enforcement on violent settlers by the Israeli authorities.14

In 2010, OCHA recorded the killing of nine Israelis by Palestinians and the injury of another 177, compared to five and 112 in 2009. Four of the fatalities were settlers (all in the West Bank) and five members of the Israeli forces (three along the border with Gaza and two in the West Bank). One foreign national was also killed by a rocket fired by Palestinian armed factions towards Israel. Almost two thirds of the injuries (126) were to the Israeli police or military, the majority in Jerusalem clashes.

1.4 million Palestinians continue to live in food insecurity

According to the Socio-Economic and Food Security (SEFSec) survey, conducted by FAO and WFP, in collaboration with the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), 33 percent of the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, or 1.43 million people, continue to be food insecure,15 i.e. lacking “secure access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and an active and healthy life.” This represents a three percent reduction in the overall level of food insecurity between 2009 and 2010.

The slight decline in overall food insecurity levels registered in 2010 can be attributed to a combination of factors: 1) the 2009 survey was conducted in the aftermath of Israel’s “Cast Lead” offensive and therefore reflected a peak of food insecurity; 2) the easing of closure regime during 2009-2010 triggered localized economic improvement in the performance of the private sector in the West Bank; and 3) the massive external assistance for the Palestinian Authority (PA) current reforms boosted the public sector and the economy in general, both in the West Bank and Gaza.16





In the West Bank, the overall prevalence of food insecurity remains stable at 22 percent. However, in the past year, food insecurity levels have improved in the middle area of the West Bank,17 while the north and south areas (excluding annexed East Jerusalem) have experienced further deterioration. This is likely due to the concentration of economic growth in Ramallah, which has not trickled to the northern and southern areas, where most livelihoods are dependent on manufacturing industries and agriculture. Furthermore, disparities exist between households living inside and outside the closed area between the Green Line and the Barrier), with those populations living inside the closed area worse off, due to restrictions in accessing land and labour markets.

In the Gaza Strip, the prevalence of food insecurity remains very high, at 52 percent, with an additional 13 percent of households vulnerable to food insecurity. The decrease in the level of food insecurity, from 60 percent in 2009 to 52 percent in 2010, reflects the peak of food insecurity faced in the Gaza Strip in 2009, mentioned above, and brings the level of food insecurity in the first half of 2010 back to its pre-“Cast Lead” level, accompanied by some non-sustainable coping mechanisms (i.e. tunnel economy and rubble collection). The root causes of food insecurity (i.e. unemployment and economic collapse) have not changed. In 2010, the private sector is still moribund and the economy is relying almost entirely on the public sector and humanitarian assistance. There is no sustainable, economic growth at present in the Gaza Strip; humanitarian food assistance only mitigates the impact of the blockade and the consequences of “Cast Lead,” enabling most Gazan households to secure a diet with an acceptable amount and diversity of food.







CAP 2010 remains funded at 50 percent

CAP 2010 was funded at around 50 percent, a funding level considerably lower than that of previous years. CAP 2009 and CAP 2008 were funded at 79 and 75 percent respectively. This compares to a global funding average of 61 percent for the CAP worldwide, with the oPt CAP 2010 as the sixth most under-funded appeal. However, with US$ 299 million paid for CAP projects in 2010, the total amount of contributions received in 2010 still compares favourably to pre-‘Cast Lead’ funding levels (US$ 287 million received for the CAP 2008).
47 percent of CAP 2010 projects were funded in both Gaza and the West Bank, and 64 percent of pan-oPt projects obtained funding.

CAP oPT trend analysis 2003-2010

While Coordination, Health and Nutrition, Shelter, and Food Security were well-funded at 92 percent, 87 percent, 65 percent and 62 percent respectively, sectors such as Education, Agriculture, and WASH remained severely under-funded, with funding levels standing at only 17 percent, 22 percent and 38 percent respectively.

In absolute terms, Food Security and CFW/ Cash Assistance received over US$179 million, representing 60 percent of all reported funding, yet their unmet requirements are also the greatest at US$128 million and US$70 million, respectively.

Reasons for low funding levels

Several global and local factors may explain low levels of funding for the CAP 2010 in the oPt. Global humanitarian needs increased considerably in 2010, mainly due to the enormous disasters in Haiti and Pakistan. At the same time, due to the financial crisis, global CAP funding decreased slightly in 2010 (US$ 6.8 in 2010, compared to US$ 6.9 billion in 2009). As a result, the percentage of CAP funding globally at 61 percent in 2010 compared to an average of 71 percent during the previous three years. The CAP for the oPt has likely been affected by this trend.








Another reason for the low level of funding in the oPt may be the inclusion of projects in the CAP 2010 that were perceived by donors as not strictly humanitarian. This has pushed humanitarian organisations to better prioritise their projects for the CAP 2011 and to concentrate on the greatest needs. For the same reason, the development of better advocacy messaging to relay the urgency of the state of some key sectors not always seen as priorities by humanitarian donors, such as education and agriculture, will also be critical in 2011.

Despite seven years of successive CAP, the humanitarian situation in the oPt has not improved. It is possible that there is evidence of donor fatigue, as there is also no evidence of a transfer of funds from humanitarian aid to development aid projects with medium to longer-term objectives in 2010. It must be stressed that until dramatic changes in the political and security contexts occur, the protracted humanitarian crisis in the oPt is likely to continue, and a CAP will unfortunately remain needed to address the needs of the most vulnerable.

End Notes

1. Please see Yesh Din Data Sheet ‘Police investigation of vandalization of Palestinian trees in the West Bank,’ 2009-2010’, October 2010

2. On 29 December, the Jerusalem municipality, together with the Israeli National Parks Authority, demolished at least 15 structures serving as animal shacks and agricultural containers; around 100 olive trees were also uprooted and building materials were confiscated in the course of the demolitions. The livelihoods of at least eight families were affected.

3. For details of the incidents, see OCHA oPt ‘Protection of Civilians Weekly Report,” 22 – 28 December 2010.

4. This figure includes both demolitions carried out by the Israeli authorities as well as self-demolitions carried out by Palestinians on order from the Israeli authorities.

5. Figures for displaced persons include those who were displaced more than once.

6. This figure includes structures demolished by all Israeli authorities, including the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

7. 116 Palestinians, including 69 children, were displaced in 2010,compared to 300 Palestinians, including 149 children, displaced in 2009

8. On 10 January 2010, wide-scale demolitions resulted in the displacement of 100 Palestinians, including 34 children. Almost the entire community was previously displaced in July 2005.

9. While Palestinian access to these areas is prohibited, enforcement of the access restrictions varies and the exact boundaries of the closed area are not clearly demarcated on the ground.

10. HRW, Separate and Unequal: Israel’s Discriminatory Treatment of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, December 2010.

11. Civil Wrongs (Liability of the State) (Amendment No. 5) Law, 5762 – 2002, Section 5A.

12. See for example, Article 3 of the Hague Convention No. IV of 1907.

13. PCHR, Press release from 20 December 2010.

14. Estimated were produced by the PA and Hamas Ministry of Agriculture functioning in each of these areas.

15. Please see Yesh Din Data Sheet ‘Police investigation of vandalization of Palestinian trees in the West Bank,’ 2009-2010’, October 2010

16. In total, 214,325 families are classified as food insecure (91,624 families in the West Bank and 122,701 in the Gaza Strip). Food insecure families tend to be significantly larger in size and spend a larger proportion of their expenditure on food.

17. Food Security Levels are calculated based on the new poverty methodology thresholds from PCBS’s 2009 Palestinian Households Expenditure and Consumption Survey (PECS). The 2009 food security levels have been recalculated according to the new poverty methodology for comparability reasons.

18. The regional division of South/Middle/North areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip do not correspond to the West Bank and Gaza Strip administrative boundaries. North West Bank comprises Jenin, Tubas, Tulkarem, Nablus, Qalqiliya and Salfit governorates. The Middle West Bank includes Jericho and Jerusalem (outside the West Bank Barrier) governorates, and the South West Bank includes Hebron and Bethlehem governorates. For the Gaza Strip, North Gaza comprises North Gaza and Gaza governorates, Middle Gaza includes Deir al Balah governorate, and South Gaza includes Khan Younis and Rafah governorates.





Complete document in PDF format (Requires Acrobat Reader)

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter