In 2015, Palestine refugees across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) faced continued Israeli occupation, repeated violations of human rights and recurring escalations of hostilities. The latest upsurge in violence affected East Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank in October and resulted in the highest number of casualties witnessed among West Bank Palestinians for more than a decade. Gaza remains crippled by a protracted blockade and the impacts of recurring conflict, which have severely impacted the economy and degraded private and public infrastructure. Despite some relaxations on Israeli-imposed restrictions on Gaza in the past 12 months, the pace of recovery from the 2014 conflict remains unacceptably slow: thousands of Palestinians are still displaced and repairs to tens of thousands of homes have yet to be completed. Unemployment rates in Gaza are among the highest in the world, particularly for women and youth, while continued rapid rates of population growth place ever increasing demands on basic services and the labour market. With opportunities for employment stifled by the blockade,
almost 1 million Palestine refugees are dependent on food assistance, up from less than 100,000 in 2000.
The situation in the West Bank is extremely volatile, as evidenced by recent and ongoing tensions, which are linked to the lack of progress on the political track and the continued expansion of the Israeli settlement regime. Recent months have seen increased restrictions on Palestinian movement and access, a spike in arrests and detentions by Israeli security forces (ISF) alongside ongoing arbitrary demolitions. These continue to cause major disruptions to Palestinian life, impeding access to basic services and the normal functioning of the economy. Many Palestinians in the West Bank, including refugees, remain at high risk of displacement and dispossession due to Israeli policies. Almost one in four Palestine refugees in the West Bank are food insecure, and around 200,000 are in need of assistance to meet basic food needs.
The 2016 Emergency Appeal addresses the priority humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees in Gaza and West Bank. The Agency will be guided by the following strategic objectives:
Strategic Objective 1: Food-insecure households and those facing acute shocks have increased economic access to food through food aid/food vouchers, cash assistance and Cash-for-Work.
Strategic Objective 2: Crisis-affected refugees enjoy their basic rights to services, including education; health; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); and shelter repair.
Strategic Objective 3: Protection of Palestine refugees from the effects of the conflict and violence through access to services, advocacy, awareness-raising and the provision of mental health assistance.
Strategic Objective 4: Effective management and coordination of emergency response, to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of programme delivery.
UNRWA calls on all parties to provide a just and durable solution for Palestine refugees. Until this goal is achieved, Palestine refugees will continue to depend on UNRWA to meet critical life-saving needs, strengthen resilience and coping strategies, and realize their basic rights.