The major drivers of humanitarian vulnerability in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) remain unchanged in 2016. The situation is characterized by a protracted occupation, now approaching its 50th year, the systematic denial of Palestinian rights, and continuing conflict, punctuated by frequent outbreaks of violence.
The wave of violence that spread throughout the West Bank and other parts of the oPt in October 2015 continued throughout the first quarter of 2016, although the scope of incidents and casualties declined. Suspected perpetrators of attacks on Israelis account for the majority of Palestinian fatalities and concerns over excessive use of force by Israeli forces remain. The escalation has led to a sharp increase in arrest and detentions, including of children, increased restrictions on Palestinian movement throughout the West Bank, and punitive demolitions of the family homes of alleged perpetrators. There was a sharp increase in the number of Palestinian-owned structures destroyed, dismantled or confiscated by the Israeli authorities in the West Bank during the first three months of 2016. Some 499 structures, including 140 donor-funded humanitarian assistance, were destroyed, displacing 665 people, almost four times the monthly average for demolitions in 2015. Most structures were destroyed on the grounds of lack of building permits, which are almost impossible to obtain due to the discriminatory and unlawful planning policies applied in Area C and in EastJerusalem.
In the Gaza Strip, the August 2014 ceasefire, which ended the deadliest escalation in hostilities since the beginning of the Israeli occupation in 1967, has largely held and the blockade imposed by Israel in 2007 remains in place, albeit with some measures relaxed. Although no major displacement has taken place since the ceasefire, an estimated 75,000 people still remain displaced, with almost a quarter living in the rubble of their damaged homes. Due to ongoing Israeli restrictions, the slow pace of disbursement of pledges made by member states for reconstruction, and the inability of the Palestinian Government of National Consensus to assume effective government functions in Gaza, progress on reconstruction has been slow, with significant impact for IDPs, in particular. As of end-March 2016, about 16 per cent (3,000) of the approximately 18,000 uninhabitable homes had been reconstructed or repaired, following cash assistance from UN agencies or other international support. The 2014 Gaza war pushed the Palestinian economy into recession and although economic growth was 6.8 per cent in 2015, unemployment in Gaza is still almost 40 per cent. with youth unemployment close to 60 per cent, among the highest rates globally. According to the World Bank, the Gaza economy is not expected to rebound to pre-2014 levels before 2018.