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United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
23 October 2008


UNICEF HUMANITARIAN ACTION UPDATE

OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY

23 October 2008


UNICEF ASSISTED PROGRAMMES FOCUS ON
HEALTH, EDUCATION, PROTECTION AND ADOLESCENTS

1. ISSUES FOR CHILDREN

Despite the truce declared with Israel on 19 June 2008, Gaza remains under virtual siege. In August, imports into Gaza were only 23% of the amount in May 20071. Shortages of electricity, fuel, safe water and sanitation frame daily life. The flare up in July of intra-Palestinian violence was the worst since Hamas wrested control in June 2007.2
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1 OCHA Humanitarian Monitor, August 2008
2 OCHA Humanitarian Monitor, August 2008

The fulfilment of children’s rights is further compromised by the intra-Palestinian divide that is impeding the delivery of critical public services. In Gaza the school year opened to a strike by education workers to protest transfers / removals of “Fatah-affiliated” principals and teachers by the Hamas authorities in Gaza. Striking workers were immediately replaced with new staff, many of whom have not received proper training. Health workers joined the strike on 30 August.

Across the West Bank 630 physical obstacles to movement (compared with 376 when the Access and Movement Agreement was signed in November 2005) and ongoing construction of the 723-km Barrier wreak untold suffering and indignity for children and their families. The number of children injured by Israel security forces during anti-Barrier protests has risen and attacks on Palestinians by Israeli settlers have intensified. A severe drought affects huge swathes of the West Bank.

UNICEF’s assisted emergency programmes focus on health, education, protection and adolescent development, targeting eight districts where the needs are greatest – Gaza City, North Gaza, Deir Al Balah and Khan Younis in Gaza, and Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah / El-Bireh and Hebron in the West Bank. UNICEF is the sector lead in education, nutrition, water and sanitation and child protection, providing leadership for the coordination of programme sector planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting processes.

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