This report is produced by OCHA oPt in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It covers the period from 14 July (1500 hrs) to 15 July (1500 hrs). The next report will be issued on 16 July.
An Egyptian proposal calling on Israel and Palestinian armed groups to cease all hostilities in the Gaza Strip was accepted by the Israeli security cabinet this morning. The proposal has apparently not been accepted by Hamas who continued to fire rockets at Israel after the time set in the Egyptian proposal for ending hostilities. The Israeli decision was followed by a lull in the bombardment of Gaza, which resumed in the afternoon following the firing of a reported 40 rockets at Israel.
In total, 19 Palestinian were killed in the past 24 hours. Since 7 July, According to preliminary information, at least 194 Palestinians, including 149 civilians (nearly 75 per cent of total fatalities), 35 members of armed groups and 10 persons whose status cannot yet be verified, have been killed by Israeli air, naval and ground strikes in Gaza. At least 38 children and 28 women are among the fatalities? According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, 1,390 Palestinians including 393 children and 252 women have also been injured as of 1.00 a.m. on 15 July.
Since the onset of the emergency, hundreds of homes have reportedly been targeted by Israeli airstrikes many of which were the residences of alleged members of armed groups. An estimated 710 housing units have been totally destroyed and another 660 severely damaged in attacks/bombardments, causing a large number of civilian casualties and directly displacing approximately 8,200 persons who are being hosted by relatives and neighbours. Since the start of the emergency, 79 schools have been damaged due to their proximity to targeted sites. These figures continue to raise concerns about the respect for the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution in attack under international humanitarian law.
Indiscriminate rocket firing by armed groups in Gaza at Israeli population centres also continued during the past 24 hours, including during the lull in Israeli bombardment with the majority of rockets continuing to fall in open areas or intercepted by the Iron Dome system. According to Magen David Adom (MDA) Israel, since 7 July until the morning of 15 July, MDA treated at least 24 Israelis injured by shrapnel, glass, building debris, and fires caused by direct rocket strikes. Reports about the launching of rockets from densely populated areas in Gaza have raised increasing concern as it endangers the lives of Palestinian civilians residing in these areas, in addition to the Israeli population targeted.
In addition to direct displacement as a result of home destruction and damage, tens of thousands of Palestinians from northern and central Gaza have fled their homes, following warnings from the Israeli military, with more than 18,000 individuals taking shelter in 21 UNRWA schools. Damage to health, education, water and sanitation facilities, and electricity infrastructure make it increasingly difficult to provide even the most basic services for the civilian population, with hundreds of thousands of Gazans without water. The current crisis is exacerbated by the high degree of pre-existing vulnerability in the Gaza Strip, with high unemployment and the lack of a viable economy as a result of years of Israeli occupation, strict movement and access restrictions, internal division and sporadic conflict, which have exhausted people's coping mechanisms. Of particular concern is the lasting impact on children, with UNICEF staff on the ground warning of the long term impact which the current violence is having on children, who are not sleeping or eating and who are exhibiting harrowing signs of mental distress.
Humanitarian needs and response
A number of donors have already started working with clusters and partners to look into providing funding for urgent needs in the most critical sectors. Kuwait announced a contribution of USD 10 million for the health sector; a number of other donors from the Gulf including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and the IDB have also come forward with generous contributions in recent days, along with Norway and others.
The 2014 Strategic Response Plan (SRP) for the oPt has received US$ 166 million (42 per cent) out of a total request of US$390 million. Nearly 90 per cent of 1.9 million vulnerable people targeted in the SRP are in Gaza. Gaza-specific projects have received just over 30% of their requested funding. The Humanitarian Country Team is currently embarking on an exercise to identify the most urgent SRP projects that if funded would help support the response in Gaza, as well as any new needs to develop an initial cost estimate for the response. This will be further refined as needed once the situation on the ground allows for more detailed assessments.
The Emergency Response Fund (ERF), an additional mechanism available to fund interventions in Gaza, is in urgent need of replenishment to ensure the fund's ability to provide rapid and flexible support to affected civilian populations. Additionally, there is an urgent need for funding to cover the US $22 million of UNRWA's Emergency Appeal shortfall.
On 7 July 2014, the Israeli army launched a large military operation in the Gaza Strip, codenamed "Protective Edge", with the stated objective of stopping Palestinian rocket firing at southern Israel and destroying the military infrastructure of Hamas and other armed groups.
This development marked the collapse of the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire understanding reached between Israel and Hamas in November 2012, which has been gradually undermined since December 2013. The latest escalation round started in early June, characterized by an intensification of Israeli airstrikes and rockets launched from Gaza at southern Israel. Tensions further increased following the abduction and killing of three Israeli youths in the southern West Bank, on 12 June, which the Israeli government attributed to Hamas. Overall, in the period leading up to the start of the current operation a total of 15 Palestinians, including one civilian, were killed, and another 58 others, mostly civilians, injured, as a result of Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip; seven Israelis, five of whom were civilians, were injured due to rocket fire.
The current crisis comes against a backdrop of heightened vulnerability and instability. Unemployment increased dramatically since mid-2013, following a halt of the illegal tunnel trade, exacerbating the impact of the Israeli blockade in place since June 2007. Additionally, former de facto government employees, including the security forces, have not been paid salaries regularly since August 2013 and no salaries at all since April 2014. Delivery of basic services has been also undermined due to an ongoing energy crisis, involving power outages of 12 hours per day.
Katleen Maes, Head of the humanitarian Emergency Operations Center in Gaza, firstname.lastname@example.org, +972 59 291 1047
Yehezkel Lein, Head of Analysis, Communications and Protection Unit, OCHA oPt, email@example.com, +972 54 331 1809
For media enquiries, please contact:
Hayat Abu-Saleh, Communications and Information Analyst, OCHA oPt, firstname.lastname@example.org, +972 (0) 54 3311816
For more information, please visit www.ochaopt.org
'Data on injuries is provided by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza.
2Data on fatalities and destruction of property is consolidated by the Protection and Shelter clusters based on preliminary information, and is subject to change based on further verifications.
3UNICEF, 'Children in Gaza and Israel bear brunt of violence', 14 July 2014. http://www.unmultimedia.org/radio/english/2014/07/children-in-gaza-and-israel-bear-brunt-of-violence-unicef/