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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
21 July 2009





During the first five months of the year, the overall humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) continued to deteriorate, particularly in Gaza. On 27 December, following a gradual escalation in violence since November – including a number of incursions and air strikes by the Israeli armed forces and an escalation of rockets fired at towns in southern Israel by Palestinian armed factions – Israel launched the large-scale military Operation "Cast Lead." During the three-week-long military operations that ensued, more than 1,300 Palestinians were killed, including 300 children, and over 5,000 others were injured. Additionally, there were 13 Israeli fatalities, including three civilians, and 518 injuries, of whom 182 were civilians. Health, education, electricity, water and sanitation services were severely affected, and the level of dependency on food assistance was projected to increase from 56% to 75%.

The situation has been further compounded by Israel's continued restrictions on access since Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip in May 2007 which have crippled the private sector, weakened livelihoods, infrastructure and essential services, and led to alarming levels of aid dependence. Five months after Operation "Cast Lead", access to essential goods including humanitarian goods remains severely restricted, which hinders the humanitarian response in all sectors. The almost total ban on the importation of spare parts for water infrastructure means that 32,000 Gazans still have no or only limited access to clean water. The water and sewage networks cannot be rehabilitated, with possible consequences on public health. The delivery of quality education is also hampered, as some education supplies are prevented from entering Gaza. Israel's ban on imports of building materials and supplies for infrastructure damaged during the hostilities also means that no meaningful early recovery or civilian reconstruction has begun, despite the tens of thousands of houses and buildings that were either destroyed or damaged during the hostilities.

In the West Bank (WB), including East Jerusalem, settlement activity, the construction of the Barrier and the entrenchment of the closure regime continue. While measures implemented by the Israeli authorities in the past few months have eased the flow of Palestinian traffic into a number of main cities, the system of access and movement restrictions is becoming more permanent. Israeli policies have resulted in increased hardship for Palestinian civilians, including land requisition, home demolitions, displacement, and restrictions on access to land and basic services. In East Jerusalem alone, an estimated 60,000 Palestinians are currently at risk of having their homes demolished due to the current housing planning crisis. There is also a sharp rise in violence between Israeli settlers and Palestinian populations, and also in conflict-related violence. In addition, agricultural and herding communities are facing the second consecutive year of serious water shortage.

Physical, administrative, and political divisions between Gaza and the West Bank remain; and no significant progress has been achieved with regard to the peace process and/or the full implementation of Security Council Resolution 1860. Notwithstanding this political impasse, the Palestinian Authority (PA), with the support of UN agencies, developed its National Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan for Gaza. The Plan received strong support from the international community in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt in March. It is also finalising the Palestinian Reconstruction and Development Plan (PRDP) for 2010-2012. A number of time-critical early recovery interventions have been included in the present revised humanitarian appeal. The UN contribution to early recovery in Gaza is also highlighted in the UN Medium Term Response Plan (MTRP), which articulates the UN role in supporting Palestinian early recovery and development priorities in the West Bank and Gaza.

During the mid-year review of the 2009 Consolidated Appeal for oPt, humanitarian needs in all sectors have been reassessed and the increased humanitarian needs in Gaza have been duly reflected. Overall, the strategic objectives identified at the end of 2009 and in the Flash Appeal remain unchanged. The inability to import materials including cement, wood, glass and spare parts into Gaza due to Israeli restrictions remains a primary concern, as it prevents relief organisations from addressing some of the priority needs in an adequate manner. Under current access conditions, more than 100 proposed CAP projects are likely to be either seriously delayed or impossible to implement. In order to resolve these restrictions, the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) has developed a normative Framework for the Provision of Humanitarian Assistance to Gaza. The Framework outlines the key principles and parameters which all actors involved must should to allow the unhindered and impartial delivery of humanitarian assistance in Gaza.

As of 18 June, the 2009 Consolidated Appeal for the occupied Palestinian territory had received US$412 million or 48% of requirements. Based on numerous assessments and extensive Mid-year Review consultations, the funding requirements decreased for seven clusters/sectors. Requirements increased in three clusters/sectors: Cash-for-Work and Cash Assistance, Coordination and Support Services, Food Security and Nutrition, and Protection. In total, the organisations participating in this review process have reduced their overall requirements by approximately $50 million. They now require $803 million to address the most pressing needs of the populations in the oPt.

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