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Source: United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO)
28 November 2016

Joint UN Strategy for Hebron

Final Version 2016

1. Overview

The purpose of this Strategy is to define a joint UN response to persistent challenging development conditions, and violence in Hebron Governorate. Within the broader scope of support for Hebron being undertaken by the Government of the State of Palestine, civil society, the private sector and other actors, the Strategy defines a UN response focused specifically on the need to respect, protect and fulfill the Human Rights of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged populations living in Hebron Governorate, namely women, youth and children. While the geographical scope of the Strategy is the entire Governorate inclusive of the municipalities, cities, towns, villages and refugee camps, a specific emphasis is placed on H2 and Area C given the vulnerabilities and disadvantages that the populations residing in these areas face in regards to the fulfillment of their rights; this prioritization has also been driven by the fact that the continued occupation by Israel in Area C and existence of the settlements within the borders of the Hebron Governorate and Hebron City specifically are significant primary obstacles for the fulfillment of human rights for Palestinians residing in these areas. The Strategy has a three year timespan, with proposed project interventions divided into short term (12 months and less) and medium term (13-36 months). A Human Rights Based Approach has been applied to facilitate understanding of the root causes of vulnerabilities and disadvantages for Palestinians living in Hebron with specific focus on the rights to education, health, adequate standard of living, adequate housing, the right to life, liberty and security of person, and children's right to protection.

2. Introduction

Hebron is the largest Governorate in the West Bank in terms of area (997 km2), population (7291391 people, approximately 23% of the West Bank population), and economic activity (17,661 active businesses, comprising 18%2 of the West Bank's total). In contrast, Hebron also has the highest poverty rate in the West Bank (not including refugee camps) with 32.5% of its population classified as poor compared to an average of 18%3 and 22% of households are either severely or moderately food insecure, compared to the West Bank average of 16%.4 Hebron's population is predominantly urban, with approximately 622,200 people (85.35% of total) living in urban areas, 87,844 (12.04%) in rural areas and 19,129 (2.6%) in in Arroub and Fawwar refugee camps.5 Population growth is centered in urban areas, which are growing by approximately 20,000 persons per year.6

The obstacles to fully harnessing the potential of Hebron are first and foremost political in nature - primarily resulting from the continued occupation - and require significant policy changes by Israel, in line with previous agreements - including the Oslo Accords - that would strengthen Palestinian institutions, economic prospects, and security for Israelis and Palestinians alike. For example, Hebron provides a potent example of how settlements and settlement-related activities are an obstacle to peace. Hebron is the only Palestinian city with settlements within the urban area, as per the special temporary arrangements were agreed under the Oslo accords. The lack of progress in the peace process is thus all the more felt where Palestinians and settlers live side-by-side.

The Governorate has been divided into Areas A, B and C since the Oslo accords of 1995. Approximately 67,850 Palestinians (11% of Hebron governorate population) live in Area C of Hebron, which also includes 51.1% of the agricultural land,7 with limited access to basic services and adequate housing. Israel retains full control over security8 and also controls planning and construction in these areas. Building schools, hospitals, and Water and Sanitation infrastructure is subject to a permit regime that requires approval from Israeli authorities. It has proven very difficult for Palestinians in Area C to get spatial plans approved and obtain Israeli building permits for construction of homes, businesses and public infrastructure resulting in them often building without the permits. Consequently demolition orders are frequently issued and executed. Palestinians living in the military declared Firing Zone 918 Masafer Yatta in South Hebron Hills are particularly at risk of property demolition and eviction from the area.

1 PCBS Localities in Hebron Governorate by Type of Locality and Population Estimates, 2007-2016. Available online:
2 Governorate of Hebron
3 Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, 2011. Hebron Governorate Statistical Yearbook (3).
4 SEFSec Survey 2014. Unpublished data.
5 Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (2011).
6 Ibid.
7 UNCTAD (2015), The Besieged Palestinian Agricultural Sector. Available online:
**** as per the special temporary arrangements were agreed under the Oslo accords
8 OCHA (2016), Vulnerability Profile of Palestinian Communities in Area C. Available online:

Complete document in PDF format (Requires Acrobat Reader)

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