On 8 July 2014, a humanitarian emergency was declared in the Gaza Strip, following an escalation in hostilities involving intense Israeli aerial and naval bombardment and Palestinian rocket fire into Israel. This is the worst escalation of conflict in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the Israeli occupation, surpassing the length and severity of Israel’s 2008/2009 Operation “Cast Lead”.
The humanitarian outlook for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) looks extremely bleak and is predicted to worsen dramatically in the coming months. Faced with this situation, the United Nations and select non-governmental organisations have taken the unprecedented step of revising their appeal for humanitarian assistance to Palestinians from U$ 215 million to$384 million.
For the fourth consecutive year humanitarian agencies are appealing to donors for funding for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The unfortunate need for yet another appeal stems from a largely unchanged humanitarian situation. Poverty rates have increased in 2005 compared to 2004, largely because the quality of work is lower and households’ coping mechanisms are increasingly fragile.
The humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) during the first five months of 2013 remained unchanged as the key drivers of vulnerability remained in place. The protracted crisis in the oPt is compounded by recurrent conflict (especially in Gaza) and natural disasters, which increase humanitarian needs. For example, the escalation in hostilities in Gaza and southern Israel in November 2012, and the severe storm that hit the oPt in January 2013 both exacerbated pre-existing vulnerabilities, and in some cases generated new needs.
Since the beginning of 2006, political, economic and social conditions have sharply deteriorated for Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). A political impasse has taken hold, characterised by economic and military pressure by Israel including the withholding of Palestinian customs revenues, increasing divisions within the Palestinian Authority, and the diversion of direct international assistance away from key Palestinian Authority institutions.