European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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Khan al Ahmar by Peter Biro
© EU/ECHO/Peter Biro

The 52 year-long crisis in Palestine has caused a deteriorating humanitarian situation, with communities in the West Bank suffering from a host of problems. In Gaza, recurrent clashes, the land, air and sea blockade, three wars in the last eleven years, and, to an extent, the internal divides, have resulted in a continued deterioration of the humanitarian situation, with damaged infrastructure, crippling unemployment, access restrictions, and a collapse of healthcare and other critical services.

What are the needs?

More than two million Palestinians, out of 4.95 million, are in need of humanitarian assistance. In Gaza, the blockade and recurrent clashes have led to a continuous erosion of economic development, leaving 1.6 million people (around 80 percent of Gaza’s total population) in permanent need of humanitarian assistance. Gaza also faces a chronic energy crisis, affecting people’s access to water, healthcare, and other essential services. The situation is exacerbated by a bitter rivalry between the two main Palestinian political parties. Since 30 March 2018 in Gaza, over 250 Palestinians have been killed and over 25 000 injured (4 300 of them were children) in protests.

In the West Bank, some 500 000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem and Area C—an area that represents over 60 percent of the West Bank where Israel retains control over security, planning and building—have limited access to water, food, healthcare, education, and other basic services. The population is increasingly subjected to forced evictions and demolitions of houses triggered by building restrictions, the lack of building permits, and violence. As a result, Palestinians are separated from their land, families, schools, hospitals, workplaces, and places of worship. Palestinian children’s access to education is greatly restricted due to Israeli demolitions of Palestinian schools, and the routine harassment by settlers and the Israeli army of Palestinian students on their way to and from school.

How are we helping?

In April 2019, the EU announced €22.5 million of additional humanitarian assistance in support of the most vulnerable people in Gaza and in the West Bank. The emergency support will essentially focus on emergency preparedness and response, health, food security and protection activities for the most vulnerable. 

The European Commission provided €46 million in humanitarian funding for Palestine in 2018. In the same year, €5.9 million was allocated to families in the West Bank living in Area C and East Jerusalem for legal assistance, emergency response to demolitions and evictions, critical assistance for essential services, and improved access to quality and safe education for vulnerable girls and boys affected by the crisis.

In 2018, €40.1 million was allocated to humanitarian programmes in the Gaza Strip designed to address the worsening living conditions of populations affected by the blockade. The programmes provided shelter assistance, the delivery of emergency healthcare, water and sanitation services, disaster preparedness, and protection activities.

Food assistance is provided mainly through unconditional cash support to households with an especially fragile economic situation, and by boosting agricultural production of small and medium producers.

Since 2000, the European Commission has provided more than €770 million in humanitarian assistance to help meet the basic needs of the Palestinian population.

* The designation of Palestine shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue.

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