The 50 year-long crisis has caused a deteriorating humanitarian situation, with Palestinian communities in the West Bank suffering from a host of problems, including the restriction on movement of people and goods, home demolitions, land seizure, settler violence, and a denial of basic services. In Gaza, recurrent clashes, the blockade, three wars in the last ten years, and - to an extent - the intra-Palestinian divide have resulted in continual deterioration of the humanitarian situation, with damaged infrastructure, crippling unemployment, access restrictions, and crumbling healthcare and other critical services.
Over two million Palestinians - out of a 4.8 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, or around 80 percent of Gaza’s total population, in permanent need of humanitarian assistance. Gaza is also facing 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, Fatah and Hamas. With increasing poverty and unemployment, available food remains out of reach for the majority. In parallel, livelihoods remain fragile, especially in the fishing industry and the agricultural sector, due to restrictions on access to Gazan farmland and to fishing areas along the coast.
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, health, education, and other basic services as a result of restrictions and obstacles. The population is increasingly subjected to forced evictions and demolitions of houses triggered by building restrictions, the lack of building permits, military training exercises near residential areas, settler violence and other reasons. As a result, Palestinians are separated from their land, families, schools, hospitals, workplaces, and places of worship.
The European Commission allocated €36 million in humanitarian funding for Palestine in 2018. In the West Bank, €4.7 million was allocated in 2017 to families living in Area C and East Jerusalem for legal assistance, emergency response to demolitions and evictions, and material assistance for essential services.
In the Gaza Strip, €13.5 million was allocated in 2017 to programmes designed to address poverty and the worsening living conditions of populations affected by the Israeli land, air and sea blockade. This is done mostly through shelter assistance, the delivery of healthcare and water and sanitation, disaster preparedness and protection activities. Food assistance is provided mainly through unconditional cash support to households with an especially fragile economic situation, as well as by boosting agricultural production of small and medium producers.
Since 2000, the European Commission has provided more than €700 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.