The 52 year-long crisis in Palestine* has led to a deteriorating humanitarian situation, with communities in the West Bank suffering from a host of problems. The increasingly coercive environment created by Israeli settlement activity coupled with a restrictive and discriminatory planning regime make it virtually impossible for Palestinians to develop adequate housing and access essential services. In Gaza, recurrent clashes, the land, air and sea blockade, 3 wars in the last 12 years, and internal divides have resulted in a continued deterioration of the humanitarian situation, with damaged infrastructure, unemployment, access restrictions, and a collapse of healthcare and key services.
More than 2 million Palestinians, out of 5.2 million, need humanitarian assistance. In Gaza, the blockade and recurrent hostilities have weakened the local economy to the point where 1.5 million people (around 80% of Gaza’s total population) aid-dependent, with no prospects for human and economic development. Gazans face limited access to basic services including water, electricity, medical care, as well as educational and economic opportunities. Since 30 March 2018, more than 300 Palestinians have been killed and over 35,000 injured (8,300 of which were children) in protests near the perimeter fence between Gaza and Israel. The entire situation is exacerbated by the rivalry between the 2 main Palestinian political parties.
In the West Bank, 900,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem, H2 and Area C—an area that represents over 60% 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 schools, and the routine harassment of Palestinian students by some settlers while commuting to and from school.
The European Union provided €22.5 million in humanitarian funding for Palestine in 2019. €4.3 million was allocated to families in the West Bank living in Area C, East Jerusalem and Hebron to support the emergency response to demolitions and evictions, critical assistance for essential services, and legal aid.
Additionally, €14.5 million was allocated to humanitarian programmes in the Gaza Strip, to address the deteriorating living conditions of people affected by the blockade. These programmes provide emergency healthcare, water and sanitation services, disaster preparedness and various protection activities.
In Gaza, multipurpose cash assistance supports the most vulnerable people. In addition, €3.7 million was provided for coordination activities and to improve access to quality and safe education for vulnerable girls and boys affected by the crisis.
Since 2000, the European Union 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.