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UN calls for $348 million in 2020 to address humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian territory

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In 2015, the United Nations announced its predictions that by the year 2020, the Gaza Strip would become “uninhabitable.”

While many of Gaza’s over 2 million residents argue that the territory is already unliveable, with sky-high unemployment rates and electricity that comes only a few hours in the day, the UN deadline is a mere few weeks away.

On Wednesday, Palestinian political leaders and civil servants joined UN officials to launch the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for 2020 in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

The plan, the final phase in a three-year response plan put forward by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), appeals for $348 million in aid “to provide basic food, protection, health care, shelter, water and sanitation to 1.5 million Palestinians” in Gaza, as well as the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

(Image: UN OCHA oPt)

According to the agency, some 76% ($263 million) of the requested funds and resources will be dedicated solely to Gaza, given its “extremely fragile” humanitarian situation.

“Almost half the population [is]unemployed; nearly half the population lives below the poverty line of $5.5 per day and an estimated 62 per cent of households are food insecure,” the group said in a joint statement with the Palestinian Authority (PA), adding that basic services like health care and access to clean water “remains poor.”

Ongoing Great March of Return protests and the ensuing violence has, according to OCHA, exacerbated the already dire situations facing Gazans.

Meanwhile in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the ongoing threat of settlement expansion and the continued demolition of Palestinian homes has impeded Palestinian access to essential services and basic human rights, the statement said.

According to the Humanitarian Coordinator Jamie McGoldrick, 1 in every 2 Palestinians in the oPt has been identified as being in need of assistance or protection in 2020.

However, due to the severe underfunding of humanitarian organizations operating in the oPt, it is estimated that even if the 2020 HRP is fully funded, nearly one million vulnerable people, mainly in the Gaza, will not receive any assistance next year.

“Throughout the oPt, humanitarian organizations are also facing an increasingly difficult operational context, posing ever greater challenges to our ability to operate due to restrictions, political considerations, and attacks designed to delegitimize humanitarian action,” McGoldrick said.

Divided into three strategic objectives, the 2020 HRP aims to remedy a number of problems facing Palestinians in the oPt until more sustainable political solutions can be implemented.

(Image: UN OCHA oPt)

The three main problem areas to be addressed by OCHA, fellow UN agencies, and local NGO partners, will be problems related to: the protection of civilians and forced displacement, access to essential services like education and hygiene, and resilience and recovery (i.e. food insecurity, emergency shelter preparedness).

“The Palestinians are living in an abnormal situation caused by the occupation and the lack of access to their resources. This humanitarian plan is important and intersects with national priorities and government plans,” Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said at a press conference in Ramallah on Wednesday.

McGoldrick continued: “Our plan for 2020 prioritizes aid to those in greatest need. It is critical that the international community strongly supports the plan, while working towards the political solutions required to reduce humanitarian need in the oPt over the long-term.”

Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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3 Responses

  1. just on December 11, 2019, 9:03 pm

    Thanks, Yumna. As huge numbers of the privileged and free people all over the world get ready to spend heaps more money to spread ‘good cheer’ and have a merry whatever… and to ‘ring in’ the New Year 2020, the dire situation and the predictions wrt 2020 have already come true long ago for Gaza’s residents. The folks responsible have never paid up… meaning, of course, Israel, the US, the UK, etc. ad nauseam. You see, even if billions other than those from the US are not actually given to Israel by others in order to destroy infrastructure and bodies and hope, there is more to this. Vocal or tacit support for this violent apartheid and thieving state is more than enough to be complicit in and for the destruction of the oPT and Gaza.

    I read an article yesterday by Zehava Galon that may be of interest:

    “We Thought the Israeli Public Should Know About the Occupation…

    Tuesday is International Human Rights Day, and at the Einav Culture Center in Tel Aviv there will be an evening marking the 30th anniversary of B’Tselem: The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. The idea for the organization came from former lawmaker David “Dedi” Zucker and lawyer Avigdor Feldman, who recognized the need for a center that would provide information about human rights violations in the territories.

    … and I was one of the founders and the first executive director. We weren’t thinking 30 years ahead. We believed that the Israeli public just had to know what was being done in its name.

    How wrong we were. B’Tselem was established as a response to a question that is still tearing the Israeli public apart: What should you do when your country commits an injustice. Not a random injustice, not a mistake, not a blind bureaucratic decision, but an ongoing, deliberate policy that treats human beings like something to be trampled. The answer that people give to this question shows a lot about them. There are some who remain silent, there are some who convince themselves that everything is all right, there are some who explain that we have to fight, but not now and certainly not abroad. And then there is B’Tselem.

    Human rights activists tend to find consolation in history: History will prove them right. The future is comforting when the present is impossible, and for the past 30 years B’Tselem has been doing one of the exhausting and unremunerative jobs. Its members are the ones who go to the relatives of the dead we prefer to forget, to the wounded we prefer not to see, to the policy we prefer to deny. They speak to the people who are erased by our policy so that they can tell it to the public that has become indifferent.

    It’s thankless work, because many Israelis believe that their security comes before the human rights of the Palestinians. But most Israelis also know that security doesn’t justify everything, because otherwise they wouldn’t make such an effort to deny the facts that B’Tselem exposes. War does not justify blind shooting or airstrikes against communities and homes without checking whether civilians are present. Combat does not justify torture, abuse, looting and killing captives.

    B’Tselem demands that we remain human beings, even during combat. That’s a difficult demand, but far preferable to the demand to wallow in blind violence and remain silent about it forever, out of the fear that someone abroad will hear it

    After all, it’s not security that is behind construction in the settlements and bringing citizens into hostile territory. It’s not security that prevents the Palestinians from receiving building permits. It’s not security that is behind the systematic dispossession in the West Bank’s Area C. That’s how far we’ve come: They’ve taken our dead children, our disabled, our greatest traumas, and used even them to justify tyranny and theft.

    Every anniversary of B’Tselem is a year of missed opportunities, of an objective that was not attained. The organization realized that revealing human rights violations is far from sufficient, and that when there is an occupation, they can’t have the attitude of “business as usual.” That’s why they have made several courageous decisions to take exceptional steps, and have turned their own activities into acts of disruption and internal resistance: For example, Hagai El-Ad’s trip to the UN Security Council; the decision to stop working with the military advocate general; and the call to refuse a clearly illegal order to shoot at unarmed demonstrators with live fire.

    Right-wing politicians don’t like these decisions. So what? Only surrender will satisfy them. Every year B’Tselem works so that it will be their last year – the last year of the occupation. That’s why several policymakers are so afraid of them. And that’s why they’re also the most important organization in Israel.”

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-we-believed-it-was-enough-for-the-israeli-public-to-know-1.8252269

    All the world needs to know all about this. Again, thank you and I posted the bulk of the article due to the paywall.

  2. Vera Gottlieb on December 12, 2019, 8:51 am

    If there is a way, compel israel to cough up the money. After all, it is thanks to israel’s despicable behaviour towards Palestinians that has caused all this misery.

  3. just on December 13, 2019, 4:45 pm

    “Despite Israel, U.S. Pressure, and Ongoing Probe, UN Renews UNRWA Mandate …

    The United Nations General Assembly Fourth Committee renewed the mandate of the agency tasked with supporting Palestinian refugees on Friday, in an overwhelming show of support amid an investigation of its former chief, accused of misconduct.

    Only Israeli and American representatives on the committee voted against the resolution, with Canada, Cameroon, Guatemala, Vanuatu, Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Nauru abstaining. Another 170 nations voted for renewing the mandate. …

    A final vote on another three-year extension to UNRWA’s mandate, until 2023, is expected later this month at the General Assembly.

    The decision comes after a long campaign by Israel and the United States against the organization, on grounds that it justifies the claim that Palestinians are refugees who could potentially exercise their right of return to Israel, thus preventing a practical solution to the conflict. …”

    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/despite-israel-u-s-pressure-and-ongoing-probe-un-renews-unrwa-mandate-1.8131376

    The 2 most responsible for the Palestinians’ continued misery and exile vote, lobby, and act against international law and humanity again and again and again. Glad to see that the majority on the planet do not stand with them. Neither Israel nor the US has any intention of having “a practical solution to the conflict”.

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