The EU has been providing humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in need since 2000, supporting people affected by emergencies and shocks.
The protracted humanitarian situation of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip has sharply deteriorated following the intensification of hostilities after the terrorist attack on Israel perpetrated by Hamas on 7 October.
The full-scale military operation, along with the complete siege on Gaza imposed by the Israeli Government, has brought the already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza to a catastrophic level for the 2.2 million population.
As a long-standing humanitarian donor, the EU responds to the population’s most pressing needs. This is done line with the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.
What are the needs?
The protracted humanitarian crisis exacerbated by the complete blockade imposed on the Strip, led to a severe shortage of vital resources, including water, food, medicine, electricity, and fuel.
It is estimated that over 1.5 million people have been internally displaced in Gaza due to the intensified air strikes. According to the de facto authorities in Gaza, thousands of Palestinians have been killed and at least 15,000 have been injured so far.
Urgent needs include:
- protection of civilians in line with international humanitarian law – including rapid, unhindered, and safe access of humanitarian aid at the scale needed into Gaza Strip as to be able to reach the people in need
- water and fuel, which is needed to run generators of hospitals and desalinate water
- health services
- sanitation and hygiene
- education in emergencies
- cash assistance
The humanitarian situation in the West Bank has significantly deteriorated. This is due to:
- increased Israeli military incursions
- intensified search and arrest operations
- confrontations between Israeli Forces and Palestinians, which resulted in the killing of 141 Palestinians and injuring of approximately 2,200.
There has been a surge in Israeli settler violence towards Palestinian communities in Area C, causing the complete or partial forcible transfer of residents from at least nine communities, affecting some 500 people.
An additional 84 individuals were forced to leave Masafer Yatta in Hebron due to increased movement restrictions imposed by the Israeli army.
As in any other conflict, international humanitarian law must be respected in full to protect civilians and grant unhindered and safe access for humanitarian aid.
Previously assessed needs
A stagnating economy, in great part due to the 16-year blockade, recurrent hostilities, a chronic energy crisis and the internal Palestinian divide trapped the Gaza Strip in a downward cycle of poverty and dire humanitarian situation now further exacerbated by the current hostilities.
At least 2.1 million Palestinians, out of 5.5 million (more than 40%) needed humanitarian assistance.
Some 600,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Hebron H2 area and Area C – an Israeli-controlled area covering over 60% of the West Bank – need better access to essential services such as water, health care, and education.
Homes and other vital infrastructure are routinely demolished, and inhabitants are evicted by force. This is due to the violence, intimidation, and rejection of building permits.
Schools continue to be damaged or demolished with 60 schools at risk of demolition. Palestinian students are routinely harassed on their way to school, hampering their access to education.
How are we helping?
So far this year, the EU has mobilised over €103 million in humanitarian funding for Palestinians in need.
Initially, the EU released close to €28 million in humanitarian funding for Palestinians in need as of 7 October. This first allocation is managed by the EU’s main humanitarian partners on the ground.
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Norwegian Refugee Council
Medicines Du Monde
Action Against Hunger
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
On 13 October, the EU mobilised an additional €50 million in response to the dramatic increase of needs due to the ongoing violence.
In addition, on 6 November, the EU mobilised a further €25 million to enhance the humanitarian response.
Despite access challenges and security concerns in Gaza, partners operating on the ground continue to provide humanitarian assistance to people in need, including life-saving assistance due to the current crisis.
Air bridge operations
The EU also launched a Humanitarian Air Bridge operation in aid to the people affected by the crisis.
It consists of 14 flights carrying over 550 tonnes of humanitarian cargo supplied by humanitarian partners, donations from Romania and France, and EU-owned stockpile items.
Transported aid includes shelter and nutritional items, logistical equipment, hygiene kits, and medicines among other life-saving aid.
Furthermore, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has been activated to offer support for repatriation flights from Israel.
Before 7 October 2023
In the Gaza Strip, the EU has been providing vulnerable families affected by sudden emergencies and shocks with cash assistance, helping them cover their basic needs. The EU’s assistance included protection, safe education for children, and health care.
Improving care for victims of violence, including trauma care for the injured has been our priority. Our funding better prepares the health system for a sudden surge due to disasters, conflict and public health emergencies. It also helps to upgrade water and sanitation systems in health facilities.
In the West Bank, specifically in Area C, East Jerusalem and Hebron H2, the EU and several Member States support a consortium of humanitarian partners. They protect communities at risk of forcible transfer because of demolitions, evictions, and settler violence.
EU humanitarian partners provide emergency assistance, legal aid, and access to essential services. The EU also helps improving the living conditions of communities that are barred from accessing or upgrading basic services. For example, they receive shelter and safe sources of water.
The EU advocates for compliance with international humanitarian law and the need to uphold human dignity. It condemns the illegal destruction of Palestinian homes, assets and aid infrastructure, and the forcible displacement of populations.
In both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, EU humanitarian funding helps Palestinian children access schools in safe and conducive environments, despite the many obstacles.
The EU also helps strengthen health services to allow essential primary health care and emergency medical services to continue. In addition, it improves access to water, sanitation and hygiene for vulnerable communities.
The EU supports numerous humanitarian partners in the occupied Palestinian territories: United Nations agencies, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and international non-governmental organisations.
Since 2000, the EU has provided more than €955 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.
Last updated: 10/11/2023
Facts & figures
2.1 million people need humanitarian assistance in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
600,000 school aged children need access to education.
(figures before 7 October 2023, UN/OCHA)
1.4 million estimated internally displaced people (Gaza)
EU humanitarian funding:
Over €103 million in 2023
More than €955 million since 2000