The Palestinian population is paying the price of a decades-long crisis with increasing humanitarian needs.
In the West Bank, Israeli settlement activity continues unabated, and Palestinians live in an increasingly coercive environment. Many people are denied adequate housing and access to essential services, while others are still subject to forced eviction and demolitions of their assets.
In the Gaza Strip, escalating violence in May 2021 sharpened divisions and worsened the ongoing humanitarian crisis. As a long-standing humanitarian donor, the EU responds to the population’s most pressing needs.
What are the needs?
Some 2.1 million Palestinians, out of 5.3 million, need humanitarian assistance. During the escalation of violence in May 2021, hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza died, including children that benefitted from an EU-funded programme. In addition, more than 100,000 people had to flee their homes.
Over 80% of Gaza’s population is aid-dependent. Moreover, the economy has deteriorated due to the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007, renewed conflict and political divisions.
People are trapped in a cycle of poverty, unemployment, and food insecurity. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine led to an increase of food and fuel prices in Palestine.
Gazans also have limited access to health care, safe water, and electricity. Education and economic opportunities are far and few between. COVID-19 restrictions negatively impacted people’s living conditions and purchasing power.
In the West Bank, some 800,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem, H2 area, and Area C – an Israeli-controlled area covering over 60% of the West Bank – need better access to basic services such as water and education.
Due to violence, intimidation and the rejection of building permits, homes and other vital infrastructure are regularly demolished and inhabitants evicted by force.
Schools continue to be damaged or demolished. Palestinian students are routinely harassed on their way to school, hampering their access to education.
How are we helping?
In 2022, the EU so far released €25 million in humanitarian funding for Palestinians in need. The funding will address the ongoing crisis and needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the Gaza Strip, we provide vulnerable families affected by shocks with cash assistance, helping them cover their basic needs. Our assistance includes protection, safe education for children, and health care.
Priority goes to improving care for victims of violence, including trauma care for the injured. Our funding better prepares the health system for a sudden surge in demand due to disasters, conflict and public health emergencies. It also helps to upgrade water and sanitation systems.
In the West Bank, more specifically in Area C, East Jerusalem and Hebron H2, the EU and several Member States support a consortium of humanitarian partners. They protect communities threatened by demolitions, evictions and settler violence.
EU humanitarian partners provide emergency assistance, legal aid, and access to essential services. We also help improve 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 engages in advocacy 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 Gaza Strip, EU humanitarian funding helps Palestinian children get schooled in a safe and conducive environment despite the many obstacles. COVID-19 has brought challenges of its own, with partners piloting ways to ensure learning despite school closures and other disruptions.
In the wake of the pandemic and the escalation of hostilities, EU humanitarian partners on the ground have been quick to adapt their interventions.
The EU supported the (i) improved infection prevention and control measures, (ii) screening of patients in health facilities, (iii) training of healthcare workers. It also funded substantial deliveries of personal protective equipment and medical supplies.
The EU also helped strengthen health services to allow essential primary health care and emergency medical services to continue. In addition, we improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene for vulnerable communities.
EU humanitarian aid also provided additional cash transfers to vulnerable people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The EU supports numerous humanitarian partners in the occupied Palestinian territories: United Nations agencies, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and non-governmental organisations.
Since 2000, the EU has provided more than €852 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: 16/05/2022
Picture: © European Union, 2020 (photographer: Anouk Delafortrie)
Facts & figures
2.1 million people need humanitarian assistance in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
556,000 school aged children need assistance to access education
8,000 internally displaced people after the escalation in Gaza in May 2021. (UN/OCHA)
EU humanitarian funding:
€25 million in 2022
More than €852 million since 2000