UN blasts Israel’s Palestine occupation
THE UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in its annual report has slammed the effect of Israel’s occupation on the humanitarian situation in Palestine.
The 2016 report released yesterday states that “the occupation policies and practices remain the key cause of humanitarian needs in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)”, while adding that internal Palestinian political division was also a serious contributing factor.
“At its heart, the crisis in the oPt is one of a lack of protection for Palestinian civilians – from violence, from displacement, from restrictions on access to services and livelihoods, and from other rights violations – with a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable, children in particular. While the trends vary from one year to the next, the pervasive lack of protection and accountability for violations of international law remains,” said David Carden, Head of OCHA in the oPt.
Reporting large numbers of continuing Palestinian fatalities and injuries in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, OCHA said forced displacement of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip also continued.
“While there was no new displacement in the Gaza Strip, as the August 2014 ceasefire continued to largely hold, more than 9 000 families (47 200 people) remained displaced at the end of 2016.”
In the West Bank, more Palestinians were displaced in 2016 (1 601, including 759 children) due to demolitions of their homes by the Israeli authorities than in any year since OCHA began recording the phenomenon in 2009.
The vast majority of the 1 094 affected structures were targeted on grounds that they lacked a building permit, which is nearly impossible to obtain from the Israeli authorities. Thousands of others in Area C in the West Bank and East Jerusalem were at risk of displacement and/or forcible transfer, due to a coercive environment generated by Israeli policies and practices, which create pressure on residents to leave their communities.
Restrictions on Palestinian movement and access to basic services and humanitarian assistance also continued throughout the oPt, despite some easing of measures.
Last year, humanitarian organisations continued to face a range of obstacles in delivering aid. ANA