Fragmented lives – Humanitarian overview 2014

The year 2014 was a traumatic one in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). In the Gaza Strip, 1.8 million Palestinians endured the worst escalation of hostilities since 1967: over 1,500….

The year 2014 was a traumatic one in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). In the Gaza Strip, 1.8 million Palestinians endured the worst escalation of hostilities since 1967: over 1,500 Palestinian civilians were killed, more than 11,000 injured and some 100,000 remain displaced. In the West Bank, increased confrontations between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli forces resulted in the highest casualty levels in recent years, while settlement expansion and the forced displacement of Palestinians in Area C and in East Jerusalem continued. Overall, some 4,000,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip remain under an Israeli military occupation that prevents them from exercising many of their basic human rights.

This is the fourth year in which the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has detailed the key humanitarian concerns in the oPt. The purpose of the report is to provide a comprehensive overview of the underlying causes or drivers of the humanitarian situation in the oPt in a given year. In place of the extended narrative of previous years, the main trends and indicators for 2014 are represented in info-graphics, with links provided throughout the report to convey additional information and context.

The concerns outlined in the Humanitarian Overview reflect the advocacy priorities identified by the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), the main humanitarian coordinating body for UN agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the oPt. In 2014, these priorities remain Accountability; Life, Liberty & Security; Forced Displacement; Movement & Access; and Humanitarian Space. The Overview is structured around these priorities, with the issue of accountability addressed throughout. Each section contains a calendar of the main developments in 2014 and a Way Forward, which details the main steps required to rectify policies and practices inconsistent with international law and reduce humanitarian vulnerability.

As with all OCHA reports, the Humanitarian Overview is based on data collated and cross-checked from multiple sources that include OCHA, other UN agencies, international NGOs, Palestinian and Israeli NGOs and, where relevant, government sources.

The overall situation described in this report is a protectionbased crisis, with negative humanitarian ramifications. This crisis stems from the prolonged occupation and recurrent hostilities, alongside a system of policies that undermine the ability of Palestinians to live normal, selfsustaining lives and realize the full spectrum of their rights, including the right to self-determination. Were these factors removed, Palestinians would be able to develop their government institutions and economy without the need for humanitarian assistance.

To achieve progress in this regard, a range of actions is required by all relevant parties, particularly the following:

– Israel, the occupying power, must fulfil its primary obligations to protect the Palestinian civilian population, and ensure that people’s basic needs and human rights are met. This would include taking action to secure the physical protection of Palestinian civilians, cease their displacement, ensure accountability for violence and abuse, and lift restrictions on the movement of people and goods, as well as on access to land and resources.

– All parties to the conflict, including armed groups, must fulfil their legal obligations to conduct hostilities in accordance with international law to ensure the protection of all civilians during hostilities and to ensure accountability for acts committed in contravention of the laws of armed conflict.

– Third states share responsibility for ensuring respect for international humanitarian law in the oPt and for promoting compliance with human rights obligations, and should take all necessary actions stemming from that responsibility.