NRC has been active in Palestine (and former Occupied Palestinian Territory) since 2006. NRC is providing protection and assistance to those affected by or threatened with displacement across Palestine, through ICLA, shelter, WASH and education programmes.
Humanitarian and political context:
The conflict in Palestine is characterized by large-scale displacements from 1948 and 1967, the effects of the Occupation, and forcible transfers in the West Bank to make room for settlement expansion. Gaza has now faced 8 years of blockade and recurrent rounds of conflict, the most recent being in 2014. No end to the status quo is in sight, leading to a situation of consistently deteriorating living conditions and fragmentation of Palestinian society.
NRC in Palestine:
NRC is providing protection and assistance to those affected by or threatened with displacement across Palestine,through:
Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA):
NRC offers legal services to beneficiaries in the area of Housing, Land and Property (HLP) and Residency rights. In the West Bank these address demolition or eviction orders, land confiscation, settler violence, residency and access permit restrictions. In Gaza the progamme provides legal assistance to displaced persons in HLP rights and document assistance for reconstruction efforts.
NRC runs a shelter program in Gaza focusing on repair to moderate and severly damaged housing. NRC also works with a range of other shelter actors to promote a Build Back Better approach.
NRC works with government and UNRWA schools to support quality in the classroom, decrease push-out, and ensure inclusive approaches. NRC runs a school-based psycho-social program which is now being used across the Middle East Region.
NRC runs WASH interventions in emergency flood mitigation. NRC is looking to establish a multi-agency partnership to address poor quality drinking water from private water desalination plants.
Urban Displacement Outside Camps (UDOC):
NRC is working with municipalities and local actors in Gaza to ensure locally driven responses to IDP needs. NRC is also establishing local monitoring and response mechanisms in the West Bank to address past and ongoing displacement.
Child Protection and Gender Based Violence (GBV):
NRC is establishing a Case Management system with the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Child Protection Task Force in order to ensure proper case management for critical cases of abuse. NRC is supporting young emerging leaders to strengthen the role of women within the community in social and political decision making processes.
NRC also hosts coordination mechanisms in Palestine, including AIDA and the West Bank Protection Consortium. NRC is the Shelter Cluster lead for Palestine and maintains the “Unified Shelter Sector Database”: www.shelterpalestine.org
NRC priorities for 2016 and beyond:
The programme works to challenge discriminatory planning and zoning policies, land confiscation, demolition and eviction orders, military incursions and home destruction during conflict, revocation of residency rights, restrictions on freedom of movement and denial of civil documentation. In addition to funding 7 NGOs to provide direct legal aid, the programme also works with private lawyers and supports a broad portfolio of public interest litigation. A particular focus of the programme is to promote women’s HLP rights, especially inheritance rights.
NRC is providing conditional self-help cash support to rehabilitate 1000 vulnerable households. The project ensures that IDPs can remain in their own homes. NRC is also planning to address severely damaged housing in 2016.
Access to quality education is systematically hindered by conflict related ‘shocks’ and attacks against education in West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza. The devastating impact of Palestine’s deepening fragmentation is most vivid in the education system. The Israeli blockade and internal political divisions mean that two separate Ministries of Education operate without a common strategy or policy for the development of the sector. In the Gaza Strip, the Ministry of Education and UNRWA are both dramatically affected by the Blockade.
Due to a severe lack of water resources, the groundwater in Gaza has become saline and non-potable. The vast majority of the population therefore purchases drinking water from an unregulated private sector, who produces and distributes desalinated water. NRC is engaged in brokering a cross sector partnership between with the Palestinian Water Authority, the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU), the WASH Cluster, key humanitarian actors, and the private sector in order to implement a comprehensive program improve water quality in this sector.
NRC in cooperation with the global CCCM Cluster is piloting an innovative approach to address the needs of Urban Displaced Out of Collective Centres (UDOC). The project capitalizes on NRC’s experience in camp management and uses collective centre management methodologies in order to strengthen community participation and to support the municipalities, which have been most severely affected by the war.
Child Protection and GBV:
Following the creation of Case Management SOPs and initiation of initial referal mechanisms, NRC is consolidating this program in Gaza and looking to nationalize best practices across the West Bank.