A protracted protection crisis continues in Palestine, directly linked to the occupation. Political agreement between Palestinian factions in West Bank and Gaza, and the threat of annexation of parts of the West Bank continue to be a concern in 2021, in violation of international law. This impacts the humanitarian situation of Palestinians, as well as their basic human rights. In the West Bank and East Jerusalem, policies and practices aimed at accelerating the forcible transfer of Palestinians were on the rise in 2020.
The siege in Gaza continues to be a form of collective punishment. Palestinians in Gaza are already living with limited access to electricity, drinking water and healthcare. Covid-19 restrictions have decreased access to clean water and sanitation for almost a million people. Twenty per cent of communities in Gaza are socioeconomically vulnerable, living in substandard or overcrowded housing and lacking access to acceptable public services. Ourr assessments also show 60-80 per cent unemployment rates, while many have limited access, or no rights, to social safety nets. The escalation of hostilities in Gaza in May 2021 left 232 Palestinians, including 65 children and 12 Israelis, including two children, dead. The massive psychological and material damage will take many years to address. Overall, the total number of people in need across Palestine is expected to increase in 2021.
People we helped in Palestine in 2020
We ensure that Palestinians affected by, or threatened with, displacement in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have access to assistance.
We provide legal counselling to promote human rights and work to improve shelter, water and sanitation facilities. We support the provision of quality education, and help communities prepare for, and respond to, emergencies. We support the coping capacities of people severely affected by the economic crisis.
We also advocate for the rights of displaced Palestinians locally and internationally.
We provide internally displaced people and vulnerable communities with access to protection and essential services in Gaza. Our team works to:
- include internally displaced people and vulnerable communities in decision making processes
- increase the emergency preparedness and response capacities of local authorities, humanitarian responders, and communities
- improve coordination between communities and humanitarian organisations
- enhance the effectiveness, transparency and accountability of humanitarian work
- provide multi-purpose cash to vulnerable households affected by the economic crisis
Many children in Palestine have seen or experienced traumatic events and subsequently suffer from nightmares, which affect their ability to learn and thrive. We work to ensure that Palestinian children have access to quality education and psycho-educational support by:
- training teachers on effective classroom management and strategies
- training counsellors to support students suffering from nightmares
- assisting teachers and school staff in developing child-centred teaching and learning approaches
- supporting parents and school communities in establishing parent associations
- in collaboration with our ICLA team, providing information to students, parents and teachers about their rights and referral mechanisms for further support
- providing emergency resources for vulnerable schools to enhance teaching and learning, as well as protect against attacks on education
Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)
We work to protect people and communities who have been, or are at risk of being, forced to leave their homes. We provide legal information, training, counselling and assistance for those affected by discriminatory policies and practices. We:
- work closely with national and international stakeholders to influence positive policy change
- provide legal services that protect people from demolition, eviction and confiscation orders, revocation of residency rights, access restrictions, and settler violence in the West Bank
- provide Palestinians in Gaza with information about housing, land and property rights to promote tenure security
- work with Israeli and Palestinian NGOs and private lawyers to provide effective counselling and legal assistance
Shelter and settlements
We provide access to adequate shelter for the most vulnerable people in Gaza. Our teams:
- provide shelter for households living in war-damaged and substandard homes
- provide support and technical assistance to people whose homes have been damaged through conflict to ensure that families have adequate shelter
- distribute essential household materials, including mattresses and blankets
- support families affected by the economic crisis with rental assistance to prevent eviction
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion
We help vulnerable communities access safe, sufficient, and affordable hygiene and water facilities in Gaza. Our teams:
- provide safe drinking water and sanitation facilities, including bathrooms, toilets, sinks and water network supplies to vulnerable households
- improve peoples’ access to public services and mitigate against winter flooding through community infrastructure projects
- respond to flood emergencies
- distribute hygiene items to vulnerable households, and provide training to improve social and environmental health
Policy, protection and research
We provide protection and policy analysis to a range of actors in Palestine, promoting principled humanitarian assistance in accordance with international law. We engage closely with international decision-makers and advocate for the protection of displaced and vulnerable people’s human rights.
Cluster and other coordination support
We play an important role in humanitarian coordination in Palestine by leading the Shelter Cluster, hosting the Association for International Development Agencies (AIDA) leading the Legal Task Force and managing the West Bank Protection Consortium, as well as the Gaza Protection Consortium.
- Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
- Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD)
- Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
- Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)
- Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)
- United Nations Office for Public Services (UNOPS)
- United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA)
- Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
- Government of Spain
- Government of France
- Government of Belgium
- Stiftelsen Signe Marie
About NRC in Palestine
Country DirectorCaroline Ort
Phone+972 548621239 (media enquiries)
Gaza: A Hell on Earth
As the concrete dust settles in Gaza following the declared ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, it is easy to heave a sigh of relief and think that we are back to normal. But normal for Palestinians, without a political solution that allows for peaceful coexistence, is in reality just a hiatus until the next round of conflict.