Gaza Situation Report (Issue No. 151-152) – UNRWA update


17 July 2016

28 June – 12 July 2016 | Issue 151=152

• 8 July 2016 marked two years since the commencement of the 2014 conflict in Gaza. As a reminder of the continuing dire situation, and in line with the two-year anniversary of the escalation of hostilities, UNRWA created an infographic fact sheet summarizing the impact of the 2014 hostilities and the Agency’s shelter response two years after the conflict. The 2014 summer conflict led to the largest displacement recorded in Gaza since 1967 with approximately 500,000 persons displaced at the height of the conflict; approximately 75,000 persons remain displaced to this day, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and 3 per cent of them – 2,250 individuals – are still living in prefabricated units, such as containers. A total of 83 schools, 10 health centres and 25 other UNRWA installations had been damaged during the 2014 hostilities; all of them have been rebuilt and repaired. In addition, according to the Children’s Right and Emergency Relief Organization (UNICF)more than 300,000 children in Gaza are in need of psycho-social support to cope with their experiences. For more information, please consult the attached fact sheet.

v The Middle East Quartet presented a report on the situation on the ground in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), focusing on major threats to achieving a negotiated peace and offering recommendations to prevent the entrenching of a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict . The report reiterates that a two-state outcome is the only way to achieve enduring peace that meets Israeli security needs, Palestinian aspirations for statehood, ends the occupation and resolves all permanent status issues. The report identifies attacks against civilians, the continuing policy of settlement construction and illicit arms-build up as the three major threats to the two-state solution. The dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, exacerbated by the closures of the crossings, as well as militant activity by Hamas and lack of control by the Palestinian Authority, are also seen as major factors that feed instability and increase the risk of a new escalation of hostilities. The report furthermore states that with international support, 90 per cent of schools as well as 80 per cent of electricity and 60 per cent of water infrastructure destroyed or damaged during the 2014 conflict could be rebuilt or repaired; yet over three quarters of houses that suffered severe damage have not been repaired, in part because only 40 per cent of the donor funds pledged for Gaza in Cairo in 2014 have actually been delivered.

• To build staff capacity and skills, the UNRWA Community Mental Health Programme (CMHP) organized a training of trainers (TOT) on “Supporting Children with Disabilities” for 30 mental health supervisors and assistant supervisors. The TOT takes place from 11 to 14 July in Gaza city, focusing on how to offer specialized counselling for persons with disabilities; the training covers a variety of topics including team building, self-care, inclusion, empowerment, family dynamics and how to address stereotypes. The training is based on a manual developed by CMHP to support the work of counsellors and others engaging with children with disabilities, especially in a challenging context like Gaza. It provides key guidelines and best practices for engaging with children with disabilities including children born with disabilities and those who become disabled as a result of the repeated cycles of armed conflict.. UNRWA maintains a network of over 250 counsellors in UNRWA schools as well as 23 counsellors and 5 legal advisors in its health centres.

• UNRWA provides food assistance to over 930,000 beneficiaries in four rounds of food distributions per year. During the month of Ramadan, the Agency also provided additional food aid for Abject Poor refugees (meaning those households living below US$ 1.5 per person per day). On 24 and 25 June UNRWA, through 20 Community-Based Organizations (CBO), distributed 9,809 hot meals for a total of 26,557 impoverished Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip. The refugees were able to access their hot meals using coupons. Each coupon included cooked rice and cooked chicken, as well as yogurt and dates.  The beneficiaries received the dinners at the CBOs and then took them home to share them with family members. On 3 July, UNRWA also distributed frozen meat to approximately 4,200 Palestine refugees across the Gaza Strip. The distribution took place in seven of UNRWA’s 12 Distribution Centres in Gaza and benefited sizeable refugee families (families of seven members and more) belonging to the UNRWA Social Safety Net Programme (Abject Poor beneficiaries) Every family received a carton of 6.1 kilogrammes of frozen meat. Eligible families were asked to come and collect their parcel at the nearest Distribution Centre; for those unable to come, UNRWA sent a staff member to their homes to guarantee that all those who were eligible received the food assistance.

• UNRWA completed an 18-day long Summer Learning Programme (SLP) on 3 July, aiming to provide refugee children who failed their final exams in Arabic, Mathematics, or both, with a second change. A total of 35,000 male and female students from grade four to nine attended the programme and received an opportunity to repeat the exams and move to the next grade level. To implement the programme, UNRWA hired 1,059 daily-paid teachers to work in 116 UNRWA installations across Gaza, under the supervision of UNRWA school principals and deputy school principals. UNRWA introduced the SLP for the first time in 2008.

• UNRWA continues to coordinate with the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories Unit (COGAT) regarding permits for its staff members to travel to Jerusalem to attend prayers in the Al Aqsa mosque. During the last three weeks of the month of Ramadan, each Friday COGAT allowed for approximately 100 UNRWA staff aged 50 years and above to travel to Jerusalem. In total, during Ramadan 260 male and female staff members travelled and prayed in Jerusalem.

• To further enhance the prospect of clients and outreach of UNRWA’s microfinance programme, the Agency will organize a number of trade fairs in Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan. The trade show in Gaza will take place from 17 to 19 July in the UNRWA Rehabilitation Centre for Visually Impaired in Gaza city and will bring together small businesses and microenterprise clients to display their products and services to customers, potential partners and traders. The show will also be an opportunity for clients to network with suppliers, wholesalers, retailers and other business players. It will show real examples that reflect the success of microfinance on the lives of clients. UNRWA launched the microfinance initiative in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in the early 1990s and expanded operations to Syria and Jordan in 2003. Since 1991, the MD disbursed almost 400,000 loans worth US$ 440 million; in Gaza alone, the MD issued over 114,000 loans worth almost US$ 148 million; approximately 43 per cent of the benefiting business owners are female and 13 per cent are 24 years old or younger. With its credit products, UNRWA targets the needs of the entrepreneurial and unbanked sector of the community, including low-income Palestine refugees and working class families, to give them a chance to improve their living conditions and provide for health and educational needs of their families. The MD also provides fresh graduates, university students and professionals with different technical training, some of which focus on "Job Hunting", "Project Management" and "Gender Awareness".


This week:

• UNRWA was able to disburse over US$ 4.3 million for the second quarter of transitional shelter cash assistance (TSCA, rental subsidy payments). The funds will reach a total of 6,843 families across the Gaza Strip; they will access their assistance next week.

 A comprehensive shelter update will be presented in the next Gaza weekly situation report.


In June 2016, the blockade on Gaza entered its tenth year. The United Nations has repeatedly highlighted the illegality of the blockade as a form of collective punishment under international law and called for the lifting of the blockade, which continues to hamper freedom of movement of persons and goods. The blockade, in addition to recurrent armed violence and conflict, today remains the principle causes of the socio-economic and psychosocial crisis in Gaza. The restrictions on movement of people and goods continue to collectively punish the civilian population, affecting every aspect of life in Gaza, undermining the local economy and threatening the enjoyment of most human rights, in clear violation of Israel’s legal obligations under international law. In addition, since restrictions have been imposed by the Egyptian authorities from June 2013 onwards, also the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt remains closed except for a few days per year.


Operational environment:

Regular protests took place during the reporting week, predominantly in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails; protests also took place against UNRWA to demand job opportunities.

On 3 July a Palestinian was reportedly arrested at Erez crossing by Israeli forces while returning to Gaza.

On 7 July a Palestinian was reportedly arrested by Israeli forces at Erez crossing while crossing into Israel for commercial purposes.

On 8 July a Palestinian reportedly entered Israel through the perimeter fence in Deir El Balah, central Gaza, and was reportedly arrested by Israeli forces.

On 10 July a Palestinian was reportedly arrested by Palestinian police when attempting to cross the border fence between Gaza and Egypt.

On 2 July a family dispute reportedly took place in eastern Gaza city during which edged weapons were used. One person was reportedly killed and eight injuries were reported. The police reportedly made several arrests. On the same day another family dispute took reportedly place in Khan Younis, southern Gaza. The involved persons reportedly used edged weapons and one injury was reported. The police reportedly made several arrests.

On 3 July a dispute took reportedly place between Fatah members in Gaza city during internal elections; they reportedly used fire arms. The police reportedly made several arrests. Two injuries were reported.

On 4 July a dispute reportedly took place between family members in Khan Younis, southern Gaza. They reportedly used edged weapons and four injuries were reported. The police reportedly made several arrests.

On 6 July a dispute reportedly broke out between families in Gaza city; two injuries were reported. The police reportedly made several arrests.

On 8 July a dispute took reportedly place between family members in Gaza city; they reportedly used fire arms. One person was reportedly killed and five others injured. The police reportedly made several arrests.

On 9 July a brawl reportedly erupted between teenagers in Gaza city; they reportedly used edged weapons and a 16-year old boy was seriously injured due to being stabbed. The police reportedly made several arrests.

On 1 July a 22-year old Palestinian reportedly attempted to commit suicide by burning himself in Gaza city; he was reportedly transferred to a hospital.

On 2 July a 42-year old Palestinian was reportedly found killed inside his house in eastern Gaza city; the police reportedly opened an investigation.

On 7 July a 14-year old Palestinian boy reportedly died due to an electrical shock in his house in northern Gaza.

On 10 July a tunnel reportedly collapsed in northern Gaza; one militant from Islamic Jihad reportedly died and seven others trapped inside the tunnel were reportedly rescued.

On 7 July a Hamas militant reportedly died of his wounds sustained from a shooting by Israeli forces on 8 May near the perimeter fence in northern Gaza.

On 8 July one person was reportedly accidentally shot and killed in Maghazi, southern Gaza, by his friend while mishandling a weapon.

On 8 July a 52-year old Palestinian male reportedly died as a result of falling from his house in southern Gaza.

On 8 July a one and a half year-old Palestinian child reportedly died due to falling from a house in Rafah, southern Gaza.

On 11 July five Palestinians were reportedly injured across Gaza due to celebratory gunfire related to the final high school exams, including two 12- and 13-year old boys.

On 11 July an 18-year old Palestinian female reportedly committed suicide by throwing herself off a building in Jabalia camp, northern Gaza. She reportedly committed suicide due to her failure in the final high school exam.

On 6 July a fire reportedly broke out in an apartment in northern Gaza when three boys were reportedly playing with fireworks. The apartment reportedly sustained damages and the three boys suffered smoke inhalation.

On 19 July a fire reportedly broke out in a carpentry shop in eastern Gaza city; three persons were reportedly injured and the shop sustained damage.

On 10 July a fuel barrel reportedly exploded inside a metal workshop in Gaza city; one person was reportedly injured and the workshop sustained damage.

On 12 July a 30-year old Palestinian male was reportedly kidnapped by unknown masked persons in Jabalia camp, northern Gaza. The kidnapped person is reportedly a member of the Fatah movement. The police reportedly opened an investigation.


Nadeen Salem, UNRWA Safety and Security Trainer:
“Man or woman, it doesn’t matter; the important thing is to be good at your job”

Nadeen Salem is training an UNRWA guard on the use of fire extinguishers during a Safety and Security Division training session in the Khan Younis Training Centre in southern Gaza. Gaza Photo credit: ©UNRWA Gaza 2016. Photo by Mohammad. Yaghi. 

In the UNRWA Khan Younis Training Centre, Nadeen Salem stands proudly and full of confidence, in a training room filled with more than 30 male guards; she is a trainer for the UNRWA Safety and Security Division (SSD) Training Team and together with another female colleague takes the lead in training UNRWA staff on safety and security principles and rules.

Nadeen chose to be a safety and security trainer because she wants to raise awareness among people about safety and security to help save lives: “I am training UNRWA staff, but in the end they are all also members of the community, so the skills I provide them with will help them in their own, individual life as well,” she commented.

In the beginning, however, Nadeen faced some challenges, one of them because the male guards did not accept to be trained by a female trainer. “On the first day, I entered the room with a fire extinguisher to start the training, and everyone was surprised and very reluctant to accept that they would be trained on safety and security by a lady; they believed only a man could do that,” Nadeen recalled, smiling. “However, when they realised that I am qualified and confident, and have sufficient knowledge they started to accept the idea,” she added.

Nadeen hopes to pass on her knowledge and information to as many persons as possible. “Man or woman, it doesn’t matter; the important thing is to be good at your job,” she explained.

The Safety and Security Division (SSD) Training Team in Gaza was formed in early 2015 to teach the core elements of safety and security to the UNRWA Gaza guard force. The creation of the training team came after an assessment identified the need to strengthen the safety and security knowledge of UNRWA guards in order to respond to the challenges encountered in the course of their duties. The team consists of a Training Coordinator, Training Officer, and three Safety and Security Trainers, and commenced operations from the Khan Younis Training Centre (KYTC) in late April. The training team first completed an induction course, under the direction of the Training Coordinator, in safety and security-related skills such as fire safety (including the usage of fire extinguishers), first aid and communications, as well as developing their teaching technique. The first training course was delivered to guards in the first week of May 2015. Since that time, over 6000 UNRWA personnel have been trained in a variety of skills, including techniques to preserve the neutrality and security of UNRWA installations, searching techniques for vehicles, bags, and personnel, and contingency plans for dealing with break-ins and other incidents. The SSD Training Team has also provided support to other UNRWA programmes and projects employing guards.


During the reporting weeks, Israeli forces reportedly fired towards Palestinian areas along the perimeter fence and towards Palestinian boats on a daily basis. On 4 July Palestinian militants reportedly fired towards Israeli troops patrolling the perimeter fence in northern Gaza. No injuries were reported. On 8 July a fire incident was reported towards Palestinian areas from the Egyptian side in Rafah, southern Gaza.

On 30 June militants reportedly fired one test rocket from southern Gaza towards the sea. No injuries were reported.

On 1 July militants reportedly fired one rocket from northern Gaza towards Israel. The rocket reportedly landed inside a kindergarten in the city of Sderot in Israel, reportedly causing damage but no injuries.

On 2 July the Israeli Aircraft reportedly fired three missiles targeting an open area and two military training sites in northern Gaza. No injuries were reported. On the same day, Israeli Aircraft also reportedly fired five missiles at military training sites and at a metal workshop in Gaza city; the metal workshop reportedly sustained damage. No injuries were reported. On 2 July Israeli Aircraft also reportedly fired one missile targeting an open area in the vicinity of former Gaza International Airport in Rafah, southern Gaza. No injuries were reported.

On 3 July militants reportedly fired on test rocket from northern Gaza towards the sea. No injuries were reported. On the same day militants reportedly fired one test rocket from Khan Younis, southern Gaza, towards the sea. No injuries were reported.

On 5 July militants reportedly fired one test rocket from Khan Younis, southern Gaza, towards the sea. No injuries were reported.

On 7 July militants reportedly fired two test rockets from Khan Younis towards the sea. No injuries were reported.

On 11 July one Israeli tank and four bulldozers reportedly entered approximately 100 metres into southern Gaza, reportedly to conduct a clearing and excavation operation. They reportedly withdrew on the same day.


UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall, projected for 2016 to stand at US$ 74 million. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

Following the 2014 conflict, US$ 257 million has been pledged in support of UNRWA’s emergency shelter programme, for which an estimated US$ 720 million is required. This leaves a current shortfall of US$ 463 million. UNRWA urgently appeals to donors to generously contribute to its emergency shelter programme to provide displaced Palestine refugees in Gaza with rental subsidies or cash assistance to undertake repair works and reconstruction of their damaged homes.

As presented in UNRWA’s occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) Emergency Appeal for 2016, the Agency is seeking US$ 403 million to meet the minimum humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees in the oPt. The Agency requires US$ 355.95 million for programme interventions in Gaza, including US$ 109.7 million for emergency food assistance, US$ 142.3 million for emergency shelter assistance, US$ 60.4 million for emergency cash-for-work assistance, US$ 4.4 million for emergency health/mobile health clinics and US$ 3.1 for education in emergencies. More information can be found here.


Longstanding restrictions on the movement of people and goods to and from Gaza have undermined the living conditions of 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza. Israel prevents all access to and from the Gaza Strip by sea and air. Movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza is restricted to three crossings: Rafah crossing, Erez crossing and Kerem Shalom crossing. Rafah crossing is controlled by the Egyptian authorities and technically allows for the movement of a number of authorized travelers, Palestinian medical and humanitarian cases only. Erez crossing is controlled by Israeli authorities and technically allows for the movement of aid workers and limited numbers of authorized travelers, including Palestinian medical and humanitarian cases. Kerem Shalom crossing, also controlled by Israeli authorities, technically allows for the movement of authorized goods only.

• Rafah crossing was open from 29 to 30 June and from 2 to 4 July.

• Erez crossing is usually open six days a week. This week it was open for National ID holders (humanitarian cases, medical cases, merchants and UN staff) and international staff from 28 to 30 June, 3 to 7 July, and 10 to 12 July. On 1 and 8 July it was open for pedestrians only. It was closed on 2 and 9 July.

• Kerem Shalom crossing is the only official crossing open for the transfer of goods into and out of the Strip and is usually open five days a week. It was open from 28 to 30 June, 3 to 4 July and 7 and 10 July. It was closed on 1, 2, 5, 6, 8 and 9 July.


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