17 January – 24 January 2017 | Issue 178
During the reporting week, protestors, civilians and youth, expressed their eagerness to defend Al Aqsa Mosque and in solidarity with Palestinians in the West Bank. When some of them approached the perimeter fence and threw stones towards Israeli observation posts, Israeli forces responded with gun fire and teargas.
Various other protests were held during the week, predominantly against further electricity cuts.
During the week under review, Israeli forces fired towards Palestinian areas along the perimeter fence and towards Palestinian boats on a daily basis. Four injuries – including three fishermen – were reported on different occasions.
Militants fired two test rockets towards the sea; no injuries were reported.
Unknown persons detonated an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in front of a Fatah leader’s house in Gaza city. Minor damaged was caused. Another IED exploded under a vehicle belonging to a member of the Al Qassam Brigades (the military wing of the Hamas movement). One injury and minor damage were reported, and in a third incident, unknown persons threw a stun grenade in front of a Fatah leader’s house; the grenade caused damage to the house but no injuries. Further, a 27-year old Palestinian man was stabbed as a result of a family dispute; a 18-year old girl was seriously injured as a result from the mishandling of a weapon, and a 11-year old boy was found hanged inside his house; the background of the incident is unclear.
51-year-old Palestine refugee Suhair Al-Rass lives with her six-member family in Gaza city. For the last eight years she has been working as a guard at the Gaza Field Office (GFO) gate for the UNRWA Field Security and Risk Management (FSRM) team.
“When I got this job, it felt like a dream, because my husband doesn’t work so this job gives me and my family the opportunity to pay the rent, education fees and to cover all our needs,” Suhair explained.
Suhair is one of only 25 female guards working in different UNRWA installations such as Health Centres (HC), schools, Relief and Social Services Programme (RSSP) offices, sanitation offices and Distributions Centres (DC). Her main responsibilities as guard are to check visitors’ identity documents, register their data and guide them to the staff they wish to meet or have an appointment with.
“My work is much more than sitting in front of my computer and registering the visitors’ data, I carry the responsibility to help ensure the security of UNRWA staff and keep the compound safe. The most important qualification a guard needs is to be focused, observant and cautious. It’s important that all staff in GFO feel safe when they come to work and through my job I contribute to this,” Suhair added.
In total, UNRWA employs 1,473 guards – 185 as fixed term staff and 1,288 hired through its Job Creation Programme – working at more than 285 UNRWA installations including: Health Centres (HC), Head Quarter (HQ) and Gaza Field Office (GFO), Relief and Social Services Programme (RSSP) and sanitations offices, Distributions Centres (DC), Training Centres (TC), international residences and many other installations to ensure the safety and security of UNRWA staff and UNRWA premises across the Gaza Strip. Every guard, before being assigned to carrying out duties, receives a comprehensive training in safety and security rules and principles provided by the FSRM training team. This team was formed in early 2015 as a response to an assessment that identified a need to strengthen safety and security knowledge among UNRWA guards; the training empowers and enables them to respond to the various challenges they encounter in the course of their duties.
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. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget in 2017. 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 the Agnecy's occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) Emergency Appeal for 2017, the Agency is seeking US$ 402 million to meet the minimum humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees in the oPt.
The Gaza portion of the Emergency Appeal amounts to US$ 355 million for 2017, to address protracted, large scale humanitarian needs. Read the oPt Emergency Appeal for 2017.
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 travellers, including Palestinian medical and humanitarian cases. Kerem Shalom crossing, also controlled by Israeli authorities, technically allows for the movement of authorized goods only.