31 January – 7 February 2017 | Issue 180
During the week under review, Israeli forces fired towards Palestinian areas along the perimeter fence and towards Palestinian boats on a daily basis. On one occasion Palestinian militants opened fire towards Israeli troops at the perimeter fence; the Israeli troops responded by firing two shells targeting a Hamas observation post. The post sustained damage.
On 6 February militants fired one rocket towards Israel. The rocket landed in an open area in Ashqelon Regional Council. It has been the first rocket launched towards Israel since 24 October 2016. Israeli forces fired dozens of missiles and shells targeting agricultural areas and Hamas observation posts in all areas of Gaza. On the same day militants opened fire towards Israeli troops near the perimeter fence. No injuries were reported in all incidents. Four Israeli bulldozers entered Gaza areas to conduct a clearing and excavation operation. They withdrew on the same day.
Various protests were held during the week, predominantly in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails; beneficiaries also demanded more services from UNRWA.
Further, civilians, mostly youth, protested along the perimeter fence with Israel, defending the Al Aqsa Mosque and in solidarity with Palestinians in the West Bank. When some of the protestors approached the security fence and threw stones towards Israeli observation posts, Israeli forces responded with gunfire and tear gas. A 16-year old boy was injured.
A dispute took place between two families; both used edged weapons and two persons were injured. One militant was injured during a military training as a result of an explosion; another militant who was previously injured passed away during the reporting week. Fires broke out in two residential areas, injuring a total of four persons and causing damage to the houses. Three more people were injured when part of the iron fence surrounding the Khan Younis stadium in southern Gaza collapsed. One Palestinian man with a knife and a screwdriver was arrested by Israeli forces when he tried to enter Israel through the perimeter fence.
To develop the skills and knowledge of UNRWA health staff, provide guidance and help them identify their own weaknesses and strengths to improve services for beneficiaries and make better use of available resources, over the past four years the UNRWA Health Programme (HP) implemented an internal mentoring training programme for its staff.
52-year-old Amal Al-Jaish is one of the staff who participated. She is a senior staff nurse in the UNRWA Saftawi Health Centre in northern Gaza and manages 27 other staff members, including nurses, clerks, cleaners and midwives. Amal is responsible to follow up on their tasks, attendance and performance, and to organize trainings for them if needed.
“The mentoring training helped me improve the relation between me and the staff I manage and to foster team work. As mentor I support my mentees in learning new skills and increasing their output and performance,” Amal said.
The mentoring training programme first started in April 2013, and by the end of November 2016, four rounds of mentoring training had been conducted for 101 mentees, including senior medical officers, senior staff nurses, pharmacists, lab technicians, and medical officers at the 22 UNRWA Health Centres across the Gaza Strip.
Amal also added that through the mentoring programme communications within the team improved and “issues are more often addressed through joint efforts; for example, when we realized that we all – meaning midwives, nurses and doctors – provide different messages to women about health risks, we sat down and developed unified, written health messages to avoid confusion among patients.”
Through 22 centres, the UNRWA HP provides preventative and curative primary health care services to the vast majority of the over 1.3 million Palestine refugees in Gaza; health staff also provide clinic and laboratory services, along with personalized maternal health and family planning, in all health centres. To also fully integrate mental health care within its primary health care services, in the beginning of 2016, the Agency launched a pilot project in Saftawi Health Centre, in North Gaza. Over the past year the Saftawi HC screened over 4,700 clients and almost 500 patients received mental health care and psychosocial support by health centre staff.
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 UNRWA’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 travellers, 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.