Gaza Situation Report 215

21 January 2018
The UNRWA TV EiE project  filming in the UNRWA Gaza Field Office garden© UNRWA Gaza 2017. Photo by Tamer Hamam

02 January – 16 January 2018 | issues 215 

Highlights

  • From 8 to 18 January, the Relief and Social Services Programme, through its Rehabilitation Centre for Visually Impaired (RCVI), conducted a training course for parents of visually impaired pupils. The training aimed at building effective communication between children and parents and at providing families with knowledge about Braille-reading techniques to enable them to follow up on their children’s academic performance. RCVI pupils receive Braille machines for their private use at home. The RCVI offers educational, integration and rehabilitation services for visually impaired children aged between 4 and 12 years old, including blind children attending the kindergarten. It is the only centre of its kind in Gaza. Some 490 students are enrolled in the RCVI during the scholastic year of 2017/2018.

  • The UNRWA Gaza Field Office continues to welcome delegations from donors and partners who wish to better understand the situation in Gaza and the Agency’s operations in the coastal enclave. During the reporting period, an Irish high-level delegation led by the Irish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Simon Coveney TD, came to the Gaza Strip. The delegation visited the UNRWA Sheikh Radwan Health centre where the Chief of the Health Programme, Dr. Ghada Al-Jadba, briefed them about UNRWA primary health services. Subsequently, the Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, Mr. Matthias Schmale, discussed the political and humanitarian situation as well as UNRWA operations and services for Palestine refugees in Gaza with the delegation.

  • On 8 January, 378 UNRWA Khan Younis Training College (KYTC) students started their On-the-Job training programme. As part of the KYTC graduation requirements, students undergo a three-week internship with different Community-Based Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations, private companies and the KYTC. This training is designed to provide students with initial work experience and with an opportunity to improve their practical skills to increase their chances on the local labour market. The KYTC is part of the UNRWA Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme, offering 15 courses of technical and vocational training to Palestine refugee youth in Gaza. Since its establishment in 2007, over 1,352 young Gaza refugees have graduated from the college.

  • From 18 December to 16 January, the UNRWA Relief and Social Services Programme (RSSP) conducted a Training of Trainers (TOT) entitled “Engaging men in combating Gender-Based Violence and Violence Against Women”. The training, targeting 18 RSSP front-line staff, provided participants with skills to better address issues pertaining to GBV and to share such skills and techniques with their colleagues. The Relief and Social Services Programme aims to empower the most vulnerable Palestine refugees by meeting their social, well-being and economic needs through community social interventions. RSSP activities range from assessing refugees’ poverty level and eligibility for assistance to a variety of skills training and capacity-building interventions, mainly focusing on women, children and youth.

  • From 10 to 18 January, the Community Mental Health Programme (CMHP) conducted trainings on its newly developed “structured guidance modules” that will be implemented in UNRWA’s 123 preparatory schools in the Gaza Strip during the second semester. In line with the first module’s emphasis on controlling emotions, the training focused on how to support students to express and manage their anger in an effective and healthy way. It included understanding anger as an emotion, empathy towards others, managing anger in positive ways, and alternative ways of communication. Following the implementation of this module in UNRWA schools, CMHP will introduce the second structured guidance module on study skills.

Operational Environment

  • On 4, 9 and 11 January, Israeli patrol boats opened fire towards Palestinian boats off the coast of the Gaza Strip, forcing them ashore. No injuries were reported. Six fishermen were arrested.

    On 12 January, Egyptian patrol boats opened fire towards Palestinian boats off the coast of west Rafah forcing them ashore. One death was reported.

    On 2, 3, 4, 8 and 12 January, Israeli forces positioned at the border fence opened fire towards Palestinian areas. No injuries were reported.

    On 2, 3, 5, 9, 12, 13 and 14 January, civilians, mostly youth, staged protests against the US President’s decision to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel near the perimeter fence in different areas of Gaza. When some protestors approached the fence and threw stones towards Israeli observation posts, Israeli forces responded with gunfire and teargas. One death and 46 injuries were reported.

    On 3, 4 and 13 January, Israeli forces fired missiles targeting training locations of militants across the Gaza Strip in response to mortar shells fired by militants. No injuries were reported.

    On 2 and 4 January a partial commercial strike took place in Jabalia camp, northern Gaza Strip, to protest against the bad economic situation in the Gaza Strip.

    On 4 January, civilians demonstrated across the Gaza Strip against the deterioration of the humanitarian situation.

    On 7 and 9 January, university students demonstrated in front of the main entrance of Rafah Terminal, demanding the opening of the border crossing.

    On 14 January, a 15-year-old child was seriously injured due to the explosion of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Jabalia, northern Gaza Strip.

    On 12 January, a 16-year-old Palestinian youth attempted to commit suicide by drinking poison in Gaza city.

    On 11 January, a 25-year-old Palestinian man attempted to commit suicide by climbing a power pole in Khan Younis city, southern Gaza city.

UNRWA’s Response

Education in Emergencies: Education for all
11-year old Qais Atallah, one of 16 child actors of the second educational programme season on UNRWA TV, and 33-year old Amal Hmaid, one of the producers of the UNRWA TV EiE project, discuss the script at UNRWA TV studio. ©2018 UNRWA Photo by Tamer Hamam.
11-year old Qais Atallah, one of 16 child actors of the second educational programme season on UNRWA TV, and 33-year old Amal Hmaid, one of the producers of the UNRWA TV EiE project, discuss the script at UNRWA TV studio. ©2018 UNRWA Photo by Tamer Hamam.

Providing quality, equitable and inclusive basic education is one of the Agency’s strategic outcomes as identified in its Medium-Term Strategy 2016-2021. The Agency operates one of the largest school systems in the Middle East, teaching more than half a million children in over 700 schools across five fields of operations. In emergencies, education saves or sustains lives and is a major component of strategies for child protection. Tens of thousands of students in UNRWA’s five fields of operations are affected by conflict. As part of the Agency’s Education in Emergencies (EiE) programme, the Gaza-based UNRWA TV satellite channel allows affected children in all fields to continue their education even in crisis situations.

“Education is an essential right of all children around the world, but there are thousands of children who are unable to access their regular schools due to ongoing conflicts. Through the EiE project, we try to reach these children. For this purpose, UNRWA TV team is producing 24 new educational episodes in Arabic, Mathematics, Science and English,” said 33-year old Amal Hmaid, one of the producers of UNRWA TV EiE project.

Over the past months, the UNRWA TV multimedia team, in cooperation with the Agency’s Education Programme, wrote scripts, developed story lines and lessons, made costumes and trained children to produce the second educational season focusing on the four subjects Arabic, English, Mathematics and Science.

“We aim to develop new, non-stereotypical forms of education by using active learning strategies such as drama, music, dancing and playing to achieve memorable learning. We use peer tutoring where children explain the curriculum to each other. In addition, the produced materials will be available online so that children, parents and teachers can watch them whenever they need to,” added Amal.

The season is based on a children-teaching-children approach. During 2016, UNRWA TV developed the first season of the Education in Emergencies project.

Eleven-year-old child actor Qais Atallah said: “When I think there is a child somewhere in the world who will watch me on TV or online and learn from me, I feel proud of myself. Education should be for all. Through education, people can develop and change their future.”

UNRWA TV was established in early 2012 as a production unit and broadcaster. It broadcasts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Besides humanitarian communication programming, it brings innovative educational lessons to affected children in all UNRWA fields of operations. Follow the channel here.

Funding Needs

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. The recent announcement by its largest donor, the United States, to drastically reduce its funding to 60 million USD in 2018 presents the Agency with a significant challenge in delivering its essential services in a predictable manner. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget in 2018. 

UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals. Following the 2014 conflict, US$ 316 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$ 404 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 reconstruction of their demolished homes.

Crossings

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.

Crossing

02 January

03 January

04 January

05 January

06 January

07 January

08 January

09 January

10 January

11 January

12 January

13 January

14 January

15 January.

Rafah

Closed.

Closed.

Closed.

Closed.

Closed.

Closed.

Closed.

Closed.

Closed.

Closed.

Closed.

Closed.

Closed.

Closed.

Erez

Open.

Open.

Open.

Open   for urgent humanitarian & medical cases only

Closed.

Open.

Open.

Open.

Open.

Open.

Closed.

Closed.

Closed.

Closed.

Kerem Shalom

Open.

Open.

Open.

Closed.

Closed.

Open.

Open.

Open.

Open.

Open.

Closed.

Closed.

Closed.

Closed.

UNRWA launched the #DignityIsPriceless campaign in Gaza on 22 January 2018. © 2018 UNRWA Photo Rushdi Al Saraj
Join the #DignityIsPriceless campaign to stand up #ForPalestineRefugees