31 July 2014 | Issue No. 23
Past 24 hours: On 29 July, a four-hour humanitarian ceasefire was unilaterally declared by Israel but was not accepted by Hamas as it did not extend to the entire Gaza Strip but was limited to those parts where forces were not engaged in hostilities. During the humanitarian pause fighting continued, with Israel bombing the market in the Shujaieh neighborhood of Gaza City, causing significant loss of life. Also, the UNRWA compound was impacted by fragmentation of air strikes in the close proximity.
Subsequent to the killing of three soldiers, media reported that a tunnel was built under an UNRWA clinic. These reports were confirmed by the IDF as inaccurate and UNRWA has no facilities in the affected area.
Reportedly there were 100 rockets and 88 mortar shells fired towards Israel. There were also reports that 135 air-to-ground missiles were fired into Gaza in addition to 115 navy shells. The IDF – inside Gaza or positioned at the border – fired 1,205 tank shells in to populated areas. Reportedly, 43 houses were bombarded.
Five additional UNRWA installations were reported damaged during this period, all of them schools.
An estimated 106 UNRWA installations have been damaged since 1 June, 2014, many of them on multiple occasions. UNRWA is still to verify this number when the security situation allows.
More information on the second revision of the flash appeal can be found here: here.
Following the escalation in violence between Gaza and Israel in November 2012 an understanding was reached between Hamas and Israel, mediated by Egypt. 2013 was subsequently the quietest year in a decade, in terms of hostilities between Israel and Gaza. Events in 2014, however, have led to a profound deterioration in the situation.
On 7 July 2014, UNRWA declared an emergency in all five areas of the Gaza Strip in response to escalating violence between Israel and Hamas. Since then, civilian displacement and fatalities have risen sharply.
The Israeli blockade of Gaza entered its 8th year in June 2014 and continues to have a devastating effect as access to markets and people’s movement to and from the Gaza Strip remain severely restricted. The economy and its capacity to create jobs has been devastated, with the majority of the population becoming dependent on humanitarian aid to meet basic needs. The number of Palestine refugees relying on UNRWA for food aid has increased from fewer than 80,000 in 2000 to over 830,000 today.
Gaza: Facts and Figures
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight.