Protection Analysis Update - occupied Palestinian territory: Gaza


The escalation of hostilities in Gaza over the past eight months has resulted in levels of destruction, loss of civilian life and collapse of humanitarian conditions, unfolding on an unprecedented scale. Despite repeated appeals to protect civilians and civilian objects and safeguard the delivery of life saving humanitarian aid throughout Gaza, there has been little change in the way hostilities have been conducted. At the time of this report, conditions throughout Gaza have materially worsened and fighting has intensified. So too have the protection risks facing Gazans. Civilians have borne the brunt of these hostilities.

The introduction of Israel’s blockade over Gaza in 2007 and recurrent escalations conditioned nearly two decades of ‘de-development’ in Gaza and resulted in a chronic and protracted humanitarian and human development crisis. Before the most recent crisis, two thirds of Palestinians lived in poverty, below many metrics of conventional definitions of acceptable access to essential water, electricity, and services. Palestinians living in Gaza now face an unparalleled collapse in their coping mechanisms due to the catastrophic – and systematic – destruction of the fabric of their lives: mass loss of life including of whole families and of carers within families, enormous personal risk and strain, multiple mass forced displacements, families and communities torn apart, social structures and services decimated, hospitals, schools, sanitation and energy infrastructure, municipal buildings destroyed – all further compounded by the total siege, the effects of which have continued in parts of Gaza despite easing of some restrictions in November, as well other unlawful restrictions on, and interference with, humanitarian access and movement. This analysis of the current situation acknowledges the extraordinary efforts of protection colleagues, partners and community members that strive to provide support and services, while being systematic targets of the same threats affecting the population in Gaza. At least 262 aid workers have been killed since the start of the hostilities, the majority being UNRWA staff.

In Gaza most of the 15 protection risks monitored by the Protection Cluster are at the highest levels of severity. This analysis focuses on the following five risks identified by partners for urgent attention and response:

  1. Attacks on civilians and other unlawful killings, and attacks on civilian objects
  2. Child and Forced Family Separation (Unaccompanied and Separated Children)
  3. Gender Based Violence
  4. Presence of mines and other Explosive Ordnance
  5. Abduction, kidnapping, enforced disappearance, arbitrary or unlawful arrest and/or detention