The most serious escalation of hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza since the 2014 conflict took place between 10 and 21 May 2021. Armed groups fired more than 4,300 rockets towards cities and towns across southern and central Israel, while Israeli forces carried out over 1,500 strikes from air, land and sea across Gaza. In parallel, there was a significant rise in protests, clashes and arrests across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as in some communities in Israel. These events have resulted in significant loss of life, human suffering and destruction of property including civilian infrastructure.
The protracted protection crisis means that around 2.45 million Palestinians across the oPt, 64 per cent of whom are in the Gaza Strip and 36 per cent in the West Bank, experience or are at risk of conflict, violence and forcible displacement/transfer. The most recent confrontation has exacerbated the already severe protection needs throughout the oPt and in particular in Gaza.
This protection analysis is focused on the recent escalation of violence across the oPt with a specific focus on Gaza. Additional future in-depth protection analysis will be carried out separately for the West Bank including East Jerusalem.
The priority protection risks for Gaza have been identified as follows: psychological distress amongst children and vulnerable groups; specific risks facing women and girls including GBV; explosive remnants of war. For the West Bank including East Jerusalem, the main risk identified is the deterioration in mental and physical well-being, caused by the threat of arbitrary arrest and unlawful detention, excessive use of force and settler violence. These risks and their inherent threats are mutually reinforcing with specific groups such as women and persons with disabilities suffering from multiple vulnerabilities.