Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel

Girl painting mural OPTI

Poverty takes many forms. In the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), (the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip) nearly a quarter of the people live below the poverty line, with their prospects for work, and a safe, healthy life severely limited by living under Israeli occupation.

The burden of the decades-long conflict with Israel, and the ongoing occupation, are causing debilitating hardship for these communities.

Oxfam works to help communities in the OPT to earn a living and to ensure that they have access to food and water as well as education. We respond in humanitarian crises. And we are helping to build a strong civil society so that human rights will be upheld and communities will have a say in the decisions that affect them.

Our work

Oxfam has been working in the OPT and Israel since the 1950s, and established a country office in the 1980s. We work in the most vulnerable communities in Gaza, East Jerusalem, and Area C, the 61% of the West Bank where the government of Israel maintains full military and civil control. In the past we have also worked with impoverished communities in Israel.

Oxfam works with more than 60 Palestinian and Israeli partner organizations. Together we are finding ways to improve the livelihoods and rights of these communities.

In Gaza, home to 1.7 million Palestinians, the 7-year Israeli blockade limits their mobility and access to jobs, and access to even basic necessities such as food, water and fuel. The blockade has devastated the economy - there is a 40 percent unemployment rate in Gaza, exports have fallen to just 3 percent of the pre-blockade levels, and 80 percent of the population relies on aid.

In the West Bank, Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law, deprive rural farming and herding communities of their traditional livelihood because farmers are unable to build or access their land and water. Palestinians are rarely allowed to build, and their properties are confiscated and frequently demolished to make way for Israeli settlements.

Restrictions on movement, land and resources cost the Palestinian economy around $3.4 billion a year according to the World Bank and leave many families unable to support themselves.

Poverty in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is exacerbated by poor governance and gender inequality. Oxfam is sharing its respected rights-based approach to make progress.

Our 2014 budget in the OPT and Israel is around €22 million. Our major donors include: the European Union (EU), the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), the World Food Programme, and the governments of the Netherlands, the UK, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, and Italy.

West Bank/East Jerusalem

In the West Bank Oxfam helps olive farmers improve the quality of their produce and get it to markets, and we help herders to care for their animals. We advocate for the rights of communities to stay on their land, and we promote the rights of women and marginalized groups to participate in the decision-making that affects their lives. In East Jerusalem we help women start small businesses, help local partners to improve school buildings, and ensure legal support to help residents stay in their city.

Gaza

We work with farmers and fishermen who are prevented from accessing their livelihoods. We supply safe water and sanitation, and run a food-voucher project that ensures families have enough to eat and supports the local economy. We help local producers improve the quality of their produce and get it to market. We help local civil society to advocate for their rights, and have provided emergency aid during military escalations and floods.

Oxfam condemns all violence against civilians by all sides. We want to see peace, security and prosperity for both Israelis and Palestinians. We believe that real progress towards justice and the elimination of poverty in the OPT and Israel can only be achieved through an end to the occupation and a just and durable solution to the conflict.

Oxfam supports a two-state solution, as called-for by the international community.