Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel
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 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.
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.
The blockade of Gaza
- The blockade - now in place for nine years - has devastated Gaza's economy, left most people unable to leave Gaza, restricted people from essential services such as healthcare and education, and cut Palestinians in Gaza off from those in the West Bank.
- More than 43% of people in Gaza – more than 60% of youth - are now unemployed. The highest unemployment rate in the world. 80% of people rely on humanitarian aid.
- Many key industries, such as the construction industry, have been decimated as essential materials are not allowed into Gaza. Of the 23,500 homes left in need of reconstruction by 2014 hostilities, only 4,180 have been rebuilt.
- Exports fell to less than 15% of their pre-blockade levels, with heavy restrictions on the transfer of agricultural produce and other goods to Palestinian markets in the West Bank.
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.
Oxfam in Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel
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. I
In total we work with more than 60 Palestinian and Israeli partner organizations. Together we are finding ways to improve the livelihoods and rights of these communities.
West Bank/East Jerusalem
In the West Bank 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. We also help olive farmers improve the quality of their produce and get it to markets, and support herders to care for their animals. 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.
Two years on from the onset of the 2014 war, the humanitarian needs remain enormous. Gaza has witnessed its worst destruction in decades and an already vulnerable civilian population has been left even more vulnerable.
Oxfam condemns all violence against civilians. A permanent ceasefire, accountability of all parties for ongoing violations of international law, and an end to the Israeli blockade are needed urgently.
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, which supports the local economy and ensures that families have enough to eat. 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.
Our work in Gaza is supported by numerous donors. These include: ECHO, DFID, DEC, Danida, WFP, SIDA, DFATD, the Italian and Belgian governments and Oxfam's public appeals around the world.