Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel

Aya Kishko opened a carpentry workshop and developed an environmental friendly method to create furniture by recycling used wood pallets that comes into Gaza as packaging for the few goods that are allowed in. Credit: Lorenzo Tugnoli/ Oxfam/ Contrasto

32.347482, 35.623169

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 the Israeli occupation.

More than fifty years since the end of the six-day war, Israel’s Occupation of the Palestinian Territory (OPT) has permeated into every facet of everyday life for the 4.8 million Palestinians living in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.

The burden of the conflict and the ongoing occupation are causing debilitating hardship for communities. 50 percent of the population rely on aid, almost 2 million people are trapped inside Gaza with little access to the most basic services.  Millions of Palestinians are denied the right to movement and are separated from their families and opportunities.

Oxfam works with a range of partners to help communities to earn a living and to ensure that they have access to food and water as well as education. We respond to 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.

The blockade of Gaza

The illegal Israeli blockade has been in place for more than a decade. The consequences are huge and the humanitarian needs enormous: It has devastated Gaza’s economy, left most people unable to leave Gaza, have access to food, water, essential services such as healthcare and education, and cut Palestinians off from each other.

Besides, the blockade prevents trading with the outside world and markets in the West Bank and restricts vital reconstruction material from entering. Massive fuel shortages have led to power cuts of up to 20 hours, leaving hospitals, schools and small businesses struggling to keep going, and water and sanitation systems often failing.

80 percent of the population relies on humanitarian aid to survive. Many key industries have been decimated and 50 percent of youth are unemployed - the highest rate in the world.

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 percent of the West Bank where the government of Israel maintains full military and civil control.

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 products and get it to markets, and support herders to care for their animals.

In East Jerusalem, we help women start small businesses, support local partners to improve school buildings, and ensure legal support to help residents stay in their city.

Gaza

Working with partners, our humanitarian and development work helps around 700,000 people in Gaza affected by the crisis and impoverished by the Israeli blockade.

We work with farmers and fishermen who are prevented from accessing their livelihoods. We supply safe water and sanitation, help local producers improve the quality of their products and get it to market, work with local civil society to advocate for their rights, and have provided emergency aid during military escalations and floods.

We campaign for lasting peace, security for all civilians, respect for international law and an end to the blockade.

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. 

8 international humanitarian and development agencies (Oxfam, Diakonia, Première Urgence Internationale, MdM France, American Friends Service Committee, Middle East Children's Alliance, Danish Church Aid and Christian Aid) have issued a statement calling upon third states to take effective action to stop the annexation of territory. 

As INGO’s operating in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), we witness on a daily basis the humanitarian impact on families of the ongoing de facto annexation on Palestinian people in the Jordan Valley and across Area C. Up to 150 Palestinian villages and hamlets in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem), home to 140,000 people, may fall within the newly annexed areas. Palestinians in and near annexed areas will experience increased poverty and rights violations, including violating Palestinian territorial integrity.

We urge third states to take initiate immediate and proportional diplomatic restrictive measures in relation to any annexation of territory. We call on the European Union, including all 27 Member States, to follow consistent EU Foreign Affairs policy and hold all governments that acquire land by force accountable to the same standards. 

Beyond annexation, the status quo is neither acceptable or sustainable. Annexation is yet another moment that demonstrates the systemic inequality and discrimination that defines the relationship between Palestinians and Israelis.

Read our joint statement