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Israel primary cause of Palestinian suffering: UN report

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This picture taken on April 30, 2016 shows Palestinian men in Gaza City working on the remains of a building destroyed during the 50-day Israeli war. ©AFP

A UN report says Israel's occupation of the West Bank and its blockade of Gaza is the primary cause for Palestinian “humanitarian vulnerabilities.”

The annual report is the fifth of its kind, published by the Palestinian branch of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Titled “Fragmented Lives,” the report bills itself as a “comprehensive overview of the underlying causes or drivers of the humanitarian vulnerabilities” in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Israel is the major cause of the Palestinian suffering, it said, characterizing Egypt’s role in the blockade of Gaza as the second-tier cause.

“Humanitarian needs in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) continue to be driven by practices related to Israel’s prolonged occupation and continued conflict,” it said.

Palestinians are suffering most acutely in Gaza, the report said, citing Israel's invasion of the territory in 2014 and its eight-year blockade of the enclave which is home to 1.8 million people.

2015 saw highest fatalities in a decade

In the West Bank, “fatalities and injuries among West Bank Palestinians by Israeli forces were the highest since OCHA began recording such figures in 2005,” it added.

The report further touched on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and violence by settlers against Palestinians.

“The longstanding phenomenon of settler violence, compounded by insufficient law enforcement by the Israeli authorities, has also undermined the physical security and livelihoods of Palestinian communities,” it said.

“Documented cases of settler attacks, trespassing and forceful takeover of land, suggest that violence is often being carried out as part of a calculated effort by settlers to push Palestinian farmers from what has subsequently become de facto Israeli-controlled areas.”

According to OCHA, the number of Palestinian-owned trees damaged, stolen or uprooted in settler-related incidents was the highest since 2006 at 11,254.

 Palestinian girls carry empty containers on March 22, 2016 in the town of Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip. © AFP

The report further criticized Israeli crackdown, saying the regime held more Palestinians in jail by the end of 2015 than any year, with the number standing at over 6,000. 

As many as 422 Palestinian children were held by Israel in the period, which was the highest since 2008.

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