State of Palestine Appeal
Humanitarian Action for Children
UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children appeal helps support the agency’s work as it provides conflict- and disaster-affected children with access to water, sanitation, nutrition, education, health and protection services. Return to main appeal page.
State of Palestine snapshot
- Around 2.1 million people in the State of Palestine need humanitarian assistance, among them 1 million children.
- The prolonged conflict, renewed escalations, and 15 years of closure in the Gaza Strip have contributed to the dire living conditions and restriction of movements, including children and goods. The situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is caught in a downward spiral of violence, increasing children's vulnerability.
- The first seven months of 2023 witnessed the death of 41 children (35 Palestinian and 6 Israeli).
- UNICEF continues to buttress preparedness throughout its programming, strengthening the humanitarian and development nexus and fulfilling its Core Commitments for Children.
- UNICEF requires US$23.8 million to respond to the humanitarian situation in the State of Palestine. This funding will allow prioritizing access to gender-responsive child protection and psychosocial support and access to channels to report sexual exploitation and abuse. It will also help procure medical, nutritional, and water supplies, provide quality emergency education, and strengthen shock-responsive social protection.
Key planned results for 2023
145,432 children and women accessing primary health care
27,140 children and adolescents participating in after-school interventions and/or summer activities to support their well being
332,000 people accessing a sufficient quantity and quality of water
50,000 people sharing their concerns and asking questions through feedback mechanisms
Funding requirements for 2023
Country needs and strategy
The State of Palestine is one of the most complex and challenging environments in which the United Nations operates. A protracted protection crisis persists due to ongoing occupation, with around 2.1 million people requiring humanitarian assistance, including 1 million children.
The situation is compounded by the Gaza Strip’s closure, recurrent escalation of hostilities, Palestinian internal divisions, fiscal crisis, slow economic recovery, and climate change. These factors have led to a strain on the socio-economic and cultural fabric of Palestinian society, with healthcare systems, the economy, and employment severely affected.
Violence continues in 2023. As of 5 July 2023, 35 Palestinian children (seven in the Gaza Strip and 28 in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem) and six Israeli children were killed in conflict-related violence. In May 2023, children in and around the Gaza Strip witnessed another intense escalation of hostilities. In July 2023, the Israeli Forces carried out a wide-scale operation in Jenin. Both periods of violence led to casualties and extensive damage, further worsening the already dire situation for children and their families. Violence, military operations, and arrests are expected to continue, as well as demolitions and evictions.
The high rate of unemployment and lack of economic opportunities is impacting many households, increasing their dependency on aid/assistance, particularly in the Gaza Strip, and contributing to their high reliance on negative coping mechanisms.
In the Gaza Strip, 40 per cent of households reported at least one member of their household experiencing signs of psychosocial distress or trauma last year. Overall, 1.9 million people are severely affected by protection concerns, of whom 678,000 need child protection services, and 816,000 need mental health and psychosocial support. In the West Bank, protection concerns are directly linked to the safety of children at school or traveling to and from school, non-enrollment of children in school, or children dropping out of school. Dropout rates in the West Bank are estimated at 19 per cent, primarily due to protection risks and school closures. The education situation was further impacted by the extended teachers’ strike, affecting more than 600,000 students in the West Bank. Additionally, two schools were demolished this year, and another 58 schools are under threat of demolition. Around 5.7 per cent of school-age children in the Gaza Strip dropped out of school during the 2021-2022 academic year due to school-related expenses, children's need to work, or schools not being inclusive. Also, the recent escalation in the Gaza Strip has led to the damage of 49 education facilities. Thus, 608,500 people will need education support in 2023.
Essential healthcare and nutritional needs are high, driven by the high cost of services, access problems in Area C, H2, and East Jerusalem, and lack of availability of treatment and medicine in the Gaza Strip, affecting 1.6 million people, including 809,000 children.
Most Gaza Strip households have piped water, yet only 3.2 per cent use it for drinking. In the West Bank, households have to revert to other strategies to overcome the lack of sufficient drinking water. In total, 1.4 million people are in need of humanitarian support to improve access to safe drinking water.
In 2023, UNICEF will continue to address the most acute humanitarian needs in the State of Palestine while working closely with partners to foster synergies between the organization's humanitarian and development work. In collaboration with the authorities, UNICEF will support systems strengthening across all sectors. UNICEF will also generate evidence on the impact of violence and grave violations on children and education-related incidents for high-level advocacy with all parties.
UNICEF will improve access and use of child protection services for the most vulnerable, while the education sector will support access to mental health and psychosocial support interventions and the continuity of quality learning in safe and inclusive learning environments. Due to significant learning losses, UNICEF will provide remedial education and essential learning materials in the Gaza Strip.
UNICEF will provide life-saving health and nutrition interventions, including essential newborn care and support for infant and young child feeding in emergencies. UNICEF will support the provision of quality age- and gender-responsive health, nutrition, and development services and procuring essential medical and nutrition supplies. The WASH programme will address critical humanitarian needs by ensuring equitable, affordable, sustainable, and safely managed access to WASH services. UNICEF will provide water treatment chemicals for safe water, improve WASH services at the community level, schools, and health facilities, flood mitigation and provide hygiene supplies to promote personal hygiene.
UNICEF will continue the roll-out of the shock-responsive child-sensitive social protection programme, aiming at strengthening the national cash transfer programme while reducing households’ vulnerabilities by providing cash transfers to meet basic needs and raising awareness of essential practices.
Social and behavioral change will be mainstreamed, addressing key gender and stigma-related barriers through community engagement and empowerment. With the Humanitarian Country Team and other United Nations agencies, UNICEF will roll out initiatives to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse and accountability to affected populations, ensuring appropriate reporting mechanisms are in place at all levels.
With a presence in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and in the Gaza Strip, UNICEF will ensure access to affected populations while promoting local-level partnerships and community (including adolescent and youth) participation.
Preparedness will be embedded throughout the programmes, seeking opportunities to enhance the humanitarian and development nexus, risk-informed programming, and fulfill UNICEF Core Commitments for Children. Risk monitoring and management will be prioritized. Minimum emergency supplies will be pre-positioned, with contingency agreements with key partners, including local non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations, for a timely response.
UNICEF will continue to lead the WASH Cluster, the Child Protection Area of Responsibility, and the Nutrition Working Group and co-lead the Education Cluster.
Humanitarian Action is at the core of UNICEF’s mandate to realize the rights of every child. This edition of Humanitarian Action for Children – UNICEF’s annual humanitarian fundraising appeal – describes the ongoing crises affecting children in the State of Palestine; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.