11 July 2020

London - The World Population Day is an occasion to illustrate the mission of the government and civil society and their responsibility to provide access to human rights for the population. This day represents an opportunity for Palestinian government and civil society to act upon the need to provide an urgent protection for the Palestinian population at risk in the Gaza Strip, West Bank, occupied Palestinian lands, and the diaspora.

This international day sheds the light on the substantial sociodemographic changes that alerts bleak Palestinian future, especially in Gaza.  According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the population density in Palestine is high in general and in Gaza Strip in particular. The estimated population density for 2019 was about 826 individuals / km2 in Palestine, by 528 individuals / km2 in the West Bank compared to 5,453 individuals / km2 in the Gaza Strip. In this regard, 11% of Palestinian households are headed by females, 12% in the West Bank and 9% in the Gaza Strip, while the gap between available sources and people’s needs continues to widen.The International Platform of NGOs working for Palestine, iPalestine, asserts that these are only some of the consequences of Israel’s ongoing violations of International humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL). These violations span the rights to housing, health, dignity, and health. With the strict and inhuman blockade applied over 14 years in Gaza and the tight closure on the West Bank, the economic sectors have all been extremely affected, mainly because of the restrictions applied by Israel on imports and exports. In the meantime, people’s resilience in face of increasing oppression has been seriously undermined.  

The hardship of the Palestinian population expands to include the spatial suffering. The potential of finding safe, affordable, and private housing has been reduced. Israel continues its strategy of destroying buildings, including residential complexes, and expelling thousands of people out of their houses leaving them with no shelter with a very short notice. According to specific Palestinian civil society organizations, from 2008 until July 2019, 46,599 residential houses have been targeted by the Israeli forces, with 11,290 of them been totally demolished and 35,309 partially destroyed. This has led to the displacement of 392,345 Palestinian, including 136,098 women and 192,473 children. This has expanded to include the severe restrictions imposed by the Israeli forces on imported construction materials in order to deny displaced people’s right to housing. This comes at a time when the International support for housing projects has also been reduced, leaving over 400 families of refugees whose houses were destroyed stopped receiving rent aid every month, leading to the aggravation of the population’s living conditions. These have negatively impacted all categories of the Palestinian society and challenge the well-being of the Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank individually and collectively.

Civil society organizations concerned with the rights of the Population’s rights and needs in Palestine assures that the incline within the economic effectivity, which led to the decline within the levels of production, is aggravated with the existence of the Palestinian internal division. Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, and while hundreds of Palestinians were unwillingly sent to early retirement or having their salaries significantly cut, nearly one third of the population – 32.7 percent, or 1.6 million people – could not afford nutritious food. retirement or having their salaries significantly cut, the rate of food-insecurity among Palestinian families in Gaza, for example, jumped to reach 68.5%.

The suffering of the Palestinian population expands to include the fact that their access to healthcare has been negatively impacted. The lack of urgent necessities in terms of medicine and medical support in the public hospitals and clinics continues to be a vital issue especially in Gaza. According to civil society organizations in Gaza, starting from June 2019, the number of zero-stock medicines reached 257, where the deficit rate increased to reach 49.8%, and the number of zero-stock medical urgent needs reached 213, raising the percentage of deficit to 25%. The most dramatic facet of this deficit is that of 29 medicines for mothers and children only nine are available.

Therefore, and on the World Population Day, iPalestine, and relying on the United Nation’s adoption of the Sustainable Development GoalS (SDG) along with many other international treaties that calls for the rights of the population, sounds an alarm against the dramatic consequences of Israel’s ongoing pressure on the Palestinian population and their living conditions that has been leading to a serious de-development and expanding the poverty rate that impacts the entire generations. Such outcomes are natural consequences of the ongoing violations of human rights and different categories of collective punishment.

iPalestine calls on all members of the international community to honour their legal and humanitarian commitments and obligation regarding the rights and needs of the Palestinian population. Therefore, on the World Population Day, iPalestine calls on:

  • The international community to apply pressure and sanctions on Israel to stop its systematic violations for the International conventions and treaties including IHL and IHRL, and to commit to their legal adherence as the occupying power.
  • Countries around the world to apply actions through their political and economic contribution as a way to achieve the goal of resolving the protracted crisis in Gaza in specific and Palestinian population in general.
  • Civil Society organizations to devote its funds and missions for the goal of fulfilling the basic needs of the Palestinian population in the West Bank, Gaza, the Occupied lands 48, and in the diaspora.
  • Government to work on achieving reconciliation within both political parties in order to work hand in hand for the sake of the population’s sake and rights. While the outcomes and consequences of this crisis are humanitarian, its causes are just political and any sustainable resolution intervention should mainly call on the Palestinian authorities and political powers to bridge the prolonged political divisions and prioritize ensuring the dignity and the resilience of their constituent population by ensuring due respect and protection of their human rights.