A new report from The Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA), a coalition of more than 70 INGOs working in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), documents the grim reality of life under occupation. The report, 50 Years of Occupation: Dispossession, Deprivation and De-development,illustrates the systemic, decades-long squeeze of Palestinian economic prospects and human rights.
The report also documents how the Oslo Accords of the 1990s were never fully implemented, leaving Palestinians in a state of prolonged hopelessness. In the 25 years since the first Oslo Accords, the oPt has become more fragmented and the occupation more entrenched. Meanwhile, the number of settlers in the West Bank has more than doubled.
“We see daily how difficult life is for Palestinians under occupation. They struggle with poverty and unemployment, restricted movement and access to essential services, as a result of Israeli policies, coupled with exploitation of water, land, and other natural resources,” said William Bell, Head of Middle East Policy and Advocacy, Christian Aid.
50 years of Israeli occupation have had dire economic consequences for Palestinians in the oPt. In addition to stifling the Palestinian economy, Israel’s persistent and widespread violations of international law have created growing humanitarian needs and adversely affected the protection of Palestinians.
In Area C of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, communities are at risk of forcible transfer because of continued settlement expansion, demolition of homes, infrastructure, and livelihood structures, as well as an unlawful planning regime that makes it almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits. In Gaza, ten years of blockade has crippled access to health and other essential services, stalled economic development, and increased dependency on humanitarian assistance.
“Despite increasing health needs, Israeli policies obstruct the construction and development of medical infrastructure and the professional development of health-workers. As health services fall further behind, higher numbers of Palestinians need to travel for treatment yet Israel is blocking many of them, with higher numbers of patients subsequently dying,” said Aimee Shalan, CEO of Medical Aid for Palestinians.
AIDA hopes that this new report will draw attention to the economic dependency trap which the Palestinian economy is caught in, the deepening humanitarian needs of Palestinians in the oPt, and Israel’s recurrent violations of international law, and calls on third states to work towards ending the
“The only solution to improving the lives of Palestinians in the oPt in any meaningful way is to end Israel’s 50-year-long occupation”, Chris Eijkemans, Oxfam’s Country Director stated.