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U.N. Appeals for $547 Million to Support Palestinians | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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(L to R) High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gather before a Middle East Quartet Principals Meeting during the during the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 23, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Tel Aviv – The United Nations has informed the Palestinian Authority that it has launched an appeal for $547 million to help 1.6 million people in the Palestinian territories in 2017.

The response covers 1.1 million residents of Gaza, which has been under an Israeli blockade for the past decade, and half a million people in the occupied West Bank.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) issued a report that encompassed the occupied West Bank as well as East Jerusalem, where Israeli authorities demolished or seized 1,089 Palestinian-owned structures since the beginning of 2016 until Dec. 28.

The “vast majority” of the Palestinian structures were destroyed or seized for lacking Israeli-issued building permits, according to the report.

The unprecedented demolition campaign left some 1,593 Palestinians homeless and affected the livelihoods of another 7,101, according to preliminary analysis of data collected by OCHA.

OCHA’s report also documented an increase on restrictions to movement and access of people in the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip.

The U.N. agency documented a 5 percent increase in Israeli military obstacles across the occupied West Bank compared to 2015, though they recorded 15 fewer permanently staffed checkpoints that became partially staffed in 2016.

The Plan seeks US $547 million in donor funding to implement 243 projects by 95 organizations, including 47 national and 35 international NGOs, and 13 U.N. agencies. Nearly 70 per cent of the requested funds target Gaza, where humanitarian needs are highest due to the blockade and recurrent hostilities.

OCHA’s newly released records of home demolitions came as Israel has come under increasing international pressure to cease building illegal settlements on Palestinian land in the occupied territory, with the U.N. Security Council passing a resolution condemning the Israeli policy last week.