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Occupied Palestinian Territories

HI’s mandate in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem is to improve the daily lives of people with disabilities and the most vulnerable.

HI's information stand at an event in Gaza, April 2015

HI's information stand at an event in Gaza, April 2015 | © Tom Shelton / HI

Our actions

HI has been working in the Occupied Palestinian Territories since 1996. The programme’s main mandate has been to support organisations of people with disabilities. In 1999, HI launched an initiative to educate people about the risks of landmines and other explosive remnants of war. A large number of development activities have since been implemented in partnership with local associations in the fields of functional rehabilitation, psychosocial support, access to education and adaptation of homes for people with disabilities.

In 2023, projects include improving access to basic services for people with disabilities, including rehabilitation and psychosocial support. HI supports the inclusion of children with disabilities in mainstream schools. The programme is also leading a project aimed at improving the inclusion of people with disabilities in crisis contingency plans. HI has also supported poor households living with a person with disabilities and affected by the COVID-19 crisis through temporary food assistance and sustainable economic recovery.

Since October 7 and the escalation of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, HI has been responding to the crisis in Gaza with emergency rehabilitation, distribution of assistive devices, and psychosocial support for the displaced people.

Areas of intervention

Latest stories

“School has become a scary place”
© HI
Emergency Inclusion

“School has become a scary place”

Salam is the director of the Boys Elementary School in Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. She tells us about the dangers of teaching in a context of armed violence.

“We need double the amount of supplies”
HI
Emergency Health Rehabilitation

“We need double the amount of supplies”

Wala provides nursing care to people in their homes and in the shelters. She talks to us about her life, her work and the situation in Gaza.

“There will be a significant increase in the number of people with disabilities in Gaza”
© S. Sulaiman / HQ
Emergency

“There will be a significant increase in the number of people with disabilities in Gaza”

Humanity & Inclusion physiotherapist Maria Marelli makes regular visit in Rafah to support our team. She tells us about her experience.

Background

Map of HI's interventions in Palestinian territories

With the ongoing crisis with Israel and long-standing blockade of the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian people, including people with disabilities, get by as best they can.

Up until October 2023, the conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories became more tense and Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank became more vulnerable. The already deteriorating socio-economic situation, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, worsened significantly. Due to a lack of employment opportunities, restrictions on the movement of goods and people, etc., the unemployment rate skyrocketed during the year. With service sectors and non-governmental organisations resources stretched thin, Palestinians were struggling to meet their basic needs – especially people with disabilities, who are often overlooked and lack proper representation in development and relief efforts.

Since October 7th, due to the escalation of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, the humanitarian situation in Gaza has reached catastrophic levels. Approximately 75% of Gaza's population, totalling 2.3 million people, have been displaced, facing severe shortages of food, water, shelter, and medicine. As of February 6th, at least 30,00 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, with 70,000 injured, leading to significant risks of further complications and long-term disabilities due to the scarcity of hygiene and medical services.

Violence has also escalated in the West Bank since October 7th: 380 Palestinians have been killed and 4,500 injured, including in East Jerusalem (Feb. 2024).

Number of HI staff members: 37

Date the programme opened: 1996

Where we work