THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY (oPt) — THE WEST BANK, INCLUDING EAST JERUSALEM, AND THE GAZA STRIP — HAS EXPERIENCED CONFLICT FOR MORE THAN 65 YEARS. THIS CONFLICT HAS CREATED THE WORLD’S LARGEST REFUGEE POPULATION.
Save the Children has been working for children in the Middle East since 1953.
Save the Children in the oPt works with government, local partners and stakeholders on providing quality education, protection for children, greater access to health care, and employment opportunities for youth at risk, with a focus on those whose rights are most infringed. Save the Children also works to strengthen the capacities of civil society organisations and local partners to promote child rights issues, and to increase the participation of children in the decisions which affect their lives.
Palestinian children and their families continue to live in an environment characterized by violence, poverty and insecurity. Although there has been some progress towards achieving children’s rights in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), 1.97 million children (48.6% of the total population) continue to suffer from the impact of occupation and intra-Palestinian division. In the West Bank, restrictions on movement and access, home demolitions and forced displacement have a serious impact on children’s lives. Challenges to life, security, and human dignity are realities for children living in highly vulnerable areas. In Gaza, the long term impacts of the last major military offensive on Gaza in 2008-2009, coupled with the ongoing blockade expose children to violence or deprivation in their daily lives and affects girls and boys in different ways. Severe restrictions on movement in all areas of the country and continuing political instability have depleted family coping mechanisms and led to a significant deterioration of services, affecting all aspects of child well-being.