Field Operation


Across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), the protection crisis is driven by a lack of respect for international humanitarian and human rights law, lack of accountability and shrinking civic space, which exacerbates both the severity of risks and multitude of needs. Physical and administrative measures put in place by Israel throughout the oPt, continue to restrict Palestinian movement, undermine access to basic services, as well as hinder the ability of protection organizations to provide support.

In Gaza, the crisis is marked by a military blockade since 2008, affecting all aspects of life, violations of international law by both Israel and Gaza de facto authorities, unresolved internal Palestinian political divisions and recurrent hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups, notably four major escalations in 14 years.

In the West Bank including East Jerusalem, the situation is characterized by more than 55 years of Israeli military occupation, recurrent spikes in violence and use of force by Israeli Forces, settler violence and intra-Palestinian violence. A coercive environment driven by a number of factors including polices, practices and administrative measures being implemented by Israel, intensified by continued presence, expansion and impact of Israeli settlements, places Palestinians at risk of forcible transfer and forces vulnerable households to an increased reliance on negative coping strategies.


Protection Issues

The Protection Cluster, Areas of Responsibility (AoRs) and partners in the oPt have identified the below severe protection risks and inherent threats that must be urgently addressed and require immediate prioritization. The risks are mutually reinforcing with specific groups such as women, children and persons with disabilities exposed to multiple vulnerabilities across the risks.

  • Deterioration in physical well-being due to violence and conflict

Killings & injuries resulting from IF excessive use of force | Arbitrary arrests, detention and torture or ill-treatment | Infringements on freedom of association, peaceful assembly and of opinion and expression | Restrictions on freedom of movement and impediments to access to services, resources, humanitarian assistance and opportunities | Settler Violence (West Bank) | Violence in Refugee Camps (IF operations & Intra-Palestinian violence) (West Bank)

  • Displacement and risk of forcible transfer

Coercive environment: Evictions, Demolitions, Settler violence, Residency rights, Restrictions on movement and access to land, resources and basic services (West Bank) | Internal displacement due to active hostilities/escalations of violence and evictions (Gaza)

  • Psychosocial distress and deterioration in mental well-being

Conflict, escalations of violence and prolonged periods of high tensions | Political situation | Insecurity and violence, including threats of home demolitions, arrests, night raids and settler violence (West Bank) | Physical assault and/or psychological or emotional abuse in the home and communities

  • Child protection threats / Grave violations against children

Use of force and violence against children by IF and settlers resulting in killing and maiming | Arbitrary arrest and detention of children, incl. ill-treatment | Violence against children in the home, schools and communities (incl. abuse, neglect and exploitation) and impact on mental well-being | Violence against children | Negative coping mechanisms

  • Specific protection risks facing women and girls

Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in all its form | Child, early, and forced marriages (CEFM) | Lack of access to services including safe shelter

  • Explosive Remnants of War (ERW)

Lack of resilience-based coping mechanisms of affected communities to prepare and protect themselves during escalations | Hindrance of safe movement, delivery of life-saving and emergency assistance, and access to basic services (Gaza)


Cluster Operation

The Protection Cluster is part of the Humanitarian Coordination Structure in oPt and is accountable to the UN DSRSG/Humanitarian Coordinator. It is a broad-based, participatory forum, comprising on an equal basis United Nations agencies, local and international non-governmental organisations with protection mandates in both the Gaza Strip and West Bank.  

Four Areas of Responsibility (AORs) feed into the PC: Child Protection and Mental Health and Psycho-Social Support (MHPSS), Gender-based Violence (GBV), Legal Aid and Mine Action. 

A Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) supports the Protection Cluster Coordinator to develop and implement the strategic framework, priorities, and workplan for the cluster. 

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oPt Protection Cluster Team

Connie Pedersen

Protection Cluster Coordinator

George Rock

Information Management Officer

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