Occupied Palestinian territory | ActionAid UK

Occupied Palestinian territory

The occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) consists of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip. It has been occupied by Israel since 1967. Three wars have been fought in Gaza since 2008, leaving thousands dead and many more injured and homeless.

Following the humanitarian crisis in Gaza in 2014, ActionAid began an emergency response programme providing cash vouchers for essential supplies like food and water, emotional support for traumatised women and children, and practical opportunities for women to earn money.

Why we work in Gaza

Since 2007, Gaza has been living under a blockade, meaning people and goods are prevented from freely entering and leaving Gaza by land, sea or air. This severely limits basic necessities like food, medicine and building materials from getting into Gaza.

The blockade makes life near impossible for the 1.8 million people who live there – 1.2 million of whom are refugees. Most people have little or no access to essential resources such as electricity, water, and sewage removal.

Half the population of Gaza are children. Many have experienced conflict for a large part of their life and are battling with severe trauma and emotional distress. And their education has been affected too: over 250 schools were damaged or destroyed in 2014 alone.

The blockade, repeated conflict and increasing poverty has had a devastating impact on Gaza’s economy. Three out of seven people are unemployed, giving Gaza the highest unemployment rate in the world.

Why we work in the West Bank

Many Palestinians living in the West Bank are faced with little or no access to basic rights such as water, electricity, health, sanitation, education or livelihood, and are unable to build homes or infrastructure.

Palestinian people face systematic human rights violations including unlawful demolitions, forced displacement and arbitrary arrests and few have adequate access to legal representation. A system of checkpoints and closures severely limits freedom of movement.

More than a half million Israeli settlers live in 237 “settlements” in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, all of which are illegal under international law.


Nada, 11, her sister and two brothers in their home in Gaza. Through child sponsorship ActionAid has set up children’s clubs in Gaza — providing a safe environment for Nada and her siblings to play, including emotional and extra-curricular support

Photo: ActionAid

What we do in oPT

The 2014 war on Gaza has caused thousands of children in oPt to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Years after witnessing bloodshed and destruction, many children still show signs of severe emotional distress such as bed wetting and nightmares. More than 70% of children worry about another war.

Through a partnership with Fekra Arts Institute, we give children psychosocial support in the form of a series of workshops focussed on art, drama and storytelling which help them deal with their grief.

Across oPt women have one of the highest education levels in the Middle East region, yet nearly three times more men are in paid employment. We help women to earn their own income by offering them the training and resources they need — from sewing equipment to business skills - and connect them with other women who need help so they can support one another in the long term.

How we’re changing lives for good in oPt

We run psychosocial and economic support projects to help women and children from some of the poorest and most marginalised communities in Gaza and the West Bank.