Israel and the occupied territories: Key Facts and Figures from 7 October 2023 to 31 January 2024
Building on its strong mandate and longstanding presence, and initially drawing on its built-in emergency capacity, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) swiftly adjusted and scaled up its response to address new needs in Israel and Gaza. It also stepped up its response in the West Bank to address the humanitarian consequences of an acute rise in violence further exacerbating people’s ability to cope with the impact of longstanding occupation policies.
The ICRC works in close coordination with its partners in the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, in particular the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and Magen David Adom (MDA) and continues to work closely with local service-providers, communities and other partners on the ground.
Below is a summary of our response so far, including programs addressing ongoing and emerging needs throughout Israel and the occupied territories:
Dialogue on Respect for International Humanitarian Law and Protection of Civilians
- Engaged the parties to the armed conflict to remind them of their obligations under International Humanitarian Law (IHL), and in particular on of the rules governing the conduct of hostilities, the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure, the prohibition of hostage-taking, the protection of the medical mission, the civilian population’s access to essential services, the treatment and family rights of persons arrested and detained, and the dignified management of the dead.
- Monitored respect for IHL throughout Israel and the occupied territories, raising concerns with the parties to the conflict and providing concrete recommendations to prevent IHL violations and minimize human suffering, as part of our continuous bilateral and confidential dialogue.
- Made daily real-time interventions aimed at ensuring better protection of civilians and the medical mission.
- Fostered increased understanding and support for IHL and for principled humanitarian action with national and international stakeholders and actors of influence.
Working to bring families together
- Facilitated the release, transfer and return of 109 hostages from Gaza to their families.
- Facilitated the release, transfer and return of 154 Palestinian detainees from Israeli places of detention to their families.
- Received 5,846 requests from family members seeking to clarify the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones through existing channels and additional emergency hotlines in Arabic, Hebrew, and English. So far, 753 cases have been closed as family contact has been re-established.
- Engaged with 46 families of 77 Israeli citizens taken hostage in Gaza to collect relevant information and to explain the nature and modalities of our work.
- Engaged with 2,733 families of 5,295 Palestinians reported missing in Gaza to collect relevant information to help us clarify the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones.
Ensuring dignified treatment of human remains
- Distributed 11,164 forensic items to facilitate a dignified management, identification and eventual return of human remains to their families. 1,200 items, including face masks, face shields and personal belonging bags were distributed in Israel. Over 9,800 items, including face shields and body bags were distributed in Gaza.
- Provided technical support to Israel’s National Center of Forensic Medicine and continued to work together to strengthen their capacity for the management of complex cases of the missing in armed conflict.
- Ongoing work to assess and strengthen local capacity in Israel and Gaza to enable the identification, recovery and return of human remains to their families.
Monitoring treatment and conditions of detention
- Continued to call on relevant Israeli authorities to resume informing the ICRC of the whereabouts of thousands of Palestinians held in Israeli detention, and to allow for the resumption of ICRC visits and family contacts for these detainees. The ICRC also interacted with 257 released detainees to gather information on their treatment and conditions of detention, informing our engagement with relevant authorities.
- Continued to call for and deploy efforts with Hamas for the release of 136 remaining hostages held in Gaza, for their humane treatment, access to adequate health care, ability to re-establish contact with their families, and for the ICRC to have access to them.
- Visited 314 detainees in 10 places of detention in the occupied Palestinian territory, one in Gaza and nine in the West Bank, to assess and monitor their treatment and conditions of detention. The ICRC also helped improve conditions of detention for 12 detainees held in Palestinian detention facilities.
Supporting vulnerable people in meeting basic needs and sustaining livelihoods
- 50,000 vulnerable individuals (or 10,000 vulnerable households) in Gaza, mostly persons internally displaced by the ongoing hostilities, received cash assistance of 750 ILS/household to cover basic needs for one month. So far, 39,665 individuals (or 7,953 households) have redeemed their cash and confirmed it enabled them to provide some of their basic needs.
- 308,518 internally displaced persons (or 53,449 households) accommodated in non-UN shelters in Gaza, Khan Younis and the Middle Area received essential household items, including blankets, jerrycans, tarpaulins and hygiene parcels.
- 2,133 pregnant and lactating mothers in Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza received high nutritional food bars.
- 192 Palestinian detainees who were released from Israel and returned to Gaza were supported with clothing and cash assistance of 500 ILS/person.
- In the West Bank, 185 vulnerable individuals(or 37 vulnerable households) received cash grants to support livestock production, 14 diploma students received vocational training at the Polytechnic University in Hebron, and 22 vulnerable households received cash support to help them recover from the consequences of specific incidents of violence in the West Bank.
- 111 families whose houses were demolished in various locations in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, received cash assistance to help them meet their immediate needs.
Delivering or enabling emergency medical response
- Provided 160 metric tonnes of medical supplies, including weapon-wounded kits, wound dressing sets, medicine, and emergency medical sets, to eight local health facilities and to the Ministry of Health, enabling around 30,000 individuals to receive emergency medical care in Gaza.
- Deployed two surgical teams in Gaza specialized in surgical management of the weapon-wounded and various other specialists, providing a holistic package of care.
- Working from the European Gaza Hospital since 1 November 2023, these surgical teams performed 1,320 surgical procedures, of which around 94% were general surgical interventions, 5.3% were reconstructive surgery, and 1% was orthopaedic surgery; 96% of these surgical procedures were carried out on weapon-wounded patients, of which 55% were men and 45% were women.
- Over 200 patients received close post-operative care, and our teams applied 1,605 dressings for patients with complex burns.
- Conducted 920 sessions to provide patients, families, and/or care givers in the European Gaza Hospital with basic emergency mental health care and psychosocial support.
- Provided 1,528 early physical rehabilitation sessions to patients at the European Gaza Hospital.
- Delivered two training courses to support the Association of Rape Crisis Centres in Israel to organize technical workshops for their staff on providing mental health and psychosocial support for victims of sexual violence in armed conflict.
- Made 126 real-time interventions to facilitate access and safe passage for PRCS ambulances to provide medical care to people injured because of the violence in the West Bank.
- Provided two negative pressure wound healing machines to Jenin Hospital in the West Bank.
- Provided around 300 wheelchairs to the Patient’s Friends Society’s (Abu Raya Rehabilitation Center) in Ramallah.
- Provided over 1,000 litres of IV fluids to emergency health facilities in the West Bank.
Delivering or enabling access to clean water and power:
- Helped over 300,000 people in and around Gaza City, Deir Al-Balah, Beit Lahia, Khan Younis, and Rafah regain access to clean water by supporting local service providers to operate, fuel and repair critical water and wastewater facilities and networks and carry out water trucking across the Gaza Strip.
- Supported 20,000 internally displaced persons in accessing clean water in 12 shelters in Gaza by carrying out emergency repairs of desalination units and sanitation infrastructure and installing solar-powered water treatment units.
- Equipped three structures of the local electricity supplier in Gaza (GEDCo) with solar systems to ensure minimum operational continuity of services. Also, we provided financial support and supplies from the ICRC’s contingency stocks to enable GEDCo to carry out emergency repairs to the power network, protect critical infrastructure, and prepare for rehabilitation as soon as security conditions allow.
- Supported emergency power supply and fuel rationing for 14 hospitals across Gaza through existing ICRC projects for the maintenance, optimization and resilience of the public health sector’s generator fleet.
- Supported emergency water and power supply for the European Gaza Hospital, including through the delivery of two water pumps, 250 meters of water pipes, and over 1,500 meters of cables to connect the hospital to water boreholes and ensure its water supply. Combined with significant support provided before the current round of hostilities (i.e., generators, upgrading and synchronization of electricity networks and distribution panels, installation of 3M film, etc.), the ICRC’s assistance contributed to the European Gaza Hospital’s capacity to continue functioning in a relatively safe manner during the current crisis.
- Assisted 5,000 people in H2 area in Hebron to have access to enhanced wastewater and drainage systems by providing technical and material support to Hebron Municipality in the West Bank.
- Supported the Palestinian Water Authority in the West Bank to enable 6,000 people in Qariout village and 13,000 people in Burin village to have improved access to water.
- Provided technical and material support to Ein Al-Beida Village Council in the Jordan Valley to enhance access to electricity for 1,750 farmers in the area.
- Supported 50 households in H2 area in Hebron with solar panels to enhance their access to electricity.
Preventing risks from weapon contamination
Together with the PRCS, the ICRC helped raise awareness among civilians as well as humanitarian, medical, and other frontline workers in Gaza on the risks of weapon contamination and explosive remnants of war:
- Distributed awareness messages through SMS to 400,000 phone numbers.
- Promoted safe behavior through poster campaigns and 17 group sessions for reachable affected populations in hospitals, schools, and shelters.
Engaging with affected people
- Received requests from 67,559 people in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel raising protection concerns for ICRC follow-up.
- Established three hotlines –in Arabic, Hebrew, and English– dedicated for people looking to re-establish contact with, or ascertain the fate and whereabouts of, their family members.
- Reinforced the ICRC’s existing Community Contact Center (CCC) in Gaza and established two additional centers to serve people affected by the conflict and violence in Israel and the West Bank.
- Answered 21,539 calls from people in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, who raised concerns about losing contact with loved ones, sought support to evacuate injured people or people trapped in the hostilities, or requested assistance (e.g., food, non-food, water, electricity).
- Continued working closely with local communities and service providers to involve them in the ICRC’s needs assessments and its programme design, delivery and evaluation.
Strengthening the Resilience of Essential Services in Gaza to Respond to Humanitarian Consequences of Hostilities
The ICRC strives to ensure that critical and essential service systems in Gaza can continue to operate and serve the civilian population during hostilities by building an operational resilience approach into ongoing ICRC programs, with the overall aim of enabling essential services as well as communities to cope better and for longer during hostilities.
Many of the foundations, for that end, were laid before the current hostilities broke out:
- Upgraded and rehabilitated the Emergency Department at Al-Shifa Hospital, the main referral hospital during hostilities in Gaza City, increasing its capacity to treat the huge influx of injured people.
- Installed dedicated powerlines, adding flexibility to the electric network operator and allowing a prioritized delivery of electricity to key services and critical health, water and wastewater facilities during escalations.
- Installed remote-controlled electrical switches on the network, increasing the control of electricity service providers, providing redundancy to the network, and minimizing outages caused by damage common during escalations.
- Installed remote monitoring and control systems in water and wastewater facilities, decreasing the need to expose maintenance staff to dangerous field operations, and enabling a faster understanding of specific damages, thereby decreasing disruptions of the system.
- Supplied and maintained heavy equipment vehicles, improving the efficiency of water service provider's employees when repairing damages made to water and wastewater network.
- Distributed ecological traps (bio-traps) to farmers as a cost-effective and low maintenance alternative to chemical pesticides, ensuring ongoing protection of trees against pests, even when escalations endanger or restrict movement and farmers are unable to visit their crops for a long time.