Israel and the occupied territories: Key Facts and Figures from 7 October 2023 to 31 May 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 a sharp rise in violence, further exacerbating people’s ability to cope with the impact of longstanding occupation policies and practices.

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 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.
  • Monitored the reference to and interpretations of IHL in international and national judicial proceedings.

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 8,470 requestsfrom 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, 2,109 caseshave been closed as family contact has been re-established.
  • Engaged with 54 families of 86 persons taken hostage in Gaza to collect relevant information and to foster the understanding of the nature and modalities of our work.
  • Engaged with 6,973 families of 8,341 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 over 35,000 forensic items to facilitate dignified management, identification and eventual return of human remains to their families. 1,200 items, including face masks, face shields and personal effects collection bags, were distributed in Israel. Over 34,000 items, including face masks, boots, aprons, body tags and body bags, were distributed in Gaza.
  • Provided technical support to Israel’s National Center of Forensic Medicine, including recommendations on forensic anthropology laboratory structuring to improve identification capacity in complex cases. Continued to work with the IDF Mortuary Affairs DNA laboratory to strengthen their capacity for the management of complex cases of the missing and deceased in armed conflict, including expert exchange with the ICRC Genetics Center in Tbilisi, Georgia.
  • 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 over 980 released detainees to gather information on their treatment and conditions of detention, informing our engagement with relevant authorities.
  • Continued to engage with Hamas, requesting the unconditional release of presumed over 120 remaining hostages in Gaza, and calling 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 489 detainees in 15 places of detention in the occupied Palestinian territory, one in Gaza and 14 in the West Bank, to assess and monitor their treatment and conditions of detention.

Supporting vulnerable people in meeting basic needs and sustaining livelihoods

  • 40,160 vulnerable individuals (or 8,032 vulnerable households) in Gaza, mostly persons internally displaced by the ongoing hostilities, received cash assistance to cover basic needs.
  •  1,061,066  internally displaced persons (or 212,213  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.
  • 199,509 vulnerable individuals, including children, pregnant women and displaced people across the Gaza Strip, received high nutritional food bars.
  • 25,000 vulnerable individuals received one cooked meal every day from mid-March to May through the ICRC’s support to five common kitchens in Rafah.
  • 10,079 vulnerable individuals received ready-to-eat food parcels in Gaza.
  • 705 Palestiniandetainees who were released from Israel and returned to Gazawere supported with cash assistance, 342 of whom also received basic clothing.
  • In the West Bank, 545 vulnerable individuals(or 109 vulnerablehouseholds) received cash grants to support livestock production, 46 diploma students received vocational training at the Polytechnic University in Hebron, six vulnerable households received cash grants to start income-generation activities, and 190 vulnerable households received cash support to help them recover from the consequences of specific incidents of violence in the West Bank.
  • 219families 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 851,5 metric tonnes of medical supplies, including orthopaedic devices, weapon-wounded kits, wound dressing sets, medicine, and emergency medical sets to 19 local health facilities and to the Ministry of Health.
  • Deployed two surgical teams in the European Gaza Hospital in Gaza, specialized in surgical management of the weapon-wounded, and various other specialists providing a holistic package of care.
  • Deployed two surgical teams in the Red Cross Field Hospital in Rafah, southern Gaza, specialized in surgical management of the weapon-wounded, and various other specialists providing a holistic package of care. Since the opening, the Red Cross Field Hospital performed 3,768 consultations; 191 patients were admitted; andthe surgical teams performed 106 surgical procedures, of which 17% were orthopaedic surgeries.
  • Working in the European Gaza Hospital since 1 November 2023, the surgical teams performed 3,183 surgical procedures, of which around 93.2% were general surgical interventions, 5.3% were reconstructive surgery, and 1.5% was orthopaedic surgery; and 94%of these surgical procedures were carried out on weapon-wounded patients, of which 75.6%were men and 24.4% were women.
  • Over 3,282 patients received close post-operative care, and our teams applied 4,918 dressings for patients with complex burns.
  • Provided around 1,500 emotional support sessions since November and conducted 46 individual sessions and 10 family sessions to provide patients, families, and/or caregivers in the European Gaza Hospital with basic emergency mental health care and psychosocial support since end of March.
  • Provided 3,021 early physical rehabilitation sessions and 56 wheelchairs to patients at the European Gaza Hospital.
  • Provided around 243 wheelchairs and 1,950 different types of assistive devices (e.g., walking frames, crutches) to the main seven Ministry of Health hospitals across the Gaza Strip (i.e., European Gaza Hospital, Al Shifa Hospital, Nasser Hospital, Beit Hanoun Hospital, Al Aqsa Hospital, Indonesian Hospital, and Al Najjar Hospital).
  • Provided around 300 wheelchairs to the Patient’s Friends Society’s (Abu Raya Rehabilitation Center) in Ramallah.
  • Made over 280 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 over 1,000 litres of IV fluids to emergency health facilities in the West Bank.
  • Supported PRCS in the West Bank with 26 sets of medical items, 2,400 litres of fluids, and six prosthetic and orthopaedic items.
  • 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.

Delivering or enabling access to clean water and power

  • Helped over 1,000,000 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 personsin 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.
  • Helped 95,000 internally displaced persons in the Middle Area of the Gaza Strip access clean water by supporting repair works at the seawater desalination plant, enabling the plant to resume operations and double its production to 1,400 m³ per day.
  • 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.
  • Completed the maintenance of generators at essential water and waste-water treatment facilities in Rafah city, enabling these facilities to continue operating and deliver sanitation services that reduce the risk of communicable diseases for over 1,400,000 people currently living in Rafah.
  • 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 the installation of reverse osmosis units in six hospitals and clinics in Gaza: Al-Aqsa, Nasser, Najjar and European Gaza hospitals; the Emirati Maternity Hospital in Tal Sultan; and Shuhada clinic), allowing 1,000 kidney dialysispatients and 75,000 internally displaced persons seeking shelter in these hospitals to access clean water.  
  • Over 1,770 latrines have been built in Al-Mawasi, southern Gaza Strip, providing better access to sanitation for 17,700 internally displaced persons living in tents.
  • 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 800,000 phone numbers.
  • Distributed 10,000 awareness coloring books for internally displaced children.
  • Promoted safer behavior among2,783 civilians through poster campaigns and 103 group sessions for reachable affected populations in hospitals, schools, and shelters.
  • Spread awareness messages through local radio stations and social media platforms.

Engaging with affected people

  • Received requests from 119,859 people in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel, raising protection concerns for ICRC follow-up.
  • Established two 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 42,619 calls from people in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, who raised concerns about losing contact with loved ones, sought support to evacuate people who are injured or 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 Improve Preparedness and Response Capacity to Humanitarian Consequences of Hostilities

Over the years, the ICRC supported critical and essential service systems in Gaza for them to 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 and helped the water, wastewater, and energy sectors to remain resilient longer than they would have been without:

  • 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 

Source : Icrc