Middle East

UN and Palestinian Authority appeal for $571m aid

Etadal Abu Oda prepares food with her husband and son at their damaged house in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip (26 January 2016) Image copyright AFP
Image caption More than 92,000 Palestinians are still displaced as a result of the 2014 Gaza conflict

The Palestinian Authority and the United Nations have made a joint call for funding to provide humanitarian assistance to 1.8 million Palestinians.

Most of the $571m (£395m) requested for this year will be spent on food aid.

One Palestinian official warned that any food shortage could see the already volatile situation in the Palestinian Territories "explode".

A recent wave of violence between Palestinians and Israelis has led to some 190 deaths.

Twenty-nine Israelis have been killed in stabbing, shooting or car-ramming attacks by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs since October.

More than 160 Palestinians - mostly attackers, Israel says - have also been killed in that period.

The assailants who have been killed have either been shot dead by their victims or security forces as they carried out attacks. Some attackers have been arrested. Other Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli troops.

'Donor fatigue'

The funding sought by the UN and Palestinian Authority will provide aid to roughly a third of the 4.75 million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Almost $323m of the funding is sought to help the 1.6 million people who the UN has assessed as moderately to severely food insecure.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption More than half of the $571m requested for this year will be spent on food aid

A further $112m is needed to provide shelter for vulnerable people, including 92,000 still displaced inside Gaza by the 50-day conflict between Palestinian militants and Israel in 2014.

Appealing to donors, UN Assistant Secretary-General Robert Piper warned that "the coping capacity of many Palestinian households is at the point of exhaustion".

In 2015, only half the money requested by the UN was raised - with some blaming donor fatigue and the diversion of funds to other crises in the Middle East, reports the BBC's Yolande Knell in Jerusalem.

Some international experts have suggested that the upsurge in attacks on Israelis in the last few months could sour this new appeal, our correspondent adds.

The Palestinians blame the violence on frustration at the failure of peace talks to end Israeli occupation and perceived encroachment of a contested holy site.

Israel blames incitement by Palestinian leaders and social media.