West Bank security barrier wall 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)
There were 297,000 Palestinians living in Area C of the West Bank as of 2013, according to a report published Wednesday by the UN.
At the same time, the UN started a fund-raising campaign to improve conditions for the population living under Israeli military and civil control.
An estimated 350,000 Jewish settlers live in Area C, which comprises 62 percent of the West Bank. Areas A and B, where most Palestinians live, are under the control of the Palestinian Authority (Israel has security control, under the Oslo Accords, in Area B). No Israelis live in Area A.
As skepticism has risen over the chances of reaching a final-status agreement for a two-state solution, the international community has increased support and focus on Palestinian communities in Area C.
The UN in particular has highlighted issues that make life difficult for that population, including lack of freedom of movement, lack of basic services, the West Bank security barrier, attacks on settlers and lack of planning for, and construction of, authorized housing.
“Residents of Area C are among the most vulnerable in the West Bank in terms of humanitarian needs, including access to basic services,” said Ramesh Rajasingham, head of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the area.
“While Area C has been a priority area for humanitarian assistance in recent years, our picture of what is happening to Palestinians there has been incomplete due to a lack of data,” he said.
The new UN report, “In the Spotlight: Area C Vulnerability Profile,” was an attempt to provide information to better understand the situation, Rajasingham said.
According to the report, the UN plans to focus its humanitarian assistance efforts on Area C in its 2014- 2016 strategic response proposal.
There are 532 Palestinians residential locations in Area C, the report said. Within Area C, 73,515 Palestinians live near Jerusalem, followed by 67,850 near Hebron and another 36,448 near Ramallah.
Only an estimated 27% of Palestinians in Area C are registered refugees and only 6% live in refugee camps, the report said. Twenty-four percent work in Israeli settlements, 23% are employed by the PA, 24% are farmers, 10% are herders and 19% work in service industries.