Norwegian Church Aid in Palestine and Israel
- Presence established: 1996 (Also supported in 1954-1985, 1992)
- Funds used in 2015: 20.1 million NOK
Norwegian Church Aid has supported the Palestinian churches' humanitarian work among Palestinian refugees since the 1950s. In 2005, we established an office in Jerusalem in order to strengthen this work. In 2016 we established a joint office with Dan Church Aid in Jerusalem in order to strengthen our work.
Palestinian churches and their hospitals, schools and clinics play an important role in Palestinian nation-building. In the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, Norwegian Church Aid works with Israelis and Palestinians, with Christians, barriers and settlements are being expanded at the expense of Palestinian rights. In the Gaza Strip, churches' efforts play a role for many who live without work and in the fear of the actions of war and political unrest.
Norwegian Church Aid is also working with Israeli human rights organisations against the destruction of houses, for economic justice and for women's right to protection in war.
Our programme in Palestine focuses on economic empowerment, active citizenship and humanitarian action.
The political context in Palestine is one of complex emergency. The context is marked by the absence of a legitimate peace process, a lack of peace building structures, and severe democratic deficits both in-ternally in the governance structures of the PA in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza, and due to the prolonged occupation and the continued full Israeli control over the majority of the West Bank. The occupation and the occupational practices applied entails a number of institutional barriers to meaningful participation, active citizenship and legal protection against rights-violations.
Read about our work with ecumenical partners in Palestine
The Palestinian economy faces many challenges, due to the Israeli occupation and restrictions of movement within the Palestinian ruled areas (only 40% is accessible), as a result, access to natural resources is extremely limited and movement restrictions are a weighty burden and one of the main reasons for a stagnant growth and a persistent high unemployment. Israeli policies subject Palestine to many of its own internal economic policies. Articles and clauses of the Paris Protocol have not been honoured by Israel, undertaking a selective approach for Palestine only implementing the parts of interest to itself disregarding the Palestinian interest. This has left the PA severely limited in terms of action in critical areas of its economy, especially fiscal and monetary policy.
The Strategic Response Plan for 2015 produced by UN OCHA Palestine states that out of a population of 4.5 million Palestinians living in the Palestinian territories, 1.9 million are deemed to be in need of humanitarian assistance.
Palestinians are facing the following main humanitarian challenges: threats to their lives, freedom, and safety (1.65 million require protection against human rights abuses and armed conflict); 1.6 million struggle with health and nutritional needs; 1.4 million people across the West Bank and Gaza are underserved or unconnected to water and sanitation facilities, 1.9 million people face food insecurity and 0.76 million are challenged to access education services. In addition to this, many experience severe restrictions of movement and access while living with the threat of a damage to or destruction of their homes and other property, leading to forced displacement.
Norwegian Church Aid believes it is only the people and the communities themselves that can bring about lasting change. We implement our programmes together with local partner organisations and in close contact and coordination with the local government.
Norwegian Church Aid is a member of the local ACT Forum with Dan Church Aid, IOCC, LWF, MECC/DSPR, ELCJHL, YMCA East Jerusalem, Finn Church Aid and Christian Aid. The ACT Alliance is working to improve coordination of relief efforts, long-term development and advocacy.
DCA-NCA is an active member of the Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA), the ACT Alliance Palestine Forum (APF) as well as the ACT EU Middle East Working Group. In addition, we have close coordination with the UN through Clusters, for instance, Cash Working Group, Protection and WASH clusters.