Diakonia - People change the world

Israel and Palestine (oPt)

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been at the centre of world politics for over 60 years. The 1967 war marked the beginning of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Since then, life in the occupied Palestinian territory has been disrupted by Israeli military measures.

Financial instability and dependence on aid

The financial instability and dependence on international aid have grown rapidly. Nearly four out of ten inhabitants between 15-24 years of age are unemployed and many live in poverty. Some of the most vulnerable groups include children and youth, women, people with disabilities and refugees. Diakonia's work in the region therefore concentrates on addressing:

The lack of peace and security

Increasing respect for human rights

Building local democracy

Eradicating the multidimensional aspects of poverty

More than 40 partner organizations

Diakonia has established partnerships with around 40 Palestinian and Israeli non-governmental organizations that together cover five thematic areas: Democracy, human rights, social and economic justice, gender equality and conflict and justice.

Much of the implementation of the thematic areas has been achieved through the country strategy programme "Palestine Civil Society Development Programme (PCSD)". The programme aims at strengthening local civil society organizations in democracy and human rights, with special focus on strengthening Palestinian children and youth in areas such as creativity, innovation, gender equality, non-violent conflict resolution, religious dialogue, human rights and social and economic justice.

Sub-programmes for the work in the oPt

Diakonia's work in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) is divided into sub-programmes, each with its own special focus and purpose.

Supporting Palestinian civil society organizations

Bearing in mind the fragile political, social and economic situation in Palestine, it is crucial to continue working for change that will add value to everyday life of Palestinian people. The closures, restrictions of movement of people and goods, settlements, the Wall, etc. are all contributors to a decline in quality of daily life.
As in all conflicts, children, youth and women are vulnerable parts of the society. In Palestine, children and youth comprise roughly 60 per cent of the population. Most of them experience the full impact of the conflict on a daily basis since they are forced to go through checkpoints in order to get to their schools and universities. In addition to this, they see their parents struggle for survival and often have to work themselves in order to feed the family.

Due to the difficult situation, children and youth are politicized from early stages of their lives. 

This is why it is absolutely essential to create possibilities for these new generations to focus on themselves and create possibilities that will put the conflict in a different perspective. To address different perspectives at a larger scale, one of Diakonia's priorities is to create new synergies between Israeli and Palestinian organizations, to achieve a peaceful conflict resolution for a sustainable development in Palestine.
A few success stories from the programme include the establishment of the First Science and Technology House in Palestine by the organization Al-Nayzak, and the Human Rights Prize and Follow the Women for the organization Alternative Information Center's (AIC) work on documenting crimes committed as a result of the occupation.

Improving the human rights situation

Diakonia's humanitarian programme is part of the UN protection cluster. The point of departure is the humanitarian imperative, i.e. that every state has the primary responsibility for meeting humanitarian needs. Humanitarian aid is provided in two closely related forms: material aid and protection.
The programme is focused on increasing protection for the civilian population by respecting and using international humanitarian law in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
The concept of protection encompasses all activities aimed to ensure full respect for the rights of the individual in need, in particular the right to physical safety and dignity, in accordance with relevant bodies of law and international conventions. Protection also includes calling attention to the obligations of armed groups, registration of the status of refugees or internally displaced persons and education about rights and obligations under international law.
Diakonia provides education, technical support and information to assist the humanitarian and diplomatic community to find collaborative ways to mainstream and integrate protection into their humanitarian work for the population in the West Bank and Gaza. To do so, we produce educational material and conduct trainings on protection for NGOs, humanitarian organizations and diplomats.

Read more about our work in Israel and Palestine (oPt)

Lastest news and stories of change

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  • Focusing on persons with disabilities after the Gaza war

    After the humanitarian crisis in Gaza in 2012, Diakonia supported several of our partner organizations to apply to the Emergency Response Fund from the UN body OCHA. The proposal was accepted, and funds were granted for a project relating to psycho-social support for traumatized persons with disabilities and their families. Read about the project
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    The Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival, which Diakonia supports, has begun, and it was a highly praised opening that took place. The success was in large part thanks to the efforts of Sareyyet Ramallah NGO and its work to include persons with many kinds of disabilities. More about the festival
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    Diakonia supported “First Ramallah Group” NGO when they held the 8th edition of the Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival, which took place between the 15th and the 25th of April 2013 in both Ramallah and Jerusalem. Read about the festival
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    There are many ways of advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities. The Basma Society for Culture and Arts, with the support from Diakonia, recently held kid's plays in Gaza that focused on the integration and mainstreaming of persons with disabilities. More about the theater