The ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territories has largely been characterized by its protracted history of armed conflict, fragile governance and high levels of political instability. Due to its history of armed conflicts, the Palestinian territories have produced millions of refugees, with 5.3 registered refugees as of 2017. The tensions between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in conjunction with the PA’s shift towards a more autocratic stance after calling off elections in 2016, have exacerbated the fragile political situation. Hamas has also refused to forfeit governance control over the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority in defiance of the reconciliation agreement. 1 Despite the reconciliation agreement, it appears neither group is willing to concede full control to the other. This places the agreement, and the possibility of elections in 2018, in jeopardy. The Gaza Strip is currently “nearing total collapse” as the Israeli-Egyptian blockade has severely limited the delivery of medical supplies in addition to basic goods and services.2 While the Israeli-Egyptian blockade has continued to have destabilizing effects on the area, its ability to stem the flow of arms has had an overall stabilizing impact. Furthermore, Israeli occupation of the West Bank has steadily increased annually which
reduces the potential for peace. The youth bulge, high unemployment rate, stagnating GDP growth, and inconsistent foreign direct investment continue to be pressing albeit less significant issues affecting the conflict. In sum, the underlying structural conditions continue to leave the Palestinian territories in a state of fragility and recent events including U.S. President Trump’s landmark decision on the status of Jerusalem, have diminished prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Read the 2018 Conflict Risk Assessment Report Palestinian Territories: West Bank and Gaza Strip

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