In Palestinian Territories, Security Restrictions Cost Aid Groups $4.5M Annually

Trucks carrying humanitarian aid are bottle-necked at a Kerem Shalom crossing along the Gaza-Israel border. Photo by: Erica Silverman / IRIN

Restrictions to staff movement in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are costing humanitarian agencies working in the Palestinian territories at least $4.5 million worth of additional expenses annually, according to a report released June 7 by a network of 84 international non-governmental organizations focused on promoting development and easing the humanitarian crisis in the territories.

The Association of International Development Agencies commissioned the report in an attempt to determine the financial impact of security measures such as permit requirements on the aid organizations working in the Palestinian territories.

About a third of organizations surveyed for the report have added full-time positions dedicated to dealing with Israeli authorities who issue permits to travel between Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip and within the West Bank, Haaretz says. The majority of aid organizations also said they experience difficulty securing permits as well as noted instances when the permits would arrive after the reason for the proposed visit was no longer relevant, the news agency adds.

The AIDA report says the creation of extra positions, the time wasted on checkpoints or waiting for permits and other measures used to cope with the restrictions to staff movement cost aid organizations some $4.5 million per year.

The United Nations and other international NGOs in the Palestinian territories have previously raised concern over how severe restrictions on the movement of aid workers hamper humanitarian work there.

>> Restrictions to Staff Movement Hamper Humanitarian Work in Palestinian Territories - Aid Groups

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.