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©UN Women/Shareef Sahran (2009)The occupation and severe humanitarian conditions in oPt affect the lives of the whole population in different ways. The challenge faced by humanitarian partners is to ensure that their efforts and available resources effectively result in securing protection and responding to the needs of the most affected and most vulnerable. Having a refined understanding of the different disadvantages, vulnerabilities and capacities of different groups of the population allows humanitarian partners to ensure that their response achieves the aspired results and impact. The variation in the vulnerability of communities living in Area C of the West Bank, Gaza, refugeecamps, or in Bedouin and rural communities have been the subject of thorough examination by the humanitarian country team. Within each of those communities, gender relations and roles played by men, women, boys and girls are key factors shaping their respective vulnerability and the way occupation impacts their livelihoods, their security, their access to services and resources.

Efforts to challenge pre-existing gender inequalities in Palestinian society have been constantly restrained by the political and economic realities. Progress in addressing gender inequalities through legal reform, political participation, economic participation has been limited due to the political context that has negatively impacted the economic life and social dynamic in oPt.

In oPt, a gender sensitive humanitarian response can be achieved by taking specific measures at different stages of the planning and programming cycle and ensuring that the various components of the humanitarian programme adequately include key gender elements. gender equality objectives within a sector do contribute to the sector’s response effectiveness and avert incurring harm in cases of gender blind humanitarian response.