Environmental and Social Determinants of Health in Palestine

  • Yaser Y. IssaEmail author
  • Akram Amro
  • Raghad K. Rajabi
Living reference work entry


Looking after the health of a society and its members is a substantial aspect of the common good. The factors that determine health lie beyond heredity and individual behavior. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the social determinants of health are “The social determinants of health (SDH) are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life. These forces and systems include economic policies and systems, development agendas, social norms, social policies and political systems” (WHO SDH Brochure, The social conditions in which we live not only influence our sense of well-being but also determine our chances of experiencing illness or death throughout the course of our lives. The Government of Palestine and the WHO are working cooperatively to effectively improve public health.

The determinants of health among Palestinians are much like that in other nations but are characterized by the presence of the long-term Israeli occupation which affects the health of Palestinians directly (by leaving thousands of dead and wounded/disabled citizens) and indirectly (by its effects on other social determinants such as denial of education, poverty, loss of work opportunities, no freedom of movement, inability to build homes, cultivating farm lands, lack of power and clean water, poor access to healthcare services, insecure food resources, etc.).

Despite the ongoing effects of the Israeli occupation, the health status of Palestinians is better than that of many people living in some developing countries, and this situation is largely due to ongoing support from various countries and agencies such as the WHO (World Health Organization), FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), WFP (World Food Programme), and others.

The environment in all its components, including people and surroundings, in Palestine has not received much consideration recently, particularly during the initial years of the Israeli occupation. The land, the water, and the natural resources were exploited, and resource uses were not planned to preserve the environment. The ultimate safeguard of Palestine’s environment will be public knowledge, awareness, support, and activism policies. These must be instilled or expanded within the minds of all Palestinians regardless of age, sex, education, income level, place of residence, or professional qualifications. This requires greater cooperation between health and environmental agencies within the West Bank and Gaza in Occupied Palestinian Territory.


Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) Social determinants Environmental determinants Communicable and noncommunicable diseases Water crisis Israeli occupation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Health DepartmentMinistry of Health (MoH), Hebron Public Health DirectorateHebronPalestine
  2. 2.Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health ProfessionsAl-Quds University, Abu Deis-Main CampusJerusalemPalestine
  3. 3.Furat Food IndustryHebronPalestine

Section editors and affiliations

  • Irene Anne Jillson
    • 1
  1. 1.Georgetown UniversityWashington DCUSA

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