As the dust settles upon Gaza following a tenuous ceasefire called after 11 days of relentless attacks on the population, our partners in Palestine are taking stock of the unfathomable damage and urgent needs at present.
The death toll in Gaza, currently at 247 people, including 66 children, continues to mount as bodies are pulled out of the rubble. At least 1,417 people – 412 of them children – have been injured. And at least 12 Israelis were killed.
Homes, schools, hospitals, and Gaza’s only COVID testing site have been destroyed. More than 90,000 Palestinians were displaced. Infrastructure that came under heavy attack in 2014, such as the energy grid, water supply, and roads, has been even more extensively damaged or destroyed.
This and much more has happened in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and an ongoing blockade hindering movement into and out of Gaza and cutting off access to life-saving medical supplies and other essentials. And then there is the vast psychological toll upon the population.
According to the Palestinian Medical Relief Society:
“[T]he humanitarian crisis mounts. Of particular concern are the most vulnerable of Palestinian demographics, including, women, elderly, those already displaced, those with disabilities, and especially our children and youth, who should be representing our future. Every child deserves the right to feel safe and protected, and to have a peaceful childhood, free from violence. The children of Palestine have never had this right, and therefore, we ask for support to protect the rights of Palestinian children and all Palestinians.”
Work on the ground
Even as their own lives have been turned upside down, our partners on the ground have been working tirelessly on emergency response while building toward longer-term change. They assert that now is not the time to return to “normal” in Palestine because normal before the most recent attacks meant ongoing human rights violations, military occupation, suffocating blockade, displacement, apartheid and settler colonialism. Now is the time to achieve a just peace and Palestinian self-determination.
To support our partners as they engage not only in emergency relief, but also in the hard work of recovery and transformation, Grassroots International has launched the Palestine Solidarity Emergency Fund. Over $400,000 has been raised thus far through an outpouring of solidarity by hundreds of donors, and we continue to raise funds to support such critical efforts as:
- Urgent medical relief, including care for Palestinians injured by Israeli attacks, along with COVID preventative care and education for the broader population
- Community organizing and mobilization to resist displacement, theft of homes, and home demolitions in East Jerusalem, while connecting these local struggles to broader efforts to challenge settler colonialism
- Mental health support to those in Gaza, especially children, subject to ongoing trauma from the twin stresses of siege and extreme violence
- Organizing by Palestinian youth to resist state repression – including in the face of mass arrests happening right now – while constructing alternative futures based on values of pluralism, justice, democracy, and self-determination
- Research and advocacy from the local to global levels to challenge the apartheid wall and ongoing land grabbing in the West Bank
- Defense of land and water rights of Palestinian farmers and fishers
- Documentation of war crimes committed by Israeli occupying forces against Palestinians, to serve as evidence before the International Criminal Court
- Advocacy to hold the US and other complicit governments accountable, while building global solidarity
Grassroots International believes in long-term partnership and deep relationships with movements on the ground addressing the root causes of injustice. Out of those abiding relationships comes the ability to respond to urgent crises with a base of trust and solidarity. We are grateful to our community for joining us in expressing that solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Contributions to the Palestine Solidarity Emergency Fund may be made here.