You already know that the news looks grim:
- Both Israel and Hamas have rejected international calls for a cease fire and the violence has escalated
- Gaza’s border with Egypt and Israel remains closed
- Humanitarian aid has halted due to attacks on UN and Red Cross/Red Crescent workers.
Direct updates and news make it out of Gaza only in short bursts, when there is sufficient power to feed cell phone batteries and computers. Grassroots International’s locally based partner organizations within Gaza continue to send us word as they can about how they are responding to the crisis and facilitating relief and reconstruction. Because of their ongoing commitment to social justice and human rights in the region, their efforts stand the greatest chance of having a lasting impact.
Everyone in Gaza is affected by the escalating violence of the past two weeks, including our partners and allies. They are reaching out for help – not only to maintain their own security in the midst of an egregious war, but also to assess their capacity to rebuild and continue their vital, life-affirming work in the future, with an emphasis on peace with justice.
- The Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC). Grassroots International supports PARC’s urban gardening projects in the Gaza Strip, promoting food security for refugee communities. The destruction of more than 80 multi-family apartment buildings in Gaza means that PARC will need support to rebuild and rehabilitate their rooftop gardens.
- Gaza Community Mental Health Program (GCMHP) began in 1990 to respond to escalating mental health needs resulting from the stress of occupation and violence. GCMHP provides essential mental health services to Gaza’s traumatized population. On December 30th, shelling near GCMHP significantly damaged their building, forcing them to suspend desperately-needed services until violence subsides and structural safety is rebuilt.
- The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) monitors human rights violations by both Palestinian and Israeli authorities in the Gaza Strip. Its lawyers defend victims of human rights abuses, illegal detention and torture. PCHR needs increased support to document the escalating violent conflict in Gaza, disseminate information, and provide legal support to the many impacted civilians.
- The Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) is the largest non-governmental healthcare agency in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and is a leading advocate for national healthcare delivery. Grassroots International recently facilitated, in conjunction with American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), a shipment of nearly $4.5 million in medical supplies to provide relief in Gaza. But in this time of crisis, the need for care far outstrips available resources. Hospitals and clinics that haven’t been destroyed by the violence lack access to clean water and electricity.
Each of these secular, independent grassroots organizations remains committed to protecting and promoting human rights and to building the movement for peace with justice in Palestine and Israel. They represent a vision of hope for the future, but they need our support now in order to realize that vision.
Our partners are in real danger of devastation. Please answer their call for help.