Responding to the Gaza Crisis
The terrible situation along the Israel-Gaza border deteriorated to a new low last week. Here is a sample of the work being done right now by NIF grantees:
NIF grantee Physicians for Human Rights in Israel continues its life-saving humanitarian work by taking doctors and vitally needed medical equipment into Gaza. One of their doctors entered Gaza last week with $8,500 worth of medical equipment.
Other NIF-backed organisations, including Omdim Beyachad (Standing Together), have been organising demonstrations that give voice to Israelis who are opposed to the policies of the Israeli government that have contributed to the humanitarian disaster. One such demonstration took place at Yad Modechai, just outside of the Gaza border. It showed that Israelis who have the most to lose from any escalation on this front understand that these repeating rounds of violence will not solve the crisis of Gaza, or bring security and safety to their communities near the border.
17 human rights organizations, most of them NIF grantees, have also made a statement calling on the Israeli government to “refrain from the use of lethal force against unarmed civilians.”
The statement goes on to say, “The Israeli government has described the events as an assault on Israel’s sovereignty, while failing to address the reality that has led to the mass protest–50 years of occupation and over 10 years of closure. Daily life for Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip is unbearable: Basic infrastructure is in ruins, the economy is stunted, unemployment has reached an all-time high, and health services are in danger of collapse. For years, residents of Gaza have lived on the verge of a humanitarian crisis.”
The statement concludes, “Time and again reality demonstrates that there is no military solution to the conflict between Israel and Gaza. Instead, Israel must stop the shooting and killing and immediately lift the closure, thereby safeguarding the lives and human rights of the people of Gaza and the region as a whole.”
The organisations signing the statement include veteran NIF grantees Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights, HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual, Gisha: Legal Center for the Protection of Freedom of Movement, and Adalah: Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. These organisations have also petitioned the High Court of Justice challenging the IDF’s open-fire rules.