The escalating violence in Palestine and Israel has reached a critical juncture. Homes, hospitals, schools, and places of worship have been devastated. We, at The New Feminist, wholeheartedly condemn these attacks and the resulting humanitarian crisis. The devastation inflicted upon civilians is unacceptable, and we join the call for an immediate ceasefire and the urgent provision of humanitarian aid to those affected.
As of the 1st of December, the ceasefire between Israel and Palestine ended. The ceasefire, initiated on November 24 between Israel and Hamas, saw two extensions before concluding last Friday. This period marked a suspension of conflict, facilitating the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza.
Since the conflict resumed, the horrors have not only continued but escalated. The UN has announced that the risk of “atrocities” is growing in Gaza, with Palestinians “stuck in deepening horror”, also describing the situation as “apocalyptic”.
However, as compassionate humans, we shouldn’t require a UN report to grasp the gravity of these inhumanities for us to be spurred into action. The images and reports emerging are deeply disturbing, revealing a situation that transcends a historically complex conflict and now constitutes a severe human rights crisis. This is not a time for inaction; it’s a call to stand up and make a difference.
We understand that many of us here in the UK are feeling helpless and perhaps riddled with survivor’s guilt. So we’ve put together this list of steps you can take:
Educate Yourself and Others Around You
At the heart of the current obliteration of Gaza is a long history of apartheid, violence, and oppression in Palestine at the hands of the Israeli government. It is important to understand that what is happening in Gaza right now is the product of over 70 years of complicated history and that this informs how we engage with the situation. Educate yourself about this history and what has brought us to where we are today. A great way to start is by watching the film Farha on Netflix which covers the first Nakba (the first displacement of Palestinians by Israel).
It is also necessary to listen to people on the ground in Gaza and Palestine more widely, to hear their first-hand experiences in order to understand the realities of life in Palestine truly. Use this information to educate others around you and correct misconceptions and misinformation. Especially as the holidays approach, a lot of us are likely to be around dinner tables with misinformed relatives. Equip yourself with vital knowledge about Gaza to correct inaccuracies.
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Contact your Local Representatives
Putting pressure on the people elected to represent us in our governments is a key way to let the people in charge know that we care about what is happening in Gaza. Elected officials need to know that we demand transparency regarding how governments around the world are engaging with the ongoing violence in Gaza and that their constituents demand a free and internationally respected Palestine.
Engage in Boycotts and Pressure Corporations
There are a number of corporations that are directly involved in Israel’s apartheid regime and profit from the ongoing subjugation of Palestinians. These corporations rely on you to continue to buy their products and fund their operations. Boycotting products we know partially fund Israel’s continued oppression of Palestinians is vital to sending a message to big businesses that consumers care about the ethics behind what they buy. Successful boycotts against Starbucks have seen several locations close already. Other boycotts now include not watching next year’s Eurovision Song Contest as Israel has been allowed to return as a competing nation, despite the fact that Russia and Belarus were suspended over the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Support Palestinian Businesses
While businesses in Gaza have been obliterated, many Palestinian businesses still function both within Palestine itself (mainly now in the West Bank) and around the world by the Palestinian diaspora. If you live near a Palestinian business, offer them your support and custom. Many Palestinians abroad operate restaurants, and by being a patron of Palestinian businesses, you actively support the Palestinian diaspora and possibly even people in Palestine who receive remittances from relatives in your country.
Reframe How You View Palestine
Largely we only hear about Palestine as a site of conflict, or even terrorism. What this does is it erases the history and culture of Palestine and its people. Palestine has rich traditions and cuisine and is a place home to people who lead meaningful lives. What is happening in Gaza right now is not only a mass murder of the Palestinian people but an erasing of their culture, history, and heritage from the map. By learning about Palestine beyond the conflict, we extend the life of a culture that is at risk of being wiped out.
Donations To Aid Palestine
For those who are able to spare money for donations to Palestine can do so as a key way to help provide emergency aid and relief. It is important to know that the flow of aid to Gaza is not proportional to the demand, and the limited relief that has been able to enter the Gaza Strip has not met the full needs of the Gazan people. While this is the case, it is still valuable to donate to Palestine and provide support for the displaced people of Gaza.
Participate in Protests
Around the world, in major cities and small towns, people have been organising protests to demonstrate that we, the people, do not support the systemic murder of the Palestinian people. Protests are still taking place, and for those who can attend, it is valuable to show up for Gaza and demonstrate that you do not stand for the complicatedness of our own governments who have failed to denounce the actions of Israel.
The ongoing situation in Gaza, and the less reported but still rife violence and suppression of people in the West Bank, is hard for many of us to watch from the comfort of our own homes. One final thing that we can do to help is refuse to close our eyes and look away. There is something everybody can do, whether it is simply becoming better informed and prepared to educate the people around us or actively donating and protesting. We all have a part to play. As the people of Gaza are pushed further and further towards the Rafah-Egypt border, we all have a responsibility to stand against the continued violence against the Palestinian people. While it is easy to see the situation worsen and feel helpless, it is now, as things seem their most dire, that we can exercise our privilege to make a stand for Palestine.