Updates on the Crisis in Palestine
Despite the ceasefire, Palestinian families face enormous challenges working to recover and rebuild in the wake of Israel’s recent bombing of Gaza. In East Jerusalem and the West Bank, Palestinians are facing an accelerated confiscation of their land and resources — making life even more difficult under already harsh economic and living conditions.
Anera stands ready to respond to the needs of the communities we serve, in Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank. Our Anera offices in Palestine continued to operate through the Gaza wars and both intifadas. Anera has been delivering programs in Jerusalem since its founding in 1968, and we have had an office in East Jerusalem since 1976, in Sheikh Jarrah for almost 20 years. Even when legal restrictions and other barriers preclude program activity in East Jerusalem, we retain our presence here to show our support for the Palestinian communities that live in the city. And we do not plan to leave. Anera stands with all those seeking an end to hate, violence and dispossession.
With your support, we are responding to the urgent needs of the most vulnerable Palestinian communities — providing urgent medical aid and food assistance as well as development and reconstruction needs in the days ahead. Thank you for all that you can do during this challenging time.
On this World Blood Donor Day, Anera is pleased to announce that we just delivered a six-month supply of urgently needed blood testing kits to the Central Blood Bank Society (CBBS), a local, non-profit organization located in Gaza.
Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, recently withstood 11 days of intense bombings, the fourth major bombardment in 12 years. The attacks caused extensive death, injury and destruction. Nine hospitals and 19 other health facilities suffered significant damage. During the attacks on Gaza, the blood bank sent an appeal to Anera declaring that they were at zero stock of blood testing kits. Without the kits, they would not be able ensure they were delivering blood free of HIV and hepatitis B and C. Read the full press release.
Thank you to WCK for producing this powerful film and highlighting this project.
New Situation Report from Palestine
As of June 7, 29 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank, including four children, and an additional 6,309 people have been injured. In East Jerusalem, at least one Palestinian has been killed, and 1,011 people have been injured. In Gaza, no serious incidents have been reported since the ceasefire began on May 21st. During the 11-day conflict, 256 Palestinians were killed, including 66 children. According to UNOCHA, 8,500 Palestinians in Gaza remain internally displaced and are staying either with host families or in two UNRWA schools. Nearly 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza were injured during the 11-day conflict, including 600 children, some of whom will suffer from long term disabilities that require medical rehabilitation.
As protests and confrontations continue across the West Bank, a substantial number of injuries have been treated, and there is growing concern about the number of live ammunition injuries, as it further threatens the security of medical staff attempting to reach those in need of medical services. The medical staff of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and the Palestine Medical Relief Society, two of Anera’s major partners, constitute some of the key medical staff responding to injuries coming from incidents on the ground. At least 41 health care workers have been injured in the West Bank, and 21 medical service vehicles have been damaged or confiscated.
New reports reveal physical attacks, harassment, and restrictions on the movement of healthcare workers, paramedics, and ambulances. Across the West Bank, PRCS treated tear gas and rubber bullet injuries on the ground and transferred more than 400 critical cases to the hospital as a result of the use of live ammunition by Israeli Security Forces.
Israeli airstrikes in Gaza severely damaged the infrastructure necessary for clean water, electricity, healthcare, and shelter. Ninety-three airstrikes damaging water and sanitation infrastructure have been recorded, leaving 1.2 million Palestinians with limited access to services and 400,000 without consistent access to clean piped water. Half of the electricity lines to Gaza have been damaged, leading to electricity cuts for most Palestinians from nine to ten hours a day. Nine hospitals and 19 other health facilities suffered significant damage, and there is a severe shortage of essential drugs and medical supplies in both Gaza and the West Bank. Approximately 16,250 housing units were damaged and 1,042 housing units and commercial buildings were completely destroyed in the airstrikes.
A little over a week ago, the bombings in Gaza stopped, but now thousands of Palestinians must start rebuilding their lives once again. Over 1,100 homes were destroyed or suffered severe or major damage.
Nine-year-old Islam is from one such family in Beit Hanoun. He and his parents and five siblings were forced to flee when a bomb suddenly struck their home in the middle of the night while they were sleeping. We spoke with Islam’s father when the family came to pick up hot meals.
“We lost everything, including our clothing and furniture. The civil defense tried to put out the fire but they couldn’t save any of our belongings… We’re grateful for these hot meals.
“We lost our modest kitchen utensils and our stove. We couldn’t even salvage one single cooking pot. The entire kitchen is gone.”Islam’s Father, Beit Hanoun, Gaza, Palestine.
Thanks to donors like you and our new partnership with World Central Kitchen, we have been working with local restaurants and the Cooperative Society for Savings and Lending (CSSL) to deliver hot meals to families across Gaza who have suddenly been left without functioning homes.
An update on the aftermath of the bombardment of Gaza, the situation in the West Bank, and the current challenges across Palestine, as well as new details on Anera’s response, including our partnership with World Central Kitchen to provide hot meals to displaced families, and the latest on our medical aid deliveries procured locally and through international donor shipments. Read the full report.
300 Meals for Families in Beit Hanoun
Thanks to our new partnership with World Central Kitchen, today, chefs at the Cooperative Society for Savings and Lending women’s center in Beit Hanoun, North Gaza, made 300 meals for families in the area who were displaced by the recent bombardment.
This is the first day of meal distributions that we’ll be doing in partnership with WCK and CSSL in all of the Gaza governorates over the next couple of months.
Anera is buying the fresh produce for the meals from farming families we have assisted over the years with greenhouses, irrigation systems, seedlings and training.
A big thank you to our amazing Gaza staff for getting out there and making this happen so quickly!
The Work in Gaza Begins
As of early this morning, a ceasefire came into effect between Israel and Hamas. Now the work begins. Our staff in Gaza, now safe to leave their homes, have already sprung into action and are dispersing medical supplies and humanitarian aid to help the 1,760 people who were injured and thousands of people’s homes are damaged.
Here are some of the things Anera is already doing, with the amazing support of our donors:
- We brought into Gaza this morning three shipments of medical supplies like PPE and chemotherapy medicines – these are the first medical aid shipments, coordinated with UN agencies and other international non-profits, to come into the territory since the bombings began.
- We are procuring food to begin work on our exciting new partnership with World Central Kitchen to deliver hot meals in Gaza. Through our network of women’s cooperatives in all five Gaza governorates, we will employ 50 women to make 3,725 meals for displaced families. The fresh produce for the meals will come from Anera-supported farmers.
- We have nine more shipments of donated medical aid in process for delivery over the next few weeks and, in the meantime, we are using funds to procure urgently needed medicines.
- We will also soon be providing water, hygiene kits and other non-food items.
The Israeli government and Hamas have agreed to a ceasefire to go into effect at 2:00 AM on Friday, May 21.
Anera President & CEO Sean Carroll and 11 other heads of international non-governmental organizations sent a letter to the U.S. State Department today “urgently appeal for the U.S. to step up its actions in achieving an immediate and lasting cessation of hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups and in allowing unfettered and safe humanitarian access to provide life-saving relief to communities in need.” Read the full letter.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health 230 Palestinians have been killed, including 65 children, 39 women, and 17 elderly people, while 1710 are injured due to the ongoing Israeli attacks Gaza.
Critical supplies like food, water, and fuel are running low in Gaza, especially due to border closures. Damaged power lines have cut off 230,000 Palestinians from electricity, and those who do still have access are only receiving an average of four hours of power per day. Read the full report.
Anera (American Near East Refugee Aid) and World Central Kitchen (WCK), a nonprofit organization that uses the power of food to nourish communities and strengthen economies in times of crisis and beyond, are partnering to deliver emergency meals to the rising numbers of injured and displaced families in Gaza. Read the full press release.
With everything that is happening in East Jerusalem, Gaza, the West Bank and Israel, you may be wondering what you can do to help in some way. There is more than one way to engage, and donating is just a start. It’s also about educating yourself and others and showing moral support. Read our full list of suggestions.
From movies and literature to blogs and informative news sources, there is a lot of information out there about Palestine and the current situation. We have put together a short list of some of our favorites. Whether you’re just getting started or have worked in Palestine for years, we hope there’s something for you in this list to inspire you to learn and explore further. Read our list of educational resources.
What we are hearing from our colleagues in Palestine. Updated on an ongoing basis.
“Even at home, we don’t feel safe. They may target a neighbor, or you. Really scary. And we just stay home and pray to God that nothing happens to ourselves and our families.”
“On Monday night, we began hearing explosions in Gaza. This was the start of the missile attacks that have lasted through the week. Just the day before – luckily! – we finished distributing six pallets of medicines to 14 hospitals. Now the crossing for such shipments is closed and we are facing more bombardments of unknown duration.“
“This assault is the scariest and most destructive I’ve ever lived through – worse even than the bombardments of 2008-2009 and 2014. The aerial attacks have leveled multiple high rises in the heart of Gaza City, displacing families from their homes and killing over 100 Gaza residents, including many children. As of this writing our staff are unharmed, thankfully, but none of us is safe. No place is safe, even our own homes.”
— Ahmad Najjar, Anera’s medical donations program coordinator, Gaza.
“Here in Gaza, this month we passed another Ramadan under lockdown, another year where we wish we could spend this holiday with family and friends. Now, we are marking Eid with the sound of explosions that erase all thoughts of celebration and joy. There is never a moment of peace or calm. The destruction in Gaza is huge and the scale of anxiety, pain and worry is unimaginable. This is beyond a crisis, it’s a catastrophe.”
— Rania Elhelo, Anera’s communications manager for Palestine.
What began as peaceful protests by Palestinians in Jerusalem angered by their treatment under occupation, has over the past five days boiled over into the largest conflagration of violence since the 2014 Gaza war, or even the 2000-2005 Second Intifada.
Anera staff and their families in Gaza are all safe for the moment, but do not feel safe. A pharmacist on our Gaza staff says this warfare already feels worse than the 2014 Israel-Gaza war. He says the Israeli bombs seem bigger and the targets broader this time. And, because of COVID-19, the hospitals and ICUs are already low on beds, medicines and supplies. Read our full situation report.
Anera is deeply concerned about the escalating attacks and loss of life in Jerusalem, Gaza and throughout Palestine and Israel, including threatened moves to evict Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, and the rising numbers of injured, dead and homeless in Gaza. We call on all those with the power to stop the violence to do so immediately. Read the full statement.
We will update this log regularly to provide an ongoing report back to donors on the ways Anera is responding during this COVID-19 crisis. We will also be providing occasional updates about conditions on the ground and our staff. Please…
What we’re reading These are some of our staff’s favorite books that give some context to life, history and culture in the countries where we work: Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan. We also feature some writings that describe the experiences of…
Medical aid is needed across all of Palestine during this time. Palestine has been in crisis for the last month. Not just from the war in Gaza, but also from recent events in the West Bank.