This Ramadan marks a year since the latest Israeli
offensive against the people of Gaza, known formally as“Operation Protective
Edge”. More than 2,000 Palestinians were killed, including hundreds of children.
Tens of thousands were left displaced without homes. After a year, there is
still not a single home that was destroyed by the Israelis which has been rebuilt
in Gaza and only twenty-five percent of essential materials needed for
reconstruction are entering the Strip due to the blockade. The rate of
reconstruction is still painfully slow, and at the current pace it will take
decades to rebuild Gaza. Last September, the international community pledged $5.4
billion but only a fraction has reached the people who need it. The situation is
not improving and the international community needs to take major steps to lift
the Israeli-led blockade, so that the people of Palestine can begin to rebuild
their lives, homes and schools.
This month the United
Nations Commission of Inquiry released its findings on Operation Protective
Edge. The report confirmed that there were “serious violations of international
human rights law by Israel and by Palestinian armed groups.” It also indicated
that Israel did not do “everything feasible to avoid or limit civilian
casualties.”Although this is not exactly breaking news, it is a step in the
right direction. Now the atrocities inflicted on thousands of Palestinians, and
seen by millions on their television screens, have been acknowledged by the United
Nations, despite the best efforts of supposed military experts to debunk the
report’s findings. In one newspaper article, it is claimed by an ex-British
Army officer that “Israel withdrew from
Gaza 10 years ago” when, technically and legally, Israel is still very much the
occupying power, a fact recognised by international law. “In 2007,” he
continues, Israel “imposed a selective blockade only in response to attacks by Hamas
and the import of munitions and military material from Iran.” In fact, the near
total blockade began when Hamas won the widely-acknowledged free and fair
Palestinian elections in 2006. Although such crude efforts to gloss over
reality will fool some people, hopefully
the UNHRC report will lead to the international community holding to account those
who committed such deliberately cruel acts in summer 2014.
World Refugee Day this year was on Sunday 20 June. The
slogan of this global campaign is “one family torn apart by war is too many”.
The Palestinian refugee crisis is the world’s longest ongoing refugee crisis.
It’s not just one family but sixty-seven percent of Palestinian men, women and
children who are displaced, many of them living just a short distance from
where their original homes were inside what is now Israel. The international
community has still not given the Palestinian people their legal right of
return. We believe that the Palestinian people should be given the same natural
rights and dignity that every other person enjoys around the world – the right
to go back home. Here at Interpal, our humanitarian programmes provide water,
shelter and food for Palestinian refugees all year round. We feel their pain
and their grief and try to ease their suffering through the aid that we are
able to provide with your help.
So where do you stand? That is what we are asking this
Ramadan. We are asking everyone to remember the atrocities that took place last
Ramadan during the 2014 Gaza conflict. Our Ramadan campaign fundraising has already
started on a high note; we have raised over £140,000 in our two TV live appeals.
Our Lebanon office has delivered fresh food to many refugee families across the
country. We hope to support over 15,000 families this year, so please donate
today. Your generosity really does make a difference.
We hope you are all enjoying Ramadan and the benefits
it brings, and thank you again for your unswerving support.