For 70 years, Palestinians have seen their human rights be stripped away, and their right to safely practise their faith is one of them. We’ve listed ten things that many Palestinians are prevented from doing in Gaza, the West Bank and refugee camps across Lebanon and Jordan.
1. Break their fast with a full meal
One in three households in Gaza and the West Bank are facing food insecurity- that’s about 1.6 million people who will struggle to break their fast with a full, nutritious meal this Ramadan
2. Visit Jerusalem’s holy sites
Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem face restrictions on movement, with numerous checkpoints and arbitrary arrests limiting their access to their places of worship. The Israeli authorities have restricted access to Jerusalem for many years to people from the West Bank, including al-Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, in Jerusalem’s Old City.
3. Break their fast with clean water
More than 50 years of occupation in Gaza has created a water crisis so severe that the territory is predicted to be uninhabitable in just two years’ time. Breaking fast with a glass of clean, fresh water is a struggle for the majority of Palestinians in Gaza, where more than 95% of water is contaminated by sewage, chemicals and seawater, making it unfit for human consumption.
4. Perform wudhu with clean water
Groundwater, which is one of the main sources of water in Lebanon, has been heavily polluted by untreated wastewater, plastic pollutants, pesticides and salt from the country’s coastal regions. Up to 40% of all Lebanon’s sewage runs untreated into water sources. Tap water in Lebanon’s refugee camps is too salty to drink, has a foul smell, and is even known to rust metal cutlery after just half an hour of exposure.
5. Fully celebrate Eid
Fully celebrating Eid al-Fitr will be a struggle for more than half of Palestinian refugee households in Lebanon, with up to five generations of families facing poverty as a result of continued displacement. Almost 60% of households live below the national poverty line.
6. Visit friends and family in the West Bank
Palestinians in the West Bank cannot freely visit friends and family to break fast and pray together, due to an oppressive ID card system, military checkpoints and barriers restricting their freedom of movement.
7. Peacefully observe fast and prayer
In the West Bank, the fear of night-time raids and arbitrary arrests by Israeli occupation forces prevent families from peacefully observing fast and prayer. The Israeli military continues to use an indiscriminate and disproportionate level of force against innocent civilians and children. Beyond its consistent failure to protect the security of Palestinians during settler attacks, the Israeli military has also been responsible for directly targeting and killing civilians, including children.
8. Leave Gaza to perform Umrah
Eleven years of siege in the Gaza Strip has had a debilitating effect on every aspect of life for Palestinians. During Ramadan, leaving the Gaza Strip to perform Umrah is just one of the many things that Palestinians have been prevented from doing as a result of the blockade.
9. Read the Quran after dark
The Gaza Strip has been experiencing a power crisis for a number of years, with its residents usually experiencing power cuts for up to 18 hours a day. During a blackout, thousands of families resort to using oil lighting and open-flame candles to light up their homes. These lighting methods can often cause accidents, many of which have been fatal. During Ramadan, praying, eating or studying the Quran becomes a difficult task as soon as the sun sets.
10. Prepare for Iftar
The summer months in the region can be brutal and with limited electricity, families struggle in the heat without fans or refrigerators, making fasting that much more difficult. The lack of gas and electricity leaves families unable to cook and bake food for Iftar. Families often resort to eating uncooked food and raw vegetables, with many not able to afford to stock-pile non-perishable food items for long-term use.
You can help
The people of the Holy Land urgently need your support. This Ramadan, your duas and donations will be a mercy to some of the most vulnerable people in the world.
With your help, we can support over 15,000 families across the occupied Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
In additional to providing food parcels and financial aid, you can donate to our safe lighting projects, provide fresh food for families, as well as cooler boxes to help families cope as they fast under the heat of the summer sun.
To donate, please visit interpal.org or call us on 020 8961 9993.