My last blog and facebook posts have been a little bleak. On a more proactive note, here are some ways to help people in Gaza. These organizations help people directly, using money for humanitarian assistance, not for arms.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, working under the mandate of the UN General Assembly. UNWRA’s work “encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance, including in times of armed conflict.” I saw UNWRA’s work during my visits to the refugee camps in the West Bank: they run schools and clinics. Many people in Gaza are currently crowded into UNWRA’s schools, hoping for shelter, but sometimes getting bombed anyway. UNWRA has launched an emergency appeal. For US donors, the US Friends of UNWRA provides a mechanism to donate within the US tax code (i.e., 501(c)(3) tax credits).
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF): Operate clinics in Gaza and work in the Al Shifa hospital. They also work in many other parts of the world and are very highly rated in Charity Navigator. “MSF observes neutrality and impartiality in the name of universal medical ethics and the right to humanitarian assistance and claims full and unhindered freedom in the exercise of its functions” (from their Charter). Donate here.
(For US residents, the bill for arms comes due on April 15th: about $3 billion each year flows from US taxpayers to the Israeli military. US AID spends about 5% of that amount in non-military spending in the West Bank, often on projects mitigating the consequences of Israeli military rule. For example, when the Israeli military closes roads to all Palestinian cars, turning the roadways into settler-only routes, US AID builds another road to connect major West Bank cities. Hamas’ funding sources are less clear, but their rockets come from Iran, Syria, or are “home-made”; various Middle Eastern states have been implicated in funding their military wing.)