On May 10, 2021, Hamas launched a rocket attack on Jerusalem in retaliation for recent police clashes. Subsequently, this led to over a week of ongoing violence leaving hundreds dead. While the history of this conflict is long and complicated, there are ways to support Palestine right now. With millions living in the region who do not have access to basic necessities such as clean water and electricity, support from the international community is vital.
The history of the conflict in Israel and Palestine is long and complicated, going back over 100 years. Therefore, one of the best ways to support Palestine is for one to garner education on what has led to the current circumstances. For example, a few good sources where people can learn the history of the conflict are:
- The History Channel. The History Channel offers background on what is happening in the region as well as the history of how things got where they are.
- Britannica. Britannica offers a deeper look at the Arab-Israeli wars that have happened since 1948 to show how violence has spread throughout the region.
- The United Nations. The United Nations has a fact sheet about the history of “The Question of Palestine” which explains the international community’s role in the situation.
Another way to support Palestine is through targeted consumer boycotts. Some companies that benefit from the conflict include:
- Hewlett-Packard. Hewlett-Packard (HP) is responsible for the biometric ID system that helps Israeli officials restrict the movement of Palestinians.
- Sabra. The Strauss Group partially owns Sabra. This is an Israeli “company that provides financial support to the Israeli army.”
- Pillsbury. In contrast to Sabra, Pillsbury has factories on occupied land that belongs to Palestinians.
Despite their involvement, none of these companies have issued a statement on the current conflict.
Contact Elected Officials
On April 15, 2021, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced the Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act. This act would prohibit Israeli authorities from using U.S. funding in Palestinian detention camps, demolishing Palestinian homes and annexing further Palestinian lands. Contacting elected officials and urging their support for this bill is one of the most effective ways to support Palestine.
Share Palestinian Voices
Today, social media is an immensely effective tool that people can use to communicate with others across the globe. For instance, among the ways to support Palestine, sharing Palestinian voices on social media is one of the easiest to do. Additionally, some informational social media accounts to follow include:
- Dima Khatib. A former junior editor at Al Jazeera, Khatib is now the managing director of AJ+, a social media news outlet that covers worldwide news stories in an unbiased way.
- Laila El-Haddad. Raised in Saudi Arabia, Haddad is now a journalist in Palestine who works to give a positive insight into being a Palestinian immigrant and a mom in Palestine.
- Janna Jihad. Born in the West Bank, Jihad spent her life in Palestine surrounded by an “activist family.” At only 15 years old, she is one of the youngest journalists in the world.
Organizations Already Helping
There are, in fact, already many organizations finding ways to support Palestine. Some of these organizations include:
- Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres. Services include remote counseling, supporting local hospitals and providing hygiene and sanitation training. Additionally, it has provided basic first aid training to hospital staff. Over 90,000 outpatient consultations occurred in 2019.
- United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA). The UNWRA provides humanitarian aid such as education, healthcare and infrastructure improvement within 27 refugee camps throughout Gaza and the West Bank. With access to clean water and electricity at crisis levels, support from UNRWA is vital to the people in these camps.
- Palestine Children’s Relief Fund. This organization provides medical care to sick and injured Palestinian children. To do this, it sends volunteer doctors overseas, sponsors orphans, runs humanitarian programs and works on infrastructure projects. Since its founding in 1992, PCRF has sent over 2,000 children abroad for free medical care and built two pediatric cancer departments in Palestine.
The conflict between Israel and Palestine goes back decades and has complicated roots. However, there are people in the area that need help now. The good news is that there are ways to support Palestine from right where you are. By educating oneself, donating, boycotting, contacting elected officials and sharing the voices of those in Palestine, anyone can help support the people who live there.
– Taryn Steckler-Houle