“We still have dreams of hope.”- Mariam Zakoot, director the Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA) in Gaza, which receives support from Mennonite Central Committee (MCC).
Background More than one million people in Gaza rely on humanitarian assistance to meet basic needs. The blockade that Israel imposed in 2007 has devastated the economy and brought unspeakable hardship for Palestinians. Now, as recent funding cuts from UNRWA, the United Nations agency responsible for Palestine take hold—life for many is going from bad to worse.
- Hospitals are reducing some vital services to conserve rapidly decreasing fuel supplies.
- Schools, with more than 240,000 students, are on the verge of closing.
- Medication supplies, essential to survival, are dwindling.
- Most Gazans have no running water and available water is often polluted.
On top of this humanitarian crisis, The Great March of Return protests have been ongoing since March of 2018. Unarmed Palestinian protestors continue to be targeted by Israeli snipers. Reports are emerging of a collapsing health sector and growing hunger, along with continued injuries and a rising death toll of demonstrators.
In March 2018, Canada announced an additional $10 million to support UNRWA in addition to their regular $25 million contribution. In July 2018, Canada announced an additional $50 million of humanitarian and development assistance to support vulnerable Palestinians in both the West Bank and Gaza. In October 2018, Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced that Canada would contribute another $50 million dollars to partially make up the shortfall due to the recent UN cuts. Several European countries have also significantly increased their funding. Even so, the situation looks bleak. Increased humanitarian aid is an important step forward but dealing with the root causes of the crisis by lifting the blockade is crucial in ensuring that Palestinians are able to have a sustainable future.
Faith reflection: “The Psalmist laments and cries out, ‘How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?’ Palestinians have long asked ‘how long?’ and looked for signs that they are not forgotten.” – Excerpt from “70 years on: Seeking a hopeful future in a time of yearning”.
ACT Today: Urge your MP to show compassion for Gaza! Ask him or her to:
- Insist to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister on continued humanitarian relief for the people of Gaza, but, more critically, that Canada support an end to the Israeli blockade on Gaza.
- Support policies in keeping with Canada's official commitment to promote the human rights of all people including Palestinians and Israelis.
- Pray for a just peace in Gaza and MCC’s staff and partners working on the ground.
Send a message to your MP.