Over the weekend, the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel with armed fighters and over 2,000 rockets. In retaliation, the Israeli military launched airstrikes of its own, marking the beginning of a full-fledged war that has already reached a death toll of 1,300.
Members of the international community – from world leaders to private citizens – are jumping in to take sides. But innocent civilians who have no involvement in the conflict are bearing the brunt of this violence. Videos of brutal kidnappings are circulating on social media, including a distressing one released by the family of Israel student Noa Argamani, who was attending a music festival.
In times of war and bloodshed, when civilians on both sides are suffering, it’s important to place humanitarian aid above political agendas. If you are looking for ways to help both Israeli and Palestinian victims of war, the following five nonpartisan charities are providing relief.
Doctors Without Borders
Doctors Without Borders describes itself as an “independent, impartial and neutral” organization that provides humanitarian aid to people living in conflict zones, regardless of which side of the conflict they are on. As hospitals overflow with civilians who have been injured in the crossfire of airstrikes, medical staff have reported a shortage of medical supplies, drugs and power for generators. Additionally, staff are struggling to transport patients to hospitals, as ambulances have been hit by airstrikes. Doctors Without Borders is donating supplies to these hospitals, as well as sending doctors and nurses as volunteers to provide surgical and intensive care to victims.
The Alliance for Middle East Peace
The Alliance for Middle East Peace is a coalition of over 170 Palestinian and Israeli organizations that share a goal of reaching a state of peace between the two communities. Since its inception in 2006, the U.S.-based organization has independently raised over $300 million in funding for Israeli and Palestinian peacebuilding initiatives centered around interactive programs and workshops as a conflict resolution tool. The ALLMEP also proposed legislation for an International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace – modeled after Northern Ireland’s successful International Fund for Ireland – to increase peacebuilding investments. This legislation is now making its way through the U.S. Congress, and has received support from a number of the organization’s international partners.
The International Committee of the Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross, which has been present in Israel and Palestine since 1967, has released a statement calling for both sides to respect their legal obligations under international humanitarian law – this includes leaving civilians unharmed, protecting healthcare workers and facilities and treating the dead with dignity. The ICRC, “a neutral intermediary,” also declared it is ready to visit detainees on both sides to check on their well-being and keep their loved ones informed. It has created a page on its website specifically for donations that would go toward aid in Israel and Palestine, including access to water and electricity for civilians.
Women Wage Peace
Women Wage Peace is a grassroots movement of women volunteers advocating for peace between Israel and Palestine. Although it is run by Israeli women, the movement is nonpartisan and advocates for “economic security, education and personal safety” for women on both sides of the conflict. It has partnered with Palestinian women to create the petition, “The Mother’s Call,” which demands peace from both sides, and has proposed legislation such as the Political Alternatives First Bill. One of its leaders, Vivian Silver, was reported missing after the airstrikes on Saturday – and is believed by her son to have been captured by Hamas forces. One colleague told the Middle East Eye that Silver would often visit the occupied territory “as an act of solidarity with the Palestinian people, and as an activist against the occupation.”
The Carter Center
Founded by Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter in partnership with Emory University, The Carter Center is a humanitarian aid organization that has been advocating for a two-state solution to Israeli-Palestinian discord since the 1990s. It also operates human rights programs in both territories. After Israel declared war, The Carter Center released a statement calling for conversation and international action to put an end to the violence affecting civilians on both sides. The organization stated it has “developed strong relations among key Israeli and Palestinian political leaders, electoral officials, civil society leaders, and human rights practitioners,” and that there is no military solution – only political.