The scale of the violence and harm to civilians is unprecedented. The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel share actions you can take in solidarity.
The scale of the violence and harm to civilians is unprecedented and unlike anything in living memory. Hospitals, schools, places of worship, roads, and homes have been decimated, and civilians have been targeted. Faith groups and human rights agencies across the world have called on the international community to act immediately to secure a ceasefire and work to ensure humanitarian aid and access.
We condemn the targeting of civilians and the taking of hostages by Hamas. We condemn Israel’s indiscriminate and disproportionate bombardment of Gaza; the prohibition of food, water and electricity into Gaza; and their attempt to forcibly transfer over 1 million Gazan people. In the West Bank, all cities are on lockdown and heavily militarised. Collective punishment of an entire population can never address the root causes of this violence.
This escalation must be understood in the context of 55 years of Israeli military occupation of Palestinian land and 75 years of dispossession and oppression of the Palestinian people. It has been proven time and time again that there can be no military solution. Without an end to the occupation, equality, and full dignified human rights for all, this cycle of violence will never end.
Regardless of your background on this issue, we can all do something. Here are some urgent actions you, your friends and your family can take today:
1. Tell your elected reps to act now
On 13 October, the Israeli military called for 1.2 million civilians in northern Gaza to relocate to the south within 24 hours. The UN has said that this will be impossible without devastating humanitarian consequences. According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, “absent of any guarantees of safety or return, would amount to the war crime of forcible transfer”. The international community must act to uphold international law. Use the buttons below to send an urgent email to your elected representatives.
2. Donate to Medical Aid for Palestinians
The bombardment has led to a desperate health and humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Our friends at Medical Aid for Palestinians are responding to the current emergency, where hospitals are struggling to cope with an influx of serious injuries. Your help is urgently needed:
3. Understand the context
This major escalation did not happen in a vacuum. Here are some resources to help you understand the context and the events that led to this point.
The history of Israel and Palestine
This 6-minute video from Jewish Voice for Peace offers a simple and succinct historical background.
Life in Gaza
Gaza has often been described as “the world’s largest open air prison”. 80% of its population rely on foreign aid to survive and 97% of the water is undrinkable. This virtual tour by Israeli-Palestinian tour group, Green Olive Collective, takes you around Gaza and introduces the political and humanitarian realities.
2023 in the West Bank
In the final days of 2022, the most religious and hardline right-wing government in Israel’s history was sworn in. Since then, there has been a rapid increase in violence towards Palestinians in the West Bank, including the highest daily average of settler-related incidents affecting Palestinians since the UN started recording this data in 2006.
1,182 Palestinians were displaced as a result of their homes being demolished by the Israeli military. Meanwhile, the new Israeli government committed to building thousands of new illegal settlements on Palestinian land. The military also carried out mass raids and arrests, including of children, and doubled down on the use of ‘administrative detention’, holding almost 1,200 Palestinians indefinitely without charge or trial.
You can read eyewitness testimonies from our human rights monitors in the West Bank for a thorough understanding of the issues:
4. Choose your media wisely
Actively seek out articles written by Palestinians and Israelis. We recommend subscribing to the joint Israeli-Palestinian online news outlet 972+ Magazine, or for televised / international coverage, Al Jazeera English, which has journalists in both Israel and Palestine.
Human Rights Watch and others have reported on the circulation of a number of unverifiable posts trending on social media. Please be mindful of what you share. Due to Israel’s cutting off of electricity and the prohibition of international journalists into Gaza, it is becoming ever more challenging for Gazans to get their story heard. Palestinian and Israeli human rights organisations are doing their best to keep up the reporting under unthinkable conditions. Here are some suggested accounts to follow that are especially active right now:
- Al Haq (Palestinian) – FB / X
- Al Mezan Centre (Palestinian) – IG / X
- B’Tselem (Israeli) – FB / IG / X
- Breaking the Silence (Israeli) – FB / IG / X
- Center for Jewish nonviolence (Israeli) – FB / X
- Defence for Children International (Palestinian) – X / IG
- Gisha (Palestinian) – FB / X
- MAKAN (Palestinian) – FB / IG / X
- Palestinian Center for Human Rights – FB / IG / X
- Rabbis for Human Rights (Israeli) – FB / IG / X
- We are not numbers (Palestinian) – FB / IG / X
- Yesh Din (Israeli) – FB / X
The Oscar-nominated Palestinian short film The Present on Netflix illustrates the everyday humiliations Palestinians face living under occupation.
5. Show public solidarity
Historically, the escalation of violence in Palestine and Israel has resulted in an upsurge of antisemitic and Islamophobic attacks in the UK, and it is distressing to see some reports of such incidents already. Please call out hateful and oppressive speech when you encounter it and, where you can, extend care and support for your Muslim and Jewish neighbours.
Please spare just a few minutes to take action in solidarity with the people of Palestine and Israel. We will continue to share updates, statements, news, and amplify the voices of Palestinians and Israelis online, in-person, and on our social media accounts.
13 October 2023
The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) is an international programme coordinated by the World Council of Churches. It brings people from around the world to the West Bank and Jerusalem to serve as human rights monitors and to advocate for a just peace on their return. In the UK and Ireland it is coordinated by Quakers in Britain.
Recent statements from EAPPI UK & Ireland and partners
The following are some of the statements that have been published by EAPPI UK & Ireland and our partners over the last few weeks:
- Quakers in Britain: Quaker statement on the escalation of violence in Israel and Palestine
- Churches Together in Britain and Ireland: Prayers and statements on violence in Israel and Gaza
- Christian Aid: Christian Aid statement on the escalation of violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory
Post expires on December 25th, 2023