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A Closer Look at the Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

There is no easy way of saying this but the heartbreaking situation of Gaza needs to be addressed. The people of Gaza, Palestine, have been living in unimaginable conditions for the past two weeks. They are living in a besieged city with no electricity or water and a severe shortage of food and water.

A Glimpse into the Crisis

According to updates from Aljazeera, the mass ethnic cleansing by the Israeli Occupation Forces has taken a staggering toll. Reports suggest that at least 4,651 Palestinians have been killed, and more than 14,000 have been wounded. And in Israel, over 1,400 people have also lost their lives.

According to Aljazeera, on October 22, 2023, a convoy of 17 to 20 trucks carrying essential supplies was allowed to enter Gaza through the Rafah crossing. While this is definitely a positive development, it is critical to recognise that the aid will fall far short of meeting the needs of all Gaza residents.

Insight into the Lives of Journalists

The Gaza situation has also had a significant impact on journalists. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), at least 23 journalists have been killed as of today: 19 Palestinians, 3 Israelis, and 1 Lebanese.

Plestia Alaqad, a Palestinian journalist consistently covering the Gaza crisis since October 7, has provided a harrowing account of the situation. In her Instagram Story, she said, “Every day the death toll just keeps increasing. There are still people under the rubble. There is a huge shortage in food, water and medical supplies and it’s only getting worse and worse.”

The tragedy continued on Saturday, 22 October, as a Palestinian journalist named Roshdi Sarraj was confirmed killed by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City. The news was first confirmed by the official Palestinian press agency WAFA. His friend and fellow journalist, Yara, expressed her grief through an emotional statement on Instagram saying, “Today Israel killed my mentor, my boss and my close friend. Every day I wake up and I lose a close friend/ a family member and hundreds of my brothers and sisters in Palestine. Every day I think my heart can’t take it anymore. I’ve lost 32 people from my close circle (family and close friends). And I am sure I lost so many more but I still don’t know … they’re under the rubble or I haven’t heard their news.”

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Urgent Appeals for an Immediate Ceasefire

On October 14 2023, a UN expert issued a warning stating that “Palestinians are in grave danger of mass ethnic cleansing.” The report further said that they are “calling on the international community to urgently mediate a ceasefire between warring Hamas and Israeli occupation forces.”

And on October 22 2023, after going through tragedy after tragedy, a group of Palestinians from Gaza issued an urgent call for a ceasefire. They are appealing to the international community and the free people of the world to support their short-term demands. The people of Gaza are crying out for peace and for the world to stand with them during this dark time.

Millions of people worldwide have also taken to the streets, protesting for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. They are calling on the Israeli occupation forces to stop their actions. Yet, as of now, there are no reports of Israel considering a ceasefire, and basic resources like water and electricity remain inaccessible to the citizens of Gaza.

A Brief History of the Israel-Palestine Conflict:

• The Balfour Declaration (1917): According to Al Jazeera, the history of this conflict started when Britain pledged support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

• British Mandate and Arab Revolt (1923-1939): British rule and mass Jewish immigration spark Palestinian protests.

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• United Nations Partition Plan (1947): UN proposes dividing Palestine into Arab and Jewish states, met with Palestinian rejection.

• The Nakba (1947-1949): Israel is established, leading to over 500 Palestinian towns and villages being destroyed, causing a mass exodus.

• Arab-Israeli War (1948-1949): Armistice is reached after Israel declares independence.

• Occupation and Settlements (1967): Israel occupies the West Bank, Gaza, and other territories, leading to further tensions.

•The First Intifada (1987-1993): According to CFR (Council on Foreign Relations) Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians rose up against the Israeli Government with protests which marked the first Intifada.

• Oslo Accords and Palestinian Authority (1993): PA was established but failed to achieve an independent state.

• The Second Intifada (2000-2005): Uprising triggered by Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

•Blockade of Gaza and Repeated Conflicts (2007): Israel imposes a blockade on Gaza, leading to ongoing conflicts and humanitarian crises.

What you can do for the people of Gaza:

While most of us have been trying to sound intellectual and discuss the issue for the past two weeks, it’s important to note that that’s not going to help the ones who are on the brink of death in Gaza. We need to take action to help the citizens of Gaza and we have listed some of them below:

Donate: The dire situation in Gaza calls for immediate relief, and while humanitarian aid is struggling to reach the people, we can donate to ensure that when the aid is allowed through, there are enough resources to fill the trucks. It’s crucial to verify that every penny of your donation goes directly to the people of Gaza. Here are some organizations recommended by Palestinian journalists on the ground:

• Baitulmaal – baithulmaal.org

• Medical Aid for Palestinians – map.org.uk (Please note that this might not be available for India)

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• Palestinian Children Relief Fund – perf.net

• UNRWA – unrwa.org

• Middle East Children’s Alliance – mecaforpeace.org

Amplify and Educate: One of the most powerful tools we possess is knowledge. By educating ourselves about the situation in Gaza and staying updated through direct sources such as journalists and writers on the ground, we can become informed advocates for change.

Many influencers and journalists from Palestine have said that their posts are getting shadowbanned by Instagram because they are sharing a lot of content related to the same issue. So you can engage on their accounts and share their posts to help them keep the world informed about the crisis in Gaza.

Here are some Instagram accounts we recommend following for authentic and reliable information:

@mohemmedelkurd – Palestinian Writer and Journalist

@theimeu – A non-profit organization

@anat.international – An educational profile run by the people of Palestine

@eid_yara – Palestinian Journalist

@byplestia – Palestinian Journalist

Protest for Immediate Ceasefire: If it is possible, organizing a protest can be a powerful way to show your support for the people of Gaza and to let them know that the world has not given up on them. In your protest, you can call for an immediate ceasefire, and make sure to deliver the message loud and clear. These protests can serve as a physical manifestation of our solidarity with Gaza.

It is our moral duty to advocate for a ceasefire, to provide essential resources, and to support the innocent lives caught in this devastating situation. Gaza needs hope, and it’s up to us to help bring it.

Sources: Aljazeera, United Nations Human Rights, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)

By: Ashbiha Fathima

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