How to help in response to the Hamas invasion of Israel and the resulting war in Israel and Gaza

Events in Israel and Gaza since since early Saturday morning have been particularly shocking, appalling, and overwhelming. Hundreds of unarmed civilians—men, women, and children—have already been killed, injured, and brutalized in this unprecedented escalation of hostilities, war, and terror. It’s easy to despair and do nothing.

Here are some organizations doing good work even in the midst of so much horror.

In Israel

Americans for Peace Now (APN) is probably the most important organization in the United States that dares to imagine and work for “comprehensive, durable, Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab peace.” They were immediate and humanistic in their response to the Hamas attacks: “We unequivocally condemn these horrific acts of terror. ¶ The targeting and kidnapping of civilians is an inexcusable, outrageous war crime.” APN is the American sister organization of the Israeli Peace Now Shalom Achshav (whose website alarmingly seems to be down right now). APN shared: “If you are looking for ways to help, this link from our friends at @NewIsraelFund is a useful resource:” You can also donate directly to APN to continue their long-term efforts, which are more important now than ever.

ZAKA is a non-governmental civilian volunteer rescue and recovery organization that responds to terror attacks, disasters, and accidents. They are involved in search and rescue, and also honor “those who couldn’t be saved with dignity in death.” In the aftermath of one of the most incomprehensively despicable episodes of Saturday’s attacks, the massacre of largely youthful partygoers and ravers at a music festival, ZAKA “collected more than 250 bodies” as of yesterday. ZAKA “teams are spread throughout the south, focusing on treating the deceased with respect and collecting the many findings at each scene. They move from scene to scene with trucks and ambulances, collecting dozens who, sadly, are no longer alive. Even the veteran ZAKA volunteers who are working on the scenes are struggling to digest the sights and the magnitude of the disaster.” Donate to support ZAKA’s work.

In Gaza

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors Without Borders), which I have long supported as a monthly donor, is active in more than 75 countries, providing “medical humanitarian assistance to save lives and ease the suffering of people in crisis situations.” They have been active in Gaza and the West Bank for a long time. They are currently “providing surgical and inpatient care, while preparing a medicine and medical consumables donation to hospitals and health facilities, in Gaza” and they have been calling “on all parties to respect the sanctity of medical facilities, vehicles and personnel.” (They are also active in Afghanistan, responding to Saturday’s Herat earthquake, where assistance is also urgently needed.) Donate to support MSF’s work.

Speaking out

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have both been forceful in their calls for the protection of civilians and trying to hold the parties to account. Agnès Callamard Amnesty International’s Secretary General: “‘Deliberately targeting civilians, carrying out disproportionate attacks, and indiscriminate attacks which kill or injure civilians are war crimes. Israel has a horrific track record of committing war crimes with impunity in previous wars on Gaza. Palestinian armed groups from Gaza, must refrain from targeting civilians and using indiscriminate weapons, as they have done in the past, and most intensively in this event, acts amounting to war crimes.’” Human Rights Watch: “‘Deliberate killings of civilians, hostage-taking, and collective punishment are heinous crimes that have no justification,’ said Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine Director at Human Rights Watch. ‘The unlawful attacks and systematic repression that have mired the region for decades will continue, so long as human rights and accountability are disregarded.’” HRW also released a helpful Q&A addressing “issues relating to international humanitarian law (the laws of war) governing current hostilities between Israel and Hamas, and other Palestinian armed groups in Gaza.”

I personally give regularly to Doctors Without Borders and Amnesty International, and I have given to Americans for Peace Now and Human Rights Watch in the past.