What is happening in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel?
Here’s an overview of what has been happening in the area
We have seen some of the worst violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel in recent years. Red Cross Red Crescent teams are there, providing vital support.
What is happening?
As you may have seen or read in the news, the past few days have seen some of the worst violence to have happened in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel for years. A ceasefire began on 21 May, bringing to an end 11 days of torment and destruction, which led to over 200 deaths.
The damage inflicted in less than two weeks will take years, if not decades, to repair. The focus must now be on support for reconstruction and recovery.
Why has the British Red Cross launched an appeal?
In May 2021, we launched an appeal to help those affected by the violence in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank including East Jerusalem.
As a humanitarian organisation, the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement has staff and volunteers working around the clock – often putting themselves in dangerous situations – to help people who need it the most.
The appeal will help provide medical and humanitarian assistance in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank including East Jerusalem, supporting the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross and our partner organisations the Palestine Red Crescent, and Magen David Adom in Israel.
The ICRC is looking at meeting emergency needs like surgeries, water and energy repairs. A priority is to bring in extra medical supplies to support an already-fragile health system already hit hard by Covid-19.
Thousands of people have lost their homes, businesses, and places of work and will need huge support to get back on their feet. The ceasefire means that many people will return to their homes, but too many will now remain homeless.
What has the Red Cross been doing to help?
The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement ramped up its response, providing support to colleagues from the Palestine Red Crescent and Magen David Adom.
- Both the Palestine Red Crescent and Magen David Adom activated their central operations rooms
- Ambulance teams from the Palestine Red Crescent and Magen David Adom have been helping injured people, with volunteers providing medical aid and supporting people who have been evacuated to shelters
- In the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Palestine Red Crescent set up triage facilities, its operations supported by 28 ambulances and 420 paramedics and volunteers
- With hospitals already overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients, the Palestine Red Crescent prepared two hospitals to help ease pressure on other facilities in the area
- Magen David Adom has been treating and transporting casualties, providing psychosocial support to people affected by the violence, and maintaining a national stockpile of blood.
The ICRC has donated three war-wounded kits to the Ministry of Health in Gaza and one to a hospital in Jerusalem.
As part of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, the British Red Cross is in touch with our Movement partners to continue to monitor the situation.
What are Red Cross Red Crescent teams seeing in the area?
The past days have seen more civilian casualties, with young children among them. People have also lost their homes and several Palestine Red Crescent buildings have been damaged, including its emergency services centre and central warehouse.
Worryingly, ambulance teams from both the Palestine Red Crescent and Magen David Adom have been attacked, while trying to help injured people.
Healthcare workers are protected under International Humanitarian Law and are not part of the fighting.
How will my donation be used?
Donations made to the appeal will support our Movement partners, the ICRC, Palestine Red Crescent and Magen David Adom in Israel, as they continue to provide life-saving emergency relief and medical operations in the region.
There is an urgent need for medical supplies and equipment, emergency shelter and household items
Why can't I just send medical supplies, food or clothing to the region?
Donations of food, clothing and other items are not currently the best way to help people in need. There are huge costs involved in shipping these items, so local purchases of food and clothing are more effective, and cash transfers to the region provide the flexibility our Red Cross Red Crescent colleagues need as they work.
What are the Occupied Palestinian Territories?
The Occupied Palestinian Territories or OPT is an internationally accepted description, used by the United Nations. It refers to the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Together with the reference to Israel in our appeal, it covers all the areas affected by the current crisis.
Why are you appealing for both Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories?
The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement is responding to help people who have been injured or who have had to flee their homes.
Civilians in Gaza, the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Israel have been affected and money raised will be used to support Movement partners working in those areas.
As a neutral, impartial, independent humanitarian Movement our role is to respond when people need us, no matter who or where they are.
Our neutrality means we are here to help anyone in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel who has been affected by violence.
Are you working with governments?
We don’t work with governments directly, rather with partner societies that are part of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.
Governed by our principles of neutrality and impartiality, we respond to humanitarian need no matter what the cause of the crisis.
The International Federation of the Red Cross consists of National Societies in 192 countries around the world and members include the Palestine Red Crescent and the Magen David Adom.
All national societies are independent of government and respond to crises based on humanitarian need alone.
We are deeply concerned about the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and send our heartfelt wishes of solidarity to those personally affected by the events, and to our partner organisations on the ground.