Alexandria, Va. – Islamic Relief USA welcomes the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas that took effect this morning, following nearly two weeks of intense violence that left severe devastation in its wake.
With the largest impacts being borne by civilians, including destruction of commercial and residential infrastructure, now is the time to marshall the will and resources of the international community to address this crisis comprehensively and fully. In addition to the Palestinian casualties, of which approximately 230 have died, at least 10 Israelis, including two children, have also been killed. Initial assessments in Gaza show more than 1,335 homes have been destroyed or seriously damaged by bombing, while around 13,000 more have been partially damaged. At least 50 schools and 17 health facilities have been damaged.
Sharif Aly, CEO of Islamic Relief USA, says:
“While IRUSA welcomes the immediate end to the use of force, the ceasefire is only the beginning of a very difficult road to delivering desperately needed aid across Occupied Palestine and to rebuilding Gaza. More than 230 Palestinians have been killed and a quarter of that toll were children during the 11 days of bombardment, and 91,000 Palestinians have lost their homes. Given this tragic reality, the immediate humanitarian focus is on opening crossings to ensure vital aid, including food, medicine, and fuel, can reach the people who need them desperately.
“Now the international community must act, earnestly, to address the many injustices lying at the root of the oppressive and inequal treatment facing Palestinian civilians everyday. Here is where we demand to see the end to the occupation, including the blockade of Gaza, and firm commitment to upholding international humanitarian law. Failure in this regard is not an option and serves to continue the conditions that see 80% of Palestinians relying on humanitarian aid for their basic needs. These current conditions undermine the safety, security, and dignity of the Palestinian people who deserve nothing less than the rights and freedoms enjoyed by their Israeli counterparts.
Islamic Relief USA condemns violence against all civilians in the strongest terms, particularly where innocent lives are lost. All people, regardless of ethnic, religious, or racial identity deserve to live freely in dignity, and to have their fundamental and inalienable human rights upheld and respected. For Palestinans and Israelis such freedom will not be possible until a just and equitable solution grounded in international law is achieved.”
IRUSA believes that adherence to these humanitarian principles is a global moral imperative, showcased by the Islamic teaching: “[W]hoever saves one [life] – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. ” (Quran 5:32). IRUSA has been steadfast in its humanitarian commitments while working with partners, both locally and internationally, to ensure aid is delivered quickly and effectively.
The impacts are not just to Gaza alone. Humanitarian assistance is also needed in the West Bank, where hundreds more Palestinians have been injured in East Jerusalem.
Syed M. Hassan
(703) 370-7246; (571) 421-7032 (CELL)
Islamic Relief USA, based in Alexandria, Va., is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) humanitarian organization. Its mission is to provide relief and development in a dignified manner regardless of gender, race, or religion, and works to empower individuals in their communities and give them a voice in the world. Its programs benefit millions of people each year in more than 40countries around the world, including in the United States.
Islamic Relief USA meets all of the Standards for Charity Accountability of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a national charity monitoring group affiliated with the Better Business Bureau system. Islamic Relief USA is on the U.S. government’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) charity list, and it is also a signatory to the code of conduct of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.