Palestinians face hardest ever Ramadan as violence, starvation and restrictions increase


ALEXANDRIA, Va –  Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) has released the following statement:

The right of Palestinians to worship freely and safely must be protected, Islamic Relief says as restrictions, violence and starvation increase across the Occupied Palestinian Territory ahead of the holy month of Ramadan.

Since  October 7 Israeli police have placed further restrictions on Palestinians’ access to Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam. Now Israel is warning of further restrictions on Muslim worshippers during Ramadan, which is due to begin in the coming days. Christian Palestinians are also facing Israeli restrictions on accessing holy sites in Jerusalem as Easter approaches.

In Gaza, families preparing for Ramadan are on the verge of famine with children now dying from starvation as Israel blocks food aid and fatally attacks civilians trying to reach food trucks. The past few days have brought new horror as hundreds of desperate people have been killed or wounded as they queued for a little flour to feed their families.

Islamic Relief is calling for an immediate ceasefire and massive increase in aid to be agreed for the start of Ramadan.

Over the past few months Gaza’s religious sites have come under constant attack, with at least 184 mosques and 3 churches now damaged or destroyed by the bombardment. Islamic Relief strongly condemns all attacks on places of worship, for all faiths.

An Islamic Relief staff member in Gaza says: “Usually during Ramadan we gather in the mosques for night prayers. Now most of the mosques have been destroyed. This year we’ll have none of the usual food that we have for Ramadan. All we hope for Ramadan is for a ceasefire.”

Families in Gaza are set to mark Ramadan in severely overcrowded shelters without food and clean water, as 1.7 million people are displaced and over 60% of homes are damaged or destroyed.

Israel has threatened to attack Rafah at the start of Ramadan, which will have absolutely catastrophic consequences for more than 1 million civilians trapped there with nowhere safe to go. Over nearly five months we have witnessed daily atrocities, but attacking such a crowded area at the start of Ramadan would see the crisis hit new depths.

In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the restrictions on Palestinian worship come as people also face rising attacks and denial of their fundamental rights. Even before 7 October, last year (2023) was the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank for almost 20 years. Since then the situation has worsened even further. More than 400 Palestinians, including over 100 children, have been killed and over 4,600 injured.

Israel has imposed increasing restrictions on movement, with many Palestinians – especially men – denied entry to Jerusalem or other significant religious locations.

As well as rising attacks by Israeli forces, Palestinian villagers are suffering violence and intimidation by armed Israeli settlers, with an average of four attacks a day since October 7. These attacks are being carried out with complete impunity and in many cases reportedly supported by Israeli troops. In addition to killing and injuring Palestinian civilians, thousands of olive trees have been cut down and agricultural equipment stolen in the middle of the olive harvest season – on which many impoverished Palestinian families depend for their livelihoods. Farmers and labourers have been attacked and intimidated, preventing them from going to the fields.

Israel has also stepped up the demolition of Palestinian homes and other structures such as agricultural facilities and schools across the West Bank. 2023 saw the highest total of demolitions (at least 1,129) since the UN started tracking the data almost 20 years ago, and with over 200 demolitions already reported in 2024, this year is on track to be even higher.

Ahead of Ramadan we once again call for the right to worship to be protected, and for the international community to step up efforts to end the Israeli occupation. All Palestinians and Israelis – regardless of religion or ethnicity – have the right to live in safety and dignity, and to have their fundamental human rights upheld. To achieve lasting peace for everyone, there must be an end to the occupation and the deep-rooted injustices that Palestinians face on a daily basis.




Syed M. Hassan  or
(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 40 countries 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.

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