The ongoing tragic attacks by Israel in Gaza have sparked a natural desire for people to help, and our charities have been doing an excellent job at facilitating relief efforts for Gaza. Although support is often encouraged through donating to charities and providing humanitarian aid to Palestinians, it is also crucial to recognise that humanitarian aid alone cannot resolve the deep-seated issues Palestinians face.
There is often a notion that charities cannot be ‘political’ and must be neutral. However, UK charity law permits political activity, and the Charity Commission states that, “Charities can undertake political activity in support of their charitable aims”. Furthermore, in its guidance the Charity Commission elaborates that, “Charities are free to participate in public debates and to use their voice to try to influence decisions which will support the work of the charity.”
To know how to respond adequately we can pose these questions to ourselves: “What do our Palestinian brothers and sisters need from us? How can we utilise the resources and audiences we have to fulfil those needs?”
Palestinians are yearning for liberation, and their needs are not limited to immediate supplies like food, medicine, or fuel. Muslim charities have a moral obligation to speak out. This is what our Palestinian beneficiaries need, and what our donors expect. Remaining silent about Israeli apartheid and colonial subjugation is not an option; let us utilise the blessings and resources Allah has entrusted us with to truly assist Palestine in its moment of struggle by raising our voices.
Therefore, our call to our companions in the Muslim charity sector is to come together and leverage the influence and reach we have to vocalise the support for ending 75 years of apartheid and illegal occupation in Palestine, echoing the clear voice of the oppressed. While continuing to provide vital humanitarian aid, let us not remain silent in the face of this oppression. As Desmond Tutu said, "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."
Human Aid & Advocacy calls upon Muslim charities to raise your voice in the following ways:
Call on the UK Government to bring about an immediate ceasefire and end of Israeli aggression in Gaza and the West Bank. Additionally, call for the opening of a Humanitarian corridor to provide vital aid into the Gaza strip, and for the UK Government to withdraw its support for Israel, which is only emboldening Israel to commit further war crimes and ethnic cleansing.
It has now been recognised by numerous leading NGOs, both Israeli and international, as well as a former head of Mossad, that Israel is an apartheid regime. Moreover, their occupation of Palestine has been regarded by multiple Human Rights bodies as illegal. We have a right to voice this opinion, so let’s use our platform to advocate for the end of Israeli apartheid and colonial domination.
The daily bombardment of the Gaza Strip, the most densely populated region in the world, alongside the use of white phosphorus, targeting of hospitals, and the cutting off from access to food, water and electricity, constitute war crimes and amount to ethnic cleaning and genocide.
Over 700,000 indigenous Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their homes by Zionist militias during the creation of Israel in 1948. The Gaza Strip is the most densely populated region in the world because the majority of the 2.1 million people living there were dispossessed of their homes and forced to seek refuge in Gaza by the Israeli occupation. Palestinians in the West Bank and in other occupied territories are subjugated and persecuted daily by Israeli police, soldiers and colonial settlers. International law affirms the right of Palestinian people to resist military occupation and colonial subjugation, including the use of armed force.
Use your platforms to counter the propaganda and false narratives that seek to both delegitimise the Palestinian struggle for freedom and support Israeli war crimes.
Fly the Palestinian flag in your home, your business, your car. Attend demonstrations in support of Palestine. Show the Palestinian people and the world that you have not abandoned them and that you stand shoulder to shoulder with them in their struggle for freedom.
As charities working within the British Muslim sphere, we must coordinate our efforts to support Palestinian survivors in their continual struggle to free themselves from the yoke of colonial domination and oppression. This cannot be achieved purely by humanitarian aid alone, but requires us all to use our voices and platforms to advocate for real change. Charities often prioritise humanitarian aid after the conflict has ended, however there is a need for us to influence change before mass death and destruction. Through advocacy, we can prevent or limit the dire impact of crises’.
To support charities in advocating for Palestine, Human Aid & Advocacy have put together a guidance document with evidence-based resources on what Muslim Charities can say regarding Palestine.