The past weeks have seen the escalation of conflict and violence between Palestinian and Israeli forces. Human Rights Watch has labeled the atrocities a crime against humanity of apartheid and persecution, with Palestinians facing institutional discrimination from the Israeli government and armed forces . Palestinians have been subjected to constant attacks, leading to the loss of lives among protesters and civilians alike.
Tensions between Palestine and Israel have come to a head with the forced expulsion of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, through an Israeli court order pursued by Israeli pro-settler organizations. Palestinians have been historically evicted and displaced from their own homes, in favor of Israeli settlers and construction of Israeli infrastructures. Fellow Palestinians held a solidarity demonstration against the displacement of these families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. However, Israeli forces have responded violently, harassing and detaining protesters, leading to thirty wounded and fifteen arrested.
On May 7, during the final Friday of Ramadan, Israeli police attacked protesters at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest Islamic site. Israeli police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades, wounding 200 Palestinians. These attacks have continued on May 10, with a flash raid by the Israeli police with the use of rubber bullets, tear gas and sound bombs at the mosque. About 300 Palestinians were wounded due to the raid.
However, that was just the start of a more violent response to the conflict. For the past week, air strikes have been continuously launched by the Israeli forces in the Gaza strip, leading to the increasing death rate of more than a hundred Palestinians, with less than a thousand wounded. The Israeli military has also launched ground attacks in Gaza. With no prior warning of these attacks, the death toll includes civilians, who are victimized by the ongoing conflict. Innocent families and children are included in the list of fatalities of these strikes.
The people of Palestine have been facing the effects of these indiscriminate and inhumane attacks of Israeli forces. Hospitals are facing a shortage of blood, in order to treat casualties of these attacks. Ambulances have trouble reaching the dead, wounded and injured due to the destruction of roads. Families are currently evacuating to UN schools to seek shelter and safety. Bodies are being pulled out from the debris of the apartment complexes targeted by airstrikes, with families carrying the bodies of the dead to the Al-Omari Mosque and to the graveyard in the midst of continuing air strikes in Gaza .
These events have also led to social unrest among the Palestinians and Israelis in various cities. A series of protests in various parts of the West Bank have been held to condemn the Israeli attacks on Gaza. Violence initiated by both sides have led to stoning of cars, burning of synagogues and mosques, and increasing aggression. Riots and hate crimes have been abound, leading to several civilian casualties .
These series of attacks have coincided with the celebration of Ramadan by the Palestinians. From the start of the end of the Ramadan, Palestinians are constantly harassed and threatened by Israeli forces. The Eid al-Fitr holiday that was supposedly marked with festivities and family gatherings, became a time of war and mourning for the Palestinians.
The Reality of Aid-Asia Pacific stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their fight towards self-determination and the realization of their basic human rights and genuine, people-centered sustainable development. The indiscriminate attacks towards Palestinians that have caused the loss of hundreds of lives should be condemned by the international community. The United States must also stop funding the Israeli military attacks against the people of Palestine. The Israeli government should be pressured to stop such violent attacks and be held accountable for the hostilities they have caused. Aid for humanitarian, development, and peace programs must be delivered promptly to the people of Palestine, addressing their needs and concerns.
Join the Social Media Rally on May 15, 8 PM Manila time, to denounce the attacks on Gaza and show solidarity to the Palestinian people! Post your protest photos, calls, video messages, and other forms of solidarity and use the hashtags #SaveShiekhJarrah #FreePalestine #NakbaDay.
 Human Rights Watch, “Abusive Israeli Policies Constitute Crimes of Apartheid, Persecution,” 27 April 2021, https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/04/27/abusive-israeli-policies-constitute -crimes-apartheid-persecution.
 Mersiha Gadzo and Anas Jnena, “Palestinians in Gaza mourn loved ones killed in Israeli air raids,” Al Jazeera, 13 May 2021, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/13/palestinians-gaza-mourn- loved-ones-killed-israeli-air-raids.
 Declan Walsh, “Israel Ground Forces Shell Gaza as Fighting Intensifies,” The New York Times, 13 May 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/13/world/middleeast/israel-gaza-hamas-war.html.
Photo Source: https://www.vox.com/22430488/israel-gaza-war-2021-hamas-sheikh-jarrah