A note from MADRE's Executive Director
As I write this, the horrors are growing — Israeli police and military are ratcheting up violence and repression against Palestinians and bombing Gaza. We lift up our voices for peace and justice, and demand an end to the violence.
This latest cycle of bloodshed began with Israeli government plans to evict Palestinians from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, to make way for Israeli settlers. People there have been mobilizing to defend their homes and families against these evictions, which are a violation of international law. Their protests and vigils have been met by brutal police retaliation.
In the past days, the violence has worsened. Police raided Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on a holy night of Ramadan, injuring hundreds as Palestinians gathered there in worship and in protest. Retaliatory rocket attacks launched into Israel by Hamas have killed six civilians. And the Israeli military is conducting a horrific and disproportionate campaign of airstrikes against Gaza — where people have no shelter from the bombs — killing at least 56 people, including 14 children.
Israel’s Defense Minister says “there is currently no end date” planned for the military assault on Gaza, stating that the attacks “will bring complete quiet for the long term.” This is a chilling threat against millions of lives. People in Gaza are already threatened by a stifling blockade that has turned Gaza into an ‘open-air prison,’ cut off from basic essentials and held hostage to occupation.
Our on-the-ground partners are moving quickly to protect people and save lives. They have brought food, clothes, and first aid kits to communities in Sheikh Jarrah. Community health workers are caring for people injured by rubber bullets and tear gas lobbed by Israeli police. And medics are providing urgent treatment for those hurt by airstrikes in Gaza. MADRE is sending emergency funding to sustain these efforts.
And we’re demanding change to US policy — we’ve endorsed a bill introduced by Congresswoman Betty McCollum to ensure that aid provided to Israel cannot be used to support rights abuses such as forced evictions in violation of international law or the detention of Palestinian children.
We will persist — defending human rights, acting in solidarity with grassroots partners, and speaking out for peace and justice.