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In this heartbreaking moment, our Prayer and Call to action
“Palestinian women dream of peace”. Image reprinted with permission by artist Malak Mattar.
We believe that all people are sacred across bars, walls, and borders. We grieve at the loss of all life that has occurred in the attacks on Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. We pray for the safe return of the hostages, the lives of children, friends, family, and partners in the region, and for all who remain fearful of continued violence across the divide. The wider implications of the rising violence and hostilities have already impacted the safety of our American Muslim neighbors, such as 6-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume, who was fatally stabbed in Illinois, and an overall rise in hate crimes against Palestinians, Muslims and Jews in the US and around the world.
At IM4HI, rooted in diverse faith traditions and shared spiritual values, fundamentally, we believe we have the duty to prevent harm and to uphold the well-being of all people and the planet. We do that by addressing the root causes of harm. Our work in the US addresses the criminalization of people of color enacted through mass incarceration, immigration policy, and other forms of state violence targeting people based on race, religion, or national status. In the case of Palestine, for lasting peace and genuine security in the region, the root causes and systemic issues must be addressed, beginning with the decades of institutionalized oppression and collective punishment of Palestinian people enforced by brutal military occupation and forced segregation.
We have seen from our work the irreparable harm caused by militarization such as family separation, forced displacement, refugees and intergenerational trauma. In Gaza there are 8 refugee camps. 70% of Gaza’s population are refugees. 50% are children and youth under the age of 20. People in Gaza are being bombed without the possibility to seek protection, as they are unable to freely move and migrate to safety. Even routes suggested by the State of Israel are subject to bombing. Over 2 million civilians in Gaza, including over a million children, are being deprived of food, essential medicine and humanitarian aid being blocked by the Israeli government at the border and over 400,000 people have been displaced. 50 Palestinians in the West Bank have been murdered and are experiencing increased violence.
As a US-based organization, we have a responsibility for the actions of our government and the impact of our tax-dollars. This week the US is sending $2 billion to the State of Israel, on top of the $3.8 billion in military aid received annually, to resupply bombs, missiles, fighter jets and military equipment being used on occupied Gaza. The President is asking Congress for billions more.
We cannot help but think of the countless other social needs that billions of our US tax dollars could address around the world and here at home to address human needs: for the millions of families and seniors whose food stamps have just been cut, houseless people, re-entry programs for the formerly incarcerated, and support for newly arriving migrant families. True security only happens here and around the world when all communities are cared for and we recognize our shared humanity. We can only be as safe as the most vulnerable. And we cannot leave anyone out.
We call on the US to stop sending new weapons and military equipment to Israel which will intensify and broaden the conflict and cause further death and destruction. We ask for an immediate ceasefire, the return of the hostages, and an unrestricted humanitarian aid corridor to reach those in Gaza completely cut off from basic necessities for survival.
For the sake of our future generations, we pray for a shared future based on human rights, justice, equality, and freedom where all people can thrive. We hold fast to a vision of a World Without Walls and a commitment to Love over Fear.
—IM4HI Board and Staff Members:
- Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, IM4HI Board Member
- Rev. Deborah Lee, IM4HI Executive Director
- Maram Bata, IM4HI Board Member
- Affad Shaikh, IM4HI Board Member
- Benjamin Mertz, IM4HI Board Member
- Sergio Jaime Isaac Lopez, IM4HI Board Member
- Tarek Shawky, IM4HI Board Member
- Martha Matsuoka, IM4HI Board Member
- Gala King, IM4HI Regional Director, Northern California
- Hilda Cruz, IM4HI Regional Director, Inland Empire
- Rev. Dr. Larry Foy, IM4HI Regional Director, Los Angeles
- Ipyani Lockert, IM4HI Faith Organizer
- Sara Fread, IM4HI Development Associate
- Felicia Hyde, IM4HI Communications Manager
- Danny Thongsy, IM4HI Faith Organizer
Turn Your Prayer Into Action
We ask you to turn your prayer into action in one of the following ways led by our various partners:
- Take Action:
- Join an Action Hour: AFSC Action Hour for a Ceasefire Now
- Make a Donation to the Middle East Children’s Alliance
- Learn More:
- Article from IM4HI Board Chair, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb: How Jewish nonviolence can help guide the path forward on Israel-Palestine
- Article from Mr. Yousef Aljamal, who spoke at our World Without Walls event last week. Recording is here. Since last week, 9 members of his family have been killed. He writes about it here.