As I write this, 7,028 people have been killed in Gaza since October 7th. By the time you read this, it will be more.
As I write this, 2,913 children have been killed in Gaza since October 7th. By the time you read this, it will be more.
As I write this, 47 families have been wiped entirely from the civil registry in Gaza since October 7th. By the time you read this, it will be more.
As I write this, I find that Israel has completely cut off phone and internet services in Gaza 2 hours ago while significantly increasing airstrikes and ground activity in Gaza. By the time you read this, I fear how much more it will be.
Airstrikes in Gaza
On October 7th, the Gazan militant group known as Hamas broke through Israeli defenses and mounted an attack on the residential area of Kissufim, resulting in the deaths of 1,400 Israeli civilians and soldiers and the capture of 229 hostages. Since then, the Israeli military has mounted a counterattack against the Gaza Strip with the proposed aim to “wipe [Hamas] off the face of the Earth.” To do this, the IOF (Israeli Occupation Force), one of the most technologically advanced militaries in the world, has been dropping bombs all along the Gaza strip–one of the most densely populated areas in the world where 47% of their population is under the age of 18. The IOF is targeting residential neighborhoods, refugee camps, churches, mosques, schools, ambulances, and more. Although Israel gave a 24-hour warning to the 1.1 million civilians living in the northern part of Gaza to evacuate to the south, the south has proven to be no safer from the airstrikes. Since the beginning of the siege, more than 45% of the homes in Gaza have been destroyed or rendered uninhabitable, displacing 1.4 million people.
Another aspect of Israel’s siege on Gaza is the complete blockade of any food, water, electricity, and fuel within the Gaza Strip.
“We are fighting against human animals,” says Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, “and we are acting accordingly.”
This complete blockade on the civilians of Gaza is approaching a “humanitarian catastrophe,” according to UN officials. Nearly all hospitals have shut down or are on the verge of shutting down for lack of medical supplies, fuel, and rising hostilities. Surgeries are being performed on injured victims without anesthesia, with many operations being done on the floor of the hospitals and by the light of cellphones. The sole water desalination plant within Gaza has become nearly inoperable, leading to a severe lack of potable water in Gaza for drinking, eating, and washing. The risk of infection and disease is rising exponentially as sanitation systems collapse without fuel. Waterborne illnesses become a serious threat. Water and sterilized equipment cannot be used to clean wounds, and hundreds of bodies under the rubble continue to decompose, unable to be excavated.
The severely limited amount of aid that the Israeli government has allowed through the Rafah Crossing–none of which includes fuel–is merely “a drop in the ocean” of resources needed to provide any real relief to the people of Gaza.
The United States has been the number one ally for Israel throughout this siege and the years leading up to it, with President Biden reaffirming his unequivocal support for the Israeli government. Since 1951, the United States has sent $225.2 billion (adjusted for inflation) in military aid to the Israeli government, pledging $3.3 billion annually in recent years.
On October 18th, a UN security council voted on whether to call for a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza to allow humanitarian aid safely into Gaza. 12 representatives voted for the ceasefire, 2 abstained, and the United States alone voted against, using our veto power to effectively block the resolution.
On October 27th, the UN overwhelmingly voted for a non-binding resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all civilians, and protection for humanitarian aid in Gaza. 120 voted for the ceasefire, 45 countries abstained, and the United States was among the 14 countries who voted against.
While the United States government stands firmly behind the continued siege of Gaza, the majority of Americans across party lines believe that our country should call for an immediate ceasefire and de-escalation of violence in Gaza.
All this is to say, it is incredibly important as the American people to do our part to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza so that humanitarian aid can access the 2.2 million civilians who so desperately need relief. This violence the Palestinian people are experiencing is inhumane and cannot be met with silence.
How to Help
Stay Informed and SPEAK UP
It is incredibly important to stay informed right now, both on current events and the history of Palestine and Israel. Every day, new information is coming in from Gaza as the situation unfolds into higher and higher levels of violence.
Most recently, the IOF completely destroyed the telecommunications infrastructure within Gaza, effectively cutting off nearly all internet and telecommunications in the strip. Before this blackout, many Palestinian journalists on the ground regularly posted footage of what is happening on the ground in Gaza, sharing horrific footage of the aftermath of bombings, the living conditions of the Gazan people, and the uncertain future each of them face every day under siege.
Many of the images and videos shared by these journalists are unbearably gruesome and difficult to witness, but it is imperative to remember that these journalists are risking their lives to make sure that the people of the world see this footage. They face the atrocities in Gaza with unimaginable strength and courage, speaking in a foreign tongue with the hope of reaching a wider audience. We owe it to them to witness what is happening, to share their stories, and to speak up to put a stop to the violence they provide first-hand accounts of. It is a privilege to be able to look away, one that the Palestinian people do not share.
Here are some Palestinian journalists who are doing an amazing job of sharing what is happening in Gaza right now, many of whom are on the ground. It is hard to guess how much will be shared now that the internet has been mostly shut off, but the past footage is available along with potential updates as we pray for their survival.
For other news sources on Instagram about the siege on Gaza, check out the pages below:
For those who use TikTok, here are some great pages to follow to learn more about what is happening in Palestine and the context surrounding the siege on Gaza:
For more information on local protests (Las Vegas and Nevada residents), check out the Instagram pages below:
For information about protests for Palestine around the world, check out this link:
Equally as important as knowledge of current events unfolding in Palestine is an understanding of the events that led to the violence we see unfolding now. As UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “These events did not happen in a vacuum.” In order to avoid accidentally spreading misinformation, antisemitism, or islamophobia when talking to those around you about the siege in Gaza, educate yourself on the intricate history between Palestinians and the Israeli settlers.
Here are some resources to learn more about the history of Palestine and Israel:
Call Your Reps
With the United States serving as a powerful force backing Israel, we need to use our voices to tell our government that this is not what we stand for. One of the best ways to do this is by calling your elected officials and demanding that they call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, a de-escalation of violence, and allow for humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip.
Below are a few resources you can use to call your elected officials. For those who are unsure of what to say or how to call, these sites provide the numbers of your representatives based on your address and a script that you can read from to call for all these previously mentioned items:
For those who struggle with making phone calls, here are a couple of written ways to contact your representatives instead:
To sign petitions calling for a ceasefire and Palestinian liberation, check out the links below:
Living in a capitalist society, our true power lies in where we put our money. As such, boycotting is an extremely powerful tool for effecting change as a member of the public. 3 major companies are being targeted for boycotts to pressure them to withdraw their support from Israel.
These companies are by no means the sole supporters of Israel in the corporate world, but targeted boycotts are infinitely more effective than broader spreads of boycotting amongst individuals. Each of these companies has already experienced a major drop in stocks since the beginning of the boycotts. For a full list of companies that endorse or are based in Israel, click the links below:
As of right now, very limited shipments of aid are being allowed into Gaza, leaving dozens of trucks waiting outside the Rafah Crossing in Egypt. While money is most definitely needed to help the Palestinian people, there is little guarantee of that aid making it into Gaza at this current time. However, once aid is able to go into Gaza, the following organizations are good places to donate to to help provide much-needed relief to the Palestinian people.
With spotty internet at best and complete blackouts at worst, many people in the Gaza Strip are trying to get e-sims so that they can contact their loved ones and share what is happening to the outside world. Click on the links below to learn about how to get e-sims to people on the ground in Gaza:
The LYF mission is to promote love, compassion, and healing both within ourselves and within our community. Now it is time to extend that compassion to the Palestinian people. Working together, we have the power to push for an end to the terrible violence plaguing Gaza.
Remember, no one is free until everyone is free.
About the Author
Perri McGillivray is a former Blog/Newsletter Lead from the Love Yourself Foundation who graduated with a Bachelor’s in English with a concentration in Professional Writing about a year ago. She has been involved with various social justice and activist issues since her high school days, including registering voters for the 2016 election, March for Our Lives, Black Lives Matter, and, most recently, Palestinian liberation and calls for a ceasefire in Gaza. Even when it feels like one individual doesn’t have the power to make an impact, Perri believes that it is important to speak up on issues of injustice to educate and inspire others to do the same. When enough people raise their voices, the power of the individual becomes the power of the masses.