ICYMI: Philanthropy Open Letter for Humanity and Justice
We are institutional funders, individual donors and philanthropy professionals who are heartbroken and grieving the tragic loss of life in Palestine and Israel. Between October 7 and November 19, more than 13,000 Palestinians in Gaza and 1,400 Israelis have been killed.* In Gaza, this includes over 5,500 children. With every passing minute, we are losing more human lives - people with families and hopes, who once loved and dreamed.
And we fear for what is to come if the violence continues. As the total siege on Gaza prevents essential life-giving resources from entering, families are running out of food and water. UN Human Rights Chief Volker Türk said on October 23, “If more aid for Gazans, including fuel, medicine, food and water, does not arrive in days or even hours, many more people in Gaza will die of hunger, thirst and lack of medical care.” People depending on life-saving medications for chronic health conditions are in grave danger. Babies in neonatal intensive care units will die within minutes when hospitals run out of fuel. 5,500 people in their final month of pregnancy may be forced to give birth in the most dire circumstances. Health care workers - including emergency responders - have been bombed as they try to care for the sick and injured, and ambulances are unable to reach the critically injured as fuel supplies dwindle. Over one million people’s homes have been destroyed, and nowhere is safe, not even UN shelters.
Our conscience moves us to speak out - we will not remain silent. We call for:
1. An immediate ceasefire;
2. Safe, unimpeded passage of humanitarian aid (including food, water, medicine and fuel), humanitarian organizations, staff and medical professionals into all areas of Gaza in a way that is sufficient and sustained enough to meet the scale of the catastrophe;
3. Stopping US and European funding and weapons for the Israeli military; and
4. Adherence to international humanitarian and human rights laws by all parties, including the safe release of all civilians taken hostage from Israel as well as of all Palestinians who have been unlawfully detained.
We call for the US and European governments to stop enabling war crimes through unconditional military support, and for Israel to end its collective punishment of Gaza's 2.3 million residents. There is no military solution to this crisis.
We also take seriously our responsibility to address the root causes of what we see unfolding today – the decades of systematic violence, military occupation and displacement that all Palestinians, especially in Gaza, have experienced at the hands of the Israeli government.
In our own backyards, we are horrified by a recent spike in anti-Palestinian, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic violence and rhetoric. We are united in challenging all bigotries rooted in white supremacy.
Given our work with philanthropy, we acknowledge the importance of providing immediate funding for emergency response, as well as flexible core funding (without donor-imposed restrictions) to support Palestinian civil society for the long-term.
Social movements are extraordinary in their capacity to respond to violence with steadfastness and imagination and mobilize people to transform oppressive realities. Alongside them, we envision a world where Palestinians live with freedom, dignity, and equality, with true safety for Israeli and Palestinian people and a just peace in the region. In the face of so much pain and suffering, we call forth our deepest sense of humanity and justice, to build this possibility together, because we know that none of us are free until all of us are free.
* These numbers are as of November 19, 2023. More than 130 Palestinians living in the West Bank have also been killed since October 7 in an alarming escalation of both Israeli military and settler violence.