Islamic Relief is working to support vulnerable people in Gaza

Israel has banned us from helping Palestinians in need. Next month, we will defend our work in the country’s supreme court. Our Chief Executive, Naser Haghamed, writes in the Guardian.

“… Last year we assisted more than 9.5 million people of all faiths and none across five continents, working with numerous western governments and UN bodies who value our ability to operate in hard-to-reach areas…

The reality is that Islamic Relief is actually a victim of terrorism, not a supporter of it. We have lost eight brave staff to bombs and bullets in six countries, including Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan…

Islamic Relief is not the only aid organisation grappling with Israeli government restrictions. As long ago as 2011, research by the Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) – which represents more than 80 international organisations working in the occupied territories – found that access and movement restrictions were combining to “deny the most vulnerable populations from needed assistance” and contributing to the “growing impoverishment” of Palestinian communities.

The leading Israeli human rights lawyers representing us are rightly challenging the assertion that we are a terrorist organisation. What is alleged, as we see it, is not that we materially support Hamas but rather that our humanitarian work makes Hamas look good in the eyes of the local population, and that this is tantamount to supporting terrorism.

I am a humanitarian, not a lawyer, but for me this is an affront to the integrity of the entire humanitarian aid community, effectively branding every aid organisation assisting the people of Gaza as a terrorist entity.”

Read more of the opinion piece here