Editor’s note: LeftEast received this solidarity call from queer-feminist comrades in Romania organising in the Pink Bloc (Blocul Roz). They created an English-language fundraiser for donations to be sent to a refugee camp in Jenin (the West Bank) in the hope of starting transnational mobilisation. So far, for this cause, online fundraisers and solidarity events have been held in Romania and Finland. This call has also been shared by the anticapitalist Book Café (Kirjakahvila, Finland) as well as Cross Border Talks (Bulgaria). In the coming days, many more movements and people will be following their example: we hope LeftEast’s readers will be among them, too. Donating to Jenin or elsewhere in Palestine could be a Christmas gift that can save lives!
For more than 10 weeks, in parallel with Israel’s devastating military assault on the Gaza Strip (so far more than 27 000 Palestinians murdered by Israel, according to the estimates of Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, which counts the estimate of people trapped under the rubble into the number of deaths), the situation has also deteriorated significantly in the West Bank. Restrictions on the movement of people and goods within the West Bank and in and out of Israel remain in place. Moreover, the Israeli army on 11th December has also sieged the Jenin Refugee Camp for several days, trying to block anyone to enter or leave, including journalists and ambulances. They have been firing tear gas, shooting and bombing, and also cut the electricity. So far this year, Zionists have killed more than 500 Palestinians in the West Bank. 2023 was already the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank in July, as data collected by the UN since 2005 shows – so way before October this year in the West Bank was catastrophic.
The current escalation of assaults on Gaza and the West Bank are part of the same problem, that of Zionist settler-colonialism, which “destroys to replace” as Patrick Wolfe has defined settler colonialism.
Since October 7th in the West Bank, shopkeepers in several towns are facing serious supply problems, with many stores having to close. Supply problems have also led to significant price increases for basic goods. Service, industrial and agricultural activities are affected by the current increased assaults on Palestine. According to estimates by the World Labour Organisation, some 24% of jobs of West Bank residents have been lost as a result of the attacks that began on 7 October, but in reality the situation is even worse. West Bank workers commuting to work in Israel or the settlements have been left without a job. For the time being, Israel has suspended the transfer to the Palestinian Authority of the amounts collected on its behalf from VAT and import duties, so those working for the state are no longer receiving their salaries either.
A group of a few people from Bucharest who have visited, lived and volunteered in the West Bank set up two online fundraisers in Romanian and they have collected 3 300 euros so far. They have been receiving increasingly worrying news from their friends in Jenin about how their lives are being affected – both because they no longer have money for the bare necessities, but also because the Israeli army is making increasingly frequent incursions into the city and the refugee camp, destroying parts of the medical infrastructure, as well as the water supply, transport and electricity infrastructure. In recent weeks, people have seen Israeli drones bomb homes and mosques, while bulldozers demolished entire parts of the city. Lately, more and more families are leaving the city’s refugee camp, settling temporarily with renters in surrounding villages.
The first Bucharest online fundraiser in November managed to help with money and essential products for 17 families totaling 70 people of all ages. One of the volunteers from the city who helped us with the distribution of the money and products wrote: “I met the other day a man who until recently was working in Israel. He has 9 children. When I went to give him the money and the goods, he started crying. He told me that he had been looking for a job all day and he couldn’t find one.”
In Palestine, living costs are on average similar as in Bucharest, so for a family of two adults and two kids in Bucharest that would be approx. 2 000 euros. Therefore, please contribute as much as you can with this in mind. During Christmas, when most of the Christian world, practicing religion or not, is celebrating love in one way or another, we must not forget our Palestinian comrades, who are dying not only by bombs and shooting, but also of hunger. Donating to Jenin could be a Christmas gift that could save lives. Solidarity is our task, of those witnessing from afar and every little amount counts!
The message of the Jenin solidarity group from Bucharest (18th Nov 2023) has been completed and translated by the Pink Bloc/Blocul Roz (23rd December 2023)
Fundraisers for the same cause have been organised in Cluj-Napoca, Bucharest and in Finland (Turku) as well, and we hope to raise more money transnationally with this English language call!
The 18th November fundraiser in Romanian can be accessed here to donate in RON – “Apel umanitar pentru Jenin (Cisiordania, Palestina)”.
The 23rd December English language fundraiser is here: “Donate to Jenin – A Christmas gift that can save lives”.