Gershon Baskin On What To Do About Jerusalem Violence

Gershon Baskin is the founder of IPCRI – Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, and served as its co-director until January 2012. He is a long-time veteran of both Israeli peace NGOs and second track diplomacy between Israel and the Palestinians, and has many key contacts on both sides. This gives him a particularly Baskinwell-informed grasp of current events.

In July 2006, after Gilad Schalit’s abduction in Gaza he began unofficially, without governmental authorization or support, to open a back channel with Hamas. Baskin was involved in the ultimately successful efforts leading up to Shalit’s release for more than five years

Baskin is a member of the steering committee of the Israeli Palestinian Peace NGO Forum, a member of the Board of Directors of ALLMEP – the Alliance for Middle East Peace, a member of the Israeli Board of One Voice Movement, and a member of the editorial committee of the Palestine Israel Journal.

Baskin holds a Ph.D. in International relations from the University of Greenwich.

All of this makes his insight into how to resolve issues particularly valuable. As this week of escalated violence in Israel and the West Bank came to a close, Baskin posted some of his thoughts to his Facebook page. The Foundation for Middle East Peace reprints them here with his permission.

Ways to Help the People of Gaza

Since Israel began its mass slaughter of civilians in Gaza last month, many people have approached me asking how they can donate to 3224345539_263f7ca588_zhelp the masses of innocent victims in the Strip.

Understandably, a lot of Americans and European are concerned about giving to the “wrong” charity, given the fact that good people have found themselves under the investigative eye of the FBI and similar agencies for what they thought were mere charitable donations in the past.

I’ve been recommending three organizations. Today, there was a new cause (contact for the other three will be included below). This one is an Israeli initiative spearheaded by the well-know Israeli peace activist, Gershon Baskin. He found a very large quantity of potatoes in Israel that were going to be destroyed in order to manage the market price for them. So, he’s trying to raise money to buy as much as he can of them and send them to Gaza. It’s a smart initiative, and it would send a message, at least to some of the beleaguered people of Gaza that there are still people in Israel who are concerned about the loss of life in the Strip. Obviously, no matter what one thinks of Israel’s actions these days, that is a message that needs to get out there.

Baskin’s initiative is simply entitled Emergency Food Aid for Gaza. That’s one way to donate.

The other three organizations I have been recommending:

The Middle East Children’s Alliance is running an emergency fund for Gaza. MECA is has been doing the hard work to build life on the ground in the occupied territories for many years. They are a dedicated and eminently trustworthy bunch.

UNRWA USA directly supports the work of UNRWA, the UN refugee agency that is the main source of life-sustaining food, shelter, clothes, medicine…pretty much everything. All donations go directly to aid.

ANERA is the third organization I know well that works well in Gaza. They are funded in part by USAID, and have a great reputation for helping on the ground.

It’s true that none of us can do enough to help the people of Gaza. But there are ways to safely do something. If you can, please take advantage of one of them.