Photo courtesy of Basel Yazouri

 In Gaza City, Palestinians walk by the home of Abu Leila, which was hit by Israeli missiles on July 10. The family received warning of the attack and evacuated safely, as did all others in the largely ruined neighborhood. Families don't always get much notice - sometimes just a tap on the roof, which means a small warning bomb was sent. This photo is provided by 18-year-old Basel Yazouri, who said his family is sleeping in a small room in the basement for safety.

AKRON, Pa. - In the second week of the most recent Israel-Hamas conflict, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) through one of its long-time partners in Gaza, Al Najd Development Forum, began distributing locally purchased food to 230 families. 

Current reports indicate that 227 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli airstrikes, and one Israeli was killed in Israel by rockets fired from Gaza by Hamas. 

The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Targeted homes and buildings are not isolated, but in the middle of densely populated residential areas. A July 15 United Nations report calculates that 1,370 homes in Gaza have been destroyed or severely damaged, directly displacing 8,200 people.  

MCC's one-month, $25,000 food distribution of locally purchased items will reach the Gaza families, some of whom are displaced by the current violence. Malnutrition in Gaza and specifically in the MCC response areas was already a problem prior to this latest flare in the conflict.

Homes of three Al Najd staff members were damaged in the fighting. All Al Najd staff are safe, but very tired (people are not sleeping at night due to the bombings). Yet they emphasized their appreciation for MCC being present and helping Gazans at a critical time. 

MCC and Al Najd, a community-based organization begun by women to provide programs and services for women and their families, are planning a longer-term response. MCC is accepting funds for this effort. People may give online at donate.mcc.org/cause/gaza-response, by calling 1-888-563-4676 or by sending their donation to MCC U.S., 21 South 12th Street, Akron, PA 17501, specifying "Gaza response."

MCC has worked with partners in Palestine for more than 60 years and with partners in Israel for more than 40 years. MCC opposes violence against all people who live in the region and is committed to walking with Palestinian and Israeli partners as they continue to work for justice, peace and reconciliation for all.