Even more action for Palestine… the revised edition

Lina AbiRafeh
17 min readDec 4, 2023

This piece was written together with feminist activist Rebecca O’Keeffe and includes the voices and wisdom of many other activists. Thank you all.

There’s a genocide going on right now. It’s been over a month — and it keeps getting worse. Need the numbers? Here you go.

By now we all know what’s happening, but in case you need the basics, start here. We’re not here to give you a history lesson. We’re here to ask — demand — that you take action. And more action. And to sustain that action. Until we’ve succeeded.

Why do we have to keep going?

Because international organizations aren’t doing enough. World leaders aren’t doing enough. The people whose jobs it is to protect people and prevent atrocities, they aren’t doing enough. Humanity is failing, but not all hope is lost.

So, what can we do? Take action. We continue to believe in the power of doing something.

Individual and community energy has always been critical in the quest for peace. Take that anger and turn it into action. That action will lead to change. Those voices are loud — and getting louder.

Momentum is building… it’s on the streets and online. Keep going!

No action is too small. Tiny stuff adds up. Start somewhere.

ACTION is the antidote. Action is hope.

At a minimum, we can agree on a few things, we think. Like — an immediate, permanent ceasefire. And — real humanitarian aid. Why? People are dying. Women and children are dying. The latest figures are already outdated by the time we type them. And they are more than numbers and statistics. Enough.

Here’s a list of immediate actions you can take.

Understand the impact on women…

Because first and foremost, we are feminists, we need to mention the specific impacts on women. This in no way negates men’s experience, but there is a disproportionate impact on women, so we start there. This is highlighted in UN Women’s Rapid Assessment and a range of other documents.

At the time of writing, over 14,854 Palestinians have been killed since 7 October, of which 6,150 are children and 4,000 are women, according to PCBS (although EuroMed reports over 20,000 deaths in Gaza). UN Women reports that approximately 838,100 women and girls have been displaced, and 2,610 women have become heads of households due to the loss of their male partners. Essential services are disrupted or destroyed. Risks of gender-based violence are amplified. Food insecurity is a reality. Any existing shelters are overcrowded and lack basic support for women and girls, increasing protection risks.

Supporting women, and women-led organizations, is crucial — and non-negotiable.

Amplify Palestinian voices…

Palestinians on the ground and in the diaspora are speaking — screaming! — reporting, advocating, and informing us. Listen to them. Follow, amplify, share.

Here are a few Instagram handles:

We recognize that many other people are speaking out on behalf of Palestine and we support and applaud their efforts. We elected not to highlight them here because we want to center Palestinian voices first and allow them to lead us.

If we all scream loudly enough, maybe someone will finally listen.

Support Palestinian movements and advocacy groups…

  • Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Movement (BDS): A Palestinian-led movement working to end international support for Israeli oppression through targeted boycotts, divestments, and sanctions.
  • Decolonize Palestine: An independent, Palestinian-led project offering a collection of resources for organizers or people who want to learn about Palestine.
  • Truth About Palestine: Documenting facts and figures, explaining the issues and history, and compiling resources.
  • Palestine Nexus: Spreading the word about Palestine through courses, research, and newsletters.
  • Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP): The largest progressive Jewish anti-zionist organization in the world in solidarity with the Palestinian freedom struggle.
  • Breaking The Silence: Veteran soldiers who served in the Israeli military and are highlighting the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories.
  • Young Feminist Solidarity with Palestine: A collective offering messages of solidarity with Palestinians as well as a resource library.
  • Afikra Community: Global organization that explores and promotes histories and cultures of the Arab world.
  • Visualizing Palestine 101: A data-led visual resource and educational hub for people learning and teaching about Palestine.
  • Mothers School Society: Community organization in Nablus focusing on the needs of society, particularly women and children, through development programs.
  • Women & Media Development (TAM): A group set up by Palestinian activists to use media as a tool for developing, disseminating, and publicizing gender concepts.
  • Teach Palestine: Resources on Palestine for teachers.
  • Watermelon for boycotting branches: Watermelon is a brand new free app that helps you shop safer, support Palestine, and know which companies to avoid.
  • Free Palestine Project: Free posters submitted by designers from all over the world.

Join marches and protests…

This stuff is local, it depends on where you live. But every city has people on the streets — join them. Nonviolent action is critical — and your presence counts!

At the same time, some countries and some authorities are banning protests, or cracking down on our right to peaceful protest. Be aware of your rights — and stay safe.

Some useful links on protecting yourself:

Some resources on how to get legal help…

There has been a significant global uptick in threats, hate speech, discrimination, and violent acts that are racially, ethnically, and religiously motivated.

If you have been mistreated, discriminated against, experienced violations, or faced threats and need to seek legal assistance, it is your right to do so. Find relevant information below:

Put pressure on politicians to represent our views…

Contact your local and national politicians. Templates are available online. You can email your representative directly. Or call. Sign a petition. Whatever it takes.

In the US, you can contact the Senate here or call 202–224–3121. Contact Congress here or download the free “5 Calls: Contact Your Congress” app below:

Apple: https://lnkd.in/eS6TyVbN

Android: https://lnkd.in/eErgtQDU

Enter your zip code, make a call, and read a short script. Easy!

Other petitions or contact pages from around the world:

  • Global: Amnesty International Petition sign here.
  • Australia: sign here.
  • Canada: sign here or contact MP here.
  • Ireland: email here or here.
  • The UK: email here or here and sign the petition here.
  • Europe: Find your local politician but you can also contact MEPs here.

If you’re in the US, scripts are available through JVP and US Campaign for Palestinian Rights. There are scripts available online for your specific country but overall, here’s what we demand:

  • An immediate, permanent ceasefire — first and foremost. NOT a “pause.” There’s no negotiation with bombs and bullets.
  • Full humanitarian aid — water, food, shelter, electricity to all in need.
  • An end to the occupation of Palestine.
  • Action by the UN in full support of Palestinian needs and rights.
  • A full and swift investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity.
  • Refusal to support political candidates who accept Israeli war crimes.
  • A genuine and meaningful political process by a neutral party.
  • Reconstruction and Reconciliation Commission.

A sample script is below to start with:

Dear [insert politician name],

I write to you today with a sense of urgency and despair at the ongoing genocide and war crimes deliberately inflicted upon Palestinians by an Occupying Force. We cannot afford to remain silent any longer. The situation in Gaza is at a catastrophic point, thousands have been killed, many of these are innocent children murdered by bombs, and many more people will die of thirst and starvation. The time for immediate action is now.

We demand:

  1. Immediate Unconditional Ceasefire: The violence and loss of innocent lives must stop now. We call on the [country] government to use its diplomatic influence to support an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to prevent further bloodshed.
  2. Immediate Restoration of Water, Food, and Electricity Supplies to Gaza: Gaza has run out of water, and its people are in the midst of a humanitarian catastrophe. We demand use of diplomatic channels to pressure Israel to immediately restore essential supplies to Gaza with utmost urgency.
  3. End the Occupation of Palestine: The occupation of Palestine is at the root of this ongoing tragedy. We urge the [country] government to use its diplomatic power to bring about a just and lasting end to this occupation.

In addition, we implore the [country] government to take the following actions:

  • Condemnation in the Strongest Terms: It is imperative that [country], as a nation committed to human rights, recognizes the gravity of the situation. This is not just a breach of international law; it is genocide and ethnic cleansing. Please ensure that this distinction is made clear in any statements or actions taken.
  • Immediate International Intervention: We call for [country] to use its voice in the international community to put an end to this crisis and protect the rights and lives of the Palestinian people.
  • Commitment to Provide Safe Passage and Unconditional Visas for Refugees: The international community must commit to providing safe passage and unconditional visas for Palestinian refugees fleeing this dire situation.

The suffering in Gaza cannot continue unchecked. We need your immediate action to prevent further loss of innocent lives. We implore the Government of [country] to stand with us in solidarity. History will remember those who took a stand for justice and humanity in the face of genocide.

Yours sincerely,

[insert name]

Donate to organizations getting money where it is needed…

There are groups on the ground making sure that aid gets to those who need it most. Aid is not getting through right now, at least nowhere near the amount needed, but organizations still need funding to make things happen. Support them here:

  • Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF): Their Mission is to provide medical and humanitarian relief collectively and individually to Arab children throughout the Levant, regardless of their nationality, politics or religion.
  • United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA): The Agency’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance, including in times of armed conflict.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF): Or Doctors Without Borders, providing medical assistance to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or medical exclusion.
  • Not to Forget Association: An NGO founded by Palestinian feminists to address the lack of psychological intervention services available to women and children affected by traumatic events.
  • Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP): An organization working with communities to develop locally-led healthcare services.
  • American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA): An independent organization working on the ground mobilizing resources for both immediate emergency relief and long-term development.
  • Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA): Working to improve the lives of children through aid, empowerment, and education.
  • eSIMS: The donation of eSIMs can provide aid for telecommunications black outs. Buy an eSIM internet package from one of the eSIM providers across the world take a screenshot of the QR code, then send it to Gazaesims@gmail.com.

Follow the right news sources…

Who’s right? Who to believe? It’s not easy to figure out. We’re bombarded with media double standards, biased coverage, hypocritical framing, passive language, spread of misinformation, and silencing of critical voices.

Reputable media outlets include Al Jazeera, Middle East Eye, Middle East Monitor, IMEU. And the Palestinian voices on the ground listed earlier. They’re on the frontlines and showing us exactly what’s happening — believe them.

Answers to the questions we’re asked over and over…

Doesn’t Israel have the right to defend itself after the Hamas attacks of October 7?

Israel was already in breach of international law long before October 7. It’s well documented. Sure, international law says states have the right to self-defense. But this is not a war. Palestine has no military. Israel is an occupying force.

To quote Francesca Albanese, UN Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories:

“The right to self-defense can be invoked when a state is threatened by another state. This is not the case, Israel has not been threatened by another state. It’s been threatened by an armed group within the occupied territory. Israel cannot claim self-defense against a threat that emanates from the territory it keeps under belligerent occupation.”

Even if we view this as “self-defense” following the Hamas attack, actions like cutting off essential supplies, indiscriminate bombings, and displacing citizens raise questions about the proportionality of Israel’s response. As Francesca Albanese said, Israel has ignored proportionality in its “unrelenting bombardment of Gaza.”

For more, especially the legal language around this, go here and here.

Do you condemn Hamas?

We condemn all killing and loss of innocent life. Meaning, we also condemn the killing and violence perpetrated by Israel for the 75 years prior to October 7. We further condemn the disproportionate killing and violence perpetrated by the IOF since October 7 that amounts to genocide.

We can condemn Hamas while also understanding the context in which this violence takes place. That, too, deserves our condemnation.

Are you concerned about the sexual violence against Israeli women?

Feminists advocate for equality and justice for women and marginalized groups. This includes all women. Violence against women knows no borders and there is always an escalation of all forms of violence against women — especially sexual violence — during conflict, insecurity, and occupation.

In fact, women and girls everywhere are constantly targeted and harmed in conflict and warfare, including attacks by Hamas. Just as Boko Haram targeted and kidnapped girls. Just as armed groups in Sudan targeted, kidnapped, enslaved and sexually assaulted women and girls. We know this to be true, that women and girls’ bodies will be used and weaponized. Violence against women and girls by Hamas continues to be unequivocally called out. Just as violence by Israeli forces against Palestinian women and girls must be called out.

We can do both things: oppose violence against women and recognize the disproportionate impact of occupation on Palestinian women. This does not negate or ignore any other women’s suffering — including Israeli/Jewish women. We do not condone or tolerate crimes against women anywhere.

Palestinian women have endured decades of denial of bodily autonomy and integrity as well as sexual violence — for the duration of the occupation. Sexual violence against Palestinian women by Israeli security forces is most common at checkpoints or during house raids. This includes all forms of sexual violence as well as public trip searches. Palestinian women also experience sexual violence while visiting their relatives in Israeli jails, when attending court hearings of their relatives, and during interrogations — by both male and female interrogators.

Feminist foreign policy entails an end to violence and access to full humanitarian aid. Feminist approaches are rights-based and center people — and their dignity. They also prioritize and respect international and humanitarian law — without exceptions. This includes differentiating between civilians and combatants, and does not tolerate collective punishment, as is being inflicted on Gazan civilians. Under no circumstances do feminists condone military responses over political ones. Meaning — we do not condone violence.

As feminists, we advocate for human rights. This also includes fighting against racism and Zionism. As a result, we cannot be feminists without also calling for the rights of all people to live in freedom, equality, and dignity.

Is Anti-Zionism antisemitism?

Firstly, Arabs are also semites. However, the common definition of antisemitism according to Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is, “discrimination, targeting, violence, and dehumanizing stereotypes directed at Jews because they are Jewish.” Antisemitism is real — and unacceptable. Contrary to what the US House of Congress thinks, opposing the political project of Zionism — or the actions of the Israeli government — are not antisemitic.

JVP explains Zionism as the Jewish requirement for a supremacist nation state to ensure Jewish safety. Yes, everyone has the right to safety and belonging — but this should not entail use of guns, checkpoints, walls, and a police state. True safety comes from equality, rights, dignity, and justice — not oppression.

Zionism resulted in the expulsion of 750,000 Indigenous Palestinians from their land and homes. Being Anti-Zionist means supporting liberation and justice for Palestinians — including their right to return to their homes and land.

It is possible to oppose antisemitism while still being anti-Zionist. We cannot conflate these terms. Conflating Zionism and Judaism is not only inaccurate but also results in silencing dissent through accusations of antisemitism.

Fighting for Palestinian freedom and against antisemitism must coexist if we ever have hope for peace.

Further, we too often use “antisemitism” and “Islamophobia” in the same sentence, as if they are equivalent. They are not. The hatred, discrimination, violence experienced is, firstly, not a “phobia.” Further, it is not just targeting Muslims, but rather any Arab or Arab-adjacent or brown person driven by harmful, racist stereotypes.

Is this really a genocide?

On 15 October over 800 scholars and practitioners of international law, genocide studies, and conflict studies signed a public statement warning of the potential genocide in Gaza.

UN experts have also reiterated these concerns and demonstrated evidence of Israel’s genocidal intent. And Raz Segal, Professor of Holocaust and genocide studies, called it a “textbook case of genocide.”

Since these statements and warnings, the situation has only gotten worse. So yes, what is happening fits the definition of genocide. In the words of Craig Mokhiber, former director at the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): “Once again we are seeing a genocide unfolding before our eyes and the organization we serve appears powerless to stop it.”

Is this apartheid?

Amnesty International calls Israel’s government an “apartheid regime.” This means Israel is enforcing a system of oppression, seizing Palestinian land and property, carrying out unlawful killings, arbitrarily detaining, drastically reducing movement, denying citizenship, and forcibly displacing Palestinians. For decades.

Is this just a fight in Gaza — against Hamas?

This is not, nor has it ever been “just” in Gaza. All Palestinians are subjected to this violence. Palestinians in the West Bank continue to experience settler violence and violent targeting by Israeli soldiers.

While it is claimed that this is a fight “against Hamas,” thousands of innocent civilians have been killed. They are not Hamas. Residents of the West Bank have been killed. They too are not Hamas. Reducing this to just Gaza or just Hamas misses the bigger picture of violence and killing of Palestinians no matter where or who they are — particularly those who are innocent.

As a clear illustration of this, hate crimes are increasing in the US and elsewhere around the world. For instance, on Saturday, Nov. 25, 3 young men–Hisham Awartani, Tahseen Ali Ahmed, and Kinnan Abdalhamid–proudly wearing keffiyehs and speaking in Arabic,were shot in the back for the simple reason of being Palestinian.

This is not the first or the last crime of this kind.

Read good stuff…

There are a lot of good sources out there. Here’s a very short list:

Verso Books are offering free resources here.

Young Feminist Solidarity With Palestine has a comprehensive resource library.

Watch good stuff…

And check out these films by Palestinian Women

Wield the power of digital activism…

Digital activism is powerful, and we’re seeing the effects of this in online discussions on Palestine and Israel. We can use our social media platforms responsibly, to express outrage and solidarity, to fact-check what is being said, to coordinate aid efforts, to ensure there is cultural and historical nuance in discussions, and much more. Opinions are being made and unmade all the time — don’t stop speaking out.

If you need evidence on why this is important, here’s some:

For your own digital safety:

Safe applications:

General information if your employer wants to talk about your Palestine posts:

CAIR Legal Defense Fund

How to spot propaganda:

The tactics in comments and replies we are seeing from people online who say awful things are an organized effort. This 2009 Israeli document lays out exactly these propaganda tactics.

Deal with online bullies and trolls…

Bullies and trolls are nothing new, and we’ve all developed our own strategies to deal with them. Still, their comments can be hurtful and damaging.

In tackling online trolls, one effective strategy is to leave toxic comments visible but refrain from responding, denying them the attention they seek. This approach allows others to witness the negativity without dignifying it. Alternatively, some set boundaries by disabling comments, a valid option for those with larger followings. A compromise could involve allowing comments while disabling direct messages.

Reporting hate speech is crucial in maintaining a healthier online space. As the online environment grows increasingly toxic, finding the right strategy involves boundaries and proactive moderation. Regardless of your strategy, you might want to consider reporting any hate speech or remarks. Save screenshots and follow some of the suggestions from the shadow banning section below.

Protect yourself from shadow banning (or at least prepare for it)…

Shadow banning involves blocking or limiting a user’s online content to make it visible only to them while being hidden or downplayed for others. This tactic is commonly used to discourage undesirable behaviors like spamming or trolling. However, shadow banning can be a form of silencing, as certain users may find their contributions suppressed without their knowledge, affecting their ability to engage in discussions or express their opinions openly. This has especially been the case with users posting about Palestine.

Here’s what to do about shadow banning: send a notice to online.censorship@hrw.org with the following information:

  • Screenshots of the original content and on which platform.
  • When/which country it was posted from.
  • The form of censorship experienced (removal, shadow ban, disabling features, inability to engage with content, etc.).
  • The notification from the platform (if any).
  • Prior engagement figures (in case of shadow banning).
  • A URL to your account.
  • Whether you appealed to the platform, including if you were unable to appeal.
  • Any other relevant information.

We shouldn’t have to say this, but… BE KIND.

Firstly, be kind. People from the region — including those in the diaspora — are dealing with grief and trauma. If these people are in your midst — your school or work or neighborhood — use empathy.

This is about non-violence. No deaths are “ok” — no death is acceptable. Nope, never. And we’ve had enough death now.

Also, have some courageous conversations with friends and family. People are dying. And that’s not complicated. There are lots of resources listed throughout if you want to know more.

Prevent burn-out and look after yourself…

Double down on self-care and collective care. It is essential to invest in supporting our mental health and well-being and that of our colleagues at work and the members of our communities.

Of course we’re going to experience this deeply because there is nothing ‘normal’ about witnessing a genocide play out in real time on our screens. How can we expect ‘normal’ life to continue? At the same time, it is a luxury/privilege to take a break, switch off, or put down the devices. Keep using whatever is in your power or in your capacity to advocate.

Mind yourself so you can continue to show up.

* The above lists aren’t exhaustive. If you have additional suggestions, post them. The situation is evolving all the time and it’s going to take all of us if we hope to make a difference.



Lina AbiRafeh

Global women's rights expert, author, speaker, aid worker, feminist activist with 25 years of experience in 20 countries worldwide - and lots of stories!