David Cole C.S.N.U

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Appeal

It's been over two years since the conflict in Gaza, and over three years since the International waters and Borders surrounding this small country were closed. The sea around Gaza is heavily polluted with at least 60 million litres of raw and partially treated sewage being pumped into it every day. Gaza has been under a tightened Israeli and Egyptian blockade for over three years, with only limited humanitarian aid allowed in. The people in Gaza are still suffering from this blockade, resulting in ongoing lack of essential medical supplies, food, building materials and in fact everything that would enable the Palestinian people to lead a normal life, you will not read this in your news papers or see it on your television; most people think it's all over now because the Israelis said that they would lift the blockade back in July of this year.

However, there are still over 5000 essential supplies banned from being sent into the region, depriving the people from having the basic needs to enable them to have a normal life, only items like chocolate bars and non-essential things that are so expensive, are allowed in, and the people can't afford to buy them.

With some 1.5 million inhabitants in this small land, conditions are dire, and as each day goes on, more and more children are suffering from malnutrition, internal organ failure, anaemia, acute psychological damage, bed-wetting, nightmares, tantrums, obsessive aggression disorder and lack of concentration (affecting their education). Some children are so traumatised that they have lost the ability to speak. The list is endless.

The "Friends of Gaza" are looking for your help to further enable us to work within Gaza and help the children, I have been back to Gaza three times now and nothing has changed, even now Gazans find themselves without electricity as they go through another winter - Gaza's main power plant has two turbine generators and only one of them works due to fuel shortages - Israel refuses to allow diesel into Gaza, which has been under an all-out Israeli blockade since 2007.

" we will not give up on these people"

Over the past 60 years the Palestinian People have continually suffered. Let us help today's children now - to have a better life and a happier future. Without taking sides or getting into the politics of the situation, one thing is clear and that is, that the children who are living through and getting maimed in this quagmire of hatred, on both sides, are the ones who will be suffering the most when peace hopefully comes back to the region.


One way you and your church or organization really can help us to make a difference, is by sending a donation to:
"Friends of Gaza"
Janette Brett, Treasurer
6 Fairford Road
Maidenhead
SL6 7AL
(Please make cheques payable to "Friends of Gaza")
All donations, however small, will be appreciated and gratefully received.

Let us remember one of our all-important Principles "The Brotherhood of Man".

"We just need to reach out and touch another's soul and communicate: We can all do it. we just have to want to do it"


PALESTINE CUT INTO TWO - GAZA AND WEST BANK




       
   
     
     
   

  Sameh,A,Habeeb  Photojournalist,  www.gazatoday.blogspot.comphotos

March 2009

They all need our help today.

I knew that is was going to be much harder than I first thought leaving Gaza and the people behind. Knowing that I might not ever see again, the very people who I had become very good friends with. Who I shared food and drunk tea with, and stayed in their home. It was very painful for me to leave, all I could do was to pray for them, and keep praying that no harm would ever come to them. My friends there have already been subjected to so much in their lives, and I was leaving them.

Family and friends here in the UK have asked me why do I care so much about what's going on in Gaza, when there are so many other wars and conflicts going on all a round the world,

The answer is simple. When you are a part of someone's life and they are part of yours, when you have seen them at their best also at their worst, when you know what they like and what they dislike, when you have gone through their pain and suffering, lived with them and built up a relationship, you care even more because you understand everything about them.

However, when you are pushed for time it’s surprising what can be achieved. Lots of meetings with friends and their families and committee meetings going on into early hours of the morning, I think we finished about 3.30a.m.the next day, but a very successful time. A bank account has also been set up in Gaza by the PAFSB in order that ‘Friends of Gaza’ are able to transfer funds as appropriate.

The PAFSB is already a registered charity with the Authorities in Gaza. It is based in Gaza City and has a Chairman and 7 Committee Members, each one having his own responsibility and duties. They are trained counsellors and have a full working programme to help the children regain a normal life of some kind, but this is going to take a lot of time, patience, effort and funding.

Much more equipment is needed, including a minibus in order to cover a wider area and reach as many children and families as possible in the Gaza Strip, who would otherwise not receive the much needed help. Circumstances necessitate that our objectives be as flexible as possible in order that we may be as effective as we possibly can be.

AN OPEN LETTER FROM GAZA

As the Gaza Strip enters a new year of the siege, Gazan’s find themselves without electricity. From Gaza, Sameeha Elwan tells the story of a dark night in Gaza City.

Tonight, too, we are having a romantic candle light dinner. Well, thanks to Israelis, of course.

Setting the candles on the table for dinner is not due to a special occasion. It’s the birthday of none of us tonight. In fact, candles have become more of a necessity for us, Gazans, than of a tradition. A real compassionate yet dangerous companion in our thick dark nights when we are left with no electricity.

Candles burn as Gazans break bread

The lights go off. My father exclaims as usual on seeing nothing in the dark, "Is the electricity off?" We, laughing at his question, give him approval. Mother, who would be preparing something in the kitchen, gets out with the now-useless food processor in her hands losing her temper. Raising her hands, holding that food processor, she starts to curse the day the Israelis stepped into our land. Realizing that none of those machines would be of any use, she goes back to the kitchen to use her bare hands in preparing dinner. My sister, having nothing to do, as she claims that staring into the books in darkness hurts her eyes and causes her headache, she goes to spend the eight or ten hours sleeping. Failing to sleep for a single minute, she gets up and goes to my mother who would tell her the stories of the past of her journeys to the West Bank and the occupied territories. Poor Israelis! They don’t know that no matter what they do, they would reinforce our tie into this land.

My little brother, a Barcelona fan, awaiting the next Barcelona match would rage at the thought of another game without him shouting at every goal his favourite team scores.

Honestly, I like studying at candle light. Isn’t it sort of romantic? And it is definitely less distracting. At least, I have no chance to surf the net and waste my time, especially at the time of exams. Unfortunately, a lot of people wouldn’t feel the same. I know many who cannot study at candle lights or who have sight problems which would prevent them from seeing properly with a candle light.

My mother, shaking from the severe cold, asks me to turn on the heating, forgetting that it works on electricity. I grudge at the thought of those who, in such severe cold, find no shelter after their houses have been partially or wholly destroyed on the last Gaza War. Looking at the matter from a positive side, they are mentally relieved as they don’t have to calculate when the electricity would go off or would come back, and live miserably ever after. They have more important things to think about like how to survive another day in such unbearable cold.

Rumors, well, they used to be rumors, but now they are facts which news sites are reporting. Al-Dardasawi, the director of the Public Relation in the electricity company in Gaza, has declared on Saturday that the company is suffering a shortage due to the decline of the fuel supplies on the Israeli side. No reasonable justification was made for not providing us with fuel to run on the station, for Israelis definitely needs no justifications for whatever they do. Is that another collective punishment? I wonder what else wrong we did to deserve such a penalty!

The funny but the bitter thing is that we, Gazans, can get used to and adjust ourselves to the worst circumstances. It’s not a weak point; after all, it is actually what a life of more than three years of a brutal siege has taught us, we should not keep adjusting ourselves to the worst, however.

The Israelis, adopting their usual foxy strategies, would start depriving us from our basic human rights little by little till they think that we would be thankful for the least basic human rights we get. They diminish the amount of fuel, getting into the Gaza Strip. We had drawn in darkness only for eight hours every couple of days. Well, eight ours every couple of days is better than eight hours every day. Then the amount provided declines. So, we have to bear life with no electricity daily for eight or ten hours. Well, we can live with that; we still get electricity, isn’t half a loaf better than nothing?

Finally, we get no fuel and no electricity at all. After all this, they wonder why we turn angry while asking for our basic rights!

It has always been this way, not only with electricity but with other basic needs of food, fuel, and even children milk.

Israel would deprive us all our rights and then wants us to be grateful when they would give us back what they have aggressively deprived us from. But, do they really think that depriving us from our basic needs would make us forget about the siege, the refugees, the right of return, the occupied land, Jerusalem? Do they think we would be grateful if we get back what is essentially ours?

Well, Israel, we are not grateful, for you grant us none which is originally not ours.
We have our rights as humans. We have our rights as Palestinians