The Free Gaza Movement announced today that an international delegation of doctors, parliamentarians, and human rights workers will sail to Gaza aboard the SS Hope on Wednesday, September 24th. A press conference will be held on Wednesday at Larnaca Port prior to the ship’s departure.
The passengers on board include:
- 5 physicians from 4 countries
- human rights lawyers and monitors
- Jamal Zahalka, a member of the Israeli Knesset
- Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, and member of the Palestinian Legislative Council
- Mairead Maguire, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her work in Belfast
According to Maguire, a world-renowned human rights campaigner, “This mission carries with it the hopes and wishes of many people around the world."
On August 23, two of the Free Gaza Movement’s boats, the SS Free Gaza and the SS Liberty arrived in Gaza Port to the jubilation of tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered there. It was the first time in over forty years that international ships had docked in Gaza Port.
Since Israel tightened its blockade two years ago, malnutrition and unemployment rates in Gaza have soared. In May 2008, several international aid organizations, including CARE International UK, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Oxfam, and Medecins du Monde UK, stated that, “the stranglehold on Gaza’s borders has made ... the work of the UN and other humanitarian agencies ... virtually impossible. Only a trickle of medicine, food, fuel and other goods is being allowed in…making people highly dependent on food aid, and brought the health system and basic services, such as water and sanitation near to collapse.”
Huwaida Arraf, the delegation spokesperson and a law lecturer at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, said, “The world cannot stay silent as the Palestinian people are deliberately starved and humiliated; Palestinians have a right to life with dignity. Last month, on August 23rd, our two, small, wooden boats, the SS Free Gaza and SS Liberty, sailed to Gaza and did what our governments would not do - we defied Israel’s illegal collective punishment of 1.5 million men, women and children living in the Gaza Strip. On September 24th, we’re sailing back to Gaza to challenge it again. Our boats are very humble, but what they represent is hope, and hope is what mobilizes change the world around.”
The SS Hope was named in recognition of St. Augustine, who wrote that “Hope is the greatest of all virtues, even greater than Love. For Love only teaches us what should be, while Hope teaches us what will be.”
For More Information, please contact:
(Cyprus/Gaza) Huwaida Arraf, +972 59 913 0426 / firstname.lastname@example.org
(Cyprus) Greta Berlin, +357 99 081 767 / email@example.com
This is amazing news, I hope they get there safely and that israeli aloows them to enter gaza.
My prayers with them.
Autumn has come to Finland, all tree leafs are turning yellow, red and brown. When I look out from my livingroom window all I see is black and I think of my friend in West Bank, how black has her life turned now.. I wonder if she is ever going to live a free life, is any of my Palestinian friends ever going to live a free life? A life where you can go out safely or go to work without roadblocks. Our life is so easy here. Just sitting in our livingrooms watching tv or playing games. No worries about our lives or our living.
Just sitting and watching how life goes by. Without any risks or threats..
If I could give one free day to someone who has never lived freely, I would do it in a heartbeat.
If I could liberate any nation, I would.
If I was living under any opression I would fight for my freedom til the last breath.
If I could send strenght and power to those people who needs it, I would, even if it was my last.
Freedom is something that we are so used to and something that everyone can't have.
Freedom is what we fight for but we don't want everyone to have.
Is freedom your right? Or mine too?
Freedom is for all of us, for Palestine too!
thinking about a dream discussed on a cup of tea
in making a chance to be what i wish to be
in my search for a key
out of words i am
for i am who i am
a palestinian living in despair
resisting death or a prison chair
instead of breathing the free air
out of words i am
to tell you the present
the part that i consider prisoned
the dream that never saw the light
the child that never stopped the fight
out of words i am
in stating my needs
in showing you the seeds
and covering all deeds
of becoming he who leads
out of words i am
in wanting a peaceful tomorrow
that rhymes with a sorrow
of being in the shadow
so listen to my eyes
and look at the hearts
witness the unspoken truth
and aid the bleeding children, elderly and youth
For many times i heard people telling me that i always have a lot to say, seems that tonight silence rules my mind forbidding me from gathering the words to actually say something, words are no place to hide behind anymore, seems that being hunted is something that most of us Palestinians faced one way or another.
today i stand here looking from my window facing some Israeli soldiers who are using three kids as human shields, i know these kids one of them is Ahmad; he's our neighbor, he's of those 10th graders who weren't able to get new cloths for school this year, his sister used to go to college depending on loans provided by some non-governmental organizations here but funds were a little low recently. the situation this year has taken a different turn lead by the internal fighting that is taking away a lot from us [Palestinian people who are under it], it is true that in each one of us there is some political charge that motivates the patriotic sense, not necessarily because of belonging to any political party but because we belong to a land called Palestine, a land that lives politics in everyday of its life. today i cant go to pray in Al-Aqsa mosque or better explained i cant enter Jerusalem because I'm under 50 years old!
today and like every day in the holy month of Ramadan; i pray, that some can reach the outdoors of a little freedom before the festival of breaking the fast to be able to see their kids and loved ones for the first time after a long time in prison, i pray that fathers could get a chance to see how well their sons have grown telling them how strong they look, and mothers to get a chance to brush their daughters hair telling them how beautiful they look and that everything is going to be O.K... somehow.
maybe tomorrow, i will be standing somewhere else, somewhere with a different view!
Ahmad Abed writing from London, UK, Live from Palestine
Palestinian youth fly kites during a summer camp in Gaza City, July 2008. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages)
10 September 2008
It was a very sudden moment when I realized that I was no longer a child. Occupation, intifada, Israel, enemy, Zionists, curfew, revolution, all these words were repeatedly spoken everywhere and I was very confused trying to understand what they all meant. No place to play or to meet my friends, no freedom. I could no longer go to the fields to pick oranges and grapes and have barbecues with my family and our friends' families and I was forbidden from going to the sea after 7pm. It was a long list of restrictions that killed my childhood in one moment. Coping with all these dramatic and sudden changes was never easy. When someone misses a dear friend or a loved one it takes him or her a long time to recover, but when one loses one's childhood suddenly and without notice, one can never recover.
"The intifada started, we have to sacrifice to get back our stolen freedom and end occupation," my father told me. I was eight years old, the days became too long and the nights were very heavy and even longer. I felt that there would be no mornings. I was terrified, anxious and expecting the occupation to come at any time to raid and destroy our beautiful house, like they had already done to our neighbors when they arrested the father and his oldest son. I was too scared to look from my window to see how close they were. I learned to resist my curiosity as a child. I learned also to cope with the new safety regulations and to stay in my little room, in our house, in our city, or in other words in my cell in the big prison that is Gaza.
Suddenly and very quickly, they came. They didn't need my father to open the gate as they climbed in quietly. My mother was very frightened and I was silent, expecting the worst. My father was very strong. He was not only a pharmacist, but also a very strong resister. He taught me how to be courageous and stand up for myself. He refused to close his pharmacy in the city center when the soldiers imposed the daily curfew, he refused to obey the orders of the soldiers until they came and pointed their guns at his head. He closed it, as he knew there were many people who loved him and wanted him to remain alive -- not only his family but also his patients. They came to our house and in their attempt to insult and humiliate him they started beating my father in front of our family and neighbors. They did not know that this incident only made him stronger, and after, we loved him more than ever. I will never forget the way my father looked at the soldiers at that moment. His eyes were saying so many things. They said, I will remain, I will resist and I will teach my kids to do the same. My mother transferred her fear and rage into love and care. Our house was full of love, care, warmth and hope. We were not exceptional in this. My parents, my two brothers, three sisters and I were a small family, but the big family was the entire people of Gaza who took care of each other.
Gaza was very dark and sad. I used to see the occupation's victims off daily, never to see them again. I learned to stay calm and to keep my rage and tears inside me. Although dangerous, throwing stones at the Israeli jeeps probably was the best way to express my anger and it made me feel better when I returned home to listen to the dozens of radio stations covering the news events as they developed.
Going to school was adventurous and risky. At first, I used to follow the narrow roads to avoid seeing the occupation. However, I gathered my strength and eventually decided to go via the main road without paying attention to them, and equipped myself with my father's words and the belief that this is my land, they are the invaders and I can walk on any road that I like. This was not easy but gradually I overcame my fear and became strong enough to ignore them and their threats. I became very mature very early and learned to be responsible for my life. The massive sonic booms, which often break windows and shake the entire house, were so loud and terrifying, but I learned even to cope with them. Their message was very clear: "Your safety will cost you your land." And our response was clearer: "We shall remain."
Twenty years later, today I talk to my nephews and nieces on the phone. They are going through what I went through and even worse. They also learned what I learned, and they too will remain and resist. When I speak with them, I don't feel that I am talking to little kids. They know everything about politics but nothing about childhood. They know about the policy of double standards, silent Europe, occupation, oppression, rockets, bombs, Apaches, tanks, curfew, siege, negotiations, resistance, revolution and injustice. And even if they haven't enjoyed them, they also know and appreciate justice, freedom and dignity.
It is Gaza that taught them and me all these things and it is the Israeli occupation that murdered my childhood very early as it continues to do the same to all Palestinian childhoods.
Today, I live in England. But Gaza, including my family, lives with me. I will pack up and go to Dubai where Gaza will always remain with me.
Ahmad Abed was born and raised in the Gaza Strip. After graduating from Birzeit in 2003, Abed received the Chevening Scholarship in 2004 when he traveled to the UK where he received an MA in Conflict, Governance and Development from York University. Abed now lives in Dubai.
The lack of water is getting a bigger problem in West Bank. Atleast one person has been seriously injured during a water-related violence.
"A drought, a broken well, and a reduction of water supplies by the Israeli company Mekorot, have resulted in a severe water shortage in Bethlehem this summer. The city’s three refugee camps have been worst affected by this. Camp residents say that they have gone without water at times for up to two weeks." LINK
Roadblock issue made one woman to take action in Huwwara, she threw acid to 2 soldiers at Huwwara checkpoint which completely blocks the road between Nablus and areas to the south, including Ramallah and Jerusalem.
Some of the Palestinian villages are completly isolated from others by roadblocks and some roads has been destroyed, so the villagers cant get in touch with others easily. Some people haven't seen their family and relatives in months or years.
Because of the siege a medicin factory is going to close now. The factory would suspend operations because The Israelis are not allowing sufficient materials into the Gaza Strip to continue operations.
So, nothing looks to be easier in the West Bank..
Date: 07 / 09 / 2008 Time: 16:51
تكبير الخط تصغير الخط
Filling storage containers at local wells
Bethlehem – Ma’an – A coalition of Palestinian and international NGOs issued a statement on Friday calling the water shortage across the West Bank a “humanitarian crisis” and said they were “gravely concerned.”
The coalition said that there was a reduction in water supplies from rainfall averaging 45% across the West Bank, which has left 200 communities not served by the municipal water sources at a loss. There is not enough water for cooking, cleaning, agricultural irrigation, or basic food-producing plant watering.
Even in cities and villages connected to water mains, reduction in supply means frequent cut offs for homes and offices. It is common in many areas to not have water for a week, and others only receive water once in a fortnight.
Several aid organizations have been providing emergency water resources so the basic needs to Palestinians can be met. The coalition, however, said it doubted whether even with the emergency support, that all basic needs would be met. The group said that unless Israel increases the current water supply to the area, health and hygiene, crops and fruit trees would suffer.
When wells dry up or water mains stay shut for long periods of time, homes and businesses regularly turn to water tanker services to fill the gaps in service. Most buildings have several water canisters on their roofs, used to store water when lines are full. The tanks are filled up by water tanker services, but cost 30-40% more than the municipal service.
For one tank of water (10 square meters), residents pay around 250 shekels, which will provide water for five homes, which lasts a family anywhere from 2-6 days.
Even when families can buy water, tankers often have to travel long distances to wells or “filling points.” Many of these are obstructed by Israeli military checkpoints, or physical obstacles like mounds of earth piled onto roads near the wells, or concrete blocks placed by the Israeli army to prevent traffic on a given route.
As a result, tankers have to travel circuitous routes to get to the wells, using more gas and time, and ultimately costing the customer more.
Many West Bankers spend between 3-5% of their monthly income on water, and more when families depend on crops and livestock for their livelihoods.
The coalition of organizations now providing emergency service, say that approximately 10% of West Bank communities are surviving on less than ten liters of water per person per day. This figure is well below the World Health Organization estimate of what average water usage should be for proper health and hygiene to be maintained, which is 50-100 liters per person per day.
According to the water coalition, “lack of economic and physical access to safe water is increasingly leading poor families to consume water from unprotected sources, such as agricultural wells, posing serious concerns about water quality and potential public health effects. The current water shortage is also increasing the levels of food insecurity among rural communities, herders in particular, raising the risk of displacement.”
The organizations in the coalition issued a call for the international community to respond with funds and aid for immediate relief, and the long term building of more wells and filling points for communities off the municipal grids. The group also called on Israel to issue permits for the construction of such wells, and immediately increase the amount of water West Bankers have access too. Finally, they called on the Israeli and Palestinian governments to come to an equitable decision on the sharing of water resources so that catastrophe and humanitarian crises can be avoided in the future.
The participating organizations are: PARC - Agricultural Development Association, PREMIERE URGENCE, G.V.C - Gruppo di Volontariato Civile, LifeSource, Palestinian Hydrology Group, Centre on Housing Rights and Eviction, The Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem, The Swedish Cooperative Centre, Palestine Farmer Union. Oxfam International, and Asamblea de Cooperacion Por la Paz. http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=31794
Ramadan has started nicely with me, first 2 days was kind of hard but now its easy like a playing a game and if I feel tired or thirsty I just think of God and it helpes. God really has made this easy for me <3
I hope things with my friend is as easy now too, I havent heard about her since and I am a bit worried.
What goes on in Palestine.. well Israel is still continuing to build their illegal settlements regardless of all the nations world wide has told several times it's wrong. As we know, Israel don't listen to anybosy and mostly they trust on worlds pity on that holocaust thing and in the shadow they exploit others.
Im trusting on that someday the world will make Israel to pay for the crimes that they do and I hope the day to come soon!
Yesterday was the first day of Ramadan in Finland and in many other places too, and personally to me too!
Ramadan looks alot like Christians Christmas and I am happy to have an invitation to meet a muslim family and have the iftar with them today :)
Yesterday I finally got to talk with my friend, and as I had been thinking; she had been in big trouble with Israelis because of this diary.
She had been a target of zionists and one woman pretendet to be her friend and had been questioning alot about her family and her self and pretendet to be a journalist who offered our blog a change to bee visible in one major news channel world wide. Thank God my friend found out that she was not who she claimed to be and found out that she was Israelis citisen and jewish zionist who only wanted to harm her family and her because of the security threath that she makes to Israel now that she writes this diary!!!
I wish all the best for her and hope that those zionists will leave her alone!!
I'm lucky to live here in peacefull Finland, Israel would have to make alot of effort to harm me I think.. Anyway, they can't because I'm not Palestinian and am not living under their occupied territories!
My friend is still in danger and she can't write here at this point. She told me that all lines are listened; phones and internet which makes perfect sense because the Israelis wan't to suffocate all the resistance in Palestine.
Israel wan't to make a jewish state to them selves and they have clearly pronounced that only jews are number one citisens there, every other religion will be treated as second class citisens. No wonder the Palsetinians wish to get their own state too, who would volunteerly let someone to grade you as second class citisen?? Who would volunteerly give up the right to live a normal life?!
All the eyes are in Georgia now and all the people has been on the Georgians side, but do they see that the situation between Israel and Palestine is the same? There is illegal military force occupatiuon going on in Palestine and in Georgia and both peoples needs help, but only Georgia gets it. Why is that?
Palestine and Israel is so close to peace now if the Israelis just would end the siege, open the borders as they have promised and would stop kidnapping and killing people in West Bank!
Peace is that close!
But I don't think they ever reach the peace. Soon the Palestinians will get tired of empty promises and will rise to resist again. And ofcourse in our news it will be told something like this: Palestine ruins the peace by attacking towards Israel or Israeli settlers or civilians.. Ofcourse they leave out all the violations what Israel is making right at this second all over West Bank and Gaza. They forget to tell how Israel ordered all the doctors and teachers in Gaza to stay home and not to go to work, they forget to tell how people in hospitals are dieing and suffering because of this evil order, they forget to tell how one little girl will lose her leg because of necrosis in her toes and because there is no doctors to operate her toes, they forget to tell how Israel is making life unbearable in Gaza and West Bank everyday. They forget to tell how Israel is leading their dirty water to Palestinians water system, so they get all the toxiins and bacteria. They forget to tell how the Israelis blow up Palestinian's houses in West Bank every day to build their own settlements instead!
You can read all the violations from this human rights site LINK
or you can look the names list of the dead childrens from this site LINK
or the daily news about things that keep happening in Palestine here LINK
And I hope; after you visit those sites, you think what is really going on and whether it's right or wrong and after you have made your conclusion; PLEASE talk about it to someone, let's spread the word what is going on! Thank you!
Links about Palestine-Israel conflict
- An Israeli in Palestine
- Historiaa ja faktaa Suomeksi
- Jews against the occupation
- Medical Aid for Palestinians
- Rebuilding alliance
- US Campaign to end the Israeli occupation
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