Apr 7, 2021

Sumarin Eviction Delayed + Invitation to "Jerusalem Children on Peace" on Wednesday

Join us for "Jerusalem Children on Peace"
Join us for "Jerusalem Children on Peace"

On Wednesday, April 7th at 10am ET, we invite you to join us for "Jerusalem Children on Peace"; a Zoom teleconference call with children from the Madaa Creative Center, who will describe what peace means to them and show you the Pinwheels for Peace they created. We ask everyone to hear the children's' dreams of peace and to contact Congress to press them to save the children's homes in East Jerusalem. Joining us on the call tomorrow is Madaa Creative Center Director Jawad Siyam and Peace Now's Hagit Ofran. 

Register for the event here: https://actionnetwork.org/events/jerusalem-children-on-peace/

As you may know, 270 Palestinian families -including the Sumarins- are currently facing imminent eviction in East Jerusalem neighborhoods. So why hold a Pinwheels for Peace event? If we can only figure out how to get this problem to Congress in the virtual world, we hope this will have the same remarkable impact that the children's Pinwheels briefings have had these past few years.  

As for the Sumarin family, on April 5th the Israeli Supreme Court reviewed their appeal against eviction but did not take arguments. The title to their home was wrongfully taken using the discriminatory Absentee Property Law even though they were never absent, then was purchased by the Jewish National Fund. The Court requested that the parties submit statements to the Israeli Attorney General, who has 60 days to explain the Government of Israel's position. During this process, the eviction is temporarily frozen, and this is the time when the US Congress and the Administration must express concern. In light of this, we ask for your continued support. 

Our Sumarin fund serves as a safety net for the family in case they lose their appeal at the High Court. It also provides payment to the attorneys and consulting attorneys for new developments in the family's legal strategy. For instance, a secret agreement was discovered between the JNF and an Israeli settler group called Elad, who has been funding JNF suits against the family; Elad gets the Sumarin's land if the eviction proceeds. As a result, new legal strategy was required, so thanks to your support, Rebuilding Alliance transferred a grant to pay for the attorneys' fees to pursue this new direction. 

In a letter Congresswoman Jackie Speier led to the Israeli Prime Minister last year, she noted, "We believe that the eviction of the Sumarin family and expropriation of their property sets a dangerous precedent that is detrimental to the stability of Jerusalem and further undermines the opportunity for peace." Your support enables us to keep the Sumarin family in their home. We are starting small where it counts and hoping to extend the effort to help keep the other threatened families in their rightful homes as well. 

Amal Sumarin following the Court hearing on 04/05
Amal Sumarin following the Court hearing on 04/05
Protesting outside the Supreme Court on 04/05
Protesting outside the Supreme Court on 04/05
Madaa Creative Center children make pinwheels
Madaa Creative Center children make pinwheels
Preparing to create Pinwheels for Peace
Preparing to create Pinwheels for Peace

Links:

Mar 22, 2021

Two new baby goats!

In our last report, I told you that this project would be providing sheep instead of goats, but it turns out there was a minor translation issue. A week after that report was submitted, Rebuilding Alliance received pictures of when our NGO partners provided the animals and plants, and there was no mistaking that those animals were definitely goats! I apologize for that error. The goats provide milk and cheese for the families to eat and also sell in the local market.

We worked with two of our NGO partners for this pilot project, Women Programs Center Rafah (WPCR) and Youth Vision Society (YVS). Each chose 4 families that could accomodate animals and a small garden. 

Women Programs Center Rafah:

Last Friday, March 12, two baby goats were born from a goat we gave to a WPCR beneficiary, Rania. Besides the goat, she has 10 chickens which produces enough eggs so that her family can eat some, and the rest can be sold to the market. In her garden, there's parsley, dill, potatoes, lettuce, and arugula. Like the eggs, she sells some in the market, and it earns her enough to buy milk and diapers for her youngest son.  

Another WPCR beneficiary, Amira, expects that her goat will give birth soon as well. She promised our photographer in Gaza, Mohammed, that she would call him as soon as the goat gave birth. Mohammed took the pictures you see in this report, and he's excited to make a film for you about the goats. Mohammed told Amira to call him day or night, and he will take a taxi to film the birth. Amira's garden has parsley, onion, potato, beans, garlic, olive and guava trees, cabbage, and peas.

Ejmeea, the matriarch of the third family under WPCR, also received a goat and 10 chickens. Unfortunately, the chickens died from the cold weather, and she fed the chickens to her family instead of letting food go to waste. On the bright side, her garden is doing well. She planted cabbage, cauliflower, parsley, potatoes, beans, and peas. She sells some of these to the market and cooks the rest. 

The fourth beneficiary is Aqela, who is 70 years old. She received a goat and planted cabbages, cauliflower, potatoes, parsley, beans, peas and olive trees in her garden. Her garden helps her take care of her month-old grandchild who has a calcium deficiency. 

The Youth Vision Society gave each of their families 10 chickens and 1 goat. They made sure to include fodder in their distribution so the families didn't have to worry about needing to buy fodder for their new goats. YVS reported that it was hard to find pregnant goats because the goat sellers wanted to keep these goats to themselves. However, they reached out to their network and managed to find people willing to sell them.

YVS has many more families who would like to participate in this program, and they hope they will be able to include them in the future. One beneficiary, Ahmed expressed his gratitude, and said "I expect that this project will have huge impact on my life as I believe it will help me meet my daily needs. Most recently, I couldn't afford my household daily expenses, so I believe this will help me a lot. Thanks, Rebuilding Alliance."

Thank you so much for helping Palestinian families get back on their feet. Look how much positive change your donations have made in their lives. We look forward to giving you more updates on these families in the next report, and we hope to extend the program as soon as possible.

 

P.S. Stay tuned for Climate Action Week on April 19-23 when donations will be matched 100% (up to $2000 cap for each organization).

Feb 8, 2021

Al Aqaba Kindergarten Update

Rebuilding Alliance often refers to Al Aqaba Kindergarten as the beating heart of the village. Due to the kindergarten, the village's demolition orders were put on hold in 2008. To this day, the village and kindergarten remain and are such a model that Rebuilding Alliance brought Congressional staff there in February 2020 (just before COVID) to show them the remarkable investments that happened as a result of the kindergarten and its mayor.

Unfortunately, 53 schools in Area C are not so lucky and are currently at risk for demolition. Rebuilding Alliance's advocacy team is hard at work holding briefings for members of Congress in an effort to keep schools standing. Al Aqaba Kindergarten is an example of how schools built in the center of villages can make all the difference to help a community thrive. 

According to Human Rights Watch, “more than a third of the Palestinian communities in Area C, which constitutes 60% of the West Bank, do not currently have primary schools, and there are 10,000 children who go to school in tents or huts. About 1,700 children have been forced to walk 5 kilometers or so more to school because of road closures, lack of roads to cross [i.e. bridges and crosswalks], transportation, or other problems." 

A school's central location ensures that students don't have to travel far in difficult circumstances just to get an education. One of the schools at risk is Al Maleh in the Jordan Valley. Al Maleh students used to travel to Al Aqaba Kindergarten by bus through a checkpoint because there was no school in their village, which makes it all the more important to fight the demolition order for Al Maleh School. Al Aqaba Kindergarten's students used to come from five towns and villages.

In the meantime, Al Aqaba students are back at school with new PPE and social distancing requirements as pictured. Students are down to 50 from 160, partly because of parents concerned about safety and family finances as many have lost their jobs. Also, the Ministry of Education has opened competing kindergartens nearby that are free. The Ministry is adopting the Al Aqaba model to get a kindergarten in each village. 

The mayor and the kindergarten staff have been working hard to keep the school running. If you would like to sponsor an ongoing $50/month kindergarten scholarship, that would be much appreciated. Thank you so much for supporting Al Aqaba Kindergarten. Your support helps a generation of children start their journey into education and keeps this village standing.

Al Maleh School, at risk for demolition
Al Maleh School, at risk for demolition

Links:

 
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