Rebuilding Alliance

Rebuilding Alliance is dedicated to rebuilding war-torn communities and bringing the world together to make them safe. Our vision is a just and enduring peace in Israel and Palestine with equal value, opportunity, and security for all.
Oct 29, 2007

Abir's case dismissed by Jerusalem Prosecutor

In August, the Jerusalem prosecutor dismissed Abir’s case without filing charges, supposedly for lack of evidence – despite 14 witnesses and an independent autopsy. On Oct. 1, 2007 Israeli attorney Michael Sfard, esq., and Israeli human rights group, Yesh Din appealed the Israeli prosecutor’s decision to close the investigation file on death of Abir Aramin.

On Oct. 23rd, the Rebuilding Alliance organized a Contact Congress Telecon with constituents and senior staffers from Senators Feinstein, Boxer, and Congresswoman Eshoo’s office. Bassam Aramin – Abir’s father and co-founder of Combatants for Peace, Zohar Shapira and Avishay Sharon – also of Combatants for Peace, and Cindy Corrie – board member of the Rebuilding Alliance presented Abir’s case. The staffers promised to raise this issue with the Senators and Congresswoman and make inquiries to the Israeli Embassy and U.S. State Department on our behalf. Our committee’s follow-up: a letter to the Senators and Congresswoman, and personal meetings at their local and DC offices, as we invoke the Leahy Law by forwarding case details to the Senate Appropriations Committee for review. We ask Human Rights Groups to report case details so that this becomes part of the Annual U.S. Report on Human Rights. We ask people around the country to work with us to schedule a "Contact Congress Teleconference" in their state to ask their senators and representatives to call the Israeli Embassy to find out what happened to Abir.

Oct 2, 2007

Updates from the field

The blockade of Gaza is entering its third month now and the crisis there is overwhelming, (see www.ochaopt.org). The Rebuilding Alliance is doing all we can to organize an end to the blockade. We were just awarded a seed grant from Grassroots International to use our Contact Congress Teleconferences to launch an Open Gaza Campaign focused on ending the blockade with Gaza, and also topics related to the Leahy Law. We'll keep you posted as the Campaign takes shape.

This past week the Israeli Banks said they are cutting off all funds transfers to banks in Gaza, As far as we know, this does NOT impact Rebuilding Alliance funds transfers to our NGO partner in Gaza, the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme. We’ll test our bank-to-bank wire transfer system in the week ahead to confirm.

What does the blockade mean for our rebuilding project? Khaled Nasrallah who works with procurement requests at UNRWA, reports that everything in Gaza now cost 10 x more than it did last year. This is true in all sectors. When materials run out, they are not replaced because no raw materials are being allowed into Gaza at all.

We hoped to buy the last bags of cement for this project – but cement is now becoming bad, unsafe to build with. What about exploring alternative building materials?

Straw bale construction can be beautiful and long-lasting but such construction is not the norm in Gaza. People in Gaza want to build homes made of poured concrete and re-bar, homes that will last 100 years, best if the walls are thick. What do Gazans say about using local building materials? Khaled Nasrallah said, “We don't really have building materials now but we do have a lot of empty shipping containers. Perhaps building with materials like these could show that people are struggling to have homes even with no materials.”

A group of eco-builders called Bustan Shalom are rebuilding with Bedouin families in the Negev. Their speaking tour brings them to visit the SF Bay area in two weeks. The Rebuilding Alliance is inviting all the green builders in our area for a house party for Bustan, so we can learn more about this work to show examples to our partners and the families in Gaza.

It may be possible to build with local materials, even shipping containers, if engineers and architects can design to meet the family’s needs. Next step: touch base with the Al Bahry family to explore these ideas further.

Links:

Aug 2, 2007

Husam is Home! And the RCRC won an eBay award!

Completed Building
Completed Building

Dear Friends of the Rebuildling Alliance,

Mr. Husam El Nounou finally returned home to Gaza at 10:30 pm Jul 31, via the Erez Checkpoint. His luggage was sent through today at noon. He is the PR Director for our NGO partner in Gaza, the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme -- and he was stranded in Egypt for a month and a half behind the blockade.

“Please thank everyone for all their help on my behalf,” said Husam. “At last I am back with my family!”

We especially want to thank those who contacted their congresspeople. Many found that staffers wanted to help and started making calls on their constituents’ behalf to express concern about Husam’s situation and the blockade of Gaza. One constituent was even asked to draft a statement the congressman could read into the Congressional Record (full report coming soon).

Please take a moment now to call your representative’s office to let them know Husam El Nounou is safely home.

“Ask them to do all they can to allow more people to enter each day,” said Husam. “So far only 300/day are allowed to cross… that means it will take some 20 work days, more than a month, to bring everyone home,”

And tell them to redouble their efforts to speak out against the ongoing blockade and siege of Gaza so that 1.4 million hungry people can feed their families and go back to work.

With sincere thanks, Donna Baranski-Walker Executive Director

P.S. Thanks to 43 donors, the Rachel Corrie Rebuilding Campaign in Gaza won third place in Global Giving’s competition, and a prize from eBay of $2000!!! Raising funds for this home was the reason Husam El Nounou left his family for the U.S. – so these contributions are especially meaningful at this time.

Family from Gaza
Family from Gaza
 
   

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