Emergency support for Palestinians

by ActionAid USA
Emergency support for Palestinians
Emergency support for Palestinians
Emergency support for Palestinians
Emergency support for Palestinians
Emergency support for Palestinians
Emergency support for Palestinians

Thanks to your donation, Yusra and her family have been able to claim their right to water and electricity, and will continue to do so until their basic services are no longer under threat.

Living conditions for Yusra's family have been deteriorating during the electricity crisis. Under the Israeli occupation, Palestinian families like theirs experience an average of 20 hours of blackout per day. This makes it impossible to pump enough water to meet their basic needs and has caused major health problems.

Your support enabled Yusra and  other leaders in her community to take action and demand access to the water they urgently needed. Yusra is a member of her local community committee, which works alongside ActionAid to identify and address pressing problems in her town. Over the past three months, the emergency plan that we co-developed – and which you helped fund – distributed 50,000 liters of fuel to run water pumps, sewage treatment pumps, and garbage collection trucks. Together, we made everyday life in these outrageous conditions a little safer and healthier for more than 300,000 people.

Now, thanks to a generous $30,000 donation from one of our supporters, we’re able to keep water pumping in Gaza for an additional two months.

Yusra’s committee is women-led- a group of courageous leaders who have spent the last year speaking out about the electricity injustice, meeting with their local officials to better understand the situation, co-designing response plans with ActionAid staff, and coordinating with the community to make them a success.

“I practiced mobilization and advocacy skills I gained to defend our rights, encouraging other women to be engaged in such empowering activities and to take a valuable role in our community,” Yusra told us. She knows from experience that it takes broad, consistent support to affect real change. “I believe that together we can make our life better.”

As you can see, our emergency response is bigger than just providing fuel or meeting basic needs. It’s about investing in people who make real change possible.

Every single day, Yusra and this team are advocating for their community’s basic rights, and you have stood with them. There are many challenges ahead of them, but I truly believe that through amazing women leaders like Yusra, a just, equitable, and sustainable world is on its way to becoming a reality.

Thank you for making it possible.

 

In gratitude,

Marie

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As a Jew, I understand the importance of a Jewish state. My people have been persecuted for our faith since Judaism was conceived nearly 6,000 years ago. In fact, much of our religion is defined by this persecution, with some of our most important holidays telling stories of discrimination, oppression, and suffering.

Also as a Jew, I believe that the way in which Israel was created in 1948, and the subsequent expulsion of the Palestinian people from their land, was a deplorable violation of human rights. I believe that the 70 years of military occupation, ongoing displacement, and continued slaughter of the Palestinian people constitutes a form of genocide.

As my colleague, Ehab, wrote on Monday, “Gaza is one of the few places on Earth where your identity is your wrongdoing.” Or, to borrow the phrase coined by philanthropist Warren Buffett, Palestinians have lost in the “ovarian lottery.”

I think of the story of Sal, a young girl living in the West Bank. Her family has lived in a tent for the past 12 years after bulldozers destroyed their brick home, and all the houses in their community. Made of a concrete floor, metal poles, and plastic sheeting which serve as “walls,” the tent is far from waterproof. the family’s best efforts to keep them dry and warm, Sal and her siblings get wet at night when the rains are heaviest.

 

Sal and her family live in the West Bank and are facing a demolition order for their tent. [Alice Oldenburg/ActionAid]

Sal is now living with a new level of uncertainty: Last year her family received a demolition order from the Israeli army for their tent. At the time that Sal’s mother shared this story, the order hadn’t yet been carried out – which meant that their family woke up every morning wondering if that would be the day they would once again see their home destroyed before their eyes.

 

I had the opportunity to speak with someone a few years ago who shared a similar story. Just like Sal, she also had to fear for her life because of her ethnicity, and the place she was born. She too was stripped of a place to call home. And she was made to fear for her future.

That person was my husband’s late grandmother, Lotte Sternheimer (later Lorraine Stern), who took one of the last kinder transports out of Germany in 1938 when she was just 11 years old. She fled the Holocaust with her brother, and they became the only two survivors of their family.

Where Sal’s family now lives in a tent, with the constant that even this basic shelter will be taken from them, leaving their children homeless and fearing for their safety, Lotte’s family also lived in perpetual fear, until they made the impossible decision to send their children away for their safety.

I, on the other hand, have been privileged in my Judaism. I’ve always lived in places with large Jewish populations, and I’ve never felt particularly discriminated against. This has allowed me the benefit of choosing when and how I practice my faith. Yet, one core tenet of Judaism I’ve always carried with me has been the commitment to stand up for the inalienable rights of all humans.

In thinking about the Israeli government’s response to the peaceful protests in Palestine over the past week, and the 62 people killed and more than 2,400 injured, including eight-month-old baby girl Laila al-Ghandour, the term “Never Again” comes to mind. This phrase is associated with the post-WWII vow that never again must a genocidal act like the Holocaust be allowed to take place. Today, we must remember this declaration and return to our conviction in support of our brothers and sisters in Palestine.

Jews around the world have agreed that Never Again must mean Never Again for anyone – not just our own. Both the Israeli government and the U.S. government should hear our demands and end this barbaric violence.

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Tuesday, May 15, marks an important and historic day, but what is it? Is it the first day of the Muslim holy month, Ramadan? Yes. Is it the anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba? Yes. It’s also the day after the U.S. will officially relocate its Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, newly minted by the Trump Administration as the “capital” of Israel.

Is it a coincidence that these things are all occurring at the same time? Probably not.

We often take for granted that which we have around us, and for many Muslims like myself, this month serves as a reminder to be appreciative; a reminder to give thanks for the things we’re blessed with. For me, those things are my loved ones, my health, and that first sunset sip of water after a long day of fasting. But Ramadan is also a time for reflection, a chance to take stock and recalibrate. In honor of that, and in honor of tomorrow, allow me to reflect on the situation in Palestine and the “kick them while they’re down” attitude that’s been carelessly exhibited by this administration, against the Palestinian people.

The plight of the Palestinian people has raged on for more than 70 years but May 14, 1948, marked the day that officially established the Israeli state, the day regarded by the Palestinian people as the start of al-Nakba (“the catastrophe” in Arabic), the day that led to the expulsion of nearly 750,000 Palestinians from their homes, and the day that barred them AND their future descendants from ever returning.

Things have gotten better since then, right? Wrong.

Since that day, literal walls have been built (sound familiar?) and blockades have been established. The occupation of Palestine and support for that occupation has only grown, as settlements have been strewn about like a child playing “Monopoly” for the first time. Israel is continually tightening its big, grey concrete grip around those who are left within its confines.

Palestinians have been stripped of everything: from their land to their resources, from their dignity to their humanity. All too often, people are so consumed with the idea that this has to be a political issue that it becomes too easy to turn a blind eye and ignore the human rights abuses and violations that have been carried out against Palestinians for ages. Palestinians are people, too. Why is that so hard to understand?

Ahead of the May 15 anniversary, Palestinians existing in Gaza started The Great March of Return– a peaceful opposition to 70 years of oppression and denial of basic human rights. Home to almost 2 million Palestinians (1.2 million of whom were displaced during the Nakba), Gaza is one of the few places on Earth where your identity is your wrongdoing. Imagine being in a place where, at 10 years old, you’ve already endured through three wars. A place where the sounds of blasts and the smell of tear gas are reminiscent of what you call home. A place that the UN deems will be uninhabitable in just two years. After 70 years, the ability to organize and protest are just two of the few things the Palestinians have left – and for the past six weeks, they’ve doing both with integrity and purpose; standing proud and peacefully standing up for their rights.

Since March 30, 2018, more than 40 protesters have been killed and thousands more have been injured. Palestinians have been met with deliberate and excessive force by Israeli soldiers, for simply being, as the world stands by and idly watches. Gaza is in crisis and years of blockade have rendered the city a jail and its people, prisoners. Its health sector is struggling to cope with the increase in demands from these recent deaths and injuries, and lack of fuel and electricity have left essential services unable to function.

At this critical time, ActionAid is working with communities in Gaza to secure fuel for the operation of water pumps, sewage drains, and hospitals.

In Jerusalem, a different crisis unfolds. The U.S. Embassy move comes at a clearly strategic and most inopportune time. What better way to prove a complete disregard for people, then to rub salt in their wounds? It’s been two years since I traveled to the region with ActionAid and set my feet on Palestinian soil. My mind takes me back to walking the narrow and bustling, stony streets of the Old City and entering the Aqsa Mosque after proving my “worthiness” to the Israeli soldier manning the gate, of course. Looking back now, I can’t help but think of what it means to take something away from the people who already have nothing, and hand it over to their oppressor.

So, what’s the solution? Well, I can start by saying this with confidence – Kushner sure doesn’t have it but maybe it’s time the world opens its eyes to the humanity of the oppressed. At ActionAid’s core is ensuring that all people have the right to a life of dignity and freedom from all forms of oppression. With two offices in the West Bank and Gaza, our work has never been more important. We will continue to address and challenge government policies and power imbalances that deny Palestinians their basic human rights, and stand alongside the people of Palestine.

So on Nakba Day, I’ll be standing in solidarity with my Palestinian brothers and sisters. I hope you’ll join me.

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Organization Information

ActionAid USA

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @actionaidusa
Project Leader:
Rachel Carle
Washington, DC United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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