Street in front of Al Basma Club in Gaza City
Since you donated for More than Chocolates for Gaza, much has happened. We set out with such hope as one of the only American NGO’s with cargo aboard the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza. Our cargo included not only the sports equipment and school supplies that you bought for Al Basma Club for the Disabled, but cement provided by a last-minute donor. This cement was intended to build a kindergarten for the Yebna Charitable Society and a retaining wall around the Unity Club Soccer Field in Rafah.
As you know, tragedy ensued when the Israeli Navy attacked in the middle of the night and nine lives were lost. Due to the Rebuilding Alliance's unique position, we engaged our networks to try and locate the missing people. A few days later, our cargo left on the Irish MV Rachel Corrie, late due to mechanical trouble. The Israeli Navy boarded the ship without incident and towed the ship and its passengers, against their will, to Ashdod, Israel.
Now, however, we are writing with limited good news...
Free Gaza Ireland just signed a letter to the UN, at the UN's request, asking that they deliver all goods aboard the MV Rachel Corrie to Gaza. In the meantime, we sent volunteer Kate Gould to meet with all our projects, including Al Basma Club for the Disabled. While there, she also met with UNRWA Gaza Director John Ging, who expressed his support.
We remain in touch with the UN, our partners at Free Gaza Ireland, and our NGO partners in Gaza to monitor the situation. We indeed hope that the materials will be delivered soon, and to the NGOs we hoped to support. We provided an American reporter now in Gaza with our contacts to monitor the cargo entry and find out if any other building materials are being allowed in under the current blockade policy. So far, he's not seeing anything.
Still, we are heartened by your support and by the good will we have encountered in many places throughout this process. Khaled Nasrallah, one of our partners and an UNRWA social worker told us, "The children of Yebna have been waiting, as they were eager to build their kindergarden. The children in Al Basma were waiting for their toys, and the disabled were waiting for their wheelchair and sports machines. We have been all waiting to see the smiles on their faces."
Craig Corrie once said, "You have to give people in government positions the opportunity to do the right thing." This is what we continue to do with this project, and we will continue to keep you informed of its status.
Thank you for your support!
Hazim Abu Halloub, beneficiary of Al Basma
Eid Shaqura, Chairman of Al Basma Club