Don't say we did not know #511

On Tuesday, 12th July, 2016, Israeli security forces came to a Bedouin neighbourhood, north of the Palestinian village 'Anata (north-east of Jerusalem) - and demolished four homes.  They also demolished the entire agricultural infrastructure belonging to six families.

On Wednesday, 13th July, 2016, Israeli security forces came to the Palestinian neighbourhood Jabal Mukabar, annexed to Jerusalem, and demolished three homes that were being built there, as well as an agricultural structure.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On Sunday morning, 17th July, 2016, the Jewish National Fund returned its bulldozers to a hill near El-Araqibvillage in the Negev, where they had previously been used for planting trees near that village.

 

 

Questions & queries: amosg@shefayim.org.il

 

 

Thank you to all who gave on June 15th, GlobalGiving's Bonus Day!

Your donation will make a big difference.

Through your contribution, we will continue to pay for our staff social worker, Fatma Nawaja, to bring the Pinwheels for Peace program to Palestinian schools. We have found this program provides a counseling opportunity for children coping with trauma. Fatma is now working with children in five villages in the South Hebron Hills and her intervention extends to include such important things as safety procedure when the children find unexploded ordinances, conflict resolution, and programs to build self esteem.

It will cost over $15K to bring the three children and their parents from Palestinian villages slated for demolition to Congress on International Peace Day on September 21st.  We will seek sponsorship and grant funding to reach this goal. The children will present their Pinwheels for Peace in a Senate briefing, and explain their vision of peace and their ambitions for the future directly to members of Congress in personal meetings. Most importantly, they will be given a chance to share their story and be heard, instead of being statistics.  Their parents will describe why demolition of their communities is wrong as we press for recognition of Palestinian planning rights with the help of constituents. 

When we brought the children last year, Senators and Representatives listened, and took action! They wrote letters expressing concern, tweeted their support, and promised to do all they could to keep Palestinian villages safe. Though 2016 has seen a major upswing in demolitions, more people are starting to notice and speak up. While in Washington, DC recently, we visited 25 Congressional offices, as well as the State Department and senior staff at the National Security Council. We discussed with them the importance of pressing for the rights of Palestinians to live and build on the land they own. In September, the children will present their Pinwheels for Peace, an international project aimed to help kids develop and hold on to a vision of peace and safety for the future. We are so grateful and humbled by your support on yesterday's GlobalGiving Bonus Day. Your donations will allow us to continue doing this important work.

 

Don't Say We Did Not Know #491

On Wednesday, March 3, 2016, IDF soldiers arrived to Khirbet Tana (near Beit Furiq) and demolished 13 buildings including 7 homes.

On February 4, 2016, the IDF demolished all the buildings of two families in Maqaser (near Hamra checkpoint in the Palestinian Jordan valley. West Bank - re. Don't say... # 486). On February 29th they returned, demolishing all the tents and sheepfolds the inhabitants received from aid organisations.

Questions & queries: amosg@shefayim.org.il

אל תגידו לא ידענו

   ביום רביעי 2.3.2016, הגיעו חיילי צה"ל לכפר הפלסטיני חירבת טאנה (ליד בית פוריק), והרסו 13 מבנים, מתוכם שבעה מבני מגורים.

   ב-4.2.2016 צה"ל הרס את כל המבנים של שתי משפחות במקסר (ליד מחסום חמרה, בבקעת הירדן. ראו 'אל תגידו' מס' 486). ב-29.2 חזרו חיילי צה"ל למקום פעם נוספת והרסו את כל האוהלים ודירי הצאן שקיבלו הפלסטינים מארגוני סיוע.

שאלות וברורים: amosg@shefayim.org.il

 

Inviting You: Contact Congress Conference Calls to Save Palestinian Villages

February 23, 2016

Dear Friend,

Something vital happened in Congress today: a delegation from the Palestinian Village of Wadi Foqin briefed Congressional staff about the dire situation facing their village due to Israel’s annexation of village land.  Other Palestinian villages are also enduring the annexation of their farmland to build illegal Israeli settlements.   What’s more, UN Humanitarian Coordinator Robert Piper is warning, “The number of [Palestinian home] demolitions for just the first six weeks of 2016 is greatly alarming.” (full statement + fact sheet). 

There is a way to safeguard Palestinian villages:   When constituents (YOU) ask your members of Congress to intervene, on your behalf, they do — and it works. 

Please Register Now to join a half-hour Contact Congress Briefing with your Senators and Representative’s staff

Last summer, Rebuilding Alliance held 52 teleconferences and in-person briefings with House and Senate staff with constituents joining the phone call with us. Together we helped Congressional staff understand the details.  We asked them to intervene to keep Susiya Village standing — and they did.   As a result, the Israeli Army entered into discussions with the Susiya villagers and promised not to demolish while discussions were underway.

Now, we must awaken Congress again:  On January 21st the Palestinian Village of Susiya was notified by the State of Israel that 40% of their village could be demolished at any time without notice, superceeding the Army's promise.  This time, let's reach more members of Congress.  Rebuilding Alliance is working to schedule 100 Contact Congress briefings to safeguard Susiya and many more Palestinian Villages. Here’s the schedule of the briefings we’ve held so far

When you register, our Contact Congress team will send an email to confirm your registration and provide a tentative agenda for the call.  We'll do our best to schedule the briefing for the week of March 14th.    As soon as your Congressional staff confirms, we’ll let you know and send you the dial-in number for the call.   We’ll also email you the briefing packet and keep you copied on our communications with your Congressional staff. 

Please join the call to press for Congressional intervention to keep Susiya, Umm al Kheir, and dozens of other Palestinian Villages standing — one by one, village by village, constituent by constituent, legislator by legislator, because frankly, that's what works.

Sincerely,

Donna Baranski-Walker

Executive Director, Rebuilding Alliance

P.S.   Questions? Suggestions?  Please call us at 650 651-7165

P.P.S. If you would would like to support Rebuilding Alliance's work, please GIVE NOW

Don't say we did not know #490

On Wednesday evening, 24th February, 2016, some Palestinians held a memorial ceremony near the Cave of the Patriarchs or Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, in memory of the massacre perpetrated there in 1994.  They lit candles and screened a documentary film about the massacre.  The military arrested three Palestinians who tried to participate in the ceremony.  Two settlers threatened the participants.  Then, the settler Anat Cohen arrived in her car.  She shouted at the participants, and drove slowly at them, injuring some.  The soldiers did not intervene.  She got out of her car and again shouted and attacked some participants.  Again, the soldiers did not stop her.  Instead, they started using "crowd dispersal methods".

 

Questions and queries: amosg@shefayim.org.il

 

אל תגידו לא ידענו

   ביום רביעי 24.2.2016 בערב, בקרבת מערת המכפלה, שבחברון, קיימו פלסטינים טקס זיכרון לטבח במערת המכפלה. הם הדליקו נרות והקרינו סרט על הטבח. הצבא עצר שלושה פלסטינים שניסו להצטרף לטקס. שני מתנחלים איימו על המתכנסים. ואז הגיעה המתנחלת ענת כהן עם רכבה. צעקה על המתכנסים, ונהגה את רכבה לאט לעברם, ופגעה בכמה מהם. החיילים לא התערבו. היא יצאה מהרכב, ופעם נוספת צעקה ותקפה את הנאספים. החיילים לא עצרו אותה. במקום זאת, החיילים החלו לפזר את המתכנסים.

 

 

Don't say we did not know #489

 OCHA Flash Update Palestinian Bedouin community almost totally demolished

On 15 February 2016, the Israeli army demolished almost all existing structures in the Palestinian Bedouin community of Ein Ar Rashash, in the Ramallah governorate, on grounds of lack of building permits. According to OCHA's initial assessment, a total of 43 structures were targeted, including ten homes, 25 animal-related structures and eight external kitchens. Nearly 60 people, including 38 children, permanently residing in the community were displaced, and another 35 residing there seasonally or having their livestock structures on this site, were otherwise affected. Residents have remained in the community in precarious conditions.

Ein Ar Rashash is located in an area designated by the Israeli military as a "firing zone" and is one of the 46 Palestinian Bedouin communities at risk of forcible transfer in the context of an Israeli "relocation" plan.

Since the beginning of 2016, Israeli forces destroyed or dismantled 283 homes and other structures across the West Bank, the vast majority in Area C, displacing over 400 Palestinians, more than half of them children. More than 1,000 other people lost structures related to their source of income. More than a third of the structures targeted since the beginning of the year were provided as humanitarian assistance to families in need.

 

Give a Little Light to Gaza's Children, with LOVE

A breakthrough!  We found a way to ship donations directly to Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations in Gaza — something no one knew about.

Rolling blackouts last 8-10 hours every day in Gaza.  I ask your help to send a first pallet of solar-powered Luci lights to the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, to be distributed to children in need and their families.  

Our goal is to raise 14K by Valentine’s Day, a day that memorializes a brave man who performed secret weddings after a Roman Emperor outlawed marriage to build his army — and extend Valentine's spirit of love and compassion to the children of Gaza.

“It’s not about a light recharged by solar energy.  It’s about hope, a small gift that brings a smile and reminds us there is a life to live and wishes for better future.  10 years of electricity shortages have dumbed our souls to only retreat and give up.   Your help, your light inspires us to know that Goodness still is alive in this world, still alive in your heart beat, giving us warmth to continue and believe in the chance for peace and a better life.” 
                    —  Ameer in Gaza City, with niece and nephews testing a Luci Light

Click here to Give Now

Last Friday, Feb. 5th, Rebuilding Alliance placed the down payment for the purchase of our first pallet of solar-powered Luci Lights for the children of Gaza.   With your help, we'll pay the remainder for this pallet, and put a down payment on the next. With your help, we'll ship by the end of this month, in time for students to use the Luci Lights to study for their finals.

You ask, 'Will they let it in?'  In preparation, Rebuilding Alliance is drawing on everything we've learned about shipping to Gaza to get this pallet, and the next two pallets, through: 
-  In December, we sent Luci Light samples to the Israeli Customs office - they saw no problem; 
-  Last week, the Palestinian Customs office gave their approval for the donation and forwarded forms to secure pre-clearance in Israel; 
-  To assure timely Customs approval, we’re asking our Senators, Representatives and the U.S. State Department to help today.  With their assistance, we've cleared our past shipments, every time.

When Gaza Community Mental Health Programme receives these lights, their staff will distribute them to children in therapy and to their siblings.

We have plenty of children who are engaged in our play therapy and counseling programs. We can just give them the solar lights at the end of their debriefings.  These usually take place just before the start of final exams.  This is my thought for now, and I know the teams here will come up with more ideas for sure.”  — Dr. Yasser Abu Jamei, Executive Director of GCMHP

Today, if you can, please send a Valentine's Day gift to Gaza's children in the name of someone you love. Please click here to Give a Little Light, with Love to Gaza’s Children.   

Sincerely,

Donna Baranski-Walker
Founder and Executive Director, Rebuilding Alliance

P.S.  If you would prefer to send a check, please make it out to 'Rebuilding Alliance' and write 'with Love to Gaza's Children' in the memo line and mail it to:

          Rebuilding Alliance
          1818 Gilbreth Road, Suite 243
          Burlingame CA 94010 USA


P.P.S.  Questions?  Wanting to set-up your own giving page?   Please call us at 650 651-71565.  My team and I are happy to help.

Don't say we did not know #488

Between 9th-11th February 2016, while they were on their way to school, some young Palestinian kids threw stones at soldiers guarding the Qaton checkpoint in Hebron.  In response, the soldiers fired 42 tear-gas grenades at the children.  A 17 year-old required hospital treatment.

 Crop destruction and home demolitions continue in the Negev.

On Wednesday, 10th February, 2016, government representatives escorted by police came to plough up 300 dunums (dunum = 1000 sq.m.) east of Tel Sheva.  That same day, they also destroyed 100 dunums near Hura.  On Thursday, 18th February, 2016, 150 dunums were destroyed in Za'arura, east of Kseife, and 70 dunums in El Fur'a.  On the same day, a home was demolished in Wadi El Na'am.  Al Araqib was demolished yet again.

 

 

Questions & queries:  amosg@shefayim.org.il

 

 

אל תגידו לא ידענו

   בין התאריכים 9-11.2.2016 מספר ילדים פלסטינים קטנים זרקו אבנים, בדרכם לבית ספרם, על חיילים ששמרו במחסום קטון בחברון. בתגובה ירו חיילים לעבר כל הילדים - 42 רימוני גז. נער בן 17 נזקק לטיפול בבית חולים. 

   השמדת יבולים והרס בתי בדואים בנגב נמשכים.

   ביום רביעי 10.2.2016 הגיעו נציגי הממשלה מלווים בשוטרים וחרשו 300 דונם תבואות מזרחית לתל שבע. ובאותו יום חרשו 100 דונם באזור חורה.

   ביום חמישי 18.2.2016 חרשו 150 דונם בזערורה, מזרחית לכסיפה ו-70 דונם באל פורעה. באותו יום הרסו בית בוואדי אל נעם. וחזרו והרסו את אל עראקיב.

 

 

שאלות וברורים: amosg@shefayim.org.il

 

Don't say we did not know #487

Palestinian Jordan Valley
February 10, 2016
Reporting: Nurit Popper, Daphne Banai and Rajaa Natur

Face to face with incitement

What makes Palestinian youngsters go out holding knives? What drives a 54-year old truck driver to smash into a group of soldiers waiting for a ride at a junction?

Here it is, for example:

Jiftliq village – 2 homes and 3 sheep pens demolished at dawn, leaving 18 persons, among them 4 babies and another 3 children homeless.

Jiftliq village - a main water pipe cut and destroyed by the Israeli Civil Administration, leaving 52 families (300 persons) southwest of Jiftliq without any water.

Fassail – I saw the 'incitement' in the eyes of Zakariah, Hajjar's 8-year old son. Zakariah's home in Fassail has been demolished 4 times. The last demolition took place during the extreme heat wave in August 2015.  Zakariah's family was expelled from Ein Gedi in 1948. Later it was expelled from Jericho and from Nu'eima. Now his mother says: "By God, we have nowhere to go any more!" Even the present rocky terrain gives them no rest. We ask Hajjar how we could help, and she smiles shyly, saying "No, no, thank goodness you came here". But Zakariah's eyes spit fire.

In Fassail the Israeli army destroyed one dwelling tent, home to 4 adults and 4 children, one sheep pen, and... one stinking outhouse! The tent, incidentally, was donated by the European Union about a month after the last demolition.

Karzaliya – (Rajaa's report) the homes of 2 families destroyed – 25 persons remain homeless. Rajaa pleads – "Do something – people are standing around the rubble in the rain, and have no shelter".

Al Maqassar (near Hamra Checkpoint) – On Thursday, February 2, 2016, bulldozers demolished 2 dwellings, home to 21 persons – women and men, babies and elderly, and 2 sheep pens. The Red Cross donated a small tent. Today at 9 a.m. the bulldozers returned and destroyed the Red Cross' small tent and everything remaining – another dwelling tent. The father, Nidal, wrings his hands, asking, "What do we do now?" There is nothing left! His daughters stand in the rain, shelterless, the sheep – its wool dripping with water – around them,  and everyone looks to us, desperate...

These are the doings of the Occupation Army on a single morning in the Palestinian Jordan Valley. Every single child of these families who experienced the arrival of the bulldozers and army jeep at dawn needs no social networks to hate and hate more, and there is no stronger stimulant than despair.

... And still, farmers who showed us the way to the cut water pipes greeted us on our way back with a crate of eggplants, a gift.

 

Don't say we did not know #486

On Thursday, 4th February, 2016, IDF soldiers came to the Palestinian community Maqaser, near the Hamra checkpoint, in the Jordan Valley, and demolished homes and sheep-pens belonging to two families.  This is the second time the homes and sheep-pens of these families have been demolished; the first time was in August 2015.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On Sunday 31st January, 2016, Government representatives, escorted by the police, came to destroy hundreds of dunums (1 dunum = 1000 sq.m) of grain planted in the Bedouin village Rakhme, near Yeruham.

Questions & queries: amosg@shefayim.org.il

 

אל תגידו לא ידענו

   ביום חמישי 4.2.2016 הגיעו חיילי צה"ל לקהילה הפלסטינית מקסר, ליד מחסום חמרה, שבבקעת הירדן והרסו מבני מגורים ודירי הצאן של שתי משפחות. זאת הפעם השנייה שהורסים לאותן משפחות את בתי מגוריהם ואת הדירים (הפעם הראשונה הייתה באוגוסט 2015).

  ----  ----  ----

   ביום ראשון 31.1.2016 הגיעו נציגי הממשלה מלווים בשוטרים והשמידו מאות דונמים של גידול תבואות בכפר הבדואי רחמה ליד ירוחם.

שאלות וברורים: amosg@shefayim.org.il

Don't say we did not know #485

The Palestinian Daraghme family, living on the outskirts of Luban-a-Sharqiyya, suffers from repeated attacks by settlers coming from the direction of the neighbouring settlement Ma'ale Levona. 

During the night of Thursday, 21st January, 2015, settlers once again attacked the family home.  They demolished the five security cameras.  The family summoned the police, which arrived only three hours later.  As on previous occasions, no searches for the attackers were carried out in the neighbouring settlements.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On Wednesday, 27th January, 2016, government representatives, escorted by the police came yet again to demolish the mosque in the Bedouin village Rakhme, near Yeruham.  (It was previously demolished on 6th January, 2016.)

 

 

Questions and queries: amosg@shefayim.org.il

 

 

 

אל תגידו לא ידענו

   משפחת דרגמה הפלסטינית החיה בשולי הכפר לובן א-שרקיה, סובלת מתקפות חוזרות ונשנות של מתנחלים הבאים מכיוון ההתנחלות השכנה מעלה לבונה.

   ביום חמישי, 21.1.2015,  בלילה תקפו מתנחלים שוב את בית המשפחה. הם הרסו את חמשת מצלמות האבטחה. המשפחה התקשרה למשטרה. השוטרים הגיעו רק כעבור 3 שעות. למותר לציין, כמו בפעמים קודמות, לא נערכו חיפושים בהתנחלויות הסמוכות אחר התוקפים.

  ----  ----  ----

   ביום רביעי,  27.1.2016, הגיעו נציגי הממשלה מלווים בשוטרים והרסו שוב את המסגד בכפר הבדואי רחמה, ליד ירוחם (בפעם הקודמת הרסו את המסגד ב-6.1.2016).

 

 

שאלות וברורים: amosg@shefayim.org.il

 

Don't say we did not know #484

The Israeli army continues its expulsion practices against Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley (West Bank). The army notified two Palestinian communities in the Palestinian Jordan Valley – Ibzik (near Bardala) and Ras Al Ahmar (near the Jewish settlement of Beqa'ot) that they are required to leave their localities because of army maneuvers. On Tuesday, January 26, 2016 they must stay away from 12 noon until 8 p.m., and on the morrow, they must not be there from 6 a.m. until 12 noon.                                      

  ----  ----  ----

On Tueday, January 19, 2016, government agents escorted by police demolished yet again the Bedouin village of Al Arakib.

For further information- amosg@shefayim.cor.il

                                          אל תגידו לא ידענו

   צה"ל ממשיך בתרגילי גירוש פלסטינים מבקעת הירדן (הגדה המערבית).

   צה"ל הודיע לשתי קהילות פלסטיניות בבקעת הירדן: איבזיק (ליד ברדלה), וראס אל אחמר (ליד ההתנחלות בקעות), שעליהם לפנות את מקומות מושבם בגלל אימוני הצבא. ביום שלישי 26.1.2016 עליהם לעזוב את מקום מושבם בין 12.00 ל-20.00 למחרת עליהם לעזוב בין 06.00 ל-12.00.

  ----  ----  ----

   ביום שלישי 19.1.2016 באו נציגי הממשלה מלווים בשוטרים והרסו שוב את הכפר הבדואי, אל עראקיב.

  

שאלות וברורים: amosg@shefayim.org.il

 

Don't say we did not know #483

On 6th January, 2016, IDF soldiers came to the Bedouin village of Abu Nuwar (of the Jahalin tribe, refugees since 1950), next to the settlement Ma'ale Adumim (E-1 area) and demolished the homes and toilets of five families. On Sunday, 10th January, 2016, the soldiers returned and confiscated tents that had been donated as humanitarian aid to the newly homeless families, following the demolitions. On Thursday, 14th January, 2016, IDF soldiers insisted on yet again visiting the community to confiscate aid tents that had again been supplied to those Palestinian victims of the original home demolitions, incurred during the IDF soldiers' previous visits.

~~~~~

On Monday, 11th January, 2016, government representatives under police escort came to Bedouin villages and destroyed cereal crops: in Rakhma, near Yeruham, 350 dunums (dunum = 1000 sq.m), in Za'arura (near Kseife) 100 dunums, in El-Fur'a (near Arad) 150 dunums, near Hura: 80 dunums.

On Wednesday, 13th January, 2016, government representatives demolished a home in A-Sayyed, near Hura.

 

 

Questions and queries: amosg@shefayim.org.il

 

 

 

אל תגידו לא ידענו

   ב-6.1.2016 באו חיילי צה"ל לישוב הבדואי אבו נוואר (משבט הג'הלין, פליטים משנת 1950), ליד ההתנחלות מעלה אדומים (אזור E-1),והרסו את מבני המגורים והשירותים של חמש משפחות. ביום ראשון, 10.1, שבו חיילי צה"ל והחרימו את האוהלים שנתרמו, כעזרה ראשונה, בעקבות ההריסה. ביום חמישי, 14.1, פקדו פעם נוספת חיילי צה"ל את הישוב והחרימו אוהלים שנתרמו לפלסטינים (הקרבנות) שבתיהם נהרסו בביקורים הקודמים של חיילי צה"ל.

  ----  ----  ----

ביום שני 11.1.2016 באו נציגי הממשלה מלווים בשוטרים לכפרים בדואים בנגב והשמידו גידולי תבואה: ברחמה (ליד ירוחם), 350 דונם; בזערורה (ליד כסייפה), 100 דונם; באל פורעה (ליד ערד), 150 דונם; ליד חורה 80 דונם.

ביום רביעי 13.1.2016 הרסו נציגי הממשלה בית בכפר א-סייד ליד חורה.

 

 

שאלות וברורים: amosg@shefayim.org.il

Don't say we did not know #482

Confiscation of land in the West Bank or its declaration as state land is a lengthy procedure.  Seldom do we learn about these activities as they are happening in real time.  I regard land confiscation and its declaration as state land to be a matter of special importance, for the simple reason that these are "legal" means to get the Palestinians' feet off the land.  Driving Palestinians from their land is at the heart of the conflict.

On 30th December, 2015, Palestinians reported the confiscation of 300 dunums (dunum=1000 sq.m) of land belonging to the Palestinian village Fasayil, in the Jordan Valley.  To the best of our knowledge, the land was proclaimed state land in 1999, and is situated just over a kilometer north of the settlement Yafit.  During the past year, settlers planted palm trees there and established a plant nursery, using about 250 dunums.

Questions & queries: amosg@shefayim.org.il

                 אל תגידו לא ידענו

   הפקעת אדמות או הכרזתן כאדמות מדינה הוא תהליך ארוך. ברוב המקרים איננו מקבלים את הידיעות  בזמן המעשה. אני רואה בהבאת נושא: הפקעת אדמות או הכרזתן כאדמות מדינה, עניין בעל חשיבות מיוחדת. חשוב מהטעם הפשוט, שזאת הדרך המשפטית לדחוק את רגלי הפלסטינים מהארץ. נישול הפלסטינים מאדמתם הוא לב ליבו של הסכסוך.

  ב-30.12.2015 פלסטינים דיווחו על הפקעת כ-300 דונם אדמות מהכפר הפלסטיני פסאיל שבבקעת הירדן. למיטב ידיעתנו, האדמה הוכרזה כאדמת מדינה ב-1999. האדמה נמצאת קצת יותר מק"מ צפונית להתנחלות יפית. בשנה האחרונה מתנחלים נטעו שם תמרים והקימו משתלה, על כ-250 דונם.

שאלות וברורים: amosg@shefayim.org.il

 

 

8 ways our U.S. Movement to Save Palestinian Villages made a difference

Hello Friend,

I know the world looks bleak and so much more needs to be done.   Yet through your support, our US Movement to Save Palestinian Villages realized 10 very real breakthroughs.  We made a difference in so many lives and opened new ways forward — and this is only the 2nd year of this advocacy program!

  1. We brought Palestinians to the U.S. to speak for themselves, Israeli peace-makers too, in three speaking tours:   Don't Say We Did Not Know, I Care About Peace, and #OpenGaza: Trauma and Hope, First Hand.

    “We spoke for ourselves before members of Congress and audiences young and old.  Friends joined us, as we, in our own voices, representing our villages, pressed for recognition of our rights.  Describing the challenges we are facing, we gave American policy-makers and American people the opportunity to help.”  — Eid Suleiman Hathleen, representing the West Bank Bedouin Village of Um Al Kheir in the South Hebron Hills that is facing demolition orders.
     
  2. The village of Susiya is standing today because of our in-depth advocacy, Al Aqaba Village continues to thrive, and the State Department is now responding to first calls when families or villages request help to prevent demolition.
    Rebuilding Alliance rallied U.S. government intervention for Susiya when we held briefings for congressional staff and the State Department.  In Susiya, negotiations continue between the Israeli Army, the Susiya town council and their lawyers at Rabbis for Human Rights.  There's serious discussion of the villagers staying on the land they own and demolition orders are on hold.

    Last May, with the encouragement of Villages Group and Rabbis for Human Rights, Rebuilding Alliance sprung into action when Israel’s High Court refused to freeze demolition orders issued to the Village of Susiya until their petition (appeal) was heard — this put the Palestinian Village of Susiya at particularly high risk and also increased the risk to 12,000 other Palestinian structures, as it meant the fragile lifeline of freeze orders (injunctions against demolitions) could easily collapse.  Susiya’s work for justice through the years meant that Israelis and Europeans were staying in Susiya round-the-clock to keep the village standing.  European diplomats were publically engaged.  Rebuilding Alliance brought Congress in and pressed the State Department to take action, publically, in support of Susiya’s right to exist. Jewish Voice for Peace helped with a petition that we helped write — 30,000 people signed!  With negotiations still underway, Susiya’s future and the future of all 149 Palestinian villages in Area C, remain an important ongoing issue — we ask that everyone stay involved, ready to express concern to their members of Congress and press for the rights of Palestinian villages to plan and build on the land they own.
     
  3. We move Congress forward in three ways:
    —  We pioneered a new way to Contact Congress: 30 minute briefings with Constituents on the line.

    It started in June, when Rebuilding Alliance brought a member of Villages Group, Professor Ophir Minz Menor, to join us with Liz Mulford as we visited and briefed 27 congressional offices — sometimes we did 5 briefings a day. We continued to schedule meetings with another 33 offices, with constituents on the line for 30 min telephone calls— and that really worked!   I'll do my best to get this program up and running again in the months ahead.

    —  We held TWO Congressional briefings (House and Senate) for Susiya. On September 21st, International Peace Day, Rebuilding Alliance boldly brought three children and their families from the Palestinian villages of Susiya and Umm al Kheir, along with friends from Villages Group in Israel, to the US to brief members of Congress and ask them to press for Palestinian planning and construction rights.  Aysar (14) thoughtfully delivered his speech while Hamoudy who is nearly 5, distributed pinwheels, one by one, to each member of the audience.   Sadin, who is only seven, held up her Pinwheel for Peace and explained, “Peace means being secure and safe.  Peace means your family stays all together and that your grandparents are okay, not hurt by settlers. Peace means ‘Hurriya’ — Freedom.”

    My Congresswoman, numerous members of Congress, and a key California Senator were deeply moved.  The Senator is personally advocating to keep Susiya standing. After the Senator met our delegation, she tweeted multiple times about the importance of keeping the Village of Susiya standing, wrote letters to Prime Minister Netanyahu expressing concern, and then met with him personally on this issue when he visited Washington in November.  
     
  4. A top software patent law firm filed a patent application for Rebuilding Alliance, pro bono, making a $38,000 investment in our good ideas.  In keeping Palestinian villages standing on the other side of the world, we’ve learned something very important about advocacy, something that can apply to nearly any cause:  local, regional or international ... and I hope to build our mobile app in the year ahead!
     
  5. Palestinian Children say, “I Care About Peace.” In July, all the children in Susiya and Um al Kheir made ‘Pinwheels for Peace,’ writing down what peace means and drawing what peace looks like — and it was a breath of fresh air for everyone, adults and children alike.  In 2008 Al Aqaba Village became the first in the Middle East to do this, when their case was coming before the Israeli High Court and demolition of their whole village was imminent ... something about this was so wonderfully grounding and positive that Susiya and Um al Kheir adopted it.   Al Aqaba's children are now doing this every Wednesday; Susiya and the South Hebron area are joining in -- and I've asked the State Department to pay close attention and find a way to make this gentle peacemaking initiative more than an empty gesture.  We're suggesting that the U.S. provide Political Risk Insurance against demolition of Palestinian homes, schools, barns, and shops in Area C.
     
  6. In late October, we spoke at 42 speaking events and a Congressional Briefing for our #OpenGaza: Trauma and Hope, First Hand speaking tour!
    As violence escalated in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza in October, Rebuilding Alliance brought Dr. Yasser Abu Jamei, Executive Director of Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, and Ran Goldstein, Executive Director of Physicians for Human Rights - Israel, on speaking tour in the United States to press for positive peacemaking and call for the lifting of the Israeli blockade on Gaza.  They discussed their important work, the mental and physical health crisis facing children in Gaza and the impact of the blockade. Co-sponsored by the Gaza Mental Health Foundation, Seattle Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Psychologists for Social Responsibility, they spoke at 42 venues, including the Harvard School of Public Health, the University of Washington, UMass Boston, Smith College, three medical centers, Jewish Voice for Peace meetings, and numerous public gatherings. The tour concluded in Washington DC with a filled-to-capacity briefing in Cannon House Office Building on Thursday October 29th.

    “I am truly thrilled with the warm welcoming of the people on the speaking tour and their readiness to support the Palestinian people in so many and various ways.  We in GCMHP try to find areas of hope in people’s lives so to strengthen them and help them recover —  so if we are not losing hope, you must hold on to hope too.”   — Dr. Yasser Abu Jamei

    Ran Goldstein leads a staff of 30 and a membership of 2500 doctors and medical personnel in PHR-I, a Israeli non-governmental organization that stands at the forefront of the struggle for human rights — the right to health care particularly — in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.

    “You give us energy to continue to do what we do, showing us that our goal is much bigger, held far beyond a small group of Israeli activists.  We speak for many people.  Your energy gives us fuel to continue.” — Ran Goldstein
     
  7. Visas.   We succeeded in getting visas and leaving permits for friends in need and for our delegations:

    —  When I heard that Dr. Mona Al Farra was prevented from leaving Gaza, I volunteered and joined the team at Middle East Children’s Alliance to press for diplomatic intervention. We were successfully, but it took 3 months… this was hardest visa problem I’ve ever negotiated.

    —  Dr. Yasser Abu Jamei got his U.S. Visa on the day of his interview, but his leaving permit was a challenge.   The day before our speaking tour, and just 30 minutes before Erez Crossing would close, the call came: hispermit to leave was ready.  Without time to go home to kiss his family goodbye or pick-up his luggage, he raced to the checkpoint, crossing Erez into Israel, and then Allenby into Jordan — once there, we bought his ticket.   Three hours later he was on his way to Seattle to start the #OpenGaza: Trauma and Hope Speaking Tour.

    —  Fatma’s interview at the U.S. Consulate, along with her son Hamoudy and nephew Aysar, was a small miracle! Amazing – I was ground support and encouraging everyone to keep going.   The U.S. Consulate’s decision to stay open after hours was deeply appreciated, and a remarkable coincidence allowed Fatma and the children to get to the Consulate, while their passports were delivered separately by friends carrying them across the Bethlehem checkpoint.   A surprise came when, after Aysar’s visa was denied, my appeal reversed the decision!   Aysar was given a 3 year visa stating that he can come in September with Rebuilding Alliance — and so we begin planning his next visit for International Peace Day 2016!
     
  8. I got into to Gaza— and so did our 3,888 backpack kits! 
    Only 2 weeks ago, I was in Gaza, my first visit in 10 years (and 5th overall).  Joy at seeing old friends, relief to see signs of recovery, thankfulness for all the help I had — the Gaza Community Mental Health team helped me successfully deliver 3,888 backpack kits to children in the hardest-hit neighborhoods, and we overcame very real constraints to make this happen. There was hope too — people also responded positively to the sample solar lights I brought with me.  Our goal with all this is to learn and engage allies at all levels to push open the blockade more and more.  We're close to an important breakthrough — Rebuilding Alliance and Gaza Community Mental Health Programme have found a way to send donations through the blockade directly to Gaza's NGOs, something no one knew was possible.  More on this soon.


Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.  Let's do more in 2016.

Sincerely,

Donna Baranski-Walker


P.S.  These past 3 month, an intense time of travel was also a challenging time for Rebuilding Alliance because we lost our lease (rent doubled), so we moved to an office building in Burlingame.  I look forward to inviting you to an open house party soon!
 

 

 

 

Don't say we did not know #481

On 22nd December, 2015, the IDF started carrying out earthworks on the lands of Shufa, next to the military base near Avnei Hefetz settlement.  The Palestinian landowners were given no prior notice as to the incursion onto their land.  It is worth noting that the settlement Avnei Hefetz was established in 1987 on 44 dunums.  Today it spreads across some 3,000 dunums, expropriated from local Palestinian villages (dunum=1000 sq.m).  The Palestinian landowners whose land borders the settlement are only permitted limited access to their land.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On Wednesday, government representatives, under police escort, went to the Bedouin village Rakhme, next to Yeruham, and demolished a mosque.

Questions and queries: amosg@shefayim.org.il

 

אל תגידו לא ידענו

   ב-22.12.2015 החל צה"ל לבצע עבודות עפר על אדמות הכפר הפלסטיני שופה, סמוך לבסיס צה"ל שליד ההתנחלות אבני חפץ. בעלי הקרקע הפלסטינים לא קיבלו שום מידע על הפלישה לאדמותיהם.

   נציין שההתנחלות אבני חפץ הוקמה ב-1987 על 44 דונם. היום היא מחזיקה כ-3000 דונם, שנלקחו מכפרי הפלסטינים בסביבה. בעלי הקרקעות הפלסטינים, שאדמתם נושקת להתנחלות, מוגבלים בגישה לאדמותיהם.

  ----  ----  ----

   ביום רביעי הגיעו נציגי הממשלה, מלווים בכוח משטרתי והרסו מסגד בכפר הבדואי רחמה, ליד ירוחם. 

שאלות וברורים: amosg@shefayim.org.il

Don't say we did not know #480

On Wednesday, 23rd December, 2015, IDF soldiers came to the Palestinian village Khirbet Umm El-Jamal, near El-Maleh, in the Jordan Valley, and demolished a sheepfold that had been built by one of the residents so his sheep were protected against the rain and cold.  They warned him not to dare to rebuild it.

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
On Thursday, 24th December, 2015, government representatives escorted by police came to demolish El'Araqib, yet again.

Questions & queries: amosg@shefayim.org.il

                                         אל תגידו לא ידענו

   ביום רביעי 23.12.2015, הגיעו חיילי צה"ל לכפר הפלסטיני, חירבת אם ג'מאל, ליד אל מאלח, שבבקעת הירדן, והרסו דיר צאן, שאחד התושבים בנה, כמסתור מהקור והגשם לכבשים. הם איימו עליו שלא יעז לבנות מחדש.

  ----  ----  ----

   ביום חמישי 24.12.2015 הגיעו נציגי הממשלה מלווים בשוטרים והרסו שוב את הכפר הבדואי, אל עראקיב.

שאלות וברורים: amosg@shefayim.org.il

Don't say we did not know #479

On Saturday, 12th December, 2015, a shepherd from Umm Jamal, in the northern West Bank Jordan Valley, herded his flock a few kilometres from the settlement Maskiot.  Settlers were hiking in the area with three dogs; one of the dogs attacked the shepherd, biting him in the leg.  The shepherd required medical treatment.

Questions & queries: amosg@shefayim.org.il

 

אל תגידו לא ידענו

   בשבת,12.12.2015, רועה מהכפר הפלסטיני, שבצפון ביקעת הירדן, אום ג'מאל, רעה את צאנו במרחק כמה ק"מ מההתנחלות משכיות. מתנחלים טיילו באזור עם שלושה כלבים. אחד מהם התנפל על הרועה ונשכהו ברגל. הרועה נזקק לטיפול רפואי.

שאלות וברורים: amosg@shefayim.org.il

3888 children in Gaza received Backpack kits this week!

I’m writing to you from Rafah, Gaza where I am staying with the Nasrallah family in their wonderful home here in the Tel Al Sutan housing complex.   This is the family whom Rachel Corrie gave her life to protect, standing before the Israeli Army bulldozer that was heading towards their home.   There’s so much to tell about their neighborhood and family … but I’ll save that for my next message.

Right now, good news:   3888 children have received the backpack kits with schools supplies, children’s books, and a hand-written note inside.   These children live in Beit Lahiya, Sheja'iya, and Khan Younis, three of the hardest hit neighborhoods during Israel’s bombing of Gaza in 2014 (neighborhoods in the south were also deeply impacted – we only had enough for children from these 16 schools).

In Gaza, schools are running double shifts due to a lack of funds and lack of building supplies to build more schools.  The plan is to run single shifts, but they just can’t get there yet … some schools are even running three shifts. We delivered the school supplies directly to the children, just outside each school, returning for both shifts.  Sometimes we arrived just at change of shift, when the whole administration would change to bring the new groups of students in.  I was surprised to see a high school suddenly change to a primary school! 

In most schools the children were lined up to receive the backpack kits – and the lines stretch far into the schoolyard. We personally gave away up to 400 backpack kits just outside the gate of each school, student by student!

Rebuilding Alliance is deeply indebted to the staff at the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) who took it upon themselves to help us resolve the challenges of distributing the backpack kits. Dr. Yasser Abu Jamei, the Executive Director of GCMHP, helped me meet with Dr. Akram Hammad, the representative of the Palestinian National Authority’s Ministry of Education, to plan the distribution and explain the constraints required on our work, by U.S. law.  Dr. Akram Hammad helped us find a way forward and communicated with the school districts to let them know the plans.

Each day, Alaa Hammouda, the talented P.R. coordinator at GCMHP connected with each of the schools to let them know we were coming.  Her supervisor, Marwan Diab, was a tremendous resource too.  Our giving team, including Alaa and two or three volunteers from the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme’s prestigious community mental health training program and me, set out as early as we could each day, continuing well past the normal end of day.   Really great to have the opportunity to work with Alaa, Nour, Ameer and Suheil!

Thank you again to all who donated for the Backpack Kits for Gaza’s Children project, and to the hundred volunteers who helped us fill those backpacks with childrens books, school supplies and personal messages at the Hudson Valley Islamic Center.  Thank you again to Kelly Leilani Main and Adam Ramadan for organizing this remarkable project, and to Mr. Mohammad Khader for coordinating preclearance and shipping!

Today, Saturday, bright and early, I visted the sites of Rebuilding Alliance's past projects in Rafah to see what's happening now.  Next, I met with the head of the Rafah Women’s Association, a U.N. affiliate organization, and with one of three women's centers affiliated with GCMHP to develop the distribution plan for our next initiative, Brighten the Future of Gaza’s Children.  Tomorrow, I start discussions with UNRWA to ask them to help Rebuilding Alliance import a shipping container full of solar-powered lights.  I hope they say yes, and I hope the whole world will respond and pitch-in to donate.  I look forward to sharing the details with you in a few days time.

In closing, to all who are celebrating, Happy Chanukah!  And to all who care about these children, thank you.

            
Sincerely,
Donna Baranski-Walker
Founder and Executive Director, Rebuilding Alliance

P.S.  If you would like to support Rebuilding Alliance's work, please do.  Please give now by clicking on this link.

Don't say we did not know #478

On Tuesday and Wednesday, 8th-9th December, 2015, IDF soldiers entered the Palestinian village Taban, in Firing Zone No. 918, in the South Hebron Hills region, and confiscated building materials and a vehicle.

  ----  ----

In the Bedouin village El Grein, south of Hura, a Bedouin "self-demolished" his own home, following a threat from the state that otherwise it would demolish it and charge him with the demolition expenses. On Thursday, 10th December, 2015, government representatives escorted by the police came to demolish the floor and foundations of the home.

Questions & queries: amosg@shefayim.org.il

 

אל תגידו לא ידענו

   בימים שלישי ורביעי, 8-9.12.2015, הגיעו חיילי צה"ל לכפר הפלסטיני טבן, הנמצא בשטח אש 918, שבדרום הר חברון והחרימו חומרי בנייה ורכב.

  ---- ----

   בכפר הבדואי אל גריין, דרומית לחורה, הרס בדואי את ביתו, תחת איום שאם לא יהרוס, המדינה תהרסו וייגבו ממנו את מחיר ההריסה. ביום חמישי, 10.12.2015, הגיעו נציגי הממשלה בליווי משטרתי והרסו את רצפת הבית. 

שאלות וברורים: amosg@shefayim.org.il