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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

And The Children Shall Lead: IBDAA Unites With Gaza

While the world watches and much of it condones, the people of Gaza have been isolated in a human prison containing 1.3 million inhabitants, over half of them children under the age of 18.
In attempt to further isolate and punish the Gazan population, the governments of Israel, the US and the EU have sought to bolster Fateh who is now in control of the West Bank and does not recognize the Hamas led government in Gaza. No one is suffering in Gaza more than the children.

Recently returned from Gaza, Martin Kirk of Save the Children writes here:

  • ImageGAZA CITY - I don't understand how there can be any sane, civil children in Gaza. It is one of those phenomena that probably speaks to larger human truths: resilience, will to survive, adaptability.

  • credit-photo Damon Lynch

  • Not being a philosopher, I can't comment on such abstractions, but working for Save the Children I have seen conflicts and desperation around the world, and I can say with some confidence that the pressure under which children in Gaza live is so intense, has been applied for so long, and has such little hope of being alleviated anytime soon, that they could be forgiven for having gone a long way round the bend.

"It doesn't take a psychologist to see what all this means, either for today's children and their experience of childhood, or for the conflict tomorrow. It's not about politics; the mountains of blame on both sides can be put aside. It's about what living in these conditions inevitably does to children and their ability to conduct productive, peaceful lives."

Amidst the politics which are attempting to divide the Palestinian people, the children of Dheisheh Refugee Camp through their organization IBDAA have taken it upon themselves to conquer this divide in a campaign to aid and unite with the children of Gaza. It is said, "And a child shall lead them". In this inspiring case of unity, indeed they are.

From August 21st:

In a show of solidarity with the children of Gaza, a group of Palestinian children from the Duheesha Refugee Camp carried out a pledge campaign in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, where they collected donations for the children of the Gaza Strip. Will the children of the West Bank and Gaza be able to unite the nation that has been divided by their leaders? Kahlid Al-Qasem reports.

Guest, female #2, a young girl
We, the children of the West Bank, have carried out a pledge campaign in order to collect notebooks and stationary for the children of the Gaza Strip. If you would like to donate, please do so.

Guest, Male #1
Yes, with an open heart, and God bless you.

Reporter, Male #2
This is how the children from the Duheesha Refugee Camp started their day. Under their slogan: Gaza and the West bank are one nation, they wandered the streets and markets of Bethlehem, where they collected tangible and symbolic donations for the children of the Gaza Strip.

Guest, Female #3, young girl
We are trying to collect stationery for the children of Gaza so they can attend school.

Guest, Male #3, young boy
We have launched this humanitarian campaign in order to strengthen our unity. This campaign was not politically motivated.

Reporter, Male #2
The Talented Children Institution in Duheesha and other non-governmental organizations chose the Manger Square of the Nativity Church as a place to launch their campaign.
The place, which holds a religious and national symbolic meaning to the Palestinians, was a center of controversy in the aftermath of Israel’s siege of the church, where dozens of activists were holed up and later expelled to Europe and the Gaza Strip.

Guest, Female #4
This campaign proves that we are one nation despite the fact that the executive force has taken a measure against a Duheesha resident who was expelled to Gaza. Once again, despite all of this, we are still one nation.

Guest, Male #4
This campaign was launched for the benefit of the children in Gaza. We want to show that Gaza and the West Bank are one nation. We support them because they are our children.

Reporter, Male #2
Some of the participants also took part in the 1999 pledge campaign that was launched for the benefit of the children in Iraq. The children, who are expected to launch similar campaigns in Hebron and Ramallah, are trying to help heal and unite the nation. This latest move by the children in Duheesha doesn’t mean that they are better off than the children of the Gaza Strip. However, the children believe that this campaign may help improve the conditions in the Gaza Strip, where a year has passed since the internal fighting started there. From Central Bethlehem in the southern West Bank, Kahlid Al-Qasem, Alarabia.

To contact IBDAA:

Youtube: IBDAA Unity Campaign: Children Suffer the Most

Watch: "Gaza schoolchildren struggle under sanctions" - 05 Sept 2007: The school children of Gaza face a lack of teaching resources and daily political divides, Israeli incursions and internal fighting. Al Jazeera's Nour Odeh reports

Watch: "Gaza's Sick Children" August 27, 2007 (Al-Jazeera) Nour Odeh, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Gaza, reports on the sick Palestinian children struggling to get the treatment they need at home, or anywhere else. Bearing the brunt of a choking siege and international sanctions, health care in the enclave is limited to the available, rather than the required, medicine.

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