Bringing Hope to Gaza  
                                                          changing lives one at a time
 

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A few facts about Gaza by Heidi Schwab

Posted on January 15, 2017 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Many refer to Gaza as an “open air” prison when nothing could be further from the truth.


Take US prisons for example: a prisoner is afforded basic human rights; 3 meals per day, a warm bed to sleep in, a roof over his/her head, running water, electricity, medical care and counseling. Most prisons also boast a library, internet access, TV lounges, gymnasiums, free education with the ability to earn a degree, work release programs, weekend passes and trade schools as well as religious freedom.

 

As per UNRWA 2016 report, “The Gaza Strip is home to a population of approximately 1.9 million people, including over 1.3 million registered Palestinian refugees of which over 880,000 must depend on aid.” The refugee crisis in Gaza is a direct result of "illegal land grabbing", "illegal settlements", destruction of infrastructure and home demolition, leaving nearly 2,000,000 Palestinians living on 365 sq km without even the most basic of human rights.

 

Israel Occupation Forces (IOF) control EVERY faction of Palestinian life; access to water, hours of electricity, availability of building materials, jobs, education, travel, import-export, medical care, the right to vote, the right to self govern... (the list goes on)... denying the most basic human rights in an attempt to utterly crush Palestinian spirit and dignity.

 

To the older Palestinians in Gaza, accessibility to these basic human rights is but a distant memory… to the younger; they are only a dream. Gaza has been under siege, terrorized, controlled, subjugated and humiliated under occupation for nearly 70 years. Zionist Israel has committed 65 documented War Crimes against Palestinians with no repercussion from the International Community or the International Criminal Court. In fact US taxpayers give $10.3 MILLION of their hard earned money each and every day in “aid” to Israel (that’s money “above” the table), money which could serve a much better purpose than to fund ongoing hostilities against Palestinians under the guise of Israel's need for “self protection”.

 

UNRWA: "The blockade of Gaza, imposed in 2007 has decreased the GDP of Gaza by 50%. Annual income is 31 per cent lower than it was 20 years ago, while the population has at the same time increased by 230 per cent.", The blockade prevents a great portion of international aid from reaching those who desperately need it. Medical equipment, medical supplies and building materials are in short supply.

 

~ There is no proper hospital in Gaza, only small clinics with outdated equipment.

~ UNICEF: 95% of the water is "unfit for human consumption", bottled water is the greatest expense for most living in Gaza

~ most of the equipment in the few clinics is over 16 years old and can in no way deal with serious illnesses such as cancer

~ access to proper hospital treatment in Jerusalem is by "permission only". permission which is rarely granted

~ over 300,000 children desperately need trauma counseling

~ between 500-700 Palestinian CHILDREN are tried and prosecuted in Israeli Military Court each year without legal representation, without visitation from parents or relatives

~ at any given time 100+ of these children are between 12-14 years of age

~ the death toll of infants dying due to cold weather and improper nutrition rises

~ checkpoints are controlled by IOF, permission granted at their discretion

~ pregnant women have given birth while waiting in line at a check point for permission to cross... permission; denied

~ the illegal bombing of Gaza 2008 with "white phosphorus" has led to an exponential increase of birth defects and childhood cancers

~ the ONLY power plant in Gaza was targeted and destroyed during the bombing of 2014. Israel has not been forced to rebuild

~ most days Gaza receives electricity for only 2-3 hours

~ at times there is no electricity for consecutive days

~ at last count there are 15,223 orphans in Gaza due to the last 3 wars waged since 2008 against a defenseless people

~ the unemployment rate for adults in Gaza is 47%

~ the unemployment rate for young adults is 63%

~ UNRWA report: World Bank estimates the 2014 July/August hostilities resulted in a $460 million decrease of the Strip’s output; the massive destruction has led to losses close to $4.4 billion for Gaza... it is now almost 3 years later and the numbers have risen. 


These numbers and facts only begin to scratch the surface of the horrific reality of life in Besieged Gaza.

 

Gaza isn’t an “open air” prison…. Yet every Palestinian living there is a prisoner.

 

Princess Palestine ~ a child's story

Posted on January 13, 2017 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Here is the tale of a beautiful child

Living at this time

Her family named her Falastin

Yet we call her Palestine.

 

Fair Palestine was Princess

Her lands stretching to the sea

Beloved by her people

Who lived in harmony.

 

With the sun’s rays from high above

The orange and olive thrived

Providing enough for everyone

When harvest season arrived.

 

Flocks grazed meadows far and wide

Fields were lovingly tended

With the coming of the Evil One

Her peaceful reign soon ended.

 

Often Palestine was seen

Her brother at her side

Chasing waves which kissed the shore

With the coming of the tide.

 

Sweet Palestine loved her brother so

With all her tender heart

Believing they would be together

And never would they part.

 

They sang their songs of joy

The air was filled with laughter

In these carefree days they thought

To live happily ever after.

 

One day a boat from far away

Came resting on the shore

With it came the Evil One

And nothing was as before.

 

The Evil One had great power

With the single wave of a hand

He placed a curse on Palestine

And took her home and land.

 

His fire breathing dragons

Lit the skies at night

With flames that scorched the very earth

Burning everything in sight.

 

Parents held their children close

So they would not have to see

The evil and the heartlessness

Of what had come to be.


 The next day Palestine awoke

With the coming of the dawn

She rubbed her eyes in disbelief

All she had known was gone.

 

Once where the olive tree had grown

Now stood a great long wall

Standing there beside it

Palestine felt quite small.

 

The wall was built with mortar

Held fast by a great lie

Its height protecting those within

Yet blocking out the sky.

 

Palestine lived in its shadow

It reminded her each day

That in the homes they had once lived

No longer could they stay.

 

Her favorite doll was left behind

As were her brother’s toys

Forced to leave all she had loved

In this she had no choice.

 

Daily she stood at the wall

Her home on the other side

Each day she asked to see it again

Each day she was denied.

 

The evil ones stood up on high

And mocked her as they bowed

“Dear little Princess Palestine, animals like you

Will never be allowed.”

 

She turned away with head held high

They would not see her pain

Nor how their hurtful words had caused

Her tears to fall like rain.

 

Evil laughter followed Palestine

Like a mad dog nipping her heels

She hoped one day they too would know

How such unkindness feels.


 Darkness spread across the land

Children disappeared in the night

Dreams which once held childhood joys

Now were filled with fright.

 

On such a night the Evil Ones came

And took her little brother

Sweet Palestine could do nothing more

Than dry the tears of her mother.

 

She missed her brother dearly

And longed again to play

She prayed for his return

Each and every day.

 

She walked the beach in silence

Pretending to hold his hand

She felt him there although he left

No footprints in the sand.

 

The cries of childless mothers

Could be heard across the land

Why they steal the children

No one could understand.

 

She vowed when she was strong enough

Her kingdom to regain

She vowed to one day free her people

And take away their pain.


The years passed by so slowly

Yet hope began to rise

The world once blinded to the truth

Was opening its eyes.

 

The world now saw what she had seen

The world had felt her pain.

She believed the world would help

Her freedom to regain.

 

The Evil One had many men

Keeping Palestine away

Yet Palestine kept hope alive

Ever longing for that day.


 This tale has not yet ended

The Evil Ones still reign

Until the day of freedom comes

Palestine will bear the pain.

 

One day the wall will crumble

Facing truth it cannot stand

The feet of those returning home

Will crush it into sand.

 

One day the sun will rise again

In all its former glory

Shining brightly on Free Palestine

And end this tragic story.

 

Then once again the children

Will be free to laugh and play

As every child on earth should live

Each and every day.

 

So, before you fall asleep tonight

And dream of happy times

Remember to say a little prayer

For Princess Palestine.

 

heidi schwab 02/23/14

 

My Heart's Journey to Palestine

Posted on January 12, 2017 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (0)

For a Free Palestine

by: Heidi Schwab ~ Co Director

 

I am frequently asked: “Why do you support Palestine so vehemently?”… “Why do you advocate with such conviction?”… (What??? Other than the obvious: systematic genocide, murder of children, war crimes against Palestinians, breaking of international law, stolen lands, stolen rights, imprisoned children, siege, demolition of homes, abuse of human rights …. and the list of horrors goes on)

 

The answer begins with a question which has burned in my mind with growing intensity since I was a child:

 

“What gives the leaders of a foreign government the right to determine the fate of a country and its people with the stroke of a pen???”

 

I’m gonna let that sink in for a moment………

 

I am German by citizenship… but I am Sudetenlander by blood…. Most don’t even know Sudetenland ever existed…. Why? Because it was erased from the map by the stroke of a pen when Hitler decided/bellowed he need room for expansion (Lebensraum)… no one wanted him to move west, so to appease him, a few foreign governments signed the land of my people over to him, with the stroke of a pen…. My mother’s people were forced to leave the farms they had owned and lovingly tended for generations allowed only what they could carry… some boarded trains headed directly to the concentration camps… others were lucky enough to be sent to German labor camps… after the war, they were granted German citizenship, but could never return home to the lands they owned… those lands were now a part of the Eastern Block… titles of deed weren’t worth the paper they were written on… my people were refugees in a country they didn’t want to be in.

 

If you resisted, you were shot.

 

THIS is why I have stood, and will always stand with Palestine… a people who lost their country by the stroke of a foreign pen.

 

 

My Heart's Journey to Palestine

Posted on December 27, 2016 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

began here:

I am frequently asked: “Why do you support Palestine so vehemently?”… “Why do you advocate with such conviction?”… (What??? Other than the obvious: systematic genocide, murder of children, war crimes against Palestinians, breaking of international law, stolen lands, stolen rights, imprisoned children, siege, demolition of homes, abuse of human rights …. and the list of horrors goes on)


The answer begins with a question which has burned in my mind with growing intensity since I was a child:


“What gives the leaders of a foreign government the right to determine the fate of a country and its people with the stroke of a pen???”


I’m gonna let that sink in for a moment………


I am German by citizenship… but I am Sudetenlander by blood…. Most don’t even know Sudetenland ever existed…. Why? Because it was erased from the map by the stroke of a pen when Hitler decided/bellowed he needed room for expansion (Lebensraum)… no one wanted him to move west, so to appease him, a few foreign governments signed the land of my people over to him, with the stroke of a pen…. My mother’s people were forced to leave the farms they had owned and lovingly tended for generations allowed only what they could carry… some boarded trains headed directly to concentration camps… others were lucky enough to be sent to German labor camps… after the war, they were granted German citizenship, but could never return home to the lands they owned… those lands were now a part of the Eastern Block… titles of deed weren’t worth the paper they were written on… my people were refugees in a country they didn’t want to be in.


If you resisted, you were shot.


THIS is why I have stood, and will always stand with Palestine… a people who lost their country by the stroke of a foreign pen.

 

 





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