from Josie Shields-Stromsness, Middle East Children’s Alliance
maia bro for online
Contribute online at MECAforPeace.org/Madison
Today Israeli forces destroyed and confiscated underground pipes in the Palestinian villages of Jinba, Khallet Athaba, Ar Rakeez and Al-Mufaqarah. Soldiers detained the mayor of the Palestinian village of Tuwani and the head of the council of Masaffer Yatta. The confiscation has disrupted the water supply to villages and schools throughout Masafer Yatta.
The eight villages in Masafer Yatta lie within an area of Palestinian land claimed by Israel as Firing Zone 918, and used by the Israeli military as a practice area. Many of the villages within the zone have received Israeli demolition orders for homes, agricultural buildings and schools.
On today’s episode, we take a look at the water crisis in Gaza and its effects on the inhabitants there, particularly the children. The discussion also highlights people-to-people grassroots efforts happening here in the U.S. to respond to the disaster, along with local ecumenical projects for peace in the Middle East.
Zeiad Abbas Shamrouch is executive director of the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), a non-profit humanitarian aid organization based on Berkeley, California that supports children and families in Palestine, Iraq, and Lebanon. He is a Palestinian refugee from Dheisheh Refugee Camp in the West Bank and is co-founder of the Ibdaa Cultural Center in Dheisheh. He was co-producer and production manager of the documentary film Promises, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2002.
Jeff Spritzer-Resnick is a Madison-based civil rights attorney. He is the president of Madison’s Shaarei Shamayim congregation and chair of the Madison chapter of J Street, a non-profit advocacy group working for a peaceful resolution between Israel and Palestine.
Thursday, Nov 15
12 noon – 1 pm
A Public Affair with host Allen Ruff will feature guests Zeiad Abbas Shamrouch, Executive Director of the Middle East Children’s Alliance, and Jeff Spitzer-Resnick, President of Congregation Shaarei Shamayim, discussing the water crisis in Gaza in advance of Madison’s November 20 fundraiser for Clean Water for the Children of Gaza.
Tune in at 89.9 FM or Listen Live online, and call in at 256-2001. There will also be a discussion of this week’s escalation of violence in Gaza. If you can’t listen live, you can find the show later in the WORT Archives.
Contaminated and scarce water owing to Israel’s brutal siege and bombing of infrastructure leads to death and disease.
A Palestinian woman bathes her son with water from a tank filled by a charity inside their dwelling in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip July 3, 2017 [Mohammed Salem/Reuters]
This article is the first of a two-part series on Gaza’s water crisis. The second, which examines solutions to Gaza’s water and health catastrophe, was published on Tuesday, October 30.
Gaza – The unshaven doctor with circles under his eyes enters the children’s ward at Al Nassar hospital in Gaza City. It’s a Thursday evening, almost the weekend. The ward is bleak and eerily quiet, but for the occasional wail of an infant.
At each cubicle, sectioned off by curtains, it’s a similar image: A baby lies alone in a bed, hooked up to tubes, wires and a generator; a mother sits in silent witness at the bedside.
Dr Mohamad Abu Samia, the hospital’s director of paediatric medicine, exchanges a few quiet words with one mother, then gently lifts the infant’s gown, revealing a scar from heart surgery nearly half the length of her body.
At the next cubicle, he attends to a child suffering from severe malnutrition. She lies still, her tiny body connected to a respirator. Because electricity runs only four hours a day in Gaza, the baby must stay here, where generators keep her alive.
“We are very busy,” the overwhelmed doctor says. “Babies suffering from dehydration, from vomiting, from diarrhoea, from fever.” The skyrocketing rate of diarrhoea, the world’s second largest killer of children under five, is reason enough for alarm.
Barely three percent of Gaza’s drinking water wells is fit for human consumption, and the crisis is claiming lives.
Mousa Hilleh, 48, rebuilt his home after the 2014 Gaza war and says not having access to clean water is a major concern [Abdel Kareem Hana/Al Jazeera]
This article is the second of a two-part series on Gaza’s water crisis. The first, which examines Gaza’s water and health catastrophe, was published on Monday, October 29.
Gaza – When it comes to survival in Gaza, safe, clean drinking water is not at the top of Mousa Hillah’s list of priorities.
Since the 2014 war, Hillah, known to neighbours and family as Abu Ali, has had far bigger worries, which are etched deeply into the exhausted face of the 48-year-old grandfather.
Dodging shell fire from Israeli tanks, he fled with his family from the destruction of his Shuja’iyya neighbourhood, flattened by Israel in an attack so devastating – 7,000 shells in barely an hour – that it astonished even US military officials. (“Holy bejeezus!” one retired general exclaimed.)
The family took refuge for months in an in-law’s house near the sea, along with 50 other people. When they returned, Abu Ali found his home – the one he had built after 30 years of working construction in Israel – utterly destroyed.
Brick by board, he rebuilt it, adorning his front entrance, in a dose of biting irony, with repurposed tank shells.
And now, as he sits in the filtered morning light beneath a lattice of grape leaves, he worries less about potable water than the Israeli drone buzzing overhead – often the harbinger of another attack.
First Unitarian Society
900 University Bay Drive
Help provide a Maia Project water filter from the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) to serve clean drinking water to 3,250 students of two schools and their families in Rafah. This is a joint project of Congregation Shaarei Shamayim, First Unitarian Society of Madison, Jewish Voice for Peace – Madison, and Madison-Rafah Sister City Project.
Free and open to the public. Donations will be gratefully accepted.
Can’t make the benefit but would still like to donate? You can donate online or send a check payable to MRSCP marked “water” to:
Co-sponsored by: Bright Stars of Bethlehem – local chapter, Call for Peace Drum and Dance Company, Christ The Solid Rock Baptist Church, Columbia Support Network, Eastside Planning Council, Ecumenical Peace Working Group, Family Farm Defenders, James Reeb Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Madison-Arcatao Sister City Project, Madison-area Urban Ministry, Madison Friends American Friends Service Committee Group, Mary House, Memorial United Church of Christ, Prairie Unitarian Universalist Social Action, Wisconsin Grassroots Network, UNA-USA Dane County Chapter, Amnesty International Group 139. Welcomed by WORT Radio.
Hosted by Jewish Voice for Peace-Madison and Congregation Shaarei Shamayim
Sunday, October 14
First Unitarian Society,
900 University Bay Drive, Madison
4 – 6 pm
Come hear about this important effort to provide clean drinking water to children in Gaza. Light snacks and beverages will be provided. Free and open to the public, but donations will be accepted to help provide a Maia Project water filter to two schools in Rafah.
Can’t make it? You can donate online or send a check payable to MRSCP marked “water” to: