Fitting-out Kiwi-sponsored ambulance for Gaza

31 Oct

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Despite the tightened of the siege of Gaza imposed by Israel and Egypt, work continues in a Cairo workshop, to fit-out and prepare a fleet of 20 internationally-sponsored ambulances to be ready for delivery to Gaza. The photos show one of the Kiwi-sponsored ambulances being worked on. Each ambulance will be fully equipped.

Kia Ora Gaza has joined with many other countries in this solidarity project to help break the siege by replacing some of the 30+ ambulances targetted & destroyed by Israeli bombing raids during their recent 51 day war against Gaza.

Our partners from Malaysia and the Arab Medical Union are currently attending a meeting in the Qatari capital, Doha, to help organise international cooperation for desperately needed practical support and aid for Palestinians.

See reports about this Doha gathering, and the tightening of the siege on Gaza, elsewhere on this website.

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These new fully-equipped ambulances will help replace the dozens destroyed by Israeli shelling during their 51 day ‘Operation Protective Edge’ onslaught on Gaza – like this one:

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Aid organisations from 30 countries at Qatar forum

31 Oct

63457e5b192a05a4cc18771ea981ae2e‘We all stand for Palestine.’ Dr Musa Nordin, chairman of Viva Palestine Malaysia with Dr Mohammad Hassan from the Arab Medical Union at the ‘First Humanitarian Forum on Palestine’ in Doha, Qatar yesterday. Humanitarian bodies from 30 countries, including Kia Ora Gaza’s partners, Viva Palestina Malaysia and the Arab Medical Union, are attending the three day international gathering for Palestine.

Moody Talat, Doha, Qatar Tribune, 30 October 2014

WITH the participation of dozens of humanitarian organisations and charities from 30 countries, Qatar Charity held its first Humanitarian Forum to Support Palestinians (HFSP) at Doha’s Marriott Hotel on Wednesday.

Held under the patronage of the Prime Minister HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al Thani, the three-day forum aims to shed light on the needs of the Palestinian people as well as gather support for the funding and implementation of humanitarian projects in the country, while launching a number of strategic initiatives there.

“The forum aims to mobilise efforts of regional and international humanitarian and charitable organisations as well as donors, in order to shed light on the needs of the Palestinian people, who have been suffering for decades, with the rising rates of poverty and unemployment, as a result of occupation, siege and repeated aggression in recent years,” Qatar Charity’s CEO Yousef Ahmed al Kuwari said.

“The forum also reiterates Qatar’s support for the Palestinian people while emphasising the cause as being at the forefront of Qatar Charity’s concerns,” Kuwari added, noting that the forum will be held annually as an unprecedented initiative on the national level.

Qatar Charity’s CEO said that the organisation has offices in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, where it plays an important role in providing immediate relief as well as in the implementation of development programmes in health, education, food security and income-generating projects.

Two such programmes, Kuwari pointed out, are Gaza Strip’s Emergency Fishing Project, valued at $10 million and a $45 million West Bank economic empowerment programme, held in cooperation with the Islamic Development Bank.

Qatar Charity is currently completing several development projects in the Gaza Strip, at a cost of more than $24 million, Kuwari said, adding that the organisation will further allocate $20 million for continuing its humanitarian efforts in Palestine.

In his recorded speech, President of the Supreme Islamic Council and preacher of Al Aqsa Mosque Sheikh Dr Ekrema Sabri thanked the efforts of HH the Emir, Qatar’s government and people for their generous support to the Palestinian cause, which he said is an important cause for the entire international community and two billion Muslims around the world.

Sabri noted that such support can help thwart the conspiracies being hatched against Palestinians and against Islamic and Christian holy sites in Palestine, especially Al Aqsa Mosque.

Al Aqsa Mosque Preacher stressed the importance of financial support for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem, and supporting educational, health and social institutions, calling out the forum’s participants to come out with recommendations and proposals that can be implemented, on the ground, to meet the current challenges.

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UNRWA representative Peter Ford addresses the Doha forum

For his part, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Representative of the Commissioner-General in the Arab World Peter Ford stressed the importance of supporting the education sector in Gaza, Jerusalem and other areas, politically as well as educationally. Ford highlighted UNRWA’s efforts in supporting Gaza’s residents, especially those displaced by the recent war, noting that there are 40,000 displaced people living in UNRWA-run schools in the Gaza Strip.

Ford also called on the global community and humanitarian and charitable organisations and donors to make greater effort to help the displaced and to provide support for the rebuilding of homes destroyed or damaged in the recent aggression on Gaza.

Over the course of three days, the forum will discuss a number of working papers including one on the role of Qatari civil institutions in supporting the Palestinian humanitarian work, and another on the conflict in the Gaza Strip and its impact on the humanitarian situation.

The forum’s opening session was attended by a number of ministers, as well as representatives of humanitarian, charitable and civil society organistions.

Qatar Tribune 30/10/14. [Slightly abridged. Ed] Photos: Dr Musa Nordin

Humanitarian forum urged to mobilse for Palestine

30 Oct

_78255931_9aee795d-0572-43da-8b26-1af8f1f68e4eWhile most attention has been focused on Gaza, for obvious reasons, the aid organisations were reminded that the situation in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem is also dire

Middle East Monitor report, 30 October 2014

Representatives of more than 60 charities from 27 countries have gathered in Doha to raise funds for the redevelopment of the Gaza Strip and other aid for Palestinians. Delegates at the “First Humanitarian Forum to Support Palestinians” organised by the Qatar Charity are spending two days discussing the catastrophe facing Palestinians, not only in the besieged Gaza Strip but also the refugee camps in neighbouring countries. [Kia Ora Gaza's international solidarity aid partners are attending this important forum, including Viva Palestina Malaysia. Editor].

The forum is being held under the auspices of the Prime Minister of Qatar, HE Shaikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, who attended the opening session on Wednesday. The need to disseminate information about the humanitarian crisis facing Palestinians, particularly but not exclusively in Gaza, is paramount following Israel’s latest invasion and ongoing military crackdown across the occupied Palestinian territories.

Pleas to lift the crippling siege on the Gaza Strip have fallen largely on deaf ears, one speaker told the audience, and with Egypt destroying the tunnels described by Western journalists as “Gaza’s lifeline”, the people of the coastal territory face enormous difficulties, with even basic necessities in chronic short supply. “This,” he added, “is no less than collective punishment, but who is holding Israel to account? While support for Israel from the US and EU is to be expected, why are China and Russia silent about what is happening to the Palestinians?”

While most attention has been focused on Gaza, for obvious reasons, the charities were reminded that the situation in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem is also dire. Israel’s Judaisation policies in the Holy City have driven away almost two-thirds of the Christian population, said another speaker. Addressing the conference via a pre-recorded video message, the Imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque pointed out that the Israelis are undermining the Islamic identity of Jerusalem by their policies. Shaikh Dr Ikrama Sabri told delegates that this is not a Palestinian issue alone; it should be a major concern for all of the world’s 1 billion Muslims.

Appreciation was expressed at the support given by the government of Qatar not only in Palestine but also other areas of the world facing humanitarian disasters. Information about the relief efforts of the Qatar Charity was given to the forum participants, who are being urged to mobilise and donate as much as possible for Palestinians in desperate need.

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Dr Musa Nordin, chairman of Viva Palestina Malaysia (VPM) at the Doha forum today.

VPM is Kia Ora Gaza’s regional partner in international solidarity missions such as our current medical aid appeal to sponsor ambulances for Gaza. Egypt & Israel have tightened the siege on Gaza preventing the delivery of aid. [See reports posted elsewhere on this site]

Gaza faces harsh winter after summer of destruction

30 Oct

0011This December, tens of thousands of Gazans will still be homeless as a result of the Strip’s summer bombardment by the Israeli military

Jessica Purkiss, Middle East Monitor, 29 October 2014

Gazans are facing a hard winter without adequate shelter after a summer of destruction. Gaza emerged from the recent assault over July and August in tatters: over 2,000 Gazans had lost their lives, 100,000 people had their homes destroyed and the public infrastructure was in pieces. As temperatures drop, their situation looks all the more precarious. Last December, after days of relentless rain, sections of Gaza were transformed into lakes. While photographs of Jerusalem engulfed in snow made the headlines, the hundreds of damaged homes in the besieged strip did not.
This December, tens of thousands of Gazans will still be homeless as a result of the Strip’s summer bombardment by the Israeli military. Chris Gunness, spokesperson for the UN’s agency for refugees (UNRWA) is concerned how the population will cope: “In Gaza, people are facing a potentially very difficult winter.” He said: “Remember the snow last year, when this melted, there was water as far as the eye could see. Now we have a looming appalling winter and public infrastructure has been destroyed on an industrial scale.”

Egypt evacuates homes near Gaza border for ‘buffer zone’

30 Oct

 

Middle East Monitor report & video, 29 October 2014

VIDEO: Rafah Residents living within 300 meters of the border with Gaza are being relocated by the Egyptian military. But as the video shows, the military are using force and abusive methods for this “relocation”.

The video appears to have been recorded near temporary barracks.

*** Please note that the video may not be suitable for all viewers – viewing has been age-restricted by the uploader.

Egypt reinforces its armies in Sinai

Military vehicles of Egyptian Armed Forces are seen as Egypt reinforces its armies in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt (near the border with the Gaza Strip).

Egyptian authorities have begun evacuating homes in the northeastern city of Rafah to make way for a planned buffer zone between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, Egypt’s state news agency reported on Wednesday.

“Residents living within 300 meters of the border were given a time limit for evacuating and relocating,” a military official was quoted as saying.

He added that the move was aimed at “eliminating terrorist hubs and preventing terrorist elements from crossing the border.”

A local resident said the inhabitants of homes within 300 meters of the border with the Gaza Strip had begun removing their belongings after Egyptian military officials gave them until Thursday evening to leave the area.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing residents moving with their furniture and luggage.

The military official said the move was the first phase of a plan to create a 500-meter “buffer zone” along Egypt’s 14km-long border with the Gaza Strip.

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How Israel is turning Gaza into a super-max prison

29 Oct

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Palestinians walk under the minaret of a destroyed mosque in Gaza. Israel not only are profiting from the reconstruction but also turning the territory into a super-maximum prison. Photo: Mohammed Saber / EPA

Jonathan Cook, The National, 27 October 2014

How Israel is turning Gaza into a super-max prison

It is astonishing that the reconstruction of Gaza, bombed into the Stone Age according to the explicit goals of an Israeli military doctrine known as “Dahiya”, has tentatively only just begun two months after the end of the fighting.

According to the United Nations, 100,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged, leaving 600,000 Palestinians – nearly one in three of Gaza’s population – homeless or in urgent need of humanitarian help.

Roads, schools and the electricity plant to power water and sewerage systems are in ruins. The cold and wet of winter are approaching. Aid agency Oxfam warns that at the current rate of progress it may take 50 years to rebuild Gaza.

Where else in the world apart from the Palestinian territories would the international community stand by idly as so many people suffer – and not from a random act of God but willed by fellow humans?

The reason for the hold-up is, as ever, Israel’s “security needs”. Gaza can be rebuilt but only to the precise specifications laid down by Israeli officials.

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Israel announces plans to build 1,000 new settler homes

28 Oct

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The East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan is seen with the al-Aqsa mosque in the background (Reuters/ Ammar Awad )

RT report, 27 October 2014

The Israeli government has approved plans to build over 1,000 new settler homes in East Jerusalem. It will expand two existing Israeli settlements on part of the territories seized in 1967.

An official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office declined to comment on the possible political and diplomatic impact. He said on Monday that “The government has decided to advance the planning of more than 1,000 units in Jerusalem – roughly 400 in Har Homa and about 600 in Ramat Shlomo,” as cited by Reuters.

He also said that plans would be “advanced for infrastructure projects in the West Bank that will include roads for the Palestinians.”

It is a sidestep by Netanyahu’s office, as the ultranationalist Jewish Home party and its leader Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, has been pressing the Prime Minister to call for 2,000 new building tenders.

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Palestinians run to take cover from tear gas fired by Israeli security forces during clashes following the funeral of Palestinian-American Orwa Hammad on October 26, 2014 in the West bank village of Silwad, near Ramallah. (AFP Photo / Abbas Momani)

However, Palestinians regard the holy city of Jerusalem as a future capital of their state and strongly oppose any Israeli expansion. According to Reuters, in a statement the Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said that “We strongly condemn the latest Israeli announcement to expand its illegal settlements in and around occupied East Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Palestine.”

“This announcement amounts to evidence of an intent to further commit crimes defined by, and punishable under international law,” he added.

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