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Collective Punishment in Palestine 2014, Continued on page 3

Middle East Childrens Alliance

F a l l 2 0 1 4
As we write, bombs are still dropping on
Gaza. Israels bombs are taking the lives,
the homes, the parents, brothers, sisters
and friends of Gazas children. And with each bomb, with each
missile, Israel is also killing their childhood. The children will be
left with the sounds, the images and the terrible, terrible losses.
They will struggle their whole lives to overcome the trauma,
pain and grief.
The Middle East Childrens Alliance will be there with the people
of Gaza as they put all their creativity, their determination and
their hard work into giving their children the chance to grow up
healthy and strong. The water units MECA has installed since
2009 are providing safe, clean water for tens of thousands of
people who have taken shelter in UN schools. With your support,
MECAs team on the ground
in Gaza has already distributed
milk, food and hygiene kits to
more than 2,000 families who
were displaced by the bombings.
These packages were made
according to the changing needs
of the families. MECA was also
able to make emergency grants
to the Union of Health Work
Committees and the Red Crescent
Society to buy urgent medications
to treat patients who are injured
or sick in clinics and hospitals
across Gaza. Our partners joined
Punishment in
Palestine 2014
Israels Assault on Gaza in Numbers
1,814 killed, including 408 children
9,500 injured, including 2,877 children
520,000 people displaced
141 schools damaged
24 health facilities damaged
10,690 housing units destroyed
Source: UN OCHA, August 5, 2014
War in our time is
always indiscriminate,
a war against innocents,
a war against children.
- Howard Zinn
A boy looks through a schoolbook
as he sits in the rubble of a home
destroyed during an Israeli air strike
on the city of Khan Younis.
all the health agencies in Gaza in offering their services to the
community for free.
After past attacks and in the times in between, MECA has worked
with our partners to provide trauma intervention, psychological
evaluation and referrals, training for parents and teachers in
how to help children traumatized by war, and therapeutic art,
storytelling and drama programs. Together, we are preparing to
relaunch these programs in Gaza to support children and families.
Despite the frequent lack of electricity, MECA staff in Gaza have
been able to stay in touch with our staff in Berkeley by phone
and email. Below are updates we received during the attacks
from Director of MECA Gaza Projects Dr. Mona El-Farra and
Projects Assistant Safaa El Derawi.
July 20, 2014, by Safaa El Derawi, Nuseirat Refugee Camp:
I grew up seeing pictures of the Nakba [Catastrophe in
Arabic, referring to the 1948 ethnic
cleansing of Palestinian villages].
Men carrying children, women
with a few belongings in their bags,
elderly walking hunched over
as they fed their homes looking
for safety. But I never imagined I
would see these images all over
In a refugee camp in the city of
Rafah, a Palestinian girl stands in the
ruins of her home, destroyed in an
Israeli airstrike.
Safaa El Derawi, CREDIT: Art Forces
again in 2014. Today in streets all over Gaza, these images
were repeated. But this time with even more blood and tragedy
because there is no escape from death in Gaza.
The Gaza Strip is closed from all directions. We have no exit by
land, air, or sea.
Thousands of families left their homes in the Al-Shajayia district
[east of Gaza City] carrying their children, trying to save their
lives. After 12 hours of continuous artillery shelling and aerial
bombardment, whole neighborhoods went out to the streets
looking for a safe shelter. But there is no shelter in Gaza.
Homes were destroyed on top of families without warning.
People were bombed in the streets as they frantically searched
for safety. Hundreds of victims were killed and injured and then
left to bleed in the street because the Israeli army prevented
ambulances from entering the area.
Blood and bodies and body parts covered the earth, the smell of
death spread everywhere.
Shajayia massacre conjures images of the 1982 Sabra and
Shatila massacre, of the 1996 Qana massacre, of the 1947 Deir
Yassin massacre. I hope this will be the last of a long list of
Israeli massacres.
July 30, 2014, Dr. Mona El-Farra, Gaza City
Im still alive. I dont know what this
means, but I can say that most of the
time I can still walk and do some
work with people who need help. It
all depends on my luck. And here,
for people living in Gaza, luck means
how close to you the bombs fall from
Israels tanks, planes or warships.
Americans say, Its raining cats and
dogs. In the new Gaza idiom we say,
Its raining bombs and shells.
Today I started my day in the Red Crescent Societys medical
center. The electricity has stopped, but the X-ray still functions,
so we received many patients. Let me share with you the story
of an unnamed child we called Number 6. He was around
three years old and had identifying stickers on his arms saying
Unknown and Number 6. I was shocked and immediately
asked the nurses and ambulance drivers what his name was. I
was told no one knew his name. They found him in a mass of
destroyed houses and he was the only survivor of his family.
He had a head injury and wounds on other parts of his body.
Immediately I asked, Doesnt anyone remember where the
house was? They said in the area where they found him, all
the buildings were destroyed and mixed up with each other, and
sometimes the children are thrown from one area to another. So
they didnt know where he had lived.
Collective Punishment in Palestine 2014
Continued from page 1
by Barbara Lubin
Co-Founder and ExecutiveDirector
after all they went through to get to the camps and the
vast uncertainty in front of them. I could see in their faces
how diffcult it was to be suddenly dependent on others
for very basic things. But Im glad that MECA was able to
provide things that were desperately needed, including
quilts, rain boots, baby clothes, diapers, vitamins and
medical care.
The living conditions were terrible everywhere, but I was
truly shocked by the conditions in Shatila, a camp built
for 3,000 Palestinians in 1948. It is now home to more
than 22,000 refugees from Palestine and Syria. Many of
the Palestinian families arriving in Shatila describe this as
the second Nakba (Arabic for Catastrophe): They lost
their homes in Palestine in 1948 and lived in refugee
camps in Syria for decades before losing everything for
a second time.
Every school we visited had switched to double shifts to
accommodate new students. But many children are not
attending school because their families cant pay the fees.
In Ein el Hilweh Refugee Camp, I met Lama, an artist and
teacher who created a project for children to help them
express themselves through puppets. The children make
their own puppets and then act out their feelings and
experiences, and talk about their identities as refugees.
Throughout my trip I visited friends, my family and
projects that MECA has supported in the past year.
MECA continues to help our partners purchase and
distribute basic necessities. We are making it possible
for refugee children to attend school, and supporting
classes in community centers for the children who cant
go to school. I returned with lists of medicines that
are needed, like antibiotics and anesthesia, for a large
medical shipment.
As I witnessed the terrible conditions of refugees from
Syria coming in droves to Lebanons already overcrowded
refugee camps, I also saw how MECA supporters like you
are giving so many children the chance to survive, and
even thrive, in very desperate circumstances in Palestine
and in Lebanon.
With many thanks,
Barbara Lubin
Letter from Barbara
Dear Friend,
As I write this in late July, its
hard to think about or work
on anything other than Gaza.
But one horror doesnt cancel
out the other and MECA has
always had to work on many
fronts. While MECA is raising
and sending money for basic
necessities to Gaza, talking to Dr. Mona El-Farra and
Safaa El Derawi nearly every day, going to marches,
speaking to the media, and sending updates, we must
also keep our focus and our efforts on the children and
families in the West Bank and the hundreds of thousands
of Palestinians and Syrians feeing from Syria.
The article on page 1 provides an overview of Gaza, with
frst-hand accounts from MECAs Gaza staff. Im using my
space here to tell you about my visit to Lebanon in March,
where I saw how refugees from Syria, now numbering
more than one million, are trying to survive.
First, I went to the tent cities in the Bekaa Valley and to
Palestinian refugee camps, where families are taking in
new refugees and sharing what little they have. It was
inspiring to see the strength and dignity of the refugees,
And then I realized: Hes Number 6, and that means there were
fve other unknown children before him and many more children
after him. I stopped asking questions because I needed to do my
We have gone through a lot in Gaza. But this is a new war. Israel
is committing new massacres every day and sometimes more
than one massacre in a day. In the Red Crescent clinic we receive
at least 200 patients a day. And we are not an emergency clinic.
A lot of disease is coming up in Gaza because of destruction of
the water systems, the electrical system, and ongoing stress and
fear from over three weeks of bombings. People are experiencing
different illnesses: gastrointestinal problems, diarrhea, breathing
and skin problems. Most of them are the most vulnerable of
allthe children. We have a real crisis now. We managed to get
some medicine before from MECA, but right now we are facing a
lack of medicine. I want people to know this and contribute and
support us, and help us get the proper medicines and supplies so
we can treat these people who are suffering.
This is what I can tell you about today and, with luck, I will
report more information to you tomorrow.
More reports from Gaza at
Dr. Mona El-Fara, CREDIT: Art Forces
Staf at the Red Crescent Society for the Gaza Strip, one of MECAs partners in
Gaza, treat an injured child.
CREDIT: Dr. Mona El-Farra
Visiting refugees in the
Bekaa Valley, Lebanon
Credit: Cynthia Marcopulos
From Dr. Mona El-Farra:
Here is the story of my family, just one among many stories in
At 2:30 a.m. on Friday, August 1, my family received a frst
warning bomb on the roof of their house while they slept.
They jumped up, woke the children, and told everyone to run
outside. The family lived in a four-story apartment building.
Three to four minutes after the frst bomb, a second larger bomb
hit the building. Part of the family was outside running into the
street, but part of the family was still in the building when the
second Israeli bomb hit.
My cousins son Emad was trying to bring the children together
to move them to a safer place when a third rocket hit them in
the street and killed them all where they stood. There were body
parts everywhere, most of them from the children. This series of
attacks killed nine members of my family.
Montage of El-Farra family, CREDIT: Yara El-Farra
The staff and board of the Middle East Childrens Alliance
would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to our friend
and colleague Dr. Mona El-Farra, to her family, and to
all of the Palestinian families who have lost relatives and
loved ones.
Early in the morning of August 1, Israeli tanks shelled a home
in Khan Younis and killed nine members of Dr. Monas family
including 5 children. Ten more relatives are injured and fve
of them are in critical condition.
We are saddened by the very personal loss of Dr. Mona and
all the innocent people killed in Gaza, and outraged by the
knowledge that they were killed with the full support of our
Rest in peace:
Abed Almalek Abed Al Salam El-Farra, 54 years
Osamah Abed Almalek El-Farra, 34 years
Awatef Aez Eldeen El-Farra, 29 years
Emad El-Farra, 28 years
Mohamad Mahmoud El-Farra, 12 years
Nadeen Mahmoud El-Farra, 9 years
Yara Abed Al Salam El-Farra, 8 years (pictured above)
Abed Al Rahaman El-Farra, 8 years
Lujain Basem El-Farra, 4 years
We spoke to Dr. Mona by phone today and she told us: It was
shocking to fnd out that my cousins were killed with their
children and grandchildren. But my family is not different
from any other family living in the Gaza Strip. This is the
brutality of the Israeli occupation and we are expecting bad news
all the time. Whenever there is bad news here, we ask ourselves,
Who is next? Still, no matter how much you are prepared for this
kind of bad news, its shocking and it hit me very hard.
As always, we are impressed by Dr. Monas huge heart and
dedication to helping children and families. After taking a short
break to process the shock of this news, Dr. Mona returned to the
emergency room at the Red Crescent Society to treat patients.
Montage of several members of the El-Farra family killed in
their home this morning created by a friend of the family:
In 2013 the Middle East Childrens Alliance collaborated with
ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) to deliver aid to
Palestinians and Syrians feeing the catastrophic violence in
Syria. Here is an excerpt of ANERAs report of the aid provided
with funds from MECA supporters and others. We continue to
provide aid and support projects for children.
Adras leg was injured while she was out shopping for food in
Yarmouk camp in Syria last July when shooting erupted there.
Like more than one million other
Syrian war refugees, Adra and her
family decided it was time to seek
safety elsewhere. She was three
months pregnant, but that did not
stop her or her husband and four
children from feeing across the
border and into Lebanons Ein el-
Helweh refugee camp.
Ein el-Helweh, built in 1966,
is the largest Palestinian camp
in Lebanon, with nearly 70,000
residents. Its living conditions are
bleak, its services inadequate. It is
one of the most dangerous camps
in the country. Ein El Helweh
currently hosts the largest number of Palestinian refugees from
Syria, with more than 7,000 newcomers.
Adras family used to own a house in Syria, but left all their
belongings behind and arrived in Lebanon with just the clothes
they were wearing. Families in Ein el-Helweh offered them a
place in an open feld inside the camp to pitch a tent. The family
combined plastic sheets, blankets found in the garbage and
concrete blocks to construct an improvised shelter. They are not
alone. Dozens of other families have erected tents in the rubble-
flled feld, creating a makeshift camp within a camp for families
from Syria.
Adra is anemic and says her health has deteriorated since her
injury, provoking the premature delivery of her baby, Leen, who
weighed only two kilograms (less than 4.5 lbs) when she was
born a month early during the cold, damp winter. Adra keeps her
baby wrapped in the warm baby clothes and blankets delivered
by ANERA and MECA. She is still very weak, explains Leens
mother, looking at the sleeping baby with love and care. I am
breastfeeding her so she can grow strong.
ANERA and MECA partnered with the community-based
organization Najdeh Association to provide relief kits to Adra
and 2,300 Palestinian families from Syria in Ein el-Helweh and
nearby gatherings. Each kit included winter blankets, quilts,
heaters, rechargeable emergency fashlights, hygiene items and
warm clothes for women and children to help them cope with the
cold months of winter.
Adra says the fashlights are proving a useful tool since there is
little daylight in the tents, and electricity in the camp is often cut
for hours. We used to have to buy candles for about $1 a day,
explains Adra. Now we can recharge the fashlight when the
power is on and it lasts for more than 12 hours.
Like almost all Palestinian
refugees from Syria, Adra and
her husband cannot fnd work in
Lebanon, so the family survives on
meager savings and humanitarian
aid. The assistance, she says, is
helping them focus on other basic
needs, like food and health care.
Adra confesses that even in
Lebanon she fears for her familys
safety. The spillover of Syrias
factional conficts, she says, is
making the camp violent and
unstable. There is no security
in Ein El-Helweh, she says. At
night, I sleep with my clothes on so Im ready to run at any
As the Syrian confict enters a fourth year, refugees in Lebanon
still cling to the hope of a better future. Adras shelter is flled
with laughing children and friendly neighbors who stop by to
offer support. A friend smiles sadly: We Palestinians know how
to build a lot out of nothing.
Aid for Refugees from Syria at
Ein El Helweh Refugee Camp,
Refugees from Syria, Ein Hilweh, Lebanon
Condolences to Dr. Mona El-Farra
and All Who Have Lost Their Loved Ones
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MECA joins Defence for Children International in mourning the
loss of one of their staff. Hashem Abu Maria was killed in Beit
Ummar village near Hebron while protesting Israels attacks
on Gaza. Dozens of Palestinians in the West Bank and East
Jerusalem have been injured and killed by Israel during protests
expressing their solidarity with Gaza.
The DCI-Palestine family is shocked and devastated by the
loss of our friend and colleague Hashem, said Rifat Kassis,
executive director of DCI-Palestine. Hashem considered
defending childrens rights as his purpose in life, not simply as
a job. That he has become the latest innocent civilian to lose his
life at the hands of Israeli forces is a tragedy. We offer our utmost
condolences to his family.
Hashem served as the coordinator of DCI-Palestines community
mobilization unit, promoting constructive child participation
throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory. His most recent
work focused on monitoring and documenting childrens rights
violations in Hebron.
Childrens Rights Defender Killed
in West Bank Protest
In June and July, before the bombing of Gaza began, we were
frightened and outraged by stories from our friends and relatives
in Dheisheh, Jenin, Hebron, Halhul and Jerusalem. Hundreds of
Israeli soldiers stormed the Dheisheh refugee camp in the middle
of the night on June 20. They trashed homes, injured fve people
and arrested 30 more. This same story was repeated in almost
every village, refugee camp and city across the West Bank in
June and early July.

In East Jerusalem, Israeli settlers kidnapped Mohammed Abu
Khdeir, 16-year-old Palestinian boy, and then burned him alive.
Israeli police brutally beat
Mohammeds cousin Tariq,
a 15-year-old Palestinian-
American boy. Palestinian
mothers in Jerusalem
look over their shoulders
when out with their kids as
more Israeli settlers have
attempted kidnappings.
Many people stay home
after dark. Our partner center
in Silwan, East Jerusalem,
canceled its outdoor games
and activities in July out of
fear that children would be
attacked while at the park or

When the Israeli assault on Gaza began, Palestinians throughout
the West Bank showed their solidarity. In a single week in July,
Israeli soldiers killed 10 people in the West Bank who were
protesting Israels assault on Gaza. Palestinians continue to
demonstrate and to show their solidarity with Gaza by collecting
blankets, water and baby formula to send to families in Gaza.
Children in Bethlehem organized a vigil for the children killed in
Gaza. They called on the international community to force Israel
to stop killing our brothers and sisters and to respect our right
to life, liberty, security, and safety. We raise our voice and ask
you to protect us from Israeli
offensive attacks, to protect
Palestinian children from the
Israeli occupation, and to end
the siege on Gaza.
The violence of the Israels
occupationits army and
illegal settlersincreased
this summer, sparking
international outrage. But
even when these stories fade
from the news and Facebook
feeds, there will be hundreds
of untold stories unfolding
each day.
Children in Bethlehem light candles spelling Gaza at a vigil
on July 29, 2014. CREDIT: MECA
Ongoing Attacks in the West Bank
Hashem Abu Maria
with his daughter.
CREDIT: DCI-Palestine
David and Goliath poster
Available at,
Proceeds beneft MECAs
emergency aid work
in Gaza
Coming Up!
Wednesday, September 17, 7 p.m.
An Animated Conversation with Noam Chomsky
By Academy Award winning flmmaker Michel
Grand Lake Theatre
3200 Grand Avenue, Oakland
Tickets $10
Noam Chomsky and Michel Gondry are a
charmingly unpredictable, appealing match. . . .
This is a movie that celebrates the life of a great
mind and makes a case for the mind that knows less
but keeps on asking.
Manohla Dargis, New York Times
Riveting, playful, and intimate, this flm uses drawings to make
complex ideas more accessibleresulting in a dazzling portrait
of one of our foremost thinkers, and also a beautifully animated
work of art. Gondry is best known for his flms Eternal Sunshine
of the Spotless Mind and Dave Chappelles Block Party. (90
Thursday November 6, 7-9 p.m.
Journalist Nora Barrows-
Friedmans National Book Release
(Just World Books, 2014)
La Pea Cultural Center
3105 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley
$8-$15 sliding scale
Celebrate award-winning reporter Nora Barrows-Friedmans new
book, which documents the success of the Students for Justice
in Palestine movement, using Noras interviews with activists
nationwide. Her experience in Palestine and with Palestinian
solidarity activism give Nora a unique ability to help these
inspiring student leaders tell their stories. Special Guest Malihe
Razazan, who co-hosts KPFAs Voices of the Middle East
program, will interview Nora about her book.
Both events beneft MECAS projects for Palestinian children
For info:, 510-548-0542
Annual MECA/Joining Hands
Palestinian Crafts Bazaar in
Berkeley: Dec. 6-7
Richard Falk: Dec. 11