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Home arrow Blog arrow June 2007 arrow June 15, 2007

June 15, 2007

From Gaza with Love and Words Sharper Than a Two-Edged Sword


One of the most modest yet accomplished women I have ever met is Dr. Mona El Farra.

Among the many accomplishments of this selfless dermatologist who lives in Gaza is her position as the Director of Gaza Projects with Middle East Children's Alliance www.mecaforpeace.org 

Board Director of Red Crescent [Cross] Society of Gaza, and Health Development Consultant of Union Health Workers Committee of Gaza and the blogger of "From Gaza With Love" http://fromgaza.blogspot.com/.

This reporter spoke with her over dinner the night before she addressed over 5,000 activists at the historic D.C. March to End the Occupation of Palestine March on June 10, 2007.

Dr. El Farra informed me:

 "The children's psychology is damaged by the aggression of Israeli forces and the U.S. MECA[Middle East Children's Alliance] is dedicated to rebuild and repair it. Despite the fact that children and women and the whole population of my country has been damaged, we know that the world is not any government...The issue is the problem of the refugees and their right to return to their homeland. Israel has made the facts on the ground impossible for a two-state solution. This land should be about equal human rights for all people. Israel must take the moral responsibility for what they did in 1948!


"If we have a two state solution as things are, we are left with one strong state and one very weak one. Americans should know that their tax dollars go to support human rights abuses and occupation. This deprives both sides of dignity and humanity. Israel talks about security and safety, but their exaggerated actions damage children and civilians.

"I was 15 years old during the first year of occupation. Young kids in Khan Younis got together to say NO to occupation. We threw stones at the Israeli tanks and the IDF hit me and many others with sticks [billy clubs]. I was on the ground and the soldier beat me, but I returned to demonstrate again and again. My father wanted me to stop, but I did not. I also wrote pamphlets-a very dangerous activity!

"I went to medical school for dermatology and returned home and found myself naturally in the refugee camps. I have always been a community worker for preventive medicine and nonviolent...I strongly believe it is impossible for Palestine to have a viable state when humanitarian and inalienable rights are denied and what happened in 1948 is ignored."

On June 7, 2007, Dr. El Farrar addressed the United Nations:

"First, let me say that 2007 is the 40th anniversary of 59 years of the brutal occupation of the Palestinian people.

"As we called for an end to apartheid in South Africa and the right of all people to live together and have equal rights, we must now, before it is too late, call for true justice for the Palestinians.

"Today, we heard about the economic plight of the Palestinian people. We heard about Palestinians in Israeli prisons which number close to 8,000 men and women, including approximately 350 children under the age of 14, most of whom have been tortured.

"How many UN resolutions must be passed by the UN? How many years of calling for 2 States before there is an understanding that Israel continues its aggression on the ground against women, children and men, the demolition of thousands of homes and the continued building of the apartheid wall?

"Let us not just speak of the Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza. We must never forget those who live as second-class citizens inside Israel and most of all, those who were forced from their homes and lands in 1948.

"Now is the time to call for a real peace, with justice for all the children in the region. This can only be accomplished by supporting the right of return of all Palestinians.

"Now is the time to acknowledge that the two-State solution is not the answer.

"From Gaza I came, where the children of my country have no safe homes, no safe streets, no proper and adequate health facilities, no proper food, clean water, or regular electrical power, no recreational activities and no good education. The list of deprivation of their basic needs is too long to count.

"I lived this occupation as a child, and am still living it as an adult. I can see it in the eyes of my daughter when she is afraid, tired, restless and exhausted because of the unsafe and unpredictable quality of life in Gaza under occupation. I saw it as soon as we crossed the borders on our way to Egypt, where she sensed something new and different: freedom, safety and space. Gaza is like a big, unsafe prison. And it is a very small place for 1.4 million people, half of whom are children.

"I face the occupation every day during my work when hundreds of Palestinian patients are denied permits and accessibility to proper medical treatment, outside Gaza. There are a few lucky patients who get a referral and permit for treatment outside Gaza. The majority, however, have to wait and wait. Many die while waiting.

"What is more heart-breaking than children who do not have adequate food and a healthy atmosphere to grow up to be well rounded adults? According to the Health Work Committees Organization, 42 per cent of children in Gaza under the age of 5 suffer from iron deficiency anemia and 45 per cent suffer from some form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, due to the experiences that they are subjected to as a result of the non-stop military actions of the Israeli Occupation Forces, which almost always affect civilians in one way or another....

"Whenever I think of Palestinian children and their lives under occupation, I always think of the Israeli children. As adults, we have a commitment to both sets of children to provide a safe environment for them to live peacefully. It is not the occupation or the wall or the ongoing aggression against my people that will bring safety or security for Israeli children, only peace that is based on justice will do so. Justice means that the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people must be considered. Israel must recognize its moral responsibility towards the Palestinian refugees.


"While Israel is physically outside Gaza, it still completely controls our lives, all aspects of our lives: health, education, economy and freedom of movement.

"Life under occupation is degrading to human dignity. It has deprived us of our freedom, and only free people can make peace. It is most peculiar that we are forced to deal with the patterns of life under occupation as normal, well-established facts and when people lost hope and faith in the world or any future chances for change, and when the world turns its head away.

"On the 40th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, it is fitting to call once again on the international community to put pressure on Israel to fulfil its obligations by abiding by the UN resolutions related to Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Israeli occupation should be ended now and the right of return must not be forgotten."  http://fromgaza.blogspot.com/ 

Congress is now on the verge of debating Senate Resolution 224 and "The Board of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), a coalition of Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches and church-related organizations, welcomes S. Res. 224, the Feinstein/Lugar resolution that supports efforts to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace...We take to heart the Psalmist's injunction to "seek peace, and pursue it" (Ps. 34:14b) and are encouraged by the prudent and judicious Congressional leadership shown by S. Res. 224.

"The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is recognized as one of the most intractable conflicts in our troubled world today, but as S. Res. 224 notes, support for a two-state solution is broad and there is a critical need for robust diplomacy to pursue peace negotiations. Every day that the conflict goes on is another day that extremists in the region are strengthened, moderate Arab allies are weakened and Israelis and Palestinians live amidst fear and violence. Progress toward a permanent resolution to the conflict will bolster U.S. national security, vital interests and moral authority.

"The churches in the CMEP coalition have long sought peace in the Holy Land and reconciliation of the three Abrahamic faiths. We support active and high level U.S. engagement to achieve a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict where Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state.

"The current impasse is not sustainable. Now is indeed the time for all parties to redouble their efforts to achieve peace. We hope you will join with your colleagues in co-sponsoring S. Res. 224 today." www.cmep.org/Alerts/2007June14.htm 

Is it too late for a viable two states?

Ali Abunimah, cofounder of the online publication The Electronic Intifada wrote:

"The one-state solution for Palestine-Israel is "gaining ground," a senior UN diplomat has admitted in a leaked confidential report. Recently retired UN special envoy Alvaro de Soto wrote "that the combination of [Palestinian Authority] institutional decline and Israeli settlement expansion is creating a growing conviction among Palestinians and Israeli Arabs, as well as some Jews on the far left in Israel that the two State solutiuon's best days are behind it."

 "...Contradicting peace process industry conventional wisdom and spin, which long held that Israel's 2005 settler pullout from Gaza was part of an effort to implement the "Road Map" peace plan, de Soto acknowledged that Israel was motivated entirely by concerns about the fact that Palestinians are once again on the verge of becoming the majority in Israeli-ruled territory (as they were prior to 1948).

"Israel is in a conundrum because further unilateral withdrawals are "off the table" while "the demographic clock continues to tick." De Soto predicts that "Should the PA pass into irrelevance or non-existence, and the settlements keep expanding, the one State solution will come out of the shadows and begin to enter the mainstream."
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article7025.shtml 


As of this writing, it appears that after five fierce days of fighting in Gaza, Hamas has vanquished Fatah and at least 90 people have been murdered.

Throughout history time and time again, things that seemed impossible and hopeless all of a sudden just changed.

All things are possible and the fresh breathe of change is always blowing in the wind; may it blow out the violence that the voices of wisdom and nonviolence will be heard, for the sake of all the children of the Holy Land.

   
 
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