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Update on the Humanitarian Aid Program: Help from Japan

Friday 9 February 2007

The Japanese Government provides funding to equip Three West Bank Clinics

On January 30, 2007, the Japanese Ambassador, Mr. Yoshinori Katori, joined us in NSWAS for formal presentation of a grant from the Government of Japan to the HAP project. The grant will enable the purchase of equipment for permanent loan to medical facilities in Na’alin, Budrus and Media,- three West Bank towns lying west of Ramallah and close to the Green Line. These facilities serve about 50,000 people. The villages of Budrus and Media have buildings that were intended to be clinics, but which stand largely idle due to lack of equipment. In Na’alin, the medical facility is defined as a hospital, but is in fact also very poorly equipped. Each of these towns has been the site of medical treatment days and assistance from the HAP team. The Japanese Government grant, however, will guarantee improved health care for these towns over the longterm. We are very grateful to the Embassy for having confidence in the HAP team. We also thank Nava Sonnenschein, Michal Zak and Adnan Manaa and the doctors who helped with research for the project. Our work will not end with the purchase of equipment, since we need to arrange on-site training by local medical staff in the use of the equipment. Sponsorship for the project will continue for a period of up to one year.

On his visit to NSWAS, Ambassador Katori was accompanied by the Embassy’s grant director, Ms. Junko Sato. For the occasion, we also arranged a parallel visit by the Palestinian poet Mr. Samih al-Qasim, recipient of the NSWAS Partner in Peace Award, who had been unable to be with us in January for the Award ceremony. Mr. al-Qasim took the opportunity to thank the Japanese government for its generous support, as well as for its contribution to peace in the Middle East.

Further treatment days

Recent activities of the HAP team have included treatment days in the village of Media (the West Bank village mentioned above), in Beit Sira (Ramallah district), and in Jorat al-Shama’a, which is south of Bethlehem. Each of these villages has been the site of previous medical treatment days and, as before, hundreds of villagers received medical examinations by volunteer doctors and, where possible, the administration of medicines brought by the team and provided without payment. Instead of initiating activities as formerly, the team has lately decided that it is more productive to respond to specific requests from the towns. For instance, the treatment day in Jorat al-Shama’a took place in response to a medical emergency in the area: the outbreak of a viral eye disease.

Summer camp for Palestinian children

A long report has already appeared on the Summer Camp for Palestinian children in July, 2006. Following the success of the summer camp, and thanks to support received from the Bruno Hussar Stiftung in Germany, a similar program is planned for the coming summer. If we receive further support, we will gladly expand this program.

Distribution of children’s clothing in Nablus

On the Eid-ul Fitr, the HAP team purchased and distributed clothing to more than a hundred children in Nablus. For projects like this, we rely upon specially designated donations rather than regular HAP funds. This activity was supported by friends in the USA.

Treatment of individuals

Treatment of individuals has continued on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes this has taken the form of provision of medicines for those who are suffering from chronic diseases but are unable to pay for their medicines. We have regularly been supplying an individual in Hares Village, near Nablus in this way. At other times, we have responded to appeals for urgent surgery upon children. For the majority of these children, this has involved arranging for treatment in Israeli hospitals. In 2006 we arranged for urgent heart surgery for a baby, Farris Toubassi, a child who was born with a septal defect (a hole in the walls of the heart). The operation, performed at Schneider Children’s Medical Center, Petach Tiqva, was successful. However, he died one month later from unrelated causes (“crib death” / SIDS). Another child, Sadil Yousef, who was born with a serious problem in her arms (insufficient bone and a contraction of the muscles there) was taken to a hospital in Bethlehem for surgery. Her parents are poor and were unable to afford the treatment.

The HAP team receives a large number of requests to which it is simply unable to respond. In order to give greater focus to the project, the committee has made a decision in principle to respond mainly to appeals for children, with priority given to cases requiring urgent heart surgery. For this, we are responding mainly to recommendations given us by Dr. Nazih Asli, a cardiologist who is working at Schneider Children’s Medical Center and the French St. Vincent de Paul Hospital, Nazareth.

Appeal for support

The HAP program continues as a completely voluntary program in NSWAS, with no one receiving compensation for work, no overhead, and a hundred percent of all funding used for humanitarian purposes. Currently, apart from money that has already been dedicated (such as the Japanese grant), our kitty is almost empty and we need further support in order to respond to the medical emergencies of Palestinian children, running treatment days, and more. We urgently appeal to individuals and foundations alike to help us. In a program of this nature, even small donations can make a difference.

With thanks from the HAP team, Ahmad Hijazi, Shirin Najjar, Dorit Shippin, Abdessalam Najjar, Inas Karyani, Adnan Manaa, Abdallah Hajihia, Abdel Rauf Hijazi (and many others who contribute their time to the project).


Sadil Youssef Mr. Yoshinori Katori (right|), Ahmad Hijazi (left) Mr. Yoshinori Katori (right|), Ahmad Hijazi (left) Mr. Katori with Samih al-Qasim The Summer Cmmp (2006) NSWAS young people visiting Palestinian baby in Tel HaShomer (...) NSWAS young people with mother and relative.

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