Humanitarian Aid for Palestinians:

Medical Aid Project in the West Bank Village of Beit Liqya

Recent humanitarian aid projects have been arranged more or less spontaneously at the initiative of NSWAS members. In order to achieve better coordination of our efforts and respond to further requests, the secretariat recently appointed a committee of four persons. Michal submits the following report.

On Friday April 19 the committee for humanitarian aid sat for its first meeting. We are four persons, Adnan Mana, Dorit Shippin, Abdessalam Najjar and Michal Zak. I took it up on my self to inform friends of our activities and to assist in raising as much money as possible for these humanitarian projects. The work of the committee members is voluntary, as is the work of those who help with the various projects. The money we collect will be expended directly on the purchase of medicines, food supplies, and (hopefully) the renting of trucks to carry them. I decided that my part in this work will be in the writing of a journal, in order to share information on the work done, as I see it. I will try to write candidly and openly and hope my account will be of interest to you.

Yesterday, April 20, a group of seven doctors and four assistants, all Palestinians, most of them from Neve Shalom~Wahat al Salam, volunteered in the village of Beit Liqya in the Ramallah district, for a day of medical care. They traveled through the hills, around the roadblocks and were met by volunteers from Beit Liqya who escorted them into the village. Some 360 people were treated that day and medicine was distributed free of charge. This is our second medical day. The third is planned for next week, and will take place in Nablus. We maintain contact with Nablus through School for Peace participants. Only four months ago "M" and "T" made a great effort to reach our meeting place in Cyprus, where we began a facilitator training course together with the Palestinian Peace Movement. They traveled by donkey on muddy roads in the hills for four hours just to bypass military roadblocks on their way to Jordan. They did all this in order to study together with Jewish participants how to conduct dialogue groups. Since then, they have lost seven of their close friends in the bombing. Three of these had participated in encounters with Jews in School for Peace - Palestinian Peace Movement programs. T was wounded, arrested and released and M was shot at while in her parents' house. Their home was bombed and destroyed. There is hardly any food left in the city, no water has reached the houses in three weeks and medicine is scarce in the local hospital.

On the other side of the border, and a light-year away, some of the Jewish participants of the same facilitator training course organized a convoy of three truckloads of food and medicine. The trucks are supposed to reach Nablus in two days. The army currently does not permit entry to occupied Palestinian areas, and Palestinians too advise us not to come in at present because they cannot guarantee our safety. However, Jews are volunteering and helping to find funds, organize the convoys and negotiate with the army so that the truck can pass. Why am I telling you all this? I find myself trying to figure out the role that we have as educators, in the school for peace, at a time of war. I see that the processes of becoming aware and the learning processes that some of our graduates have gone through have been translated into action. We see our graduates in different protest activities, in different humanitarian organizations and in innovative educational activities that are going on in Israel now. Both Jews and Palestinians are out there. Something new has happened: the Jews are not waiting for the Arabs to join them; they are joining the Arabs’ initiatives, or working by themselves. This is a new stage in Jewish –Arab relations. I see it also in the village: there is a lot of cooperation, and a lot is also going on within each community.