As well as public meetings we have smaller working groups. On Thursday 22 February 2018 at Friends Meeting Housewe had one such meeting. It was about the Khuza’a Healing Centre for children in Khuza’a.
The more public part of the meeting was led off by Mona al-Farra who movingly described the work of Mecca, and Never Stop Dreaming.
SheffieldPSC, in cooperation with women from the Yemeni Association in Sheffield are constructing a play and healing centre in Khuza’a, aimed at helping traumatised children in the area and beyond. The project will be run by one of our partner children centres; Never Stop Dreaming in Khan Younis.
This is a hugely ambitious project. The second half was aimed at some of the detailed work that we need to do to firstly to spread awareness of the need for the centre within the wider community of Sheffield and beyond and secondly to establish a steady stream of cash for the running of the centre.
Each month we take our campaign for Justice for Palestinians to the streets of Sheffield. We pointed out that HSBC profits from Israeli Apartheid and via the arms trade helps Israel steal Palestinian land.
Dr Al Fara will talk about the desperate need to help children in Gaza traumatised by war, and siege and seeing their parents and wider families devastated by Israeli aggression.
The grave situation in Gaza
The Gaza Strip is the most densely populated region in the world. Over 80 per cent of its people are refugees and their descendants, expelled from Palestine in the 1948 war that established the state of Israel. The majority of the 1.8 million residents are under the age of 15.
Israel’s attacks on Gaza in 2008/9 killed 1,473 Palestinians. Israel’s 2014 bombardment, lasting 51 days, reduced entire neighbourhoods to rubble and killed at least 2,100; of whom 539 were children.
According to UNICEF, 373,000 children in Gaza suffer from some degree of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Additionally, 11,000 were injured, one third with permanent disabilities and more than 18,000 Palestinian homes were destroyed. Israel’s siege and the periodic bombardments of Gaza have prevented people rebuilding their lives. Many still live in tents and makeshift homes. Water and electricity are still only available for a few hours a day. For schools, hospitals, workshops, farms and homes to be restored Palestinians need international solidarity.
Khuza’a is a town of 10,000 inhabitants in the south east of the
Gaza Strip. It is situated only 500 metres from the border with Israel. In the 2009 attack, it was reported the Israeli army bulldozed houses in Khuza’a with their residents still inside, and civilians were shot when carrying white flags.
These accounts were corroborated by the Israeli human rights organisation, B’Tselem. Khuza’a was one of the three areas that suffered particularly badly during the 2014 Israeli attack on the
Gaza Strip. Hundreds of its civilians were killed and large areas of the town were wiped out. Some residents were used as human shields by the invading Israeli army. As a result, thousands of children are still traumatised and in need of psychological help.
Khuza’a is about six kilometres from the Never Stop Dreaming Project, which has been supported Sheffield PSC for many years.
It will manage and support the new project, with the help of the charity, Middle Eastern Children’s Alliance (MECA). Sheffield’s Yemeni community raised £9,600 towards the Centre’s construction, and a resident of Khuza’a has donated the
land for the building to be constructed on. The building work will be
finished by the Spring of 2018. The existing staff from the Never Stop Dreaming Project, that is already involved with the local community, will be provided with additional training to support children with post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Thanks for reading this. Please do come to our meeting
Over 60 people came to listen to the talk by Dr Summerfield. It was a very detailed and clear. He documented the role of the complicity in torture of Palestinians by the Israeli Medical establishment. We will provide links for further information as soon as we have them.
A great rally on the City Hall Steps on Saturday yesterday, 9th December.
Over 100 people there – including many different faces and many students. The banner – which read ‘Trump: Jerusalem is not yours to give away‘ made a great focus and made it really clear to all why we were there.
Amongst those holding the banner were a man from Syria, a man from Algeria, a young Yemeni woman, a British Jew, a Palestinian, two students – Sheffield’s humanity in action.
There were some excellent speeches from students, from a representative from Labour Friends of Palestine Pearn,who has just returned from her first visit to Palestine, and a beautiful song by a Yemeni teenager were highlights .
So the clear thing here is, just like Palestine itself was not Britain to give away, so Jerusalem is not Trump’s to dispose of.
On Saturday we held a protest against Trump’s support for Israeli land theft. It was a good turnout given the very short notice. We need ordinary people to weave opposition to Israeli Apartheid into their everyday lives. We organise meals, protests and meetings. Join us and find out how you can help.
Keeping our spaces inhabitable for future generations is a problem world wide. For Palestine and Palestinians, the devastating impacts of occupation is no better demonstrated than with the imperilled state of the water supply in Gaza.
All this and more is fantastically demonstrated in our new calendar pictures from Gaza and infographics from Visualizing Palestine