Its only been a few weeks since a ceasefire was agreed upon between Israel and Hamas, but Gaza is still reeling from the destruction. We were lucky enough to get in touch with Rania Elhilou, the Media Relations Officer for ANERA in Gaza, to talk about her experience keeping her family safe during the offensive and what it was like to return to work after the hostilities were over.
Palestine Note’s “People for Palestine” profiles authors, filmmakers, journalists, activists, academics and others dedicated to freedom for Palestinians from all over the world.
Politics is inextricably bound up with everyday life in Palestine. This sentence at first sounds so obvious that it seems trite. Why bring it up now? The answer is simple: to highlight a largely ignored issue, Palestinian mental health, an issue that cannot be separated from the fact of Israeli military occupation and colonization.
For, among all the ink spilled on the Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, academics and journalists have largely ignored the crucial topic of Palestinian mental health. There are many probable reasons for this sidestepping, not least that to highlight this problem would be to spotlight Israel’s negative treatment of Palestinians: a subject that the US government, for one, would prefer to ignore.
Ali’s ear-to-ear grin illuminates the room he’s in and energizes everyone that it lands on. He is not aggressive, plays well with his peers, waits for attention, and brings joy to his classroom. He responds to his name, can identify his bus, and never wanders off. But before he enrolled in the Core Program this past summer, this five-year-old could not speak.
As one of the first children in the Core Program with severe developmental disabilities, Ali presented needs beyond the usual scope of TYO’s work. He needed screening, medical reports, and a targeted intervention plan to help him reach his potential. Despite the challenges of properly attending to Ali’s needs, TYO’s staff agreed with his mother that he deserved a loving, nurturing, and structured environment in which to grow and learn.
Earlier this month, Vice President of Worldwide Innovation at Pfizer Inc. Usama Malik took on the monumental task of competing in one of the world’s top endurance races and raise $25,000 for women and youth development for Tomorrow’s Youth Organization (TYO) in Nablus and Lebanon.
At five days and 156 miles over the Valley of the Whales in the Sahara desert in blistering heat, over soft sand and rocks, in addition to carrying camping equipment for that week, it would be a race that any hardened athlete would find difficult. But Malik, who has only taken up running in the past few years, was eager to rise to the occasion not only for the personal satisfaction that comes with completing the seemingly impossible, but also as a means to support a cause he genuinely believes.
Palestine Note caught up with Mr. Malik shortly after he returned to his home in New York to find out more about what motivates him, and what he hopes his fundraising will help accomplish not just for TYO, but also for the underprivileged in the areas in which they work.
Sari Bashi, Foreign Policy – For months, since the contents of the report prepared by a UN panel charged with reviewing the May 2010 Gaza flotilla incident (the Palmer Report) began to appear in news media coverage, it has been clear that the report would not provide a credible legal analysis of the issue that was the reason for the flotilla in the first place — Israel’s closure of Gaza. Instead, the Palmer Committee sought a political outcome — to facilitate rehabilitation of Israeli-Turkish relations, strained by the killing of nine Turkish citizens by Israeli commandos who boarded their ship as they protested Israel’s closure of Gaza. To that end, the Committee offered a compromise: it determined that Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza was lawful and that Turkey should have done more to stop the flotilla, but it also found that Israel used excessive force aboard the ship. The proffered solution was an Israeli apology, a compensation fund and the resumption of full diplomatic relations between Israel and Turkey.
The diplomatic upheaval in the wake of yesterday’s publication of the report by the New York Times — a day before it was to be presented to the UN Secretary General — put an end to hopes that the report would achieve its political goal. Any chance for reconciliation seems lost in the storm of Israel’s refusal to apologize and Turkey’s decision to downgrade relations with Israel and to pursue international legal action.