– This picture shows a Palestinian school teacher continuing lessons despite the only remaining school for Bedouin children being demolished on February 21st in Abu al-Nuwaar in the occupied West Bank. Photo thanks to Ma’an News.
Today, 5th March, would have been our friend and colleague Hashem Al Azzeh’s birthday, had he not been killed by teargas inhalation during a protest late last year. As we remember him with love, please listen to the beautiful song that was written for and dedicated to his wife Nisreen. This ‘Song for Nisreen’ will also be performed live at our conference in May. We focus on other women during this months’ news as International Women’s Day approaches (Tuesday 8th March) we have invited previous ICAHD study tour participants to reflect on Palestinian (and in one case Israeli) women who have left an impression on them. We also highlight Nabila Espanioly‘s contribution in our annual conference in May. Make sure you book your early-bird ticket now before the price returns to usual as of 15th March.
Within the first eight weeks of this year over 440 Palestinians (a majority of whom were children) were displaced from their homes – equivalent to over half the total number of Palestinians displaced in all of 2015. A further 1,700 Palestinians lost structures relating to their sources of income. The Jordan Valley, the South Hebron Hills and East Jerusalem are the major targets along with E-1 where on Sunday, 21st February, the sole remaining school for young Bedouin children in that area was demolished. February 2016 recorded the highest number of demolitions in the West Bank since the UN began recording in 2009, and the weekly average of home demolitions in Area C has reached an increase of over 400% higher than during 2015. We are appalled by this deteriorating situation and compiled a report with recommendations for the UN’s Human Rights Council, which we expect to be reviewed later this month. With this newsletter, we urge you to bring this issue to the attention of your MP’s, and we provide a sample letter below for you to do so easily.
We find hope as Arabs and Jews joined in protest this week against the impending demolition of Umm al-Hiran and Atir. These joint villages have been slated for demolition for the sake of developing a Jewish town and forest in their ruins. We know that the village of Susiya was saved only through international attention and protest, so now is the time we must increase our support Umm el-Hiran. Please take 30 seconds to sign this petition. For reference, this poster from Adalah clearly contrasts the clear discrimination of the Um el-Hiran case. You can also find a letter from ICAHD UK’s Director which was recently published in the Guardian on the issue.
And finally, we draw attention to the growing awareness of Israeli violations amongst professional colleagues, and celebrate this open letter to the Society for Psychotherapy Research (SPR) as published in the Independent. Rejecting the SPR decision to host their annual conference in Jerusalem, over 300 mental health professionals clearly state:
“Israel’s policies in the Occupied Territories, including house demolitions, movement restrictions and imprisonment without trial, cause insecurity, despair, helplessness and humiliation. They create family tension, disrupted child attachment and widespread traumatisation. The calamitous impact of Israel’s Occupation on the psychological health of the Palestinians is well-documented”.