The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil,
but because of the people who don't do anything about it
Occupation magazine - Activism
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Save Khan al Ahmar - press Congress to take action!
There are so many good reasons not to demolish a village. Israel’s High
Court of Justice has set Wednesday, May 1st as the deadline for the State of
Israel to explain why the Palestinian Bedouin Village of Khan al Ahmar has
not yet been demolished. This is an especially good moment for Congress to
weigh-in, privately or publicly.
The following is what we ask, if your are an American citizen. If you are
not, but know some American(s) - please pass this on!
So, we ask of all Americans reading this: please take a moment to ask your
Senators and Congresspeople to call the Israeli Embassy and the US State
Department on your behalf.
Click Here to Email Congress Now
Your email enumerates the many good reasons to stop plans to demolish Khan
al Ahmar, and to urge recognition of this village`s own, really wonderful,
Then, take another minute today or on Monday morning, to please call them.
Call Representative Jared Huffman at (202) 225-5161, Senator Kamala D.
Harris at (202) 224-3553, and Senator Dianne Feinstein at (202) 224-3841.
When you call, ask to speak with the senior staff for foreign policy, and
ask them to make two calls on your behalf, to the Israeli Embassy and to the
U.S. State Department. Draw on the letter below (the template for the one
you`re emailing) to explain why their call is so important. Benjamin
Franklin said that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.` Well
that certainly applies here. Thanks for your help to assure the villagers of
Khan al Ahmar, and their wonderful school, a good future. Sincerely,
Donna Baranski-Walker Founder and Executive Director, Rebuilding Alliance
P.S. Here`s the template letter to your Senators and Representative. You are
welcome to make changes - click here to email if you haven`t done so
already. Please draw on this when you make your call:
As your constituent, I’m writing to urge you to take urgent action, TODAY,
to prevent demolition of the Palestinian Bedouin refugee village of Al Khan
al Ahmar and its famous school. Specifically, I ask you to make two calls on
my behalf: to the State Department and the Israeli Embassy to express
Israel’s High Court of Justice has set Wednesday, May 1st as the deadline
for the State of Israel to explain why Al Khan al Ahmar has not yet been
demolished. Here are some of the many good reasons:
Khan al Ahmar village worked with the best planning experts in Israel and
the West Bank to develop its own master plan and it’s a good one. Their eco-
village, built to code, would be a source of pride, providing fresh goats’
milk and cheese to the neighborhood.
The Planning Committee has no Palestinian representation and the village`s
plan still awaits review. Judge Melcer at the High Court confirmed that the
village’s master plan was rejected by the head of the Planning Committee in
violation of standard zoning plan review procedure. Instead of allowing the
Judea and Samaria Planning Committee to review the plan, it went to the
chairman of the appeals committee where it was dismissed without reviewed,
thus barring any appeal.
Not committing a war crime is the best reason not to; Without grazing
access, huge impoverishment and denial of rights result. Women are
The people of Al Khan al Ahmar have been there since the ‘50s, well before
the Israeli settlements surrounding them. The land, which they lease,
belongs to Palestinians in the town of Anata and is not State land (hence
the temp appropriation orders issued by the IDF for roads in the area);
Their culture is of desert. They have much to teach their neighbors in this
time as temperatures rise throughout the region and desertification
increases. Demolition leads to disintegration of a rich and valuable
The 174 children attending Khan al Ahmar`s famous school (made of compressed
earth and tires) began their school year on July 16th as scheduled. They
safely cross the desert hills from four villages to attend. Sadly their
school is one of more than 42 Palestinian schools in the West Bank’s Area C
that have been issued demolition or stop work orders by the Israeli
government, in violation of International Law.
Demolition of this peaceful village undermines prospects for a peaceful
resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and recklessly endangers
Israeli and regional security.
Please make your calls to the Israeli Embassy and the State Department as
soon as you receive my letter. The State Department has called this an
internal matter, but because the Israeli High Court noted that the village’s
own master plan was improperly reviewed, please ask the State Dept. to press
Please urge fair review and approval of Khan al Ahmar`s master plan and say
that the villagers should be permitted to remain. Please get back to me with
confirmation that you made these calls on my behalf and let me know their
I write with gentle greetings to offer an opportunity for hope, an immediate
way to help, and more opportunities to help, soon.
Not long ago, in February, Rebuilding Alliance brought Palestinian children
to speak to Congress. Our #ICareAboutPeace Congressional Briefing was
sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein. In a private discussion with the
Senator’s staff, the child from Gaza fell into tears, asking, “What about
Gaza?” Unfortunately, the reality is that there will be no change in the
foreseeable future. There is no way to restore U.S. aid. *
No government — not ours, not anyone’s — should ever build policy that
results in the hunger or neglect of children. When that happens, it is up to
us to take action. As Americans who care deeply about human rights, justice,
and the safety of children, how can we help when our government won’t?
Time and again, Rebuilding Alliance ‘starts small and starts where it
counts’ — and when it comes to Gaza, we have been asked by our team and
partners in Gaza to “Focus on projects that provide jobs, and find ways to
deliver food first, then clothes, light, and housing.”
At the end of March, we brought a Gaza Trade and Aid Delegation to meet with
54 members of Congress (including 23 Republicans) to ask their help to open
the blockade in particular and immediate ways — they listened and promised
to make calls to help. Now we`re working through the details to open the
blockade to bring Gaza fresh herbs to New York City. Why? Because 150
people, mostly women, would have jobs.
There are many ways to help. Start here:
Bid Now on the Gaza in Color Art Auction. When last in Gaza, I met with and
carried out paintings by six Gaza artists. Together with the artists, we’ve
opened an online art auction to bring the Gaza in Color: Stories from Behind
the Wall to you. The auction will close at 9pm Pacific time on May 2nd. New
works are arriving by mail from Gaza each day, so be sure to scroll all the
way to the bottom to see and bid — and share the Auction on Facebook to
Join us, virtually or in-person, for a Dinner to Celebrate Gaza in Color
Artists on Thursday, May 2nd with the wonderful people of Sacramento when
we’ll close the auction. The artists will pop-in by teleconference, and you
can join in via Facebook Live, starting at 7pm Pacific time. We’ll fill the
trees with solar lights to send a #GazaLightMessage. Please Buy a dinner
ticket if you`re nearby, or join us on Facebook to attend virtuallyvia
Global Giving Competition: Donate now to Build an Inclusive Just Climate
Community in Gaza. This remarkable project was selected by Global Giving to
compete for a year- year-long slot in the GlobalGiving Climate Fund. The two
projects with most donors will automatically win a place in the fund, so
please Give Now — we`ll need 200 donations (large or small) by Monday April
29th at 4pm Eastern time to secure this opportunity.
We`re scheduling our next Congressional Staff Leadership Learning Mission to
Jerusalem and the West Bank for the week of Saturday, June 29 through July
6th. This will be after Ramadan, and just after the President`s Peace Plan
is made public — an important time to go.
Expect an Action Alert very soon to ask your help to press your members of
Congress to intervene to keep the Palestinian Bedouin Village of Khan al
Ahmer safe from forced relocation. The Khan al Ahmar Villagers developed an
inspired Master Plan that went overlooked by the Israeli government — your
calls to Congress can still help keep them standing.
Helping Children in Need
My team and I have been working non-stop to develop the details of a food**
and clothing program for Ramadan to help Gaza`s children. We`ll launch the
program in the next few days. If you would like to partner with us to bring
this Ramadan opportunity to your community, please hit `Reply` to reach me
Because of my three visits to Gaza in the past year, seeing hunger, I bear
the challenge of the messenger. Please join us to take action and please
continue to find ways to share our common humanity in these dangerous times.
May the Gaza in Color art, give you joy.
Donna Baranski-Walker Founder and Executive Director, Rebuilding Alliance
P.S. Two of Rebuilding Alliance`s papers were selected for presentation at
the Rights Con Human Rights in the Digital Age Conference in Tunisia in
June! If our work is of value to you, please give now to support Rebuilding
Alliance, Click Here.
Earlier this month, Senator Feinstein joined six other Senators, all
Democrats, to cosponsor S. RES. 171: Expressing the sense of Congress
regarding restoring United States bilateral assistance to the West Bank and
Gaza. It is worth a try to press Congress to restore aid, but all recognize
that if the President chooses not to disburse it, it won`t matter.
The cut in US aid is so staggeringly big — and Palestinian children in the
West Bank and Gaza are going hungry. What exactly is the impact of cuts in
US funding for food for Palestinians? Raed at Global Communities explained
that they are no longer distributing any US funded food in West Bank at all.
They had been distributing food to 197,000 families as part of the World
Food Program through a USAID contract. That’s now cut to only 93,000
families and only in Gaza. 60,000 at-risk families in the West Bank are now
without US food aid. In Gaza, 44,000 families are going without US food aid.
The World Food Program asked other countries to fill the gap.
Gaza families need our help. The Palestinian Authority had been providing a
social affairs grant of $400 every 3 months to at-risk families in Gaza.
They ended this program five months ago — and now, there is no safety net at
all. Rebuilding Alliance, through our NGO partners is being asked to help
extreme cases. I think there`s a way to create an Emergency Response fund,
in full accordance with US law, to offer specific, measurable ways to help.
I look forward to sharing more in the days and weeks to come.
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