TRIVIA WITH A CAUSE – FUNDRAISER

Date: Friday January 29, 2016

Time: 6pm for a 6.30 start

Location: Gumbramorra Hall, Addison Rd Community Centre, 142 Addison Rd, Marrickville 2204

Bookings at:
http://www.trybooking.com/JTUL
Early bird tickets tickets Waged $25/Unwaged $15 (available until January 20)
Standard Bookings/at the door Waged $30/Unwaged $20

Join us for a great night of fun, facts, games and fantastic food. Our fundraiser continues to support some of the most vulnerable communities in Hebron and its surrounds. We have pledged to support the wages of three teachers at the Tel Rumeida kindergarten in the closed Old City of Hebron, and to contiunue funding the Dkaika transport program that provides safe passage for young learners to school and young women to university.

 

 

 

 

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Humanitarian agencies salute the work of Human Rights Defenders in Hebron on the occasion of International Human Rights Day

Jerusalem, 10 December 2015

“UNRWA teachers, social workers and mental health counsellors across the West Bank are reporting extremely high levels of stress and trauma. If no action is taken an entire generation of children and youth will be lost. Their future must be restored.”

On the occasion of Human Rights Day, the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities, Robert Piper and a group of UN and NGO leaders visited Hebron this week to see first-hand the situation of human rights defenders in Hebron, as well as the obstacles to Palestinian children’s right to an education in a safe environment. During the visit, the delegation spent time in the Israeli-controlled areas of Hebron (H2). The delegation was briefed by organizations providing a ‘protective presence’ for Palestinians. As part of their work, these organizations monitor and document access at checkpoints and accompany children to and from schools in areas where they are subject to frequent settler harassment and violence.

James Heenan of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights recalled that human rights defenders have the right to pursue peaceful activities to protect the rights of others, and in turn to be protected in doing so. “The fact that these very people have themselves become a target is alarming,” he said. The visit also took them to Qurtuba school, where protective presence actors accompany some 100 children through check points to and from school every day. At the school, teachers reported that students these days are unable to concentrate and show signs of psychosocial distress and that they are terrified walking through checkpoints to and from school. Felipe Sanchez, Director of UNRWA Operations West Bank, confirmed this, saying “UNRWA teachers, social workers and mental health counsellors across the West Bank are reporting extremely high levels of stress and trauma. If no action is taken an entire generation of children and youth will be lost. Their future must be restored.”

In the current wave of violence, Hebron city has had the highest number of Palestinian casualties in a single locality in the oPt, and increased movement restrictions have affected access to services and places of work throughout the city. Of particular concern is the impact of the violence and the restrictions on the access of children to school due to checkpoints. 4,200 children pass through checkpoints on their way to and from school in Hebron every day. In this context, the reliance on protective presence actors has only become more acute. During this period, obstruction by settlers and Israeli Security Forces of international organizations and local groups attempting to provide a protective presence and documenting human rights violations has also increased. Staff of these organizations have been subjected to physical attacks, arrest, threats by settlers and anonymous death threats. Three of the four organizations providing protective presence have even been obliged to temporarily pull out of H2 at times in October as a result of the threats. Since 3 November, the implementation of a closed military zone in H2 has further prevented these organizations from doing their vital work. “Human rights defenders play a vital role in promoting human rights,” said Mr. Piper after the visit. “Protective presence organizations are on the front line of this work in the occupied Palestinian territory, embodying the support of the world community to the people of Hebron and defending the rights of Palestinian children, not least to a safe journey to and from school. They must be allowed to continue their work without violence, threats or retaliation.”

For more information, please contact Ms. Hayat Abu-Saleh at abusaleh@un.org or +972 54 33 11 816.

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AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): No safety for Palestinian children walking to school in Hebron

As the violence continues on the streets of Occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, we need to keep in mind, first and foremost, that what is occurring in the West Bank is not a reaction to an incident that happened a week ago, or two weeks ago. It is the ongoing resistance against the seizure and occupation of lands that started in 1948. The military occupation has been in place since 1967, and this short video is a reminder that the one key message that is consistently omitted from news broadcasts is the fact that Palestinians live under occupation.

The following account from the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron gives an account of the trauma and risk that students are facing, and the restrictions on their freedom of movement:

[The following release has been adapted for CPTnet. The original is available on CPT Palestine’swebsite.]

In the first ten days of October, Israeli forces fired more than 143 teargas canisters, as Palestinian children walked to and from school, as well as five stun grenades, from two military checkpoints (approximately 0.3 miles apart) in the H2 section of Hebron. On two of those ten days, Israeli forces also fired rubber-coated steel bullets into a crowd of children (one killed 13 year-old Ahmad Sharaka near Ramallah this week). Two Palestinian children in this area were hospitalised as a result of excessive teargas inhalation on their walk to school on 12.10.15.

In the past week, Israeli forces ambushed and arrested two boys aged 11 and 12 after school on 13.10.15 (see video and full account here). Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, states that child arrest is in clear violation of human rights law.

The presence of school children does nothing to deter the Israeli military from this relentless use of teargas, stun grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets, detention and arrest.  They are entirely preoccupied with a collection of those children, occupied, harassed and humiliated their entire lives, throwing stones at the heavily armed grown men occupying checkpoints and rooftops.

One Israeli Border Policeman recently told CPTers that the Israeli military supposedly “keeps the children safe”, and that “the little ones can go to the school safely.” Soon after, another Border Policeman fired a steel-coated rubber bullet into a crowd of small boys throwing stones at a soldier on an occupied rooftop who felt so little threat he was wearing no helmet. Meanwhile the day before a total of 81 teargas canisters had been fired in a similar scenario at this checkpoint (Qitoun). See video here.

Such military repression is far from abnormal in H2 Hebron. However, as physical and fatal violence has intensified in these tense first two weeks of October—during which 30 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, 1300 have been injured by live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets, with four Israelis killed and 67 injured by Palestinians.  Other forms of military repression have also increased, evident in the increased use of physical force and child arrest at school time.

In this context, the little ones, as young as the four-year-olds we walk to kindergarten– cannot walk to school safely as a Border Police man told a CPTer they could. In fact, one of our little friends we walk to kindergarten had to hold his jumper over his nose to avoid the sting of teargas as he left his home on Monday this week. Firing over 143 teargas canisters, five stun grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets and arresting minors is, however, supposedly the Israeli military’s approach to safety when it comes to Palestinian children.

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A Bird is not a Stone – an evening of poetry from Palestine

a-bird-is-not-a-stoneWhen:    6pm for 6:30 on Tuesday 21 July
Where:   The Bush Music Hut
@ Addison Road Centre
142 Addison Rd., Marrickville
Map:       http://tinyurl.com/o84o2p7

Contemporary Palestinian Poetry –  in five languages with introductions by Sarah Irving, editor of “A Bird is not a Stone”, the stunning new anthology of contemporary Palestinian poetry.
BOOKING ESSENTIAL: http://www.trybooking.com/IESZ
Tickets $10/$5 and special tickets for our keen supporters who want include a donation to support our education projects in Hebron.

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Education under occupation

The 25th of February marks the anniversary of the massacre that took place at the Ibrahimi Mosque, in 1994, where 29 Palestinians were shot dead, and another 129 were left wounded. The massacre was committed by a Jewish doctor – an immigrant from the United States and resulted in prolonged curfews, restrictions on movement for Palestinians, the closing of their shops and marketplaces, and a pattern of impunity for settler violence. Since then Israel has continued with its policy of punishing those who are being attacked.

The center of the city is deserted and in ruins. You have to visit there, repeatedly, in order to begin to understand not only how it looks but the understand the  impact of the 120 blockades and checkpoints that cut off abandoned streets in the middle in the centre of the Old City.

This video was made by the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel, documenting education under occupation through the eyes of some young students and teachers in Hebron.

 

 

 

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Trivia with a Cause

shuhadacelebhrHelp us raise money to support our education projects in Hebron and the surrounding areas.

Trivia Night, Fri 30 Jan: http://tinyurl.com/hebrontrivia15
Bookings: http://tinyurl.com/booktrivia2015

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Living in the path of settlers

There is a military watch box on the roof of the Shamsiya house, making the roof a closed military zone and the family is forbidden to access it. For security reasons the Israeli military will search the house on a regular basis. On Saturdays, there is a tour for settlers through Hebron and the settlers from the Tel Rumeida settlement walk past the Shamsiya house. They access the roof and have damaged the water tanks. They throw stones at the family below and their daughter was knocked unconscious after being hit by a rock thrown by a settler. The Israeli military do not stop the settlers from being on the roof. The family are part of the “shoot back” camera project, run by the Israeli Human Rights organisation B’tselem. Vulnerable families are given cameras to document attacks on them and their property.

In the following 9 minute film, Yuval Orr shows what the daily life is like for 15-year-old Awni Abu Shamsiya as he attempts to maintain some shred of normalcy in his hometown of Hebron.

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