Sunday, June 28, 2009

“Viva Palestina” fundraiser will provide a lively and timely update on Gaza humanitarian relief efforts

Event organizers announce guest speakers


In December 2008, Israel began a military campaign that caused over 5300 Palestinian deaths or injuries, nearly half of the casualties were women and children. Thirteen Israelis were killed, including three civilians. 35,000 Palestinians were forced to flee their homes. 4000 Palestinian homes were destroyed in the 22 days of attacks. Mona El-Farra, a Palestinian physician and human rights/women’s rights activist, wrote one week after the attacks that “medical staff and people still shell-shocked although cars and people on the streets again but all people have the memories of the events of 20 days bombardment, charred bodies and probably no family is intact.”

The Israeli blockade of Gaza continues today. The stranglehold of Gaza threatens the lives, livelihood, and human dignity of 1.4 million people by severely limiting basic goods and supplies from being transported to Gaza. Human Rights Watch calls the blockade “collective punishment of the civilian population.”

In March, in a bold move, Viva Palestina, a British grassroots organization along with George Galloway led a convoy of 100 vehicles to donate $2 million worth of humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.

Since that time, UK and EU lawmakers, as well as former US president Jimmy Carter have met with Hamas leaders in Gaza. "I don't believe there is any possibility to have peace between Palestinians and Israel unless Hamas is involved directly, with Fatah,” Carter said.

While we can be optimistic that international partners will alleviate the human catastrophe through aid programs, many basic food and medical supplies remain in severe shortage due to the blockade. Viva Palestina USA will shortcut this blockade by delivering medical supplies to health professionals, charities and grassroots non-governmental organizations working in Gaza.

GUEST SPEAKERS at Viva Palestina Fundraiser in Overland Park, Kansas -

Your generous donation at the Viva Palestina fundraising event on Thursday, July 2 in Overland Park is an important gesture to Palestinians. The following speakers will be part of the event, providing first-hand reports on conditions in Gaza, sharing activities for ending the siege, and, most importantly, raising funds for humanitarian relief.

  • George Galloway is a British Member of Parliament for the London constituency. He was first elected to Parliament for the City of Glasgow in Scotland in 1987. He has been elected five times to the House of Commons and is now one of the more senior members. For fourteen out of fifteen years he was the elected Senior Vice Chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party's Foreign Affairs Committee. The exception was the year 1991 during the Gulf War when he was narrowly defeated.

    He is a founder of the Stop the War Coalition UK and is currently its Vice-President. The Stop The War Coalition mobilized two million people to protest against the war on Iraq (the largest demonstration of people in British history).

    In response to the Israeli attacks on Gaza, Galloway organized the Viva Palestina aid convoy to the Gaza Strip. Raising over $2 million-worth of humanitarian aid in four weeks, Galloway and hundreds of volunteers launched the convoy comprising approximately 120 vehicles intended for use in the Strip, including a fire engine, 12 ambulances, a boat and trucks full of medicines, tools, clothes, blankets and gifts for children. The 5,000-mile route passed through Belgium, France, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.[Wikipedia]
  • Imam Mahdi Bray is a long time civil and human rights activist currently serving as the Executive Director of MAS Freedom (MASF), the Washington, D.C.-based civic and human rights advocacy entity of the Muslim American Society (MAS).
  • Dr. Mohamed Odah is a principal professional engineer and founder of a highly respected environmental engineering firm, based in Overland Park, Kansas. Dr. Odah developed and patented engineering technologies that are implemented worldwide and is a frequent speaker at major national and international engineering conferences. Dr. Odah earned his Ph.D. at UMKC and his M.S. and B.S. in engineering at the University of Kansas.

    Dr. Odah grew up in Gaza and arrived at KU after finishing high school and has been a resident of the Kansas City area for almost 30 years. His family, including his 89 years old mother whom he has not been able to visit in 6 years despite several attempts, continues to reside in Gaza.
  • Mohammed Atwa is a Kansas City resident with Palestinian family members in Gaza. He spoke about his family recently on KKFI-FM 90.1 radio. Mr. Atwa’s mother lives in Gaza, while his brother is a journalist for Ramattan, the only news organization reporting live on events in the Gaza Strip during the Israeli attacks. Mr. Atwa grew up and studied in Gaza, and works with Arava Institute, an environmental education school in Israel. Mr. Atwa spoke at the CJME Gaza fundraiser in January 2009.

Given the Israeli government’s unwillingness to allow humane levels of supplies to pass to Gaza, as well as US government reluctance to provide assistance, the challenge for American citizens is to make financial donations to humanitarian relief through organizations like Viva Palestina USA.

Please give generously!

Citizens for Justice in the Middle East


For more information on the July 2 fundraising event use any of the following resources.

> WEB: Read more on Kansas City / Viva Palestina Fundraiser

> CALL 816-213-3022 or 816-729-9102

> FACEBOOK: Signup for event on Facebook

> TWITTER: Follow Viva Palestina event


> MORE on Viva Palestina-US and George Galloway web site


MAS Office

10107 W. 105th Street

Overland Park KS 66212

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Viva Palestina Fundraiser on July 2 is opportunity for KC residents to send medical relief to Gaza

British MP George Galloway and Mahdi Bray headline Kansas City Viva Palestina Fundraiser

KANSAS CITY, MO – Several area peace and justice groups – Muslim American Society (MAS) Freedom, Citizens for Justice in the Middle East, Citizens for Peace and Justice in the Holy Land (Lee's Summit, MO), American Friends Service Committee-KC, Peaceworks—KC, and American Muslims for Palestine – are proud to join hands for a large fundraiser event for medical relief for Palestinans. The event will feature British Member of Parliament George Galloway (see photo), MAS Freedom executive director and civil rights activist Mahdi Bray, and local speakers.

The fundraising event will be held on Thursday, July 2, 2009 at 6:30 pm at the Overland Park Marriott hotel in Grand Ballroom E located at 10800 Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park, Kansas. There is no charge to attend the event, but organizers are hoping event participants will give generously.

Hosting a stop on the fundraiser tour of Viva Palestina is a privilege for Kansas City area residents. Other stops on the tour have included San Diego, Chicago, Anaheim, Houston, New York, Chicago, and Denver. The event will give area residents an opportunity to make a direct impact towards breaking the nearly two-year Israeli blockade on Gaza.

Over $4000 was raised at Kansas City event in January to assist the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) to overcome the effects of the 23-day siege of Gaza, which left 1400 Palestinians dead, mostly women and children.

Despite a faltering U.S. economy that has impacted your savings and jobs, many of you generously made a financial donation at the January event. Citizens for Justice in the Middle East and Overland Park fundraiser event organizers are hoping you will come out to the July 2 event, one of the last events before the Viva Palestina convoy departs New York for Egypt on July 4. The convoy will take 500 vehicles and $10 million in humanitarian aid from Egypt to Gaza.

The July 2 event in Overland Park promises to be a lively, sober update of the current events in Gaza, along with an update on relief efforts. Your financial contribution at the event is not only an important step to relieve the suffering of people in Gaza, but also acknowledges an Israeli-Palestinian peace resolution is the cornerstone of a Middle East transformation.

Matt Quinn
Citizens for Justice in the Middle East


For more information on the July 2 fundraising event use any of the following resources.

> WEB: Read more on Kansas City / Viva Palestina Fundraiser

> CALL 816-213-3022 or 816-729-9102

> FACEBOOK: Signup for event on Facebook

> TWITTER: Follow Viva Palestina event


> MORE on Viva Palestina-US and George Galloway web site


Gaza Background: While news and reports on the Gaza crisis have disappeared from major news media, there are several reports available that reveal the severe impact of the continuing siege on Palestinians in Gaza. Here are two recent reports.

Health Effects on Children of Gaza Crisis Worsening

The World Health Organization reported that more than 10% of children in Israeli-besieged Gaza ‘chronically malnourished’.

Rising poverty, unemployment and food insecurity in Gaza, compounded by the recent 23-day Israeli offensive, have increased the threat of child malnutrition, say UN agencies, health ministry officials and healthcare NGOs in Gaza.

UN World Health Organization (WHO) officials are concerned by the warning signs, including rising malnutrition indicators - like increased cases of stunting, wasting and underweight children - and continuing high rates of anaemia among children and pregnant women.

Over the past 18 months the agricultural sector has been struggling to cope with an Israeli blockade on imports and exports, causing lower productivity and reducing access to affordable fresh food, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“There was a rise in anaemia amongst children in our centres in 2008 and [this is] continuing,” said Adnan al-Wahaidi, director of Ard al-Insan Benevolent Association in Gaza, the main healthcare NGO supporting an estimated 16,000 undernourished children.

“Women with children who are underweight or wasting have been coming to the centres in greater numbers over the last few months; many of their husbands died during the recent conflict or are unemployed.”

314 children were killed and at least 860 wounded as a result of the Gaza conflict since it began on 27 December. (Al Mezan).

Still today, children and babies are dying in conditions that no human should have to endure, let alone a child. Handicap International estimates that up to 55 percent of people injured (including about 450 children) have sustained injuries that are so severe that without proper rehabilitation, they will likely result in permanent disability and/or death. (OCHA)

< Read more >

Health conditions worsening in Gaza as borders remain closed

The deteriorating health situation in Gaza has been intensified by Israel’s blockade of crossings into the area, the United Nations agency tasked with assisting Palestinian refugees warned today. – UN agency – 22 May 2009.

According to the agency’s latest health report, some 4,000 medical items per day on average could cross into Gaza before the conflict, whereas only 40 items are currently allowed to be imported daily.

< Read more >