Sunday, June 28, 2009

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

Event organizers announce guest speakers

UPDATE ON CONDITIONS IN GAZA -

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


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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

> EVENT FLYER (Adobe PDF, 3.5 MB size) | PRESS RELEASE (HTML)

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

> NOT ATTENDING THE EVENT? Send a CHECK MADE PAYABLE to: Viva Palestina USA – IFCO

MAS Office

10107 W. 105th Street

Overland Park KS 66212

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