The Dovekeeper and the Children’s Intifada

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Ahmed Manasra being escorted into a courtroom in Jerusalem, in October, 2015. (photo: Ahmad Gharabli / AFP / Getty)

How a thirteen-year-old boy in Jerusalem became a Rorschach blot for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

By Geraldine Brooks / The New Yorker
May 27, 2017


“Our children don’t have normal childhoods. From the minute they open their eyes they wake into a reality of checkpoints, soldiers, settlers insulting their mom. They see the news from Gaza, children like them, bombed and homeless. They hear about a boy their age, burned alive by Israelis. They are sad and afraid. It’s not a healthy environment.”


Their plans were quite precise: they wouldn’t attack women, or the elderly, or children like themselves. Their targets, they agreed, would be men in their late teens and early twenties — young men of military age. All this was settled between them before they left the house. Hassan Manasra, fifteen, took a carving knife from his mother’s kitchen, but his cousin Ahmed, thirteen, couldn’t find the long, daggerlike knife he’d intended to use for his weapon. It took him a while, but finally he located it, concealed in a cupboard, where his father had hidden it for safekeeping.

The Manasras live in a compound of multifamily homes occupying almost an entire block in the Jerusalem hillside neighborhood of Beit Hanina. In the shared courtyard, half a dozen bicycles of various sizes are propped against a tree or lie in the dirt by the tall entry gate. Ten brothers and their families share the compound, and the children move fluidly through each other’s apartments, which are furnished rather formally: prints of alpine landscapes, velvet-covered sofas, lacy tablecloths. They’re the homes of a modestly prosperous clan whose breadwinners owned a grocery store, or work in trades or in transportation. Until October 12, 2015, Hassan and Ahmed followed the same schedule as all the school-age cousins in the household: go to class, come home, eat, change clothes, and then go play in an area that their uncles had cleared for them on the unused land beneath the highway overpass that separates Beit Hanina from the adjacent neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev. Sometimes the cousins played soccer, but Hassan and Ahmed particularly enjoyed training for parkour; the concrete pylons and grassy embankments under the highway were ideal for practicing vaults and tumbles.

The highway divides two East Jerusalem neighborhoods — the House of Hanina and the Peak of Ze’ev — that face each other across a shallow valley. Both are long-settled places. Beit Hanina was home to a few farming families as early as Canaanite times; in Pisgat Ze’ev, excavations have uncovered ritual baths from the Second Temple period. Both neighborhoods have seen tremendous population growth since 1967, when Israel captured this territory from Jordan in the Six-Day War. Now the busy highway is all that marks the division between the Palestinian neighborhood and the Jewish one. Pisgat Ze’ev is the last stop on the Jerusalem tramline, Beit Hanina the second-to-last. Residents of the two neighborhoods live cheek by jowl, yet they inhabit two different worlds.

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Feeding Malnourished Children in Gaza

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Abdullah and his family at Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza. (photo: ABM)

The Australian Anglican Board of Mission is supporting treatment of children with malnourishment and anemia.

By Anglican Communion News Service
May 16, 2017


“All families are grateful for the program. Many mothers were shy when speaking to me, but their concern or happiness comes across in their facial expressions and gestures. One mother, Tahreer, said her two year old boy had improved a little after completing the program. She would like him to go for a second round of treatment so that he could continue to improve.”
— Dr, Julianne Stewart, ABM Programs Director


Since the 2014 bomb attacks, Australian Anglican Board of Mission (ABM) partner, the Al Ahli Arab Hospital (a medical facility of the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem), has continued to help children restore and maintain their health. Parents and children are benefiting from this assistance in Beit Hanoun, a poor area of Gaza, near the Israeli border. People there were very hard hit in the 2014 bomb attacks.

The Child Nutrition Program seeks to build health profiles for children and help families that are struggling to cope. Over the course of three months, children are given a medical assessment by an expert pediatrician and a program of nutritional supplements is developed. The hospital provides the necessary supplements and monitors the children for signs of improvement. Dr. Julianne Stewart, ABM’s Programs Director, visited the Gaza Strip last year and met with some of the families that have been supported by the hospital.

On her journey, Julianne met with three year old Abdullah. Abdullah completed the program and is doing well according to the social workers and his mother. His mother Hyat is just 34 years old and has nine children under 18. Abdullah is the youngest. Hyat said, “Abdullah is doing well. I thank God he has improved. We give him his vitamins, enhanced milk, and food parcels from the Ahli. He is 12kg now.”

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A 5-year-old with PTSD: the reality of deportation policies

BORDER CHILDREN

(image: Nancy Ohanian / Op-Art)

I have seen firsthand the devastating impact our current immigration policy has on the psychological, emotional and physical well-being of my patients and their children.

By Michael McNeil / The Seattle Times
February 24, 2017


These children suffer developmentally and educationally. They cannot access basic services such as early intervention, meal assistance or other government programs because their parents fear detection and deportation, even though a large proportion of these children are actually born in the United States and qualify for these programs.


You may have read about the deportation of a woman who had been living in Arizona for more than 20 years. She was well known to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and had been compliant in her regular check-ins. Left in the wake of her deportation are her husband and two children. My place as a pediatrics resident is not to argue the legality of our immigration policy. However, I can discuss the impact that these policies and procedures have on the children who pay the consequences of our current system.

I work at a health clinic in South Seattle, where the majority of patients are immigrants from Mexico and Central America. Recently, I had a 5-year-old come to my office whose mother was complaining that he was urinating on himself at home and at school. She also reported episodes of inconsolable crying and outbursts of rage, including kicking and punching other children. Upon further questioning, it was discovered that all of his symptoms started the week after his father was arrested in front of him and deported to Mexico. I was diagnosing a 5-year old with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

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Children Protesting Trump’s Immigration Ban

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Meryem Yildirim, 7, left, sitting on the shoulders of her father, Fatih, and Adin Bendat-Appell, 9, sitting on the shoulders of his father, Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Apell, protesting President Donald Trump’s immigration and refugee order at O’Hare International Airport, Jan 30, 2017. (photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)

The story behind the viral photo of Muslim and Jewish children protesting at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.

By Vikki Ortiz Healy / Chicago Tribune
February 1, 2017


“Our tradition is not ambiguous about remembering our history for the sake of acting out in this world today.”
— Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Apell


A Muslim and a Jewish father had never met before bringing their children to O’Hare International Airport Monday to join in a protest of President Donald Trump’s immigration ban. But after a photograph showing their son and daughter interacting went viral, they decided to bring their families together next week for dinner to celebrate peace.

As of midday Tuesday, the photograph taken by Chicago Tribune photographer Nuccio DiNuzzo and shared on Twitter by @ChiTribPhoto had been retweeted by other Twitter users more than 16,000 times. The two fathers said they have fielded calls from friends, acquaintances and national news outlets wanting to hear their story.

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USAID Awards $800,000 TO Kids4Peace

Funding the Interfaith Jerusalem Initiative will expand the pro-peace community to 288 new families in the Jerusalem area

Kids4Peace and USAID
October 13, 2016


“In these difficult days, we are providing a place where youth from both sides of the conflict can meet each other, find a partner for peace, and take charge of their future.”


Kids4Peace is excited to announce a two-year, $800,000 cooperative agreement with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to strengthen and expand the constituency for peace in Jerusalem.

The Interfaith Jerusalem Project will connect youth and parents from East and West Jerusalem, and neighboring West Bank communities in programs that foster civic involvement, celebrate the religious diversity of Jerusalem, and encourage key populations to support a pro-peace agenda.

Project activities include cross-border dialogue groups; workshops about parenting youth in the midst of conflict; community service projects, and town hall meetings that connect youth with community leaders. Kids4Peace will also host community events during religious holidays and facilitate opportunities for Jewish and Arab residents of Jerusalem to visit each other’s homes.

“We are grateful to USAID for this opportunity to strengthen and grow the pro-peace community in Jerusalem,” said Fr. Josh Thomas, International Executive Director of Kids4Peace. “In these difficult days, we are providing a place where youth from both sides of the conflict can meet each other, find a partner for peace, and take charge of their future.” [Continue reading here . . . ]