“P” is for Palestine

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The cover of “P is for Palestine,“ written by Golbarg Bashi and illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi. (image: Golbarg Bashi)

The American author wanted to write an ABC rhyme book with lots of references to the Holy Land and Palestinian culture. However, her book risks being overshadowed by a ruckus about an entry called “I is for Intifada.”

By Anat Rosenberg | Haaretz | Nov 20, 2017


“I wanted to write and publish a book that was greatly needed — a classic, playful and pedagogically sound ABC rhyme book with lots of references to the Holy Land (Christmas, Jesus Christ, Bethlehem, Nazareth), Palestinian food, dance, culture, and the geography, multiculturalism of the region.”
— Dr. Golbarg Bashi, professor of history at Pace University


Traditional children’s alphabet books have taught kids that “A is for Apple,” “B is for Boy,” and “C is for Cat.” But a new twist on the genre aims to teach kids the ABC’s of Palestinian culture.

The book, called “P is for Palestine,” was published last week and has quickly caused a stir among some Jewish parents in New York for teaching kids that “I is for Intifada.”

The author, Iranian-born Dr. Golbarg Bashi, promoted her book and a reading at a local bookstore in a post last week on a closed Facebook page for New York moms. Her post drew angry responses from women who called “P is for Palestine” anti-Semitic and anti-Israel propaganda, a charge Bashi denies.

“The charge of anti-Semitism is a very severe one and it is not something I take lightly,” she told Haaretz. “This is a book written from a place of love not a place of hatred. It is a book celebrating Palestinians and empowering their children without an iota of animus towards any other people — Israelis included.”

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How grassroots efforts moved Congress to action on the abuse of Palestinian children in military detention

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People take part in a demonstration of Palestinians living in Greece to mark the Palestinian Prisoners Day, in Thessaloniki, Greece, on Apr 21, 2017. (photo: Grigoris Siamidis / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The No Way to Treat a Child movement bears legislative fruit.

By Jennifer Bing | Truthout | Nov 15, 2017


The bill [introduced in] Congress this week is a significant step forward for all those who want to align our values with the actions — and aid monies — of our government. Now we need the rest of Congress to act by swiftly passing this breakthrough legislation. Looking at what has been accomplished since a small group of us sat at my kitchen table three years ago, agonizing over how to end these abuses, I know this vital change is possible.


Imagine you are a child between the ages of 12 and 17 years old. The army comes to your home in the middle of the night, wakes you from your bed, blindfolds you and ties your hands with plastic cuffs.

Your parents’ pleas do not stop the soldiers from roughly taking you and throwing you in their Jeep, never telling you or your parents what you are charged with or where you are going.

You arrive at a detention cell in an Israeli settlement where you are interrogated without a lawyer or family member present, and you are pressured to confess to throwing stones so you can go back home to your family. Once you sign the confession, written in a language you can’t read, you then face a military court hearing where a military judge sentences you to prison for three months, in a detention center in Israel where your family members are likely unable to visit.

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New legislation promoting human rights for Palestinian children

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An Israeli soldier detains a Palestinian boy during a protest against Jewish settlements in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah Aug 28, 2015. (photo: Reuters)

This legislation would prohibit US funding from supporting Israeli military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children.

Press Release / Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn) / Nov 14, 2017


“[We] strongly endorse Rep. Betty McCollum’s Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act. In order for the US to play a constructive role in bringing about a comprehensive and sustainable end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we must ensure we are not supporting the continued trauma inflicted on Palestinian youth entangled in the Israeli Military Detention system.”
— Churches for Middle East Peace

“Jewish tradition teaches that each and every single person has inherent dignity and worth and must be treated accordingly. This legislation recognizes and acts upon the inherent dignity and worth of Palestinian children and sends the message that the United States is committed to a future with freedom, safety, and equality for both Palestinians and Israelis.”
— Jewish Voices for Peace


Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) today introduced legislation — the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act — to prevent United States tax dollars from supporting the Israeli military’s ongoing detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children. The full text of the bill can be found here.

An estimated 10,000 Palestinian children have been detained by Israeli security forces and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system since 2000. Independent monitors such as Human Rights Watch have documented that these children are subject to abuse and, in some cases, torture — specifically citing the use of chokeholds, beatings, and coercive interrogation on children between the ages of 11 and 15. In addition, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has found that Palestinian children are frequently held for extended periods without access to either their parents or attorneys.

“This legislation highlights Israel’s system of military detention of Palestinian children and ensures that no American assistance to Israel supports human rights violations,” Congresswoman McCollum said. “Peace can only be achieved by respecting human rights, especially the rights of children. Congress must not turn a blind eye the unjust and ongoing mistreatment of Palestinian children living under Israeli occupation.”

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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

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(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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