Our concern is that this hopeless situation, with no sign of political solution, is leading to a feeling of helplessness. For some this leads to a quiet, unreported depression; a living dejection. Or, most shockingly, it is seen in impromptu acts of violence. The recent trend has been lone wolf knife attacks, sometimes seriously injuring soldiers or security workers, and more often than not leading to the - predominantly young - attackers’ death.
Why This Is Needed
There is such brilliance, dignity and ingenuity among the Palestinian people. They have the potential to live life to the fullest degree, as we all do. Yet, unlike us, the people of Palestine have been living under military occupation for so long that they have no experience of what could be described as a normal way of life; most of them have been born into an existence which is affected in every sphere by military control, from birth to death.
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The roll call of disturbing and often tragic events on a day-to-day basis is long and shocking: people do die at checkpoints while their ambulance is held back; women do give birth while waiting at a road blocked by the military; livelihoods are curtailed by stringent imports and exports; work permits are often cancelled, suddenly, and with no explanation.
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Add to that the long term strategies and out-of-date or illegal policies and legislation that serve to undermine and suppress a healthy and hopeful lifestyle: farm lands and orchards are constantly appropriated by ever-expanding settlements; natural water sources are drained (only to be sold back at heavily marked up prices - the water in the West Bank is many times the price in Tel Aviv)1; the means of legal and reasonable growth of Palestinian towns and villages are strangled by the dictates of the Oslo Accords (which were never meant to last so long), leading to house demolitions.2
We wish to contribute to a sense of direction, purpose, and meaning for all the people of Palestine. We want them to feel valued and respected, and this means that, in practice, we wish to give them a chance to take their place in the world. Palestinians in general attribute great importance to education, not only as a means to increase and improve employability and living standards, but also as a way to support and strengthen Palestinian identity and culture, and as a means of continuing the work for Palestinian independence. Research shows that, despite economic hardship, households continue to prioritise investing in higher education for their members.3
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