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Not the Peace we Dreamt of… a Message from Gaza

May 2004

The following is a note from Ahmed Sourani, director of External Relations for the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC). PARC is one of the most important players in the Palestinian agricultural sector focusing on rural development, environmental protection, and strengthening women’s position in society in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In the aftermath of the Likud Party’s rejection of Ariel Sharon’s plan for Israel to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza, the IDF has stepped up its military actions in Gaza.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

First, I would like to thank many of you who called me for showing your kind solidarity and asking about PARC’s staff and the ongoing situations in Gaza.

Due to the very difficult situations in Gaza and mainly in the south of Gaza City “Zaytoon Quarter” where our main office is located, I can not do with you regular communications or responses at least during these days.

For the time being Zaytoon Quarter is totally invaded by the occupying Israeli army and many confrontations and clashes are there. Until this moment, many rooftops of high houses are occupied by the Israeli army.

The clashes and confrontations started in the early morning of Tuesday the 11th of May. 11 people were killed and more than 120 people were injured, 20 are badly injured with critical condition (among them children)…

About 50 agricultural dunums were damaged or demolished by Israeli bulldozers and tanks in the same area where agricultural orchards are being used to locate the Israeli tanks & machines.

Zaytoon Quarter is being shot now by heavy guns from Apache helicopters, at this moment and from were I live “north of Gaza City” I and my children are hearing the terrifying shooting of the Apaches!

An important part of Salah Eddin St. (the main street in Gaza Strip) was badly damaged and blocked, and at least 3 main agricultural roads were damaged in the same quarter. And according to the continuous strict curfew, neither farmers nor pupils or students can leave their homes.

Beside all that, Gaza Strip at the moment is totally closed and divided into 4 parts and tens of people were stocked at these Israeli barriers and check points.

We are trying to do our best and continue our work and services through our local farmers & rural youth’s gatherings and women’s clubs which are mostly located in the poor marginalized areas of Gaza Strip. We are very worried now about our main office in Zaytoon quarter which could be damaged or used !?…

Finally, I would like to say that such situations and attacks will add more oil to the fire and will only increase people’s frustration and socio-economic deterioration in Gaza Strip.

BUT we must do our best by hearts and actions to show strong solidarity and real support to any effort that is made to build real peace and real development for all in our region


All the best from PARC
Ahmed Sourani
Director of Relations & Cooperation

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