ACTION: SUPPORT AL-AWDA, A GREAT ORGANIZATION AND CAUSE!
Posted by: "Zahi Damuni" firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Sun Dec 14, 2008 1:26 pm ((PST))
Dear Friends and Supporters
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition needs your support! We call on you to help implement the right of Palestinians to return to their homes and land of origin.
Al-Awda was founded in the year 2000 at a time when there was heightened anxiety among Palestinians in relation to the so-called final status negotiations. The concern was that PLO leaders could be pressured to abandon advocacy for the right of Palestinians to return to their homes and lands in the pursuit of a "settlement" with the Zionist state. Palestinians continue to be under intensified attack in the homeland and elsewhere ...
The sacrifices of our sisters and brothers in the homeland are now greater than ever:
1. The genocidal two-year siege of the Gaza Strip by the Zionist occupation has escalated to horrific proportions. The attacks on our people in the West Bank have continued unabated. For example, in al-Khalil (Hebron) the state-armed colonial settler movement has escalated its attacks against the unarmed Palestinian population. Jerusalem is becoming further fractured by plans to build even more 'Jewish Only' enclaves.
2. The Zionist state is trying to empty the old town of Akka and Ajami district of Yaffa of their Palestinian Arab residents. Additionally, Palestinian villages in the southern Naqab region are being systematically destroyed.
3. The situation of Palestinians in the refugee camps in Lebanon has continued to deteriorate and funding for the work of The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has been cut back. Nahr El-Bared refugee camp, home to more than 30,000 Palestinians in Lebanon, has yet to be rebuilt.
4. 3000 Palestinians remain stranded, many in their fourth year, in makeshift camps on the Iraq/Syria borders. These Palestinians are among 15,000 who left Iraq as a direct consequence of harassment, intimidation, torture, and murder since the US occupation began in 2003.
At the political level, there has been another disturbing development. In September of this year, Mahmoud Abbas, current president of the "Palestinian Authority", suggested that he would be willing to 'negotiate' away the bedrock of more than 60 years of struggle: the inalienable right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands of origin. Most recently, the Palestinian Authority placed ads in "Israeli" newspapers that reiterated the authority's 'negotiating' plan, conspicuously diminishing mention of the Right of Return!
The Work of Al-Awda
Refugee Support: Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, has maintained a program to provide humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees. We continue to raise funds to provide medical and other needed supplies to our besieged people in the Gaza Strip. We have provided donated funds to support the work of the Ibdaa Health Committee in Deheisha Refugee Camp in the West Bank. We have funded several scholarships for Palestinian students from the refugee camps. The first refugee support project that Al-Awda undertook, and which has been restarted recently, included donated computers and medicines that were delivered by Al-Awda members to Palestinians camps in Lebanon. To our knowledge, Al-Awda is today the only non-profit 501C3 registered organization in the US that has provided material and financial support to Palestinians currently stranded in al-Tanaf and al-Waleed make shift camps located on Iraq's borders with Syria.
Annual Conventions: As part of our educational and organizing programs, Al-Awda has held an annual convention for members and supporters since 2003. The most recent convention, which was co-hosted by thirty national and local organizations, was our most successful to date. It marked the sixtieth year of the Nakba and Struggle to Return, and, in total, drew about 1200 participants including well known activists, speakers and authors.
Actions and Statements: As in previous years, over the past year Al-Awda has issued a significant number of action alerts, statements and announcements. As part of our educational work locally and nationally, Al-Awda organized teach-ins, workshops, demonstrations and other events, as well as educational write-in campaigns to the media and US congressional representatives and senators. Al-Awda also acted as the primary fiscal sponsor of a major Peace Festival in San Francisco on May 10, 2008.
Al-Awda National Center: A major focus of our work over the past two years has been to institutionalize our work with a view to professionalize, promote and facilitate activism related to Al-Awda's mission and goals. We opened our first national center at the end of 2006. We have been able to hire one part-time staff member, and more recently the executive committee appointed, on an interim basis, the first executive director of our organization. We are well on the way to implementing our goals for a professional functioning center, and have hosted a significant number of local, regional and national meetings and events this past year. Events have included lectures, round-table discussions, media and refugee support workshops, film showings and cultural events. We have also hosted general and specialized meetings and community celebrations at the Center.
A Palestine Media Center has been established at Al-Awda's National Center. The goal of this Center is to disseminate information relevant to Palestinian rights through available outlets including the press. Together with the international Media Center committee, Al-Awda's Media Center has, to date, helped produce and disseminate six issues of Until Return, Al-Awda's newsletter. A goal of the center is to produce a weekly film for cable television. With your support, this is attainable since the media center has already produced several independent educational films and facilitated the production of others (e.g., the production of films from the Tanaf makeshift camp about the residents, their personal stories, and current conditions).
Al-Awda Educational Resource Center/Palestine Library: Al-Awda's Educational Resource Center continues to grow. In addition to extending our collection of over two hundred books that have thus far been gathered either directly or by donation, we are also developing a magazines and film archive to add to our educational resources.
Chapters: This past year Al-Awda saw the founding of a strong new chapter in Phoenix Arizona and continued growth in California with new chapters established in Sacramento, Riverside and San Bernardino. Existing chapters such as those in San Diego, Los Angeles and Orange County have experienced remarkable and sustained growth in their membership and activism. Student participation has also increased significantly with a number of Al-Awda student coordinators from various campuses elected to local chapter boards. We anticipate additional growth in our chapters over the next few years.
The Challenges Ahead ...
Our principles have not changed but the challenges to those of us living in forced exile from our homeland, and to those who support us, are greater than they have ever been. Our task continues to be to provide comprehensive public education on the rights of all Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands of origin, and to full restitution of all their confiscated and destroyed property in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International law and United Nations Resolutions upholding such rights. We are all called upon to make greater efforts than ever before. We depend on your support to continue our work!
Here's How You Can Help Us Continue and Spread the Reach of Al-Awda's Work
1. Join Al-Awda's monthly or annual sustainer program: 100 subscribers each at just $10 dollars per month will assure us $12,000 per year to pay for part time office staff to help us maintain and develop our Media Center and Educational Resource Center, and keep track of our refugee aid projects in the homeland and beyond.
2. Any other monthly or annual sustainer amount of your own choosing.
3. A one-time contribution.
To become a Monthly Sustainer, go to: http://www.al-awda.org/sustainers.html
To become an Annual Sustainer, go to: http://www.al-awda.org/sustainers2.html
To make a One-Time Contribution, click on the PayPal Donate button at: http://www.al-awda.org/donate.html - Alternatively, you can address your check or money order to PRRC, PO Box 131352, Carlsbad CA 92013, USA
Please note you can also help Al-Awda online by Shopping for a Donation at our website. We offer a variety of educational materials including interesting and unique books on everything from oral histories, photo books on Palestinian refugees, to autobiographies, narratives, political analysis, and culture. We also have historical maps of Palestine (in Arabic and English), educational films, flags of various sizes, and colorful greeting cards created by Palestinian children. We also offer great looking T-shirts, caps, pendants, and a variety of Palestine pins. To view our entire selection, see http://al-awdacal.org/shop.html
Thank You for Your Support.
We depend on it!
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
PO Box 131352
Carlsbad, CA 92013, USA
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition (PRRC) is the largest network of grassroots activists and students dedicated to Palestinian human rights. We are a not for profit tax-exempt educational and charitable 501(c)(3) organization as defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the United States of America. Under IRS guidelines, your donations to PRRC are tax-deductible.