As we are sure you know, two million Palestinians have been living in Gaza under a draconian siege for 14 years, and Gaza is often referred to as the world largest open air prison. The siege and successive Israeli military attacks have destroyed the Gaza economy and much of its infrastructure, including hospitals and farm lands, further limiting access to food and basic health services. Unemployment in Gaza is at 45% and the United Nations has concluded that Gaza is becoming increasingly unlivable. All this was before the coronavirus crisis hit Gaza.
As we write this, 17 people in Gaza have already tested positive for COVID-19 and there is now a great fear that the infection will spread rapidly in this most densely populated place on earth. As in other countries, the coronavirus crisis has brought all economic activities to a halt; many families that were dependent on wages of employed family members to purchase food and necessities have lost that income and joined the swelling ranks of people in Gaza who are in need.
The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) has been actively providing aid to Gaza for 30 years and has recently stepped up its efforts to address the recent crisis by delivering food parcels, basic hygiene supplies, test kits, medical equipment, coronavirus prevention pamphlets, and critically needed medicine.
Today, Tree of Life Educational Fund is partnering with MECA to deliver the much-needed food and medicine to Gaza families during the COVID-19 crisis.
Dr. Mona El Farra, the Director of MECA projects in Gaza wrote:
“After fourteen years of siege, Gaza’s hospitals and clinics have a chronic shortage of medicine. The water, sanitation, and electricity systems are in terrible condition. Poverty is so deep and widespread that even the cost of hand soap is a hardship. Gaza has been devastated so many times. I am grateful to partner with Tree of Life to help stave off unimaginable catastrophe here. Your special emergency contribution now will save lives.”
We are counting on your generosity to sustain Tree of Life’s partnership with MECA to help care for the long suffering brave people of Gaza at this very difficult time. Earlier this month your contributions provided food parcels for families in the West Bank – now let’s show Palestinians in Gaza our love, support, and solidarity. It is more critical now than ever before.
We are also very pleased and grateful to announce that The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, Connecticut — the church that gave birth to Tree of Life Educational Fund — has offered $5000 as a challenge gift toward this partnership! In offering this gift, The Rev. Dr. Steven Jungkeit said:
“We offer this gift during the sacred season of Ramadan in honor of all our Muslim friends here in Connecticut and in Palestine as we work together for justice and peace.”
To mark the holy month of Ramadan, we would also like to offer this verse from the Qur’an for your reflection:
Who is it that would loan God a goodly loan so He may multiply it for him many times over? And it is God withholds and grants abundance, and to him, you will be returned.
[al-Baqarah 2: 245]
Listen to Dr. Mona El Farra telling the Tree of Life about her life-saving work.
And please take a minute to listen to this greeting from Gaza made by a friend of Tree of Life, Lama Abed, who was prevented by the Israeli government from traveling to the US to speak at our Tree of Life Series in 2019.