i have been living and volunteering (with ISM and other projects) in Nablus, Occupied Palestine for about seven months. My time has been concentrated on Nablus, particularly in Balata Refugee Camp.
Balata Refugee Camp is one of the most hardhit communities in the West Bank. Refugees from the 1948 expulsion, the over 30,000 residents are crammed into a single suffocating square kilometre, almost all physically closed by IOF roadblocks. Unemployment is the norm, and most families rely on UNWRA handouts for survival. Daily incursions by IOF forces that park at the entrances and shoot into the camp are taken for granted. It is rare to meet somebody who hasn't tasted tear gas, every second boy seems to have been shot at some stage, and there isn't a house the soldiers haven't entered at some point. Despite being the largest refugee camp in the West Bank, Balata receives very limited outside support. Visitors are rare and links to abroad are practically non-existent.
The purposes of the project are: -to raise awareness about the complexity and reality of the camp -to counter distorted western views about Balata and the people within Balata camp -to take people's messages from Balata to people in Europe and the states -to encourage and provide opportunities for political activism about Palestine, and Balata specifically -to make links between political and social organizations in the camp with similar organizations abroad
We are looking for help from people in the US, UK and Sweden on this project on a number of things. Primarily, we need help organizing events and preparing to find groups and venues willing to host us. Our general timeline will put us in the UK and Sweden from March 10- April 10 and the US from April 10 - the middle of May.
Second, we are need of financial contributions. Although we don't expect the project to cost a lot, all of the money spent is from our personal funds (which are running low as we've been volunteering in Palestine for 7 months). Our costs include things such as video equipment and tapes, art materials, mailing and travel costs.
For this interested in this project, we want to set up a mailing list to keep people informed of what we are doing. Interest or questions can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
For financial contributions, mail to: Kelly Bornshlegel c/o Michelle Carter 672 Foxfield Rd Oregon WI 53575
or you can directly deposit them: Bank: Natwest, 56 St Andrews Street, Cambridge, CB2 3DA Account Name: M L Minio-Paluello Sort Code: 52-10-46 Account Number: 29507359
For more information on what we've been doing in our time here, see:
thank you! in solidarity, kelly