July 2021: Miles of Smiles is preparing 25 new ambulances in Egypt to travel together soon as an international solidarity convoy to boost Gaza’s severely crippled health services devastated by Israel’s repeated bombardments and 14 year siege.
This $2 million humanitarian aid mission, the 39th convoy organized by Miles of Smiles, is supported by organizations from 15 countries, including the Freedom Flotilla Coalition and US Boats to Gaza. The first stage, comprising a fleet of large trucks packed with urgently needed medical supplies and equipment, is on its way to Gaza. The 25 ambulances are due to follow starting in late July.
The convoy organizers thank supporters around the world, including FFC and US Boats to Gaza who made the ambulance purchase possible.
20 modern, fully-equipped ambulances are now being prepared in Cairo for the 2021 ‘Miles of Smiles’ international convoy to Gaza. These ambulances will give a huge boost to Gaza’s struggling medical services seriously devastated by Israel’s heavy bombing raids last month.
US Boats to Gaza is raising funds towards sponsoring one of these ambulances, which costs $45,000 fully-fitted.
Please support our urgent appeal for this important practical solidarity mission, and share this post.
US Boats to Gaza Asks You to Donate to Organizations with Medical Programs in Gaza
(See list below)
The devastating Israeli attack on Gaza continues as Israel continues to pound the besieged area by air, land and sea using U.S.-made warplanes and U.S.-made bombs.
The death toll in Israel stands at 12 from rocket attacks fired from Gaza.
Israeli strikes have damaged hospitals in Gaza as well as the clinic run by Doctors Without Borders and Al Remal, the sole laboratory in Gaza that processes COVID-19 test results. Doctors have also been killed in the Israeli airstrikes, including Dr. Ayman Abu al-Ouf, who headed the coronavirus response Gaza’s largest hospital, Al-Shifa. He and two of his teenage children died in an Israel airstrike on their home. The Shifa Hospital neurologist Dr. Mooein Ahmad al-Aloul was killed in an airstrike on his home.
The New York Times reports that the Israeli attacks have damaged 17 hospitals and clinics in Gaza, wrecked its only coronavirus test lab, sent fetid wastewater into its streets and broken water pipes serving at least 800,000 people.
Sewage systems inside Gaza have been destroyed. A desalination plant that helped provide fresh water to 250,000 people in the territory is offline. Dozens of schools have been damaged or closed, forcing some 600,000 students to miss classes. More than 70,000 Gazans have been forced to flee their homes.
In the 2008-09 22-day attack on Gaza, Israel killed 1,417 Palestinians, while Palestinian efforts to defend themselves killed 9 Israelis.
In seven days in November 2012, 174 Palestinians, including 33 children and 13 women, were killed by Israeli military attacks in Gaza. Six Israelis, including four civilians, were reportedly killed.
In a 51-day attack in 2014, U.S-built F-16s dropped 5,000 U.S.-made bombs and missiles on Gaza, and Israeli tanks and artillery fired 49,500 shells (mostly massive 6-inch shells) from U.S.-built M-109 howitzers, killing 2,251 Palestinians. 72 Israelis were killed as they invaded and occupied Gaza.
In 2018, in response to the largely peaceful “March of Return” Friday protests at the Israel-Gaza border, Israeli snipers killed 183 Palestinians and wounded over 6,100 including 122 that required amputation, 21 paralyzed by spinal cord injuries and 9 permanently blinded.
Medical facilities in Gaza were damaged or destroyed in each of these attacks. Medical personnel were killed.
US Boats to Gaza asks you to consider making a donation to any one of several excellent organizations with long-standing medical programs in Gaza:
MECA’s staff and local partners in Gaza are on the ground are responding to the most urgent needs of children and families. They have been working since the first day of the attacks to provide urgent relief.
In Gaza, UNRWA is already responding to the humanitarian needs of affected populations (refugees and non-refugees), including the tens of thousands of people who have sought safety in UNRWA schools in Gaza, some of which are Designated Emergency Shelters equipped to host internally displaced persons during times of conflict.
Medical Aid for Palestinians is responding to the current emergency across occupied Palestine. Our teams in Gaza and the West Bank are working with local partners to ensure that Palestinians get the medical aid they need during this critical time.
Thank you for standing with Gaza at this critical time.
Michael Che said “Israel is reporting that they have vaccinated half of their population, and I’m gonna guess it’s the Jewish half” on the “Weekend Update” segment of February 20, 2021 Saturday Night Live.
What often makes the “Weekend Update” segment funny, is how Michael Che and Colin Jost share an element of truth about what is happening in the news.
Numerous organizations and individuals have accused Che’s statement as being anti-Semitic including the ADL’s CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt: “Saturday’s deeply offensive joke about Israel’s COVID-19 vaccination process not only missed the mark, but crossed the line — basing the premise of the joke on factual inaccuracies and playing into an antisemitic trope in the process.”1
The problem is that Che is telling the truth. Half of the people under Israeli control are not Jewish. Most of them are even denied citizenship. 70 percent of the people in Gaza are refugees; their homes are in Israel yet they are denied their Right of Return, a right that all people have according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Fourth Geneva Convention. And, as Che points out, they are not getting the vaccine—Israel has only allowed two thousand vaccines to enter Gaza for a population of two million.
The problem is that the ADL and other Jewish organizations are defending the state of Israel, a state that has numerous UN resolutions condemning it for its human rights violations. These Israel-loyal organizations claim to be offended and concerned about discrimination when they stand by and support a country that defeated a proposed law to treat all its citizens equally, a country that has occupied a population for over fifty years and blockaded a mostly child population (over 50 percent of the population of Gaza are under the age of eighteen) for over a decade.
The ADL and other organizations claim to be against bullying and to be against discrimination but they did not seem to be concerned about the joke that immediately preceded the one about the state of Israel: a joke about the Catholic church changing its policy about wiping ashes from foreheads on Ash Wednesday; Colin Jost said “I think no touching could just be a great new rule in general.”
If anyone is creating ill-will towards Jews, it is not Michael Che, it is those who claim that Israel represents Jewish values.
It’s also interesting to note how Americans are given a much more one-sided view of the response to Michael Che’s comments. The Insider published multiple versions of an article by Rachel E. Greenspan. In the Australian version of the Business Insider entitled “Why Michael Che’s ‘SNL’ joke about Israeli vaccinations sparked a debate about anti-Semitism,” the article quotes a tweet from Jewish Voice for Peace saying, “They say there’s a grain of truth to every joke, but this SNL one has 5 million,” referring to the 5 million Palestinians under Israeli occupation, not counted in Israeli vaccination numbers. The article mentions a couple of other Jews who stated that the comment was not anti-Semitic. The American version of the article was entitled “A top Jewish organization slammed Michael Che’s controversial joke about Israeli vaccinations on ‘SNL’ and reached out to Lorne Michaels,” did not include the quote from JVP, and only mentioned one person who disagreed with the anti-Semitism accusation. This single case was mentioned in the last paragraph of the article.2
Associate professor Haidar Eid in Gaza commemorates December 27, 2008 when Israel attacked the civilian population it is supposed to defend. During this massacre Israeli forces killed approximately 1400 Palestinians in contrast to 13 Israeli casualties. Dr. Eid reminds people of conscience across the world that we all have to defend human rights because our governments do not. Palestine is the perfect example of this relinquishment of responsibility—refugees have been prevented from returning for over seventy years and the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza continue after more than fifty years. He calls on all to support activism such as BDS and the Freedom Flotilla to bring freedom to Palestinians.
Twenty-four Members of the European Parliament (MEP) signed a petition which called on the Israeli government to lift its siege of Gaza and allow COVID-19 medical supplies in light of the recent spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the coastal enclave. Read article:
Worsening the situation in Gaza have been the massive cuts by our government to the funding of UNWRA which provides education, health, women’s centers, microfinance and more. We encourage the incoming administration to restore funding to UNWRA and other U.N. agencies.
In this webinar on December 4, speakers will explore how we can support local and national movements in overcoming racism and political repression to achieve basic human rights for all. The panel will include a Kingston, NY BLM activist (Anne Ames), the editor of mondoweiss.net (Philip Weiss), and a radical feminist, revolutionary member of Black Alliance for Peace (Asantewaa Nkrumah-Ture).
Veterans for Peace – Session on Palestine at the VFP 2020 Convention – Hosted by Col. Ann Wright with Asmaa Tayeh from Gaza & with We Are Not Numbers writers collective; Olivia Zemor from France with EuroPalestine; Miko Peled, Israeli-American with BDS solidarity; Mazin Qumseyah-Palestine-Museum of Natural History & Sustainability; Zohar Regev-Chamberlin-Gaza Freedom Flotilla