Dear friends,

As you know, Gaza is still under very heavy attack. Since the world's attention has shifted to Lebanon, Israel has used this opportunity to strike heavier blows on Gaza. Yesterday, the U.S.-sponsored Israeli Occupation Forces slaughtered 24 Palestinians in just 24 hours!! This rate, in conjunction with other tactics, works quite well for the Israeli government's program of ethnic cleansing. And they're back to bombing the beach again, where Huda Ghalia's family were killed six weeks ago for the crime of pretending they had a normal life.

In Ramallah, where I am, we have it much easier physically, but not emotionally. Most Palestinians here are glued to the TV news - to Aljazeera and other Arab satellite stations, watching with horror Israel's unspeakable crimes against humanity. Watching the Western world and the U.N. sit idly, allowing and facilitating Israel's crimes against humanity. Recognizing the bigger enemy behind all of this: the United States of America.

But we're also getting our friendly Israeli visits; every couple of days, in the middle of the night, you'd hear gunfire and dynamite. A resistance fighter or activist, being dragged from his home to an Israeli prison, his home demolished, his family homeless, the neighborhood terrorized. Thats just a routine part of life, and doesn't come close to what our brothers and sisters in Gaza and Lebanon are experiencing. "Their lives are being turned upside down," is what one U.N. observer said, and I think even that is a mild description.

Condoleeza Rice (who locally enjoys the special nickname of "Condara," which means shoe - a severe insult in the Arab world) was here to see Mahmoud Abbas the other day . Ramallites were incensed by her visit, and we staged a protest to express this, only to be blocked a mile away by the U.S-sponsored Presidential Guard (allegedly to guard the U.S.-sponsored President, who is seen by many here as a sell-out, but more probably to be a force in the U.S.-desired war against Hamas). Photos of the protest, and the creative banners and signs can be viewed at www.solidaritydesign.com.

I just wanted to express the situation here in occupied, chained, and tormented Palestine, but right now the bigger disaster is in Lebanon. For that, please consider the appeal below.


As you are aware, the situation in Lebanon is nothing less than a humanitarian catastrophe, and Lebanon's population is in dire need at this time. Some aid has begun to flow in, but those who are not receiving adequate help are the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. They were degraded long before the current crisis and now their situation is much worse.

Nonetheless, they are taking in Lebanese refugees from Southern Lebanon and other heavily bombed areas!

We are working with several grassroots activists to send aid as soon as possible. This call was initiated by the well-known activists Dr. Naseer Aruri and Elaine Hagopian, and Al-Awda has joined as a conduit for receiving and dispatching donations. Also on the team are trusted individuals who have worked with the refugee camps and know all the heads of programs there.

Your donation - which can be made online at Palestine Online Store or by mailing a check to Al-Awda - is tax-deductible, and you will receive a final accounting of the fundraising effort. Also, donors of $10 or more will receive our new bumper sticker expressing solidarity with the beleaguered peoples of Palestine, Iraq, and Lebanon. The sticker features an innovative design of a kuffiya in the shape of a ribbon, and the flags of countries that have been victimized by the US-Israeli war machine.

Please visit www.PalestineOnlineStore.com to make your donation today! And please forward this appeal to your networks.

In solidarity from Ramallah,
Haithem El-Zabri.