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June 27, 2001
Encyclopedia of Palestinian Charities on the Net

By Ramzy Baroud


Encyclopedia of Palestinian Charities on the Net
Middle East News Online
By Ramzy Baroud, Middle East News Online Managing Editor

In the past nine months, have you felt angry and helpless every time you watch the news, narrating the devastation inflicted on the Palestinian people by Israel? Have you asked yourself, "what can I do to help?"

This particular question is one that I have been asked regularly by readers from all over the world. And because organizing protests to vent our anger and to grab the attention of the media is not always possible; and because we might not always be able to protect the lives of the children with our bare hands, or to wipe the tears of their mothers, we began searching for alternative methods of assistance.

Some people write, hoping to educate misled readers of the rightfulness of the Palestinian struggle; others speak in private and in public, narrating stories and counted names of martyrs, hoping to add a human face to the cold statistics of those killed while holding the torch of freedom; others quietly pray, asking God to be with those who are left to survive in the midst of military blockades, destructive bulldozers, falling shells and flying bullets.

Yet despite the hard work, much still needs to be done, as Palestinian hospitals are left with little to offer to the mounting wounded, as poor families are left without providers, and homeless children are left to sit beside their parents, mourning the ruins of what was once home.

In the midst of helplessness, a glimpse of hope springs from the least expected places, the World Wide Web, opening the door to those who are willing to convert passion into action.

Trusted Palestinian, Arab, Muslim and pro Palestinian organizations on the net exist in abundance, ready to carry your donation, to convert it into bricks to rebuild a demolished house, or into a bottle of milk for a hungry child.

The main problem is that, although such a medium is available, it is under-funded, an unfortunate fact that might not stem from apathy as much as from the lack of awareness of the value of such a venue.

It seems that the Israeli blockade has left Palestinians with two bitter choices: give up their struggle, or live in endless despair. Such an equation must change, and with our collective efforts and a few clinks on charity web sites, lives can be saved, and homes can be rebuilt.

This is a brief directory to some of these organizations. Without you, they cannot operate, and without them, we cannot tell our brethren in Palestine how much we care.

The Holy Land Foundation (www.hlf.org/index.shtml) is one of the most devoted charities that aid Palestinians. Their actively updated web site offers many options for those wanting to extend a helping hand to Palestinian families throughout the West Bank and Gaza and refugee camps elsewhere. With services reaching the fields of social, health, education and emergency relief, the foundation is able to contribute in various tangible ways that truly make a difference in the lives of thousands.

The Palestinian Relief and Development Fund (INTERPAL) (www.interpal.org/), is an independent British Muslim Charity organization, set up to serve the Palestinian cause. Headed by one of the most respected Muslim scholars, Sheikh Yusuf, INTERPAL jointly with a number of Muslim organizations around the world initiated the "101 Day charity campaign in solidarity with the Palestinian people."
To ensure continuing success for the campaign, your help is urgently needed. Take part in the campaign by visiting INTERPAL's own donation page: (http://www.interpal.org/form.htm.)

IslamiQ, (www.islamiq.com/), a Malaysian-based Islamic finance company is too playing an active role in the 101 Day campaign. However, their rich donation and Zakah Center page (http://islamiq.com/zakah-center/) is a comprehensive source for those interested in learning more about other charities, and it offers its visitors more services and options than any other site.

Palestine Children's Relief Fund (www.wolfenet.com/~pcrf/) is a truly inspiring project. It's success stories are uplifting and motivating. Its well-designed web site will greet you with sad faces of wounded Palestinian children, some shot by Israeli soldiers and others by settlers. Yet the fund provides you with many ways in which you can help, especially if you are living in the United States. Being a host family to an injured Palestinian child who is being treated in the US is one of the most valuable services you can provide. If you would rather donate money and help in the process of treating these children, you also have that option.

Would you like to donate medications and medical supplies? Union of Health Work Committees (www.gaza-health.org), the parent organization of Al-Awda hospital in Jabalia (in the Gaza Strip) is in urgent need of help. If the number of visitors are an indication of the amount of support received by the vital Palestinian medical body, then the organization has sadly received little help. Visit their site and spend some time finding out the most suitable way for you to help. A recent appeal by Dr. Rabah Muhana, Chairman of the Board, indicated that Al-Awda hospital is running out of supplies. Can you assist an ailing hospital to care for its patients?

The Hebron based Al Ahli hospital (www.ahli.org/index1.html) is in greater need that it has ever been since it was established in 1978. The people of Hebron and surrounding areas are left suffering from suffocating blockades and lack of medical care.
Al Ahli hospital can help. Visit their web site and they will tell you how.

The Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (UPMRC), founded in 1979, is an organization mainly reliant on volunteer work that has succeeded in providing badly needed health services to Palestinian towns and villages throughout the occupied territories. "Over the years, UPMRC expanded its constituency to include some 1,200 participating physicians, nurses, laboratory technicians, pharmacists and other health professionals, the majority of them volunteers." Whether you are living in the US or elsewhere, you can do much to help UPMRC to bring the smile back to the faces of wounded Palestinians. Visit their site to learn about their inspiring projects, and find out how you can be part of it.

Interested in aiding highly effective political efforts led by Palestinian activists? Then visit The Council for Palestinian Restitution and Repatriation (CPRR) (www.rightofreturn.org/). CPRR is one of the most well known and most active organizations that is working hard to ensure justice and human rights for millions of Palestinian refugees. You can assist CPRR's growing campaign by donating directly through their informative web site. Empowering such a project will ensure that Palestinian voices are heard all over the world.

Helping the cause of Palestine is an honorable deed that strengthens the resistance of an oppressed nation. Nothing can be more painful than watching a child suffer from untreated wounds, or a dignified family living in a tent beside their destroyed home.

Although your help might not end Palestinian suffering all together, it would certainly make a difference in the life of an individual.

Palestinians are paying a heavy price for their quest for justice and human rights; they do not deserve to be left all alone, facing the monstrosity of tanks and missiles.

They need our help to survive the fight and to win their freedom.