Update | 3.13.2020
Hebron Fund, Coronavirus
Good Shepherd Collective, along with several other grassroots human rights organizations in Hebron — the Christian Peacemaker Teams, Human Rights Defenders, Hebron Defense Committee, and the International Solidarity Movement — are urging individuals and organizations to take action against the extremist organization the Hebron Fund. The Hebron Fund is a dangerous settler organization that operates both in New York and Hebron. We are asking you to sign thispetition so that we can file a complaint with the New York Attorney General’s office to investigate the Hebron Fund’s charitable status.
We are urging you to sign this petition, send it through your email lists, and scatter it on social media. This is one small step you can take as an act of solidarity.
We are writing to you in good health and hoping that you will receive this email in good health as well!
Our core team is split across the West Bank, Jerusalem and the United States. The Palestinian Authority and Israel have enforced lockdown in Bethlehem, so travel is very, very difficult.
Over the last week, the coronavirus situation escalated rapidly in the West Bank, with the earliest cases identified in a hotel,where employees had been in contact with tourists carrying the disease. Since then, the whole of the Bethlehem governorate has been shut down. As of yesterday, all roads in and out of the area are closed, and Checkpoint 300 — the primary checkpoint for Palestinians in the Hebron and Bethlehem governates — has been closed since the first cases were confirmed last Friday.
The quick response on the part of the Palestinian Authority has been commendable in many respects and has certainly come in answer to the demands of Palestinian citizens across the West Bank. Israel’s decision to impose closures between Bethlehem and Jerusalem will have huge humanitarian economic impacts on Bethlehemites.
Equally concerning is indigenous communities and confiscating their infrastructure – forcing them into over crowded spaces. During health epidemic such as the coronavirus, these home demolitions are particularly dubious and have the potential to dramatically increase the spread of the virus. Since the first reported case of COVID-19 here in late February, Israel has demolished some 25 Palestinian structures, displacing over 40 Palestinians. While today, estimates put the number of individuals with coronavirus throughout the West Bank at 26, with all but one case confined to Bethlehem, Israel is creating a time-bomb of a health diaster. In Israel, there are 61 recorded cases, with our friends on the other side of the border reporting self-quarantining as officials refuse to test them unless they have recently traveled outside of the country. There is potential for things to get dramatically worse.
On a more positive note, we reached out fundraising goal last month of $3,000 dollars to repair the storm damage in Um al-Khair through a private fundraising drive rather than a public call.
Two of the GSC membership have secured jobs teaching and looking to extend their contracts at the end of the school year.
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As we move forward with developing principled programs of resistance and building a broad-based, diverse network of individuals and groups willing to challenge the policies and law that perpetuate the oppression and violence, your material support is essential.
Until the next email, you can like our page on Facebook and make sure that you follow it–and set it to “see first,” so you can stay on top of our updates as we post them. Next, you can find us on Twitter and Instagram. Lastly, take a moment and urge your friends to visit our website, find out more about us and send them a link to our email sign up list.
We need your solidarity
As we continue with this work, we are asking you to join our current “Drive for $5” donation campaign. We are building a model of grassroots mobilization that rejects the restrictive and oppressive models of neoliberal foundations and nation-state aid. We are asking individuals to invest $5 a month to continue this work. You can do that by clicking this link here. If you want to make a larger donation there are other options. If you are a US citizen and want to make a tax-deductible contribution, you can do so through the Alliance for Global Justice by clicking here. If you are in the UK, you can use our partners the British Shalom-Salaam Trust and use GiftAid.
Your financial solidarity keeps us actively engaged with the most vulnerable communities. Consider making a tangible contribution to the work on the ground.