Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What Does Gaza Need?

I have a friend in the Gaza Strip who wants to start a way to provide aid to children there.
Several aid agencies operate there already. However, they cannot provide for everyone-the poverty is so great! The political system is also complicated. Add to that the blockade that Israel has imposed and getting anything to these needy children is a challenge, indeed!
The Gaza Strip is approximately twenty-five miles long and five miles wide. One and a half million people live in this very small strip of land;it is considered the most densely populated area on earth.
Unemployment stands at well over 40%. The local economy has been decimated under the Israeli blockade. Available medical care is minimal. Food such as meat is well out of the range of most household budgets. The drinking water has been deemed unsafe for human consumption by the International Red Cross. In other words, would you want to live there?
Half of the population of the Gaza Strip is under the age of eighteen. How are these children to be provided for? And why should you care?
I will tell you why you should.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at the heart of unrest in the Middle East. It has become far less about who is a Jew and who is an Arab and far more about the denial of basic human rights. This is what the Western media refuses to report and address in a meaningful way.
In talking with my friend there, I began to think of Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
One begins to see a huge problem when looking at this. If the most basic needs of food, water and shelter are not being adequately met, how does one ever reach security? Or self-actualization? Or healthy self-esteem and healthy relationships? You don't.
That is a problem because these children are the future leaders and negotiators in this conflict. If peace is ever to come between Israelis and Palestinians, both sides must come from what I would call "solid ground". The people of Gaza do not have this at all. By way of the blockade and constant military action against them by the Israeli regime, there is no way for them to have security or even have their basic needs met without outside intervention.
I include in the problem the governments of the Arab countries surrounding them. Egypt has helped to continue the blockade. The very wealthy Saudi royal family does little to help. Other Arab states turn deaf ears to the cries of the Palestinians. It is obscene!
Is it any wonder that Hamas has gained the hold it has over the people in Gaza? After all, they are the only ones who even appear to care. You don't bite the hand that is feeding your child. However, that hand has a somewhat insane agenda of its own.
So, when my friend suggested a way to positively impact the lives of children in Gaza, I jumped at the chance to be a part of that. We will see what we can develop. We will start with Maslow. We will begin with the basics and work our way out from there. I am hopeful we can do something positive-stay tuned!

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

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