For the better part of a week, I've wanted to stand on my roof and scream. I'm not sure when I'm going to feel like stopping.
This article is why I feel so desperately angry: West Bank poverty 'worse than Gaza.'
Worse than Gaza. Did that get your attention? It certainly got mine.
"Children living in the poorest parts of the West Bank face significantly worse conditions than their counterparts in Gaza" Al Jazeera reported. According to Salam Kanaan, Save the Children's director in the occupied Palestinian Territories, "The international community has rightly focused its attention on the suffering of families in Gaza but the plight of children in Area C must not be overlooked. Palestinians in the West Bank are widely thought to enjoy a higher standard of living but tragically many families, particularly in Bedouin and herder communities, actually suffer significantly higher levels of malnutrition and poverty."
Bedouin and herder communities? That's Tuwani. It's Tuba. It's Magher Al Abeed. It's Mufagra. It's Susiya. It's all of the places I've been talking about for the last three years.Because of Israeli restrictions that prevent Palestinians from accessing their land and developing infrastructure, Palestinians who live in "Area C" - 60 percent of the West Bank - are in poverty worse than in Gaza. Thousands of Palestinian children don't have enough food and many are getting sick. In fact, when Save the Children surveyed communities in Area C, 44 per cent of the children surveyed were suffering from diarrhoea. Diarehoea is the world's biggest killer of children under the age of five. Many kids were showing signs of stunted growth - more than double the rate in Gaza. More than one in ten children surveyed were found to be underweight.
Let me make this a little more personal. Adam is one of favorite kids in the whole world and oft times the star of this blog. Adam's nearly five and I pick him up and play with him whenever he'll let me. I mean, take a look at this kid. He's a charmer.
Adam's little. Really little. Recently I came back to Chicago and tried to pick up a three year old - another total charmer - and nearly dropped the poor kid. This kid is a year younger than Adam and at least 50% heavier. I was shocked. Over three years of playing with kids in Tuwani, I'd forgotten how much a healthy kid weighs.
And here's the rub- Adam lives on a farm. He's parents know how to grow their own food. They don't need to "make the desert bloom" because they know how to live sustainably on the edge of the Negve. Adam shouldn't be hungry. There's no reason for that. The reason why kids in Tuwani aren't getting proper nutrion has nothing to do with the natural world. It's because the Israeli government wont stop settlers from attacking Adam's mom and dad when they try to access their land. It's because the Israeli government uses closed military zones to prevent farmers in Tuwani from farming. It's because the Israeli government wont let Tuwani have electricity.
This video was filmed in Susiya, a village near Tuwani. When I watched it, I sat there with my mouth hanging wide open.
"That's Abu Jihad. That's Ahmed. That's Heba."
I know everyone in that video.
These are the people who are suffering needlessly. Let's do something about it.