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P.O. box 19796, Jerusalem
Tel. 02-628-2062, FAX 02-583-4058

Newsletter  ~ November 2000
Dear Friends
         We were hoping that the new century would mark the beginning of an era of justice and peace for this Holy Land. But this land is a paradoxical land; in the name of God, and under the guise of religion everything is possible. So the year which we had thought was blessed with the historic visit of his Holiness PopeJohn Paul II, who prayed heartily for peace and justice for all the people of the region, is ending with devastation and suffering at the hands of the most powerful army in the Middle East region. The use of highly sophisticated weapons by the Israeli army including tanks, attack helicopters and rockets, to crush the resistance of a defenseless population, is way out of proportion to the stones and primitive guns used by the Palestinians. The Intifada which was triggered by the provocative visit of Ariel Sharon to Al-Haram El-Sharif was but "the straw that broke the camel's back". After fifty-two  years of dispossession, thirty three years of occupation, and seven years of a faltering peace process, the Palestinians were bound to get out all the frustration that has been bottled up over the years. To put the State violence of Israel on equal grounds with the violence of the oppressed people struggling for liberation and self-determination is immoral, and unacceptable. Only the USA government and its allies see the struggle from that perspective, and demand from the Palestinian leadership to stop the violence, ignoring the Israeli occupation of our land and their military presence on our territory with all its heavy armor. 
         In reality it is the Israeli perspective which the USA government blatantly supports in spite of Israel's violations of human rights and its noncompliance with UN resolutions. And to add insult to injury it seems to us that the more Israel violates Palestinian human rights, the more it gets rewarded financially, politically and militarily by the USA government, irrespective of who the President is, or which party is ruling. 
         We hope we can continue to count on you as friends and as champions of justice and peace to support us in our quest for liberation and self determination. We also need your generous financial support. This school year has started with difficult times, and many of the children have not been able to pay their fees, as minimal as they are, because of the rising rate of unemployment. Nowadays, more than ever, the children need special attention, lots of protection and counseling for themselves and their parents. After the loss of so many lives, many of their own age group, we need to rekindle hope in their hearts, to restore meaning to their life, and to nurture their faith in humanity. Please continue to lift those children in your prayers. 
         With warm greetings and best wishes for a blessed Christmas and a peaceful New Year. 

Samia Khoury             Salwa Zananiri 
President                     School Principal

A New Palestinian Curriculum 
and workshops
         For the last few years the Ministry of Education has been preparing a Palestinian curriculum. This year the books for the first and sixth grades have been launched. The teachers of those classes attended special workshops in August run by the Palestinian Department of Education in Jerusalem to help them implement the new curriculum. And the development of the school programs has become a continuous process since the staff had attended the Department of Education workshops for that purpose last year. It is ironical how Israel is trying to distort the truth about the Palestinian curriculum claiming that it is antagonistic against the Jewish people. This is not true at all, and in fact it is the Israeli books that distort facts and obliterate the existence of the Palestinians and their history, instilling hatred against the Arabs. This distortion of history became a heavy burden on a number of Jewish historians known as the "new historians," and who are now rewriting the history of Israel more accurately and honestly. As part of the meetings and preparation for the new school year all the teachers attended a special workshop led by Mona Nasir who is specialized in special education and works at the Palestinian Counseling Centre. Mona's emphasis was on dyslexia, and it was a great help for the teachers to learn how to help the children cope with this impairment. 
         On the other hand and before the beginning of the summer holidays, Mrs. Rihab El-Nammari, the supervisor of art in the Palestinian Authority Schools led a one day art workshop at the school for the teachers of the kindergarten. 
The Palestinian NGO Network
         Wednesday, September 27 was the opening of an exhibit for the Palestinian NGO's at Birzeit University, as part of a one-week long of activities in the various parts of the Palestinian Territories planned by the Palestinian NGO network. Rawdat El-Zuhur participated in the exhibit with some of the children's art work and science experiments. Mrs. Khoury, the President of Rawdat El-Zuhur was one of ten persons honored on that occasion for her long years of voluntary work in the civil society organizations. Unfortunately the exhibit had to be dismantled and the rest of the activities had to be canceled due to the confrontations that erupted as a result of the provocative visit of Ariel Sharon to Al-Haram El-Sharif. The school was also closed for almost two weeks. 
Gifts in memory of dear ones
From Louise Augustine (Iowa) in memory of Dr. Antone Tarazi, the first neurosurgeon in Jordan and Palestine, and in memory of her cousin Helen Briggs from Arizona 
From Neville & Sue Usher (England) in lieu of flowers for the funeral of their friend Gretta Healthy from England. 
From Wadi Nassar from Jerusalem in memory of his wife, Salma.
Mothers' Meetings
         Within the program of cooperation between home and school, "Farah" and before the end of the school year in June, the mothers participated in a series of workshops on sex education run by a specialist Mrs. Safa Tamish. The mothers were very grateful for this opportunity; for most of them it was the first exposure of this kind, and they found it very helpful. In the midst of the October confrontations, the mothers had their second meeting for this year. But this time it was all dedicated to the trauma arising from the violence encompassing the whole area, and how to deal with the children, and comfort them. 
Mother's Meeting - click to enlarge        Many of our friends have been concerned and wondering why the mothers allow their children to be out there to be killed. "This is a horrendous accusation, betraying an obnoxious racism. It contains the belief that Arab parents do not care about their children dying" writes the Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery. He continues: "In the struggle waged by our underground organizations before 1948 and during our War of Independence, boys and girls played an important part. The arms training of Palestinian boys is no different from the training of our own Gadna youth battalions. The boy who, in 1948 destroyed a Syrian tank at Kibbutz Deganya has become a national hero. When a people fights for its very existence and freedom, its youth cannot but take part. ( I joined the Irgun, defined by the British as a terrorist organization, at the age of 14 and a half. By the age of 15 I carried guns.) It is an illusion to think that Palestinian parents can restrain their children from going out into the street and throwing stones, when they live under a cruel occupation and their brothers and sisters provide examples of heroism and self-sacrifice. It is quite natural for the Palestinian people to be proud of them. Joan of Arc, by the way, was 16 years old when she led the French army into battle. The settlers routinely exploit their children and babies, not hesitating to put them in harm's way." 
         It is worth noting that these children are getting killed on Palestinian Territories. It is the Israeli forces which have invaded their streets, alleys and playgrounds; the only space and haven for those children who live in crowded conditions, especially in the refugee camps. The children did not go into the Israeli Territories, so the Israeli forces cannot claim that they are defending themselves. Their mere presence in the Palestinian Territories is provocative, and they mean to kill because all their snipers have been aiming at the upper part of the bodies of those children.
A Speical performance for Mother's Day
A Special Play for Mother's Day
Entertainment of the Children
         A puppet show and some fun with painting faces and making shapes with balloons, brought so much joy to the hearts of the children as the Palestinian National Theatre entertained them at the school hall. This was part of a program to alleviate the spirits of the Palestinian children in these difficult times. 
         Another show was presented by Ar-Ruwa Theater which passed on a special message to the children emphasizing moral values. 
Not Only an Art Teacher
         Mrs. Aya Shaker, an art teacher with many talents and long years of teaching experience was appointed to replace Mr. Taleb Dweik in teaching art. She will also be doing drama, and is working closely with the music teacher to prepare a special integrated program for the 50th anniversary next year. 
Congratulations to Kenneth and Sheelagh Mackenzie
         We extend our congratulations to our dear friends the Mackenzies from Scotland who celebrated their Silver Anniversary this past summer. And many thanks for asking friends who gathered for the celebration to donate to Rawdat El-Zuhur instead of a personal gift. We would like to encourage our friends to come up with innovative ideas for making a donation which will make all the difference to the lives of so many Palestinian children in Jerusalem.


An Added Frustration and Financial Burden
         For the first time since the Israeli occupation, the school was faced with the income tax department and was forced to pay the amount of around $20,000 including an extra fee for a special accountant who deals with tax matters. That amount was not accounted for and has burdened the school budget. This is over and above the wage taxes, the employers taxes, and the Municipal taxes which the school normally pays , but without much services in return. The letters that were sent to the Municipality asking for a private entrance to the school when the car park closed that entrance have never been answered, and the children continue to pass through the car park. 
         Special thanks go to Mr. Youssef Nawas and to Mrs. Vera Tissier-Houri for making a substantial gift of $5,000 each to help cover part of those unforeseen expenses. 
Volunteer from Presbyterian Church
         For the first time, the school had a volunteer from the Presbyterian church, Robyn Holley. Unfortunately, Robyn had hardly settled down when she had to go back home, as her father had to undergo very serious surgery. As it turned out all volunteers in Jerusalem ended up leaving by the end of September as a result of the recent troubles. Robyn was full of ideas and love for the children, so we look forward to having her back with us some day.
The Hospital March
A group of students represented the school in the yearly Jerusalem Arab Hospitals march. And one of our girls Sahar El-Jubeh (12) got a special recognition for collecting, as a single individual, the largest number of supporters. 
Community Service
         The sixth graders with some of the teachers and workers spent a whole morning with the residents of the Four Homes of Mercy where they offered them a meal which they had provided for through their own effort. They brought so much joy to the hearts of those elderly and handicapped people by singing and dancing for them, promising to be back for another visit. 

At the YMCA Camp
At the YMCA Summer Camp

The Samiha Khalil Scholarship
         The school has established a yearly scholarship for one of its girls in honor of the late Samiha Khalil, a prominent Palestinian woman who dedicated her life to the struggle for the liberation of Palestine. She was the head of the Union of Palestinian Women, and the founder and President of Inaash El-Usrah Women's organization. And she goes down in history for having been the only person who challenged Mr. Arafat in the elections of the Palestinian Legislative Council in 1996. Hanin El-Khalil, of grade 5 has been awarded that scholarship for two years. 
         Special thanks go to our local members Muna Khouy, Hala Iqal Hallak, and Nadia Shakhsheer for their 
substantial and consistent commitment towards the scholarship fund. 
A Friend in need is a Friend indeed
         From the Bible Lands Society £ 2,500, 
         From the Common Global Ministries $3,500 
         We are very grateful to our partners the Bible Land Society and the Common Global Ministries-Child Sponsorship Program/UCC, who sponsor our children, for responding to our appeal for a special grant to help us cope with the difficult financial situation, under the present circumstances. And we are certainly grateful to all our friends who have been asking about us and how they can help. Many thanks to those who have already taken the initiative to make a special gift.
The African Experience
         Under the sponsorship of the French Cultural Centre in Jerusalem, Mr. Gerald Jeangrand from Nigeria spent a whole morning with the children communicating with them through the power of music and percussion. It was such an enjoyable and effective program; it made the children get a feel of Nigeria in their school.
Art Competition
         Muna El-Wa'ari (12) grade six, represented Rawdat El Zuhur in a special art competition relating to the "Intifada" at the Wasiti Art Centre, and which was held under the auspices of the Palestinian Education Department in Jerusalem

Thank you for visiting.
May God bless your days and nights,
while also
Blessing this  ministry to children

Web Author E-Mail:quill@nwonline.net
Begun in 1997, updated spring 2001