17 July 2005
The Dove and The Dolphin joins with War on Want to speak for human rights in the remnants of occupied Palestine.
Poverty and malnutrition mount within the Palestinian population of the ‘West Bank’ enclaves and the Gaza Strip. This is expressed in many ways. There is, for instance, stunting of growth and intellectual development. Iron deficiency anaemia in up to one third of the children is one cause for the latter. The same proportion of mothers in Gaza are anaemic. Some children have to stop their schooling to earn shekels when neither parent has work or is sick. A stifled economy is a central cause of these things. Over 50% of the men in Gaza are unemployed.
The aims of the charity are:
1. To advance the education of Palestinian children.
2. To relieve poverty distress and hardship among the Palestinian people and to promote the welfare of Palestinian children.
3. To preserve and protect the health of Palestinian children and their families through the provision of financial assistance, support, education and practical advice.
The charity has given practical aid by providing locally made school uniforms, school bags and books to several thousand of the poorest children in Gaza in ’03 and ’04. It is expanding a scholar support scheme where monthly grants of $30 are given to especially disadvantaged youngsters and their families. Clothing, toys, medical equipment etc have been sent by container to Gaza. However, charity is not the answer. The root causes of that 'poverty, distress and hardship' need dealing with.
Legal remedies within human rights law have been examined and an action plan drawn up.
Many thousands of dunums of fertile land (see details of land robbery in the letters sent to the Foreign Secretary, Mr Jack Straw and to the President of the EU Commission, Mr Jose Barroso) are being taken by force from their Palestinian owners in the 'West Bank' as a result of the intrusion of the 'security wall' into the 'West Bank' and away from the 'Green Line'. Food is being taken from mouths, or 'the means with which life is sustained' is being denied these people. The control methods of the occupation forces, which prevent or dislocate travelling, have bad effects on education, medical care and commerce.
Therefore the charity supports this first step in a joint legal action based on the rulings made by the International Court of Justice. The Dove and Dolphin Charity has provided none of the funding for this first step.
The charity was founded when a cargo vessel was chartered. It left Torquay on the 1st of February 2003 with 55 tons of food, medical supplies, clothes etc for Gaza. The 25 metre long banner which flew between the fore and stern masts on departure read:
"REVERENCE FOR ALL LIFE ~ ALBERT SCHWEITZER"
"THE BROTHERHOOD OF MAN - JUSTICE - PEACE"
These were the motifs for the voyage, and they have been carried through into the work and thought of this charity.