Leicestershire Holy Land Appeal old john Leicestershire Holy Land Appeal old john Leicestershire Holy Land Appeal

Return visit to Leicester June 2009

Return visit to Leicester June 2009

The Hakaya Dance Troope from the Ghirass Children's Cultural Centre in Bethlehem

Help needed fund raising and host families for accommodation

Contact us at Aboudappeal@yahoo.co.uk

Tel. 0116 251 0655

We are continuing to support Aboud. We are also working to build links between Leicester and Bethlehem. Most recently with others in the Leicester-Bethlehem link Group with have hosted children from the Ghirass Cultural Centre in Bethlehem.

Our Committee consists of one Anglican, one Quaker and one attender of Quaker meetings. We want to keep the core group small. However we may expand to include people from other Christian denominations who are able to network in their churches. We would we welcome influential local Christians as patrons

We are able to give talks with Power point presentations to interested church and community groups. We currently have presentations prepared on:

Aboud - a Palestinian community under occupation.
Bethlehem today
Building bridges not walls - Palestinians and Israelis acting together for peace and justice in the Holy Land.

Donations can be sent to the same address: Cheques should be payable to Leicestershire Holy land Appeal.

Israel is constructing its Apartheid separation wall on the land of Aboud village. The survival of the ancient Christian and Muslim Palestinian West Bank community of Aboud is threatened.

Aboud is a picturesque and ancient Palestinian village. Stone houses blend into the rocky hills. Vines and red and violet bougainvillea climb trestles. From balconies there are beautiful vistas over terraced hills covered in age old olive trees. Leafy fig trees provide shade to its streets. Villagers make their own olive oil and wine. Two thousand two hundred people live in the village: Nine hundred are Christian, the rest are Muslim.

There are almost equal numbers of Catholic and Orthodox Christians in Aboud, and a much smaller Protestant congregation. Christians and Muslims in Aboud live together in harmony. There are Muslim as well as Christian children attending the Latin (Catholic) school in the village founded in 1913.

There are remains of nine ancient churches in and around the village.

Aboudis Talk About their lives

A spokesperson of the Aboud Popular Committee Against the Wall and a leading Orthodox Christian in the village.

160 people from Aboud applied to the Israelis for entry permits to Bethlehem and Palestinian East Jerusalem over Christmas. While most had got them 32 were refused. All my family have been given permits except me. Perhaps this is a punishment for my activism. I want to go to the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem for the ordination of Archimandrite Attalah Hanna as our Bishop of Sebastia.

Construction of wall will take from me 2 separate pieces of land in total 110 Dunums (10 Dunums= One Hectare, 4 Dunums= One Acre) of land. 94 will be isolated behinds the wall. The rest will be in the path of the 60 metre wide barrier. I will lose 300 Olive trees, wheat fields and grazing land.

Most of the adult men are unemployed not like the adult women from http://www.annabelle-adams.co.uk/. In the past they would have worked in Israel or in service industries in the village. Now they are not allowed to work in Israel and the road through Aboud has been blocked at the North West entrance to the village for five years. Aboud was a service centre for surrounding villages. Now Aboud is quiet, economically dead.

Many who want to marry cannot afford to do so. They cannot afford a home. My brother is 32 year old and unemployed. He is still unmarried for this reason. He has only been able to find short term, very poorly paid work. Women are often the only wage earners in families. They work in Ramallah in poorly paid jobs as maids, cleaners or factory work, for example in a crisp factory. They might earn about Ł150 a month. Most of this will be spent on water and electricity bills. These services have to be bought from Israel at exorbitant prices. My electricity bill last month was Ł70, and it is used for little more than lighting. We do not use electricity for heating or cooking.

We were speaking in his home on a cold winter day, so cold that we could see our breath. Sometimes he uses a bottled gas heater to give a little warmth in his lounge. Some other homes had wood burning stoves, using fuel from their family trees. Despite being located on a major aquifer and close to powerful springs water is expensive and rationed. Families are exceedingly careful with water use. For example toilets are not flushed with every use, and certainly not when just used as a urinal.