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Smiles of a child…





Going through some pictures from the recent weeks in Umm al Nasser, Northern Gaza.  Things are hard, very hard, for a lot of people in Gaza, in all of Palestine these days, but a child’s smile helps….Although it was hard work, we , ( and obviously the children) had some fun… We decided the pictures, their smiles ought to be shared.  …, Enjoy, and remember, to continue to help by donating click :  Donate


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Since the war finished in August very little has changed in regards to the siege in Gaza, except that the old prison guards (the Israelis) have been changed with new ones (the U.N.). The prison governor remains the same, it`s still the Israeli government, the people who says what can go in, how much, when and who can receive it. The U.N’s. new role as prison guards is to enforce the rules but as the U.N. has little to no experience of being a prison guard this means that the small amount of reconstruction that has been allowed in,  has still to reach the people. The Palestinian people have just gone though one of the most savage bombardments in history and now faces into the prospect of trying to rebuild their lives and homes. But where to start is the question? One would think to start with the emergency aid agencies like Oxfam, Mercy Corps, Save the Children and so on. The problem with that is , their hands are tied, they can only give out the aid that is at their disposal and as the amount of supplies allowed in is miniscule in relation to the size of the problem it puts these aid agencies in a very awkward position. It is seen by many Palestinians that they are helping some and not others, which leads to accusation;s of them helping certain groups or helping one area and not others. Sadly this can lead to unrest as the people  have had enough and can`t take much more. We have seen more fights break out on the streets in the past couple of months than we have in the past 3 years; this is a sign of the frustration that people are feeling. The second port of call should be the U.N. as they have been put in charge of reconstruction. Now any one that has ever dealt with the U.N. will know it`s a land of bureaucracy and  the restrictions the Israeli’s have imposed on the distribution of reconstruction materials  make it virtually impossible for the Palestinians to get anything rebuilt. So far just 130 trucks of reconstruction materials have come into Gaza and the first of that was only released 2 weeks ago. Out of this 130 trucks,  43 of them were cement, which works out at less than half a truck of cement per day since the end of the war. The U.N. is saying that at the current rate material is entering Gaza it will take 18 to 20 years to rebuild it.  To receive any materials you need to provide the following, Name and I.D. no., the GPS co-ordinates of your house, the U.N. code written on your house, the number of people in your house and their I.D. numbers. There are a few small problems with this,

  1. Things should be made easier for people to receive aid not more difficult
  2. Most Palestinians see this as an information collection agency and that all information will be passed onto the Israelis, whom must Palestinians here don`t trust.
  3. And of course there is such small amounts,  who do you give it to first and which one is in greater need.

The  U.N. must have the courage to turn around to the Israelis and say “with the current restrictions that you have in place the situation is unworkable” and demand that the restrictions be lifted. If this doesn`t happen and happen soon we will have a major humanitarian disaster on our hand. We can already start to see this happen with diarrhoea and other such disease rife in schools where the displaced are crammed into makeshift shelters. In other areas aid agencies have handed out what only can be described as tin sheds but they call them caravans. These maybe fit for purpose in other parts of the world (dry countries) but not in Gaza and certainly not in winter time. When the first rains came most of the 4 meter by 3 meter tin shed’s which is supposed to house an entire family showed there flaws, water came up through the drain pipes, water came in through a hole that is supposed to be a window, and of course came up though the floor, this isn`t counting the fact that there is no insulation value what so ever in these sheds. Basically leaving it unliveable,  but when you have nowhere else to go what can you do? As a parent try and picture trying to live like this with 8 children, trying to keep them warm and dry, trying to keep them safe and healthy, it`s an impossible task. 018 The world pledged $5.4 billion to rebuild Gaza, well , the world can pledge $100 billion it won`t make any difference until the core of the problem is resolved and that is the siege itself. Israel say it`s for security reasons that they have imposed the longest siege in world history, but is it? Since the siege was imposed all good’s that enter Gaza must come through Israel. It is estimated that Israel will receive 45% of the $5.4 billion from good;s purchased in Israel and this 45% excludes transportation and co-ordination cost. Below is a link to an article which describes how if an aid agency tries to bring goods from outside Israel it is held up for months with red tape and hit with exorbitant transportation and co-ordination cost leaving the agency with no choice but to buy Israeli made goods. http://english.pnn.ps/index.php/human-rights/8600-eu-source-gaza-reconstruction-aid-is-made-in-israel It has been the same case for the previous 2 onslughts,  with Israel being the main beneficiary, Gaza is a cash cow for the Israeli economy. The U.S. gives Israel $3 billion a year in military aid and every 2 years Israel bombs Gaza and every 2 years the world pledges billions to rebuild Gaza and Israel receives most of this which keeps Israel`s economy running strong. All these figures are excluding the ordinary day to day running of Gaza, the private sector which is worth billions more to the Israeli economy. Why would Israel ever want to end the siege on Gaza? The answer is it will never end the siege unless it is forced to. So it is up to the likes of the E.U. to put enough pressure on Israel by suspending the association agreement until Israel lifts the siege by air, sea and land and finally break down the wall’s of  this prison called Gaza.

 Derek . Video below pictures…

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Today ( Sunday 23rd), we officially handed over the well and distribution station to the municipality of Umm al Nasser. The Irish flag will continue to fly over the well. We can never thank you all enough for  your help, support , donations, encouragement  and messages and hope we can count on your support in our future projects and continued time in Gaza .We believe the smiles on the kids faces, the relief for their parents , the fact that you have all been part of a small project that has made a big  impact on an area is as much thanks as we all need. …but We wish to sincerely thank  those of you who make our job possible. We, both of us, merely implement your kindness, and your support on the ground. Without each and every one of you who support Palestine, support human rights and support us, there would be no well in Umm Al Nasser, there would be no opportunity for another project, there would be no continued fight for what is right and there would be no humanity. The people of Umm al Nasser now know this, they thank you all for their well, for your friendship … 025   To those who donated, bought t-shirts, ran, walked, sponsored, campaigned, talked, shouted , laughed with us, cried with us, to each and every one , THANK YOU…And a special thank you to all the children and younger people who helped, you are our hope and our inspiration. But ,please don’t stop now. This is just the beginning, there is so much more needs doing. We want to extend the benefit of this well  and other well’s and projects. We hope , together , we can make this happen. We can do a lot with small amounts but we cannot do it without you. A special word goes out to those of you who are continuing to find raise, raise awareness, writing, talking etc… keep up the good work! To donate click ;    Donate

We have never claimed to be humanitarian workers, we are fighting for the human rights of all. Parallel to this , we believe in the implementation of long term , sustainable projects and the right to life . To this end, we have implemented many projects, this latest one in Umm al Nasser village will , Insha’Allah , provide clean water to a large community of over 5,000 for many years to come. We also try to contribute to smaller groups, families etc but here is slightly different as in we ask for your trust in this. We do not and will not take pictures  …. Many times, in these cases, pride and dignity is all that is left… 169 With your continued help, we will remain committed to highlighting the brutality of an inhumane siege on Gaza, (the longest siege in history); continue to fight against occupation in all of Palestine. Demand the rights of prisoners, of women, children, families, the right to education, to water, to medicines, the right to a peaceful life, the right to travel freely and the right of return of land stolen. We will implement, whenever possible, projects that, during the fight for freedom, and after the day Palestine is free, will benefit those who have been forced to exist without rights, without basics. In a world where Israeli impunity perpetuates the occupation, separation and destruction of a whole country, where many Government’s remain complicit in allowing this, where sold out media stations give a one sided bias account of the situation on the ground, In this world, we will continue in a fight for humanity … not to be someone’s hero, but because we know right from wrong … and we all have, in different ways, the ability to make a change. This is our small way of helping. It is our privilege to work alongside those that live through war, occupation, aggression, terror, injustice, those that continue to demand their rights rather than surrender their dignity, their children’s future and their rightful place in this world.   We will remain indebted and in need of your support and we offer our support to anyone in need. Shukran, Go raibh mile maith agat , Thank you. Derek and Jenny.

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Thursday, 13th Novemeber…  And nobody is thirsty in Umm Al Nasser tonight. I am not going to write much, hopefully these pictures will tell you all you need to know… The children smiles as they collect their water….



The official handover, ( paperwork , certification etc) will be done in the coming days. The water samples have all come back stating healthy , clean water, the pumps are working to full capacity and we, they ,  all of us involved, say a huge thank you to all our friends, family supporters.. Keep it up!

Will post a more in depth blog soon, but for now enjoy the pictures …

To continue to donate, please click :http://wp.me/PsaGo-1by

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The excitement in Umm Al Naser is building… The drilling is finished, the drill and the first group of workers have now left and the next group has begun. The storage facility for the plant arrived on site, by truck this morning. The plant itself is now in situe inside.



The trench is dug for the waste water/sewage pipes and refilled, the electricity is hooked up and everything is shiny and bright and waiting to be switched on.  The commitment to detail and pride in their work is more evident each day, and one wonders as to what would be possible here in Gaza if the proper material s and equipment were allowed in, it is surely not a lack of training that frustrates these men. We are actually hearing disturbing reports of material that has actually entered Gaza, badly needed for reconstruction to homes, being held, inexplicably, in warehouses in Gaza…  such as : http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/10/26/world/to-rebuild-gazans-wait-for-aid-already-arrived.html?referrer&_r=0

It is imperative for all of us to continue to pressure our politicians and Governments , and the UN,  to firstly,  allow materials in to Gaza and secondly, to ensure that anything that does arrive is used ! This is not an opportunity for photographs of full warehouses.


But, back to Umm Al Nasser.

A new plinth, with interlocking bricks will be put in place for the distribution point tomorrow. The 2 large storage tanks for the water are waiting to be hoisted on top of the building. The actual stand with the taps is to the side waiting to be hooked up. The signage is being worded as we speak, with the Palestinian and Irish flag ready for painting…  then it is again all systems go tomorrow… the engineers are waiting to collect the final samples for taking to the laboratory in the next few days and then…….

Derek’s expertise in electrics was called in to service, so, myself and the younger children dug holes in the sand with spoon’s…. just to show them how it’s done!



A slow stroll around the village again today, ( stopping of for more sweet tea in several homes) reminded us , if we were ever to forget, just why we are doing this and the smiles and excitement on the children’s faces renewed our vow to come back as often as possible….

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As always, We realize this project and hopefully others is only possible with continued support. Be very proud of what , together , we have accomplished so far. Please continue to support us and Gaza, Palestine … share the blog, spread the word, create awareness  and if at all possible, donate via paypal or direct to bank.


Another update soon….




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We need your help to complete this project, please read, share and if Possible, Please donate below.

Part 2.

Thursday 23 October… Another milestone reached. This morning, more than 45 metres below ground, we hit Water…




So, The drilling now comes to an end, No more pictures of men below ground throwing out buckets of sand, no spitting and puffing from an old generator and no more listening to the repetitive thud of an old drill forcing open the ground…  It really is the most primitive of equipment, it keeps breaking down, it has been mended more times but it’s all there is, and they manage to use it successfully… obviously. So now, we have water…




Tomorrow, Friday, is a day of rest… Back at it again on Saturday. Next in line is the submersion of the pump which will then feed the water up to a de-salination /filtration system, which is being constructed as we speak and will arrive to the site over the weekend. Once in place, and the water is tested etc, a distribution stand with taps will be erected and water … Fresh, clean, free, deserved water will flow and flow and flow, Insh;allah…

The children of the village are getting more and more excited each day, the numbers of adults strolling over for a look is growing, and therefore the invitations for more sweet tea and coffee, (which is never turned down) also grows….





But this is all part of life, new life, new friends, solidarity between countries, and hope for the future. Although we are ” Irish in Gaza”, and very proud to be,  We are fortunate to have friends and supporters all over the world.

We still need your help, We still need your donations. Your support will benefit more than 5000 people in this one village alone and hopefully much more in the future … Long term , sustainable support in one of the most vital basic human needs, human rights … Water means life.




Please continue to support the project here:  http://wp.me/PsaGo-1by

Remember , You can still order t-shirts also;   https://irishingaza.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/irish-in-gaza-t-shirts/

Note to the Irish:, We cordially decline your kind offer to send MR. Tierney  or other members of the Irish water board over to help, The Palestinians have enough problems of their own, Thanks…  ;) 

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The drilling begin’s …

We are drilling a well! Finally…

So, after a few delays, bureaucratic problems mostly, Yesterday, Tuesday 21st, we actually began drilling….

For the few weeks since we returned, we have been working consistently and constantly on getting this project off the ground. First, we had to put the contract out for tender in the local paper… (Was actually pretty cool to get our name in the Palestinian press,). After a specific number of days, we then opened all the tenders in front of a committee from the trade union of Palestine and our contractor was finally agreed. Next was the many meeting’s  with contractor, engineers, villagers etc.

Finally, In the last few days we have watched as the steel container that will hold the plant itself is being built, the filters, the pump  the electrics are all  being built, fixed, moulded , and will be ready for transportation to the site in the coming days. Once the container is in place, the de-salination, purification, electrics will all be put in to place, water tanks and a distribution station will be hooked up and Umm Al Nasser village, a village of 5,000 people will have constant , free access to fresh clean drinking water.

This morning we arrived at Umm Al Nasser to find the drill in place, and the workers already started, we also, as usual, found an audience of children waiting for us.


As the drilling began, the villagers randomly called to the site, which is situated deliberately in the centre of the village for access to as many as possible, interested to find out who was doing this for them, and always grateful when we explained it was you, the people of Ireland, friends and family from all over the world, not governmental, who have donated for this project. We, Derek and I, as Irish in Gaza, are implementing the well on behalf of each of you, and we are facilitated , kindly, by the trade union of Palestine.


It is testament to the Irish, who , in the middle of their own fight for water, step up and fight for the right to water for all…

Copious amounts of tea and coffee throughout the day as the workers first dug the hole by hand, and then by machine ….

Didn’t hit water yet…  We explained we will settle for Oil if that is what we reach first…!!!

Will update over the next few days but please continue to donate … There is still much to do. We are very close to having the full amount to complete this stage of the project, but we still need your help.   To Donate please click : http://wp.me/PsaGo-1by

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