Peter Larson, Chair of the National Education Committee on Israel Palestine (NECIP) and a board member of the National Committee on Canada Arab Relations (NCCAR), writes about his recent visit to Gaza. See Personal impressions from a short visit to Gaza (Peter Larson, Canada Talks Israel – Palestine, 2 December 2015).
The three punishing Israeli attacks on Gaza (2009, 2011, 2014) have had a serious impact on Gaza and its children. Hundreds killed, thousands more injured, whole neighbourhoods demolished, and tens of thousands suffering from the post-traumatic stress of seeing death and destruction around them.
Despite this horror, here is what Peter Larson found:
Instead of hopelessness, I found hopefulness. Instead of ignorance about the “outside world”, I found curiosity. Instead of a preoccupation with religion, I found a focus on finding a way to solve their predicament.
He goes on to describe some of the vocational training programs operated by the Near East Council of Churches (NECC) in Gaza, a partner of the United Church of Canada:
These programs are designed to give practical training to adolescent boys and girls many of whom come from families that have been shattered by repeated Israeli bombing.
In addition to talking to people at the NECC vocational training centres, Peter Larson also visited other educational institutions, including the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG), The University College of Applied Sciences (UCAS), and the American International School.
Over 4 days of formal meetings and private conversations, I was astounded to see just how eager and enthusiastic Gazan students are about learning, and how hopeful that things would improve in the future.
For the full blog post, click here: Personal impressions from a short visit to Gaza (Peter Larson, Canada Talks Israel – Palestine, 2 December 2015).