Mapping Environmental (In) Justice

Jabalia finishedRound Table Discussion curated by Art Forces


Intersection for the Arts

925 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94110 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 7pm


Mapping Environmental (In) Justice is Art Forces’ ongoing investigation into the global dynamics of precarity, societal instability and violence, environmental destruction and creativity.

Maia Mural Brigade is a series of community mural projects located in refugee camps and towns in the Gaza Strip, Palestine. Maia Mural Brigade is a collaboration between Art Forces and the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) and in 2011 with #WaterWrites project of the Estria Foundation. The murals are located at the sites of water purification and desalination systems installed with grassroots funding by MECA.  To date 52 systems are providing clean water to more than 57,000 children and their families.


Art Forces, previously Break the Silence Media & Art Project (BTS/MAP) uses community public art and technology, including murals, websites, social and new media, to create spaces for critical thinking and action. BTS/MAP moves from the local to the global, from the streets of San Francisco to refugee camps of Palestine. The projects make visible histories and relationships that have been obliterated and forgotten; making connections to national and global issues of social justice, borders, precarity, migrations and decolonization.

Ziad Abbas,associate director of MECA will discuss MAIA project. There is a growing water crisis in Palestine that affects agriculture, industry, and the health of virtually every adult and child. In the Gaza Strip, poor sanitation and over-extraction have polluted the limited water supply. In September 2009, the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) launched the Maia Project (Arabic for “water”)  to provide Palestinian children with clean, safe drinking water.

MECA is working in partnership with community organizations in Gaza to build water purification and desalination units in schools throughout the Gaza Strip.We have provided clean water to 26 large UN schools in Palestinian refugee camps and to 26 kindergartens in refugee camps, towns, and villages.

#WaterWrites Water Writes, a project of Estria Foundation, is an international series of collaborative murals about critical water issues.

The mural we focus on for this event is located along the Klamath River, where the largest dam removal project ever is in motion after an advocacy campaign lead by local native tribes and environmentalists. The mural portrays the Northern California Native people’s stomp dances that bring balance to the world. The dancer’s movements are breaking down the cement of the dams that block the Klamath River and prevent the salmon from swimming upstream to spawn. Watch a video about the project here.

Stop the Jewish National Fund Campaign Stop the JNF” is an international campaign aimed at ending the role of the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemet LeIsrael) (JNF-KKL) in: 1.) the destruction of the natural environment in Palestine and Israel; 2.) the on-going displacement of indigenous Palestinians from their land; 3. ) the theft of their property; 4.) the funding of historic and present day colonies.



A series of programs that explores various mechanisms of social order at work

February – June 2014

Both omnipresent and hidden, systems give structure to our everyday lives. Throughout Spring 2014, Intersection’s multi-disciplinary program explores these various mechanisms of social order at work.  Intersection engages communities from the Bay Area to expand our understanding of systems — systems of economy, systems of tradition, and systems of oppression, among others — and our voice to effect change within them.  The artists-in-residence in Systems offer economic, historical, political and aesthetic regimes as subjects for discussion. The series boasts a wide array of new work by artists reflecting on how we negotiate existence within systems that structure the world around us.


Between earth and earth’s atmosphere, the amount of water remains constant; there is never a drop more, never a drop less. This is a story of circular infinity, of a planet birthing itself. ~Linda Hogan, Chickasaw

R E  S  U  R  F  A  C  I  N  G


Art. Activism. Mapping Environmental Justice.

 Pls. Note- Exhibit and Events are still in Development

Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts

January 15 -February 21, 2014

We live within multiple layers that are hidden from view; layers of history, stories, cultural movements and geography.  Using the stories, poetics and politics of water, “Resurfacing” interrogates global environmental systems and the ways in which they are culturally and socially produced, supported, resisted and transformed. “Resurfacing” is envisioned as an inter-disciplinary interactive exhibit, project-space and conference. “Resurfacing” maps parallels and connections between seemingly distant locations and issues; and aims to create and support relationships and production that will develop beyond the length of the exhibit.

Interdisciplinary/Multi-Media/Installation (Selected)

Estria Foundations #Water Writes (selected)

Images of seven collaborative murals about water rights in seven cities around the world. Accompanied by videos providing stories and

Maia Mural Brigade (slected)

Wall size images of nine collaborative international murals painted in Gaza with Art Forces/Break the Silence Media, Middle East Children’s Alliance and Estria Foundation #Water Writes (2011). Accompanied by Videos providing stories and context. 2011-2013


Joel Bergner

Wall size image of collaborative mural about water in refugee camp in Jordan. With video providing stories and context.


Zapantera Negra

Exploration of the artistic and political connections between the Black Panther Party and the Zapatista movements as incubated in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.  Featuring work created by Emory Douglas in collaboration with Zapatista artists.  Graphics, embroidery, video of performative social sculpture.


Mona Caron Mural created in April 2010 for the 3rd Feria Del Agua, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the Water War in Cochabamba, Bolivia.


Boycott ~The Art of Economic Activism

Posters from Historical & Contemporary Boycott Movements

Organized by American Friends Service Committee. Audio element from each of the movements represented that include: Grape Boycott by US Farmworkers; Anti-Apartheid Boycott of South Africa; Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement.


Radical Geography

Susan Greene, in consultation with radical cartographers and geographers will create an interactive map. What environmental issues face the Bay Area currently?  How are different geographic locations connected? Who is affected most? Who profits?


Middle East Children’s Alliance MAIA Project

The goal of MECA’s Maia Project is to provide safe clean, drinking water for tens of thousands of Palestinian children by working in partnership with community organizations to build water purification and desalination units in schools and towns throughout the Gaza Strip.MECA has provided clean water to 16 large UN schools in Palestinian refugee camps and to 22 kindergartens in refugee camps, towns, and villages giving 34,000 children access to clean water.



The Emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene group (EWASH) is a coalition of almost 30 organizations working in the water and sanitation sector in the occupied Palestinian territory. EWASH is a coordination body seeking to improve Water, Sanitation and Hygiene conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and minimize the adverse effect of the political situation on the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sector.


Stop the Jewish National Fund Campaign

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Culture jamming public-art interventions and graphic descriptions of situation in Negev.


Palestine Mural in Oakland

Presentations and Design workshops for mural about Palestine and water rights in downtown Oakland. Sponsored by NorCal Sabeel, Estria Foundation.


Culture Jamming

Public-art ‘interventions’


Alliance for Climate Education

Youth film



Exploring water—as a topic and metaphor—Waterwheel is an interactive, collaborative platform for sharing media and ideas, performance and presentation.  Waterwheel investigates and celebrates this constant yet volatile global resource, fundamental element, environmental issue, political dilemma, universal theme and symbol of life. It encourages you to explore and discover, share and collaborate, contribute and participate.

Waterwheel calls on everyone—performers and artists, scientists and environmentalists, students and academics, you and me, anyone and anywhere—to test the water, dive in, make a splash and start a wave. It provides a platform and forum for experience and exchange, expression and experimentation.

Waterwheel draws together different people, practices, places, media and modes of expression. There are no borders or boundaries. Waterwheel flows along its natural course.



            Flo Razowsky, photography

Highlighting documentation of US/Mexico border, Israel’s wall in Palestine, and the structures used to cut off Spanish Melilla from Morocco.


Nellie King Solomon, Painting

Investigations into California water politics and global oil industry.



Shareef Sarhan, Photography

Co-founder of Window Gallery in Gaza City.

            Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, Drawings

Children’s art-work from Gaza Strip.


Stay Human

Mural by Miranda Bergman


Jenny Lynn, Photography


Nidal El-Khairy, Graphics


Juan Fuentes, Prints, Graphics

Focusing on the figure or portrait as a means to tell a story, elaborating on the human condition.


Melanie Cervantes, Prints

Cofounder of Rebelde Dignidade,


Jos Sances, Prints


Malaquias Montoya, Prints

Jesus Barraza,


Others TBA


Film and Video (in development) screened in gallery

Pressure Points

In 2010, UC Berkeley students made history with a campaign urging divestment from companies aiding Israeli occupation. Metier Productions, Directed: Anne Paxton.

The Bottom Line

International grassroots campaigns against Polaroid, Shell, Barclay’s, General Motors, and others doing business in South Africa economically isolate the apartheid regime and become the first successful efforts to use economic pressure to help bring down a government. Directed: Connie Fields

Documentary video and photography

Hilary Hacker

Mapping Shatila

Fred Alvarado, Video

Gaza Above the Storm

Ain Media, Gaza Strip, Palestine. Film about recent flooding in Gaza.

Flying Paper, Screened in Theater Jan. 29th

Flying Paper is the uplifting story of Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip on a quest to shatter the Guinness World Record for the most kites ever flown. It showcases the creative resilience of these children making and flying kites despite the difficult realities they face in their daily lives. The film has been co-produced with young Palestinians in Gaza trained by the filmmakers through a youth media program called Voices Beyond Walls.  Through the perspective of children and young people comes a story of determination and artistic expression as the youth in the film work together to achieve a shared goal.   

While the record-breaking event is what drives the film’s narrative arc, it is the everyday stories of the young kite makers that will touch audiences through their humor and playful spirit. The film seeks to humanize the conflict through a touching cinematic rendering of the fascinating kite culture among children as a form of creative resistance in Gaza.

With Co-Director Roger Hill


Panels/Presentation Salon Series (in development)

Wednesday, January 15th, 6:30-9:30

Opening Celebration

with Audiopharmacy, Genny Lim, Lubna Morrar plus surprise guests


Wednesday, January 22, 6-8pm

Teach In and Art Party – Gallery

Surveillance, policing, prison and corporate complicity: let’s take action!


Wednesday, January 29th  7-9:30- Theater

Flying Paper, Sneak Preview, Film

Flying Paper is the uplifting story of Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip on a quest to shatter the Guinness World Record for the most kites ever flown. It showcases the creative resilience of these children making and flying kites despite the difficult realities they face in their daily lives. The film has been co-produced with young Palestinians in Gaza trained by the filmmakers through a youth media program called Voices Beyond Walls.

Wednesday February 5, 6:30-9 Gallery

New Palestine Mural in Uptown Oakland

Design and Concept Workshop

The Estria Foundation will be partnering with Friends of Sabeel North America, and ArtForces on a new collaborative mural project highlighting the Palestinian water crisis and international responses of solidarity on a large public wall in Uptown Oakland.

The mural will focus on water as the uniting theme across the mural and create a space for local community and  artists to collaborate with a visiting artist from Palestine.  We hope to develop imagery that will make these issues visible to the public of Oakland, and by ways of the internet, to the world.


Saturday, February 8th , 1:00-9:00 pm

Conference and Film Screening- Theater and Gallery


Privatization, Labor Rights, Human Rights, The Environment And The Veolia Group
A unique one-day conference bringing together activists from all around the world involved in union organizing, Environmental protection and Palestine solidarity to confront the French multinational Veolia/ Transdev and build community resistance to privatization, union busting and corporate profiteering form human rights violation. Evening show and film screening.

The Veolia Group is a French owned multi-national which plays a growing  role in the world economy pushing privatization of water resources, transportation and other public services.
In the Bay Area Veolia has pushed for the privatization of water treatment in Richmond, California, which has led to union busting and environmental degradation.

Globally, the Veolia group is the largest water privatization company and various environmental groups have tracked its record of destruction and corruption. In the occupied West Bank, subsidiaries of the group operated segregated buses to illegal Israeli settlements, operated an illegal settler dump and ran a light rail system that sustains the Israeli settlements around Jerusalem.


Wednesday, February 12th, 6-9 Gallery

Round Table  

Winning Divestment: Student Struggles for Peace

Dedicated to the memory of Nelson Mandela. A panel discussion will bring activists to address the power, controversy and effectiveness of divestment as a tool for economic activism in different movements: the movement against apartheid in South Africa, the struggle for Palestinian rights, the global movement to avert the climate crisis. Film clips and movement posters, followed by an open conversation.


Wednesday, Feb 19th, 6:30-9:30 Gallery

Closing Reception and

Art Forces Report Back on recent projects in Refugee Camps in Lebanon and Maia Mural Brigade in Gaza, Plus Special guests


Calendar of Events                       

Date Event Brief Description Location Organizor
Weds,1.15.14 Opening

Gallery TalksMusic, spoken word , poetry- Audiopharmacy,Genny Lim, possibly Debke Dancing, poetryGalleryArt ForcesWeds, 1.22.14Panel and Art Event-BDS – HP Organizing, borders,Control, surveillance.GalleryAFSCWeds, 1.29.14Film-Sneak Preview- Flying PaperDocumentary about youth in Gaza winning Guiness record for kite flyingTheaterArt ForcesWeds, 2.5.14Mural Design Workshop for Oakland Mural GalleryEstria FndSat. 2/8

1-9pmConference and Film ScreeningPrivatization, Labor Rights, Human Rights, The Environment And The Veolia Group

Gallery and TheaterAFSC, Art ForcesWeds, 2.12.14Panel/round table, film clipsStudent Organizing BDS and Across MovementsGalleryAFCS

Students for Justice in Palestine     Weds, 2.19.14Presentation- ClosingRecent Art Forces ProjectsGalleryArt Forces


Events to be scheduled and in development

  • Gallery Tours for classes, Organized by Art Forces and Estria Foundation
  • Gallery Talks, Organized by Art Forces.
  • Panel or Round Table: Art and Activism, Art Forces, In development, Not confirmed
  • Interactive evening event on Israel’s Worldwide Role : Organized by IJAN.
  • Panel or Round Table with Screening “Planting Resistance to the Jewish National Fund” – 30 minute documentary on the JNF told mostly through video footage of Palestinians in ’48 and the West Bank with a presentation by Ziad Abbas and others.  Organized by IJAN and MECA
  • Explorations and demonstrations of alternative ways to desalinate and purify water for drinking.
  • Education regarding resources, in particular water.



MAIA Mural Gaza City Al Azhar







December 2013

Al Azhar University


Art Forces

With Susan Greene, Fred Alvarado, Hilary Hacker, Louy Nijm,

Images contributed by:

Nellie King Solomon, Eric Drooker, Emory Douglas, #WaterWrites, Joel Bergner,


Imagine there is no water for up to 14 hours, or more, every day.
Imagine that the water you do have is polluted.
And then imagine that if you dig a well on your own property you risk being jailed or worse for not having the correct permit.
This is what is happening in Palestine where the Israeli Occupation systematically denies Palestinians adequate quality and quantities of water, often diverting it for the use of Israelis.
Environmental inequities exist all over the world, including here in the USA.
This is why we invite you to join the  #Water4Gaza campaign and participate in a global movement for environmental justice!
Maia Mural Brigade 2 is organizing  a multi-media public-art project with artists, activists  and youth from Palestine and around the world in downtown Gaza City, in occupied Palestine. The project aims to accelerate global action for clean water and environmental justice!
By partnering with on-the-ground activists organizations in Gaza we aim tol use art to ignite concrete action.

We are working with Afaq Jadeeda, Middle East Children’s Alliance, American Friends Service Committee, EWASH, Gaza Community Mental Health Programme. Supporters include Estria Foundation  #Water Writes project.

Join us and become a Water Warrior!
Donate on Indiegogo at:
Water Warriors will get a water drop dedicated to them in the #Water4Gaza mural painting in Palestine. Lots of information will be forthcoming about concrete actions you can take to  leave your mark and participate in this growing movement.  To see the MAIA Murals Part 1 from 2011 go to
Help spread the word.
(See sample tweets below)  Even if you cannot donate it means a lot to get the word out.  Web activity will help us gain prominence on the INDIEGOGO site.
1.)  Join our #Water4Gaza blogger/social media community and commit to spreading the word about the MAIA Mural Brigade  with your community.

2.)  Share the Indiegogo campaign link with your community in order to help us fund this important movement.

3.)  Add your voice to the #Water4Gaza conversation by tweeting

your thoughts & wisdom about the water crisis and expressing your relationship to water using the hashtag.
 Here are some sample tweets below:
Water is a human right! I proudly join @btsmap on the fight for clean #water4gaza Support the movement at: water crisis in #Palestine continues to grow. Join me & @btsmap in the fight for clean #water4Gaza : we can demand access to clean & healthy water for Palestine & beyond. Join @btsmap in the fight #water4Gaza Solidarity,

Consider a donation to the MECA’s MAIA Project

The Maia Project: Bringing Clean Water to the Children of Palestine

Bringing Clean Water to the Children of Palestine

There is a growing water crisis in Palestine that affects agriculture, industry, and the health of virtually every adult and child. In the Gaza Strip, poor sanitation and over-extraction have polluted the limited water supply. In September 2009, the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) launched the Maia Project (Arabic for “water”)  to provide Palestinian children with clean, safe drinking water.

This project began when the Student Parliament at the UN Boys’ School in Bureij Refugee Camp, Gaza were given the opportunity to choose one thing they most wanted for their school: They chose to have clean drinking water. MECA’s partner in Gaza heard about this vote and, after meeting with representatives from the school and the Student Parliament, came to MECA to see if we could respond to the children’s request for drinking water. MECA provided the funds to build a water purification and desalination unit for the school in 2007. (Read More)

Join Campaigns Organized by EWASH – Emergency Water Sanitation and Hygiene In Occupied Palestine

Photo Petition:

Plant-a-Tree in Palestine

Plant a TreePlease honor special occasions, significant dates, holidays, and loved ones by planting a tree in Palestine.

The Plant-a-Tree in Palestine project is a joint project of the Middle East Children’s Alliance, Stop the Wall, the Palestinian Farmer’s Union, and the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network.

The project is part of the campaign to stop the Jewish National Fund (JNF). For over 110 years the JNF has played a central role in the on-going displacement and dispossession of Palestinians from their land and homes.

The JNF is most commonly known for its campaign to ‘plant a tree in Israel’ in order to ‘make the desert bloom.’ However, the JNF trees have never been planted in a barren desert empty of inhabitants that Jewish people have come to populate and make flourish. Lands were, and still are, obtained from their Palestinian inhabitants through exploitative land sales, forced removal or other apartheid State policies.

It is not possible to replace what is lost when people are displaced, land and a way of life is destroyed, 1,000 year old olive trees uprooted. In Palestine scores of 2,000-year-old cities and historical sites are buried under JNF planted forests and parks. Rebuilding and replanting are acts of daily resistance in Palestine.

This project seeks to support the on-going struggle of Palestinians to rebuild by providing resources for villages to plant trees that are indigenous to Palestine’s natural environment and agricultural life.

When a critical mass of trees has been purchased, Stop the Wall and the Palestinian Farmer’s Union will coordinate planting days. On these days, the Farmer’s Union will deliver the trees. With community members joined by their fellow Palestinians and international volunteers, they will spend a day replanting trees in villages and homes that had their trees uprooted by the Israeli military and/or the Jewish National Fund.

Over time, the project will expand to collect funds for gardens in schools, playgrounds and community spaces that the JNF and State of Israel have also attempted to destroy.


The Partners

Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall CampaignThe Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (Stop the Wall) is a coalition of popular committees, youth activists, and Palestinian non-governmental organizations that acts as the voice of local communities; mobilizes and coordinates national actions; and is part of the global struggle against colonialism, war and racism. Stop the Wall’s efforts to tear down the Wall and achieve reparations for the damages and harm caused by its construction are an integral part of the Palestinian struggle for justice, liberation and return of the refugees. Stop the Wall promotes boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) as a core part of international solidarity with the Palestinian people.


PFU Logo

The Palestinian Farmers Union(PFU) works to organize and build the capacity of local farmers to defend their rights. PFU supports farmers in their just cause against the apartheid wall and the confiscation of land and water for the benefit of illegal Israeli settlements. PFU projects strengthen the economic development of the Palestinian agricultural sector and provide services to the Palestinian rural populations facing economic, social and financial difficulties.
Actions you can take:
I. Twitter Campaign
The Thirsting for Justice Campaign invites you to participate on a twitter campaign calling on European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton (@eu_eeas) to urge member-states to do all they can to stop these violations. Palestinian rights cannot be conditional on the political process.
Tweet the following messages and urge your friends to do the same:
Ø EU (@eu_eeas) must do mo


re to stop Israeli violations. Palestinians are @thirsty4justice #T4J #Palestine
Ø European Union (@eu_eeas) speak out against Israel´s discriminatory policies on water in the oPt! @thirstyforjustice #T4J #Palestine
Ø Ashton (@eu_eeas) water is a basic commodity, but not for everyone. Support Palestinian right to water @thirstyforjustice #T4J #Palestine
Ø Ashton (@eu_eeas), water cannot be held hostage to the political process. Palestinians are @thirstyforjustice #T4J #Palestine
Learn more about the campaign by visiting and
Add your image to the THIRSTING FOR JUSTICE CAMPAIGN- to mobilize European citizens to demand that their governments pressure Israel to change its behavior in order to comply with international law and respect Palestinians’ human rights.
For the launch of our campaign, we invite you to join Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza on a photo petition:
1 – Write a banner with a message in support of Palestinian rights to water and sanitation including the name of our campaign “Thirsting for Justice”2 – Take a photo holding the banner. Email your photo as an attachment to [email protected] . Make sure you include your name and city.
3 – We’ll post your photo on our site and use it to show elected leaders that their constituents want urgent action in support of Palestinian rights. Send us your photos by 1 July 2011
The THIRSTING FOR JUSTICE CAMPAIGN is being launched by the Emergency Water Sanitation and Hygiene group (EWASH) a coalition of 30 leading humanitarian organizations from the Occupied Palestine.
Help the Middle East Children’s Alliance to build filtration systems in Gaza.

Bringing Clean Water to the Children of Palestine

There is a growing water crisis in Palestine that affects agriculture, industry, and the health of virtually every adult and child. In the Gaza Strip, poor sanitation and over-extraction have polluted the limited water supply. In September 2009, the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) launched the Maia Project (Arabic for “water”)  to provide Palestinian children with clean, safe drinking water.

This project began when the Student Parliament at the UN Boys’ School in Bureij Refugee Camp, Gaza were given the opportunity to choose one thing they most wanted for their school: They chose to have clean drinking water. MECA’s partner in Gaza heard about this vote and, after meeting with representatives from the school and the Student Parliament, came to MECA to see if we could respond to the children’s request for drinking water. MECA provided the funds to build a water purification and desalination unit for the school in 2007.

MECA is working in partnership with community organizations in Gaza to build water purification and desalination units in schools throughout the Gaza Strip. We have provided clean water to 14 large UN schools in Palestinian refugee camps and to 13 kindergartens in refugee camps, towns, and villages.

MECA is seeking supporters to expand the Maia Project to schools throughout Gaza. A large purification unit for a UN school in a refugee camp costs $11,500. The UN schools run in shifts due to overcrowding and each unit provides drinking water for 1,500-2,000 children and staff. A small purification unit for a preschool or kindergarten costs $4,000 and serves 150-450 children. Many organizations, individuals, and schools around the US are raising the whole cost of a unit in their communities.

You can help!

Rafah Kindergartens

Rafah Crossing

Immediately after Israel occupied the Gaza Strip in 1967, the Israeli army issued an order defining the Strip a closed military area. Until 1991, residents of the Gaza Strip could leave the area freely for Israel and the West Bank under a general permit. After 1991, they were required to obtain a personal exit permit, which entailed many bureaucratic difficulties and vague and arbitrary criteria.

In September 2005, following the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip, Israel issued an order declaring the end of the military government there. However, Israel continues to control almost all the exit and entry points around the Gaza Strip. The area borders Israel on the north and east, and entry into Israel is possible only at crossings under its control. Access to and from the Gaza Strip by sea, to the west, and by air, is under Israel’s exclusive control.

Rafah Crossing, on the other hand, is located on the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Initially, it was widely assumed that the disengagement had also ended Israel’s control of this crossing, and that free passage would now be possible. It quickly became clear that matters were more complicated.

Following the disengagement, Rafah Crossing was closed for three months. In November 2005, the Crossings Agreement was signed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The agreement established that the crossing would be operated by the Palestinian Authority, under monitoring of the European Union and remote monitoring by Israeli security personnel. The agreement enabled Gazans holding Palestinian identity cards to cross. For seven months, the crossing operated in an orderly manner, and some 1,320 persons crossed daily.

On 25 June 2006, following the abduction of the soldier Gilad Shalit, Israel decided to close the crossing. It informed the European monitors that the crossing was closed for security reasons, and ceased to carry out its part of the agreement. Israel allowed the crossing to be opened only in isolated cases, and without giving advance notice. From then until June 2007, the crossing was closed for 265 days.

After Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, Israel announced the freezing of the Crossings Agreement. The Palestinian force that operated the crossing on behalf of the Palestinian Authority was unable to reach the crossing due to Hamas’ control of the Gaza Strip. Israel objected to opening the crossing on the grounds that it was unable to monitor the persons passing through it, and Egypt closed the border since it was impossible to implement the Crossing Agreement. The European force also stopped its monitoring activities due to the European Union’s refusal to cooperate with Hamas. As a result, since June 2007, the crossing has not been opened in accordance with the Crossings Agreement. Egypt, which can open the crossing on its side, generally refrains from doing so, thereby becoming a partner in Israel’s siege policy.

Closing the crossing denies the residents of Gaza any opportunity to go abroad, even when it is necessary for humanitarian reasons, such as to receive emergency medical treatment.

From time to time, Egypt opens the crossing in coordination with Hamas for a few hours to enable the crossing of ill persons, students, and persons who are stuck on the one side or another of the border. However, this irregular opening of the crossing fails to meet the residents’ needs. The crossing is opened without advance notice and for short periods of time, and most of the population is not permitted to cross on these occasions.

New Gaza Boys School, Gaza City








Al Shati or Beach Refugee Camp

Click on Images for Slide Show

Please check back soon for interviews, video, more photos with Palestinian youth participants!

Palestinian youth are great kite flyers.  They won the Guiness Book of World Records for flying the most kites at one time in 2011.
video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Al-Shati was established in 1948 for about 23,000 Palestinians fleeing the cities of Jaffa,Lod and Beersheba as well as surrounding villages.

Al-Shati camp, also known as Beach camp, is a Palestinian refugee camp located in the northern Gaza Strip along the Mediterranean Sea coastline in the Gaza Governorate, and more specifically Gaza City. The camp’s total land area consists of 727 dunums. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), al-Shati had a population of 87,158 inhabitants in mid-year 2006, while the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) reports a population of 78,800 registered refugees. The camp is the third largest refugee camp in the Palestinian Territories.



Gaza Kids Shatter Kite-Flying World Record

July 28, 2011

More than 15,000 kites flew above a northern Gaza beach on Thursday, breaking the world record for the most kites flown simultaneously.

The world record was the seventh that children from Gaza have broken in two years, part of an ongoing effort by the United Nations to provide summer entertainment for hundreds of thousands of children in Gaza and to draw attention to the effects of Israel’s blockade.

Fifteen thousand young Palestinians spilled out of buses dressed in matching t-shirts and sneakers as electronic music blared in the background. The children obediently went to their assigned sections along a 1.2-mile stretch of sand to collect their kites under the blazing late-afternoon sun.

Shortly after six o’ clock, a speaker onstage announced the start and the sky was suddenly filled with kites — plastic Spider-man kites and paper kites with the colors of the Palestinian flag. The goal was to beat the record set in China in April of 10,465 kites, a record that had bested the Gaza record set last summer.

As the sun set, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) — the agency that manages the U.N.’s work with Palestinians — announced that the record had been broken, with an unofficial tally of more than 13,000 kites and the official count to follow Friday.

“The tiny Gaza, David defeated the massive Chinese Goliath,” said UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness.

“For them to be number one in the world is an extraordinary thing,” Gunness told ABC News. “They’re seen as victims, they’re seen as locked up, they’re seen as people who are living in this strange enemy enclave. Here they are suddenly being happy — smiling faces like kids anywhere in the world enjoying summer games.”

Indeed, Gaza is more often synonymous with violence than children at play. The Israeli military said Thursday that 24 rockets were fired from Hamas-controlled Gaza into Israel in July. Overnight, UNRWA said 10 militants attacked the beach site, burning a U.N. flag, billboard and stage.

UNRWA has ruffled the feathers of Islamists here, including Hamas, many of whom don’t believe boys and girls should be playing together.

It is the extremists that UNRWA is trying to keep the children away from. Israel has had a land and sea blockade of Gaza since Hamas took over in 2007, deemed illegal by the United Nations.

“We’ve seen more and more desperation, more and more misery,” said UNRWA’s Gunness. “Of course, in situations of desperation and misery, extremism easily takes hold. There are plenty of historical precedents for that. ”

This is the third year running that UNRWA has been holding its “Summer Games.” This summer saw a quarter of a million Gaza children sign up.

“They take care of us so professionally, our hopes grow,” said 14-year-old Nayeema al-Maden. “We, thank, thank, thank UNRWA for the Summer Games.”

And as for the record?

“We’re very happy we broke the record,” said al-Maden. “When they do the next Summer Games, I’ll be involved and we’ll break another record.”


The Maia Mural Brigade with the Popular Theater Society in the West Bank!
Video by Hilary Hacker
Follow Hilary Hacker @hilhack4paz as she continues to document beautiful resistance.

Jabaliya Refugee Camp, Elementary Girls School

1,800 youth and families access clean water at this filtration system installed by Middle East Children’s Alliance. Funded by the Arab Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice in the Middle East, Chicago, Il.

Jabaliya Refugee Camp

Jabaliya is the largest Palestinian refugee camp established after 1948 with more than 100,000 Palestinian refugees. The densely populated built-up camp is only 1.4 sq. km. It is characterized by narrow alleys and pathways, and concrete and cinderblock shelters.The camp is located beside the village of Jabaliya. The first Palestinian uprising (intifada) against Israel’s military occupation began in Jabaliya refugee camp in December 1987.

Info from from Badil, Al Jazeera and MAIA Mural Project

Bureij Camp

Bureij Refugee Camp

MAIA Mural is at UNRWA School where the Middle East Children’s Alliance has installed a water filtration system.

Source: UNRWA

al-Bureij camp is a Palestinian refugee camp in Deir al-Balah Governorate. It is a comparatively small refugee camp.

Where is al-Bureij Camp Located?

al-Bureij refugee camp located in the middle of the Gaza Strip. The camp is near al-Maghazi and al-Nuseirat refugee camps.

The camp was built in the 1950s to house approximately 13,000 refugees who until then had lived in British army barracks and tents. The refugees who settled in Bureij had mostly come from towns east of Gaza, such as Falouja. Today, the refugee population of Bureij is more than 31,000.

The camp’s housing shortage has been made worse by the blockade of Gaza, which prevents people from importing construction materials. Water and electricity supplies are also inadequate.

Unemployment is widespread and the camp suffers from a high poverty rate.

About al-Bureij Camp

  • Over 31,000 UNRWA registered refugees
  • 11 schools, four running on double shifts
  • One food distribution centre
  • One health centre

Beit Hanoun

Kindergarten in Beit Hanoun, Run by Ghassan Kanafani Association

Roses Grow from Concrete in Gaza

By Nancy Hernandez

On our seventh day on the in the Gaza Strip we painted a mural at a kindergarten in Beit Hanoun, a town along the Northern Border. As we approached the driver pointed out rubble and empty lots where rows of houses stood before the 2006 bombings and parked in front of a cement wall, riddled with bullet holes. “Yalla” he told us, “Lets go!”. Walking towards the gate I wondered what it would be like to drop your child off at a school with bullet holes across the front wall.

One of the most densely populated places on earth earth, Gaza is a 140 square mile piece of land that is home to over 1.7 million people. Since the bombing of the sewage plant more than half of the ground water is now contaminated with raw sewage and because of over pumping, salt water from the Mediterranean has spilled in to the aquifer. Children and babies are most susceptible to the water borne illnesses caused by the lack of sanitation. Over 60% of the population is under 18 and scientists predict that within the next 15 years, there will be no water left in the area.

After a tour of the school and rounds of children practicing their English “What is your name?” and “Hello!” the principal showed us the water filtration system that has brought drinkable water to their school in this small piece of the dessert. Author Alice Walker and the Middle East Children’s Alliance funded the filter after permits to rebuild the sewage plant were denied by the Israeli government.

Our group of artists from the US and Gaza unpacked our paints and brushes, and began to talk about what images to paint. We worked on a sketch that would both inspire the kids who attend the school, and inspire the international community to understand the impacts of the occupation and take action.

As we began to paint, Alice Walker was on a boat near Greece as part of an international protest against the blockade attempting to reach Gaza by Sea. We painted an image of boats sailing with banners proclaiming “To Gaza With Love” in English and Arabic. Larger than life birds lead the boats and carry people towards land to symbolize the Flytilla in which 800 internationals were denied entry by the Israeli government in the week after we arrived. Behind the boats, messages of faith, love, peace, and human rights float in bottles. Talking with the teachers and principal we agreed that even if the boats and planes are all turned away, the messages of solidarity have been received.

As we painted in the hundred degree sun, playing Lupe Fiasco and Nancy Ajram songs, children kept popping their heads over the wall to watch us and practice their  English. One of the artists, Vyal from Los Angeles walked around the corner to see how they were getting up the wall and found that they were using the bullet holes in the wall as footholds to climb up. Using sign language he asked if they would like to paint the wall and they all gathered around him. He began to spraypaint flowers growing from the holes and turned some into eyeballs. As the kids colored in the petals and leaves, he tagged across the bottom “Bear Witness, Free Palestine”.

Afaq Jadeeda/New Horizons Kindergarten

A Tale of Two Cities ~ MAIA Mural Project, Palestine, Summer 2011

We have arrived!  More very soon!