A Christmas message from MAP’s Chief Executive, Aimee Shalan

Dear friend,

The Christmas holidays are a time to reflect. On our lives and on the lives of others. On the successes and hardships of the past year and on how to galvanise ourselves for the year ahead.

At MAP, we are incredibly proud of the work that we and our partners have achieved across Palestine and Lebanon, despite so many challenges. For instance, in the West Bank, we began an exciting new partnership with the Palestinian Circus School, supporting children with disabilities. In Gaza, working with our partner IDEALS, we continued to support complex surgeries and treatments for patients with limb injuries, providing on-the-job training for local teams. And in Lebanon our community midwives visited more than 2,000 expectant mothers in 2019, helping to increase breastfeeding rates and reduce anemia and high-risk pregnancies. Meanwhile, in Westminster and at the United Nations we highlighted the root causes of the needs that our programmes seek to address, and advocated for political action to tackle them.

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The year that looms ahead of us serves as a stark reminder of how important MAP’s work is. Since 2012, the UN has warned that Gaza would be unliveable by 2020. Under illegal blockade and closure, Gaza has a collapsing economy, a de-developed health sector and scarce drinkable water. Palestinians in Gaza are cut off from the rest of the world, while many patients are denied exit permits for treatment and health workers are prevented from traveling outside for training.

At MAP, we believe that Gaza is already unliveable. For every family without nutritious food, every patient denied access to adequate treatment, every young person denied the opportunity to work and shape their own destiny, there is a gaping lack of health and dignity.  As one UN expert recently reflected:

"The prediction of unliveability has already arrived. The common measuring stick used by the UN or any other international organisation to be able to evaluate how people live is human dignity, and Gaza has been without human dignity for years now."

Life for Palestinians in the West Bank and in Lebanon is similarly harsh. Poverty rates soar across Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Bedouin communities in the Jordan Valley. House demolitions, settler attacks and movement restrictions undermine basic wellbeing across the West Bank and there is scant redress through justice systems.

As one decade ends and a new one begins, at MAP we are re-focusing on our central mission. The needs have never been greater and we have an ambitious three-year strategy to expand our programmes and partnerships across five core areas: women and child health; mental health and psychosocial support; disability; emergency response; and advocacy. With your help, we can reach yet more individuals and communities across Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon, and raise our voice louder still in the UK and internationally in support of the rights of Palestinians to live in health and dignity.

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Even in these bleak times, we believe a hopeful future lies ahead. This hope is fueled by the unceasing support of people like you. Together, we stand and work alongside Palestinian communities, and will continue to work for their rights to health and dignity throughout 2020 and beyond.

Please consider making a donation today, and help us do even more in the year to come.

Thank you for your support.

Wishing you and your loved ones all the very best this Christmas.

Aimee Shalan

Chief Executive, Medical Aid for Palestinians

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