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

Dear Friends,

Where to begin as I sit down to write this year’s Christmas message. While we are all far too familiar with the injustices facing Palestinians living under military occupation and forced exile, the additional impact of a global pandemic on Palestinian communities is not something any of us foresaw.

Tragically this year has seen the humanitarian crises Palestinians are facing deepen across the region. As a result, we are responding to simultaneous emergencies in all our areas of operation: in Gaza, the West Bank and the Palestinian refugee camps of Lebanon.

The rate of COVID-19 infections is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the pandemic’s humanitarian impact. With rising unemployment and higher levels of poverty and food insecurity, the pandemic has already triggered a surge in cases of childhood malnutrition. Sadly, we expect this situation to worsen over the winter, with our support more critical than ever.

Yet, despite these dark times, you are keeping hope alive. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters and the dedication of MAP’s staff and partners on the ground, we have been able to respond swiftly and at scale. Through our ongoing emergency response, we are ensuring hospitals, primary healthcare centres and community partners have the vital equipment and medical supplies they need to support infection control efforts and treat patients.

I am incredibly proud of the way in which MAP’s staff and partners have adapted our programmes, keeping services running and people safe. In Gaza, we continue to support a lifesaving clinic providing nutritious food to families in need, which this year assessed more than 2,500 children for malnutrition - successfully diagnosing and treating over 600 children. In the West Bank, we began a new partnership with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society to provide mobile clinic services for marginalised communities in the South Hebron Hills in Area C, one of the regions hardest hit by the pandemic. And in the refugee camps of Lebanon, our midwives have been providing essential care to expectant and new Palestinian mothers and their new-born babies, taking essential precautionary measures to safeguard their own health as well as that of the women and babies they visit. Thanks to their hard work, they supported more than 3,000 expectant mothers this year, 1,000 more women than in 2019.

Meanwhile, in Westminster and at the United Nations you helped us to raise the alarm about the growing humanitarian crises and pressure the UK government and the international community to take action against new threats to Palestinians’ rights to health and dignity. More than 1,500 people sent emails to their MPs calling for action against further annexation in the West Bank, and we collected more than 2,400 signatures on our joint petition to lift the illegal closure and blockade of Gaza.

This year has been such a difficult year for everyone, and we have been so moved to see that, despite all 2020 has thrown at us, you have continued to stand with Palestinians living under occupation and as refugees.

With heartfelt thanks for your support and engagement with MAP this year, I wish everyone the very best this Christmas as we look ahead to what we all hope will be a brighter 2021.

Aimee Shalan

Chief Executive


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