- Title: WEST BANK: Palestinian volunteers help the impoverished during Ramadan
- Date: 16th August 2012
- Summary: AL-DEGEGAH, NEAR HEBRON, WEST BANK (RECENT) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF VEHICLES FOR SHABAB AL-KHAIR GROUP ARRIVING IN VILLAGE NEAR HEBRON FLAGS WITH LOGO FOR 'SHABAB AL-KHAIR' GROUP VOLUNTEERS REMOVING ITEMS FROM VEHICLE SIGN ON T-SHIRT READING IN ARABIC: 'LET'S BENEFIT FROM RAMADAN' (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SHABAB AL-KHAIR GROUP VOLUNTEER, EYAD AL-ATSHEH, SAYING: "We in the Shabab al-Khair group are a youth group. We started from a humanitarian perspective to serve the country and the poor who live in several different areas, either inside the city of Hebron or the rest of the governorate. We, as youths, decided to go out to the poor who needed help, especially in this place which suffers from extreme poverty in addition to a lot of Israeli attacks in the area." VARIOUS OF YOUTHS CARRYING MEALS TO THE NEEDY
- Embargoed: 31st August 2012 13:00
- Location: West bank
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Religion,Religion
- Reuters ID: LVA6DMZZY2YYTRRB2E5I59L7WNNO
- Story Text: A Palestinian youth group has been helping out the needy during Ramadan by distributing Iftar meals in underprivileged areas.
Youths from 'Shabab al-Khair' have been providing the food parcels to Palestinians living in "Area C" - the 60 percent of the West Bank which is under full Israeli control and where most Jewish settlements are located.
The youths say their group was set up a year ago with just four people, but has since grown to attract 50 volunteers.
"We in the Shabab al-Khair group are a youth group. We started from a humanitarian perspective to serve the country and the poor who live in several different areas, either inside the city of Hebron or the rest of the governorate. We, as youths, decided to go out to the poor who needed help, especially in this place which suffers from extreme poverty in addition to a lot of Israeli attacks in the area," explained Eyad al-Atsheh.
Earlier this year, the European Union criticised what it said were worsening conditions for the Palestinians living in Area C, in a report that Israel condemned as 'biased'.
According to the United Nations, some 38 communities with 5,000 Palestinians, mostly Bedouin and pastoral communities in the West Bank, reside in areas designated as "firing zones". Residents of these areas are routinely subject to demolition orders.
"There are always threats. Imagine that here in al-Degegah there are more than 94 warnings (from the Israeli authorities) for demolition. Do you want more? This is after some demolitions, like the site behind you there, which is a room for the school, and the school that you can see now has a demolition warning," said Mousa Najadah, an Arabic teacher.
Israel says it issues demolition orders for projects that have failed to receive planning permission.
However, up to 70 percent of Area C is off-limits for Palestinians, classified as Israeli settlement areas, firing zones, or nature reserves, NGOs say.
In the remaining 30 percent, there are stringent Israeli restrictions that reduce the possibility for Palestinians to get building permits.
In the tense atmosphere, Shabab al-Khair volunteers say they want to provide hope and joy to those living in poverty and fear of violence, particularly during the month of Ramadan.
"Firstly, when we arrived here they welcomed us, and we made the children laugh by creating a joyful atmosphere around them. After that, we distributed the Iftar meal for the residents of this area. The men joined us for the meal, and we distributed meals to the women in their homes. There were a number of recipients - around 200 to 250," said Faraj Abu Shkhadim.
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