Note – this campaign has finished,  but the books is still available and a wonderful insight into a brave young British man killed for following his conscience to protect children from sniper fire.

The Israeli leadership needs to be held to account for its acts of violence and destruction against Gaza’s children. Please join our campaign to raise awareness in the British Parliament, and to ask the government to apply pressure on the Israeli government to respect the rights of Gaza’s population. We want to send each MP a gift of conscience, and ask them to be guided by their morality to stand up to human rights violations.

Background

Child with bullets

The injustice inflicted on the most helpless, the children of Gaza, needs to stop. Those responsible for robbing these children of their lives and dreams need to be made accountable for their actions. If Gaza’s children are to be given a chance for a constructive and fulfilling future, Israel’s military needs to stop its incursions, its continual traumatising fly-overs, and its brutal siege. It’s only in doing this that urgently needed aid can enter freely to help rebuild and replenish schools, fix sewerage systems, support their parents, stop the daily traumatisation and allow the children the opportunity to live a child’s life.

Gaza is very densely populated. 1.5 Million people in a land of 360 sq KM, about the same size as the Isle of Wight. Over 90% of its children are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 53,000 of its children are orphaned. Over 300 were killed in Israel’s attacks on Gaza in 2008/09. 26 children shot by Israeli soldiers in the last few months while scavenging for rubble to earn a living. Children are being taught in containers as their schools can’t be rebuilt. The catalogue is huge and appalling, especially as it is all man made. This is not a natural disaster – it is the result of political decisions and can be stopped.

You can find out more about the lives of Gaza’s children on our Facebook page, where we post regular updates.

What are we doing?

Israel’s policies are causing untold suffering to the civilians in Gaza. The blockade doesn’t discriminate between Israel’s armed enemies and Gaza’s civilian population, adult or child. As a responsible friend of Israel, the UK needs to exert pressure to have these policies changed, and to demand that Israel recognise and respect the human rights of Gaza’s civilians.

We are going to raise awareness in the British Parliament to the suffering of Gaza’s children. We will create conversations in the corridor, and demand that the British government exert pressure on Israel to honour its commitments to the Human Rights conventions that it has signed, and to respect the rights of Gaza’s children.

We want to send letters to each MP from a member of their constituency, and a copy of the Journals of Tom Hurndall. Tom was a British man who lost his life to an Israeli sniper while protecting children in Gaza. This book about Tom’s courageous stance and sacrifice will stir the conscience of anyone who reads it. We hope it will stir our MPs consciences to action.

We are aiming for a palette of books to arrive in Westminster, one for each MP, accompanied by a letter calling each MP to follow their conscience and demand that Israel desist from the collective punishment of Gaza’s civilian population, adults and children. The arrival of a palette with a book for every MP at the same time will create an impact which we believe will stir debate in the corridors of Westminster. A letter from constituents accompanying the book will demand that the topic is raised and discussed, and that the government take a stance for Human Rights in Gaza.

How can you help?

Tom faces the tank

It is important that the book and letter arrives from a member of the MP’s constituency. That way they will be duty bound to reply. So We are asking UK citizens to buy a copy of the book, and we will arrange for it to be sent to the MP at Westminster.

  1. Find out who your MP is. If you don’t know, you can find out by keying in your postcode to http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/.
  2. Send us an email to [email protected] telling us who your MP is, and we will let you know if someone has bought the book for them.
  3. If your MP has not been bought the book, then please buy it for her or him. The book costs £24.99, and should be bought directly through the book’s campaign site. We will also send you a letter, which you can amend or totally rewrite, to send by post or email to him or her. Confirm to us after you’ve done this so we take your MP off the list.
  4. If your MP has already been ‘claimed’, then please still send your MP the letter. We will also ask you if you’d like to buy it for another MP who has not been claimed. There are a lot of MPs to cover (650 to be exact!). Again, please buy directly through the campaign site and confirm to us that you’ve done this so we take MP off the list.

 About Tom Hurndall and the book

Tom plays footie with Gaza kids

Tom Hurndall was a British photojournalist and human rights volunteer. He went to Gaza to see the situation there for himself, and as a Human Rights Activist to help. He was a peaceful activist, and did not participate in acts of violence. In April 2003, children playing in Gaza were caught up in sniper fire. Some froze with fright. Tom ran in to the group of children, and carried a small girl out to safety. He returned to carry out another child, and an Israeli sniper shot him in the head. After a coma of 9 months, Tom tragically died on 13th Jan 2004. He was 22.

Three weeks after Tom was shot, James Miller, a British film-maker, was also shot and killed by an Israeli soldier in Gaza. Both his assassin and Tom’s are known to the Israeli authorities. Tom’s assassin was imprisoned, but was released early after serving a mere 6 years, and James’s was never indicted. Both killers are walking free at the moment.

You can read more about Tom in press reports of the time (Google brings plenty of results), and on Wikipedia.

Tom’s Journals will be published as “The Only House Left Standing, The Middle East Journals of Tom Hurndall” by Trolley Books. You can find out about the book and the publisher on their fundraising campaign site.

Please publicise this campaign through any other relevant Facebook groups or pages that you belong to. Get it out on Twitter, or any other social network you belong to. Or even tell people if you still do the ‘talking’ thing! Obviously, feel free to buy the book for yourself as well.

For full disclosure, neither Hope and Play nor any of its officers or families or friends are in any way connected with Trolley Books or the book’s publication, and no one at Hope and Play or its officers of families or friends will financially benefit from book sales. We are promoting this book for this campaign as a method that we believe will be powerful in raising awareness in the British government.

All photos Tom Hurndall ‘The Middle East Journals of Tom Hurndall’ (Trolley Books 2011)

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