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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bad News from Playgrounds for Palestine

We must share some bad news that has a terrible impact on Palestinian children. On Monday, February 12th, 2012, Israeli bulldozers arrived before sunrise and without warning to the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem to demolish a newly completed community facility. The “cultural café” was built with funds from Playgrounds for Palestine and California-based Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA). The Jerusalem Municipality and the National Parks Authority carried out the demolition with Israeli police officers closing off the street and preventing nearby families from leaving their homes while the demolition was underway.

Jawad Siyam, director of the Madaa Creative Center in Silwan, which runs the cultural café and the sports field in front of it, lamented, "This was the only place in the area to meet, to sit together. It was the only place for children in Silwan. The children in the neighborhood were very upset to see their treasured place destroyed."

This was an illegal act apparently motivated by racism and contempt for Palestinian life and liberty and we are asking you to support this communty's effort to rebuild this simple public space that offers the only place where children in this area have to play.

The community is determined to rebuild the cultural café in time for a Mothers' Day Celebration on March 21, 2012 (Mothers' Day is celebrated across Arab countries on this date). Siyam says, "We are also waiting for the bill for the bulldozers." This practice of charging owners for demolition of their property began in 2011. “But,” he continues, "We won't pay for this. Someone from the center might have to go to jail but we will refuse to pay."



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