Local woman helps children in Gaza

January 6, 2009 7:29:51 PM PST
International relief agencies are desperately trying to get supplies into Gaza, but it's difficult and dangerous. Now a Bay Area woman is preparing to bring medical aide to Palestinians.

ABC7's Cheryl Jennings talked to the international relief agency CARE, as well as the founder of an organization, called the Middle East Children's Alliance.

"It's horrifying for all of us here, watching it. You have 1.5 million people locked up in the Gaza Strip with nowhere to flee," said Juliette Siebold from CARE.

The war between Israel and Hamas means innocent civilians on both sides are on the losing end.

The international relief agency CARE's West Bank/Gaza director talked with ABC7 News from Jerusalem today, about the desperate race to get supplies to Palestinians who are running out of food, fuel, water and medicine.

The war has driven most from their homes into winter weather, with very little shelter and the imminent danger from weapons of war.

"It's a massive, catastrophic crisis and it's absolutely important that we have an immediate cessation of violence right now," said Siebold.

CARE's Palestinian relief workers are trying to get supplies through, while their own families are being injured or killed.

"We have five tons of pediatric medicine that we purchased in Holland and is being shipped to Cairo as we speak," said Barbara Lubin from the Middle East Children's Alliance.

Lubin's organization, The Middle East Children's Alliance, is based in Berkeley.

She's leaving for the war zone on Wednesday. She'll to fly to Egypt, to meet the shipment and hopefully get those supplies to Gaza through the Rafah border crossing in Egypt.

"We'll be waiting at the border for that border to open to allow some of the aid organizations in," said Lubin.

Lubin is a 67-year-old Jewish woman who just wants to help the children in Palestine.

"I grew up in a very right wing Jewish home, Zionist home," said Lubin.

She visited Palestine 21 years ago, during the first conflict, and was shocked.

"I couldn't believe that Jewish people would treat children in the way children were being treated in Palestine, being denied an education, being shot at, being wounded, having their homes destroyed," said Lubin.

That's why Barbara is making this next dangerous journey to Gaza.

"I decided I really wanted to make a difference, and try and change some lives and give some hope to kids in Palestine," said Lubin.

The Middle East Children's Alliance has delivered more than $10 million in food, medicine and medical supplies to war torn Middle Eastern countries since 1988.

The United Nation's Children Fund is calling for a complete halt to fighting, and total access to the Gaza strip.