Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Days of Remembrance

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The United States Congress established the Days of Remembrance as the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust and created the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as a permanent living memorial to the victims.

This year, Holocaust remembrance week is April 27–May 4, 2014. The Museum designated Confronting the Holocaust: American Responses as the theme for the 2014 observance.

Attend a commemoration in your area, or take part at the Museum or online. much more at>>>

Farming in Gaza
In Gaza, where the Israeli border is within sight, Palestinian farmers try to make a living cultivating crops like strawberries, oranges, grapefruits, and olives. Their task became even more difficult after a military blockade in 2007 made it impossible to export their products, forcing them to sell only in their occupied, war-torn land. Up to 80 percent of gricultural yields from Gaza and the West Bank used to be sold abroad, but a ban on exports has devastated the Gazan economy to its lowest point. At the same time, essential supplies including fuel and electricity are strictly regulated by Israel.

The economic blockade is merely one facet of a farmer’s war-torn life. The places where farmers are most likely to be settled—small communities like Rafah, Khan Younis and Beit Hanoun—are now known as front lines, and the most likely places where missiles are to be fired, houses destroyed and lives taken. It is in these struggling farming towns where the Israeli army bulldozes land and sniper fire is a familiar occurrence for families. More than 35 percent of Gaza’s agricultural land is in so-called Buffer Zones. Officially, these restricted-access areas extend 300 meters into the Gaza Strip. In reality, they can extend up to 1,500 meters from the border fence, and are enforced with lethal means. In addition to declining agricultural production in the Gaza Strip, existing water shortages are exacerbated by heavy pollution, leaving just 10 percent of the water supply potable. Due to limitations on land cultivation, farmers of the Gaza Strip lose about $50 million in potential profit annually. Though select products are allowed to be exported today, the export rate is still ten times lower than it was before the blockade took effect. In 2012, just 9 million stems of carnations were exported from Gaza during the flower season; before the blockade, closer to 50 million Gaza flowers circulated around the world. much more at >>>

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