Charity ABCD Bethlehem to meet the Rt. Hon. Kit Malthouse, MP for NorthWest Hampshire amid growing concern of escalating violence, vandalism, and destruction in the Nur Shams refugee camp leaving children with disabilities and their families isolated and without support.

Escalating violence and destruction by Israeli forces in the Nur Shams refugee camp, have now left the British-funded ABCD health centre unable to function. The camp, located to the South of Jenin in the West Bank was first raided by the IDF on 3rd January, with an additional violent attack carried out on 3rd March.  The latest ambush has left the health centre without power, water, sewage pipes or any internet/telecommunications. The British consulate in Jerusalem has now condemned the latest escalation of violent attacks in the area.

Excessive force and a frenzy of violence and vandalism has left scattered bullet holes in the ceiling and walls, with the doors blown off and windows shattered.  The entrance way and road leading up to the Centre have been left in rubble, meaning that access by wheelchair users or walking aids is now impossible.

Recent Damage

The Centre had been providing support and a ‘safe space’ to more than 30 families of children with disabilities living in the most challenging of conditions.

The humanitarian charity which has been operating in the region for over 30 years is currently arranging to meet with MP Kit Malthouse who has raised the plight of Palestinians and demanded the government take action in their defence. With repairs expected to run into thousands of pounds, and no end in sight to the violence in the region, the charity is hoping that the Government will support an urgent ceasefire.

Following previous raids, thanks to the determined effort of the Centre Manager, Nehayah, supported by a wonderful local committee, the utilities were repaired, and the Centre was operational again, however now it is beyond use.

Nehayah commented on the situation this morning; “The current situation and feeling in the camp is of misery and sadness, as some areas have become completely uninhabitable, requiring major repairs.  The entrance to our Centre is completely blocked by rubble and children and families are now afraid of coming in fear that daytime raids may happen.  Children’s rehabilitation programmes are suffering as there are more delays to their timetabled treatment.  But we wont and can’t give up on our families.”

ABCD Bethlehem working with our partners at BASR in Beit Jala and at 5 rehabilitation centres in the Refugee Camps continue to open our doors to offer life-changing therapies for children living with disabilities, and crucial support and education for their families. However, all of our Centres are operating at reduced capacity because of the ongoing crisis in the region.

ABCD has been improving the lives of children with disabilities across Palestine for over 30 years regardless of faith, race or gender.

The charity helps fund four health centres in refugee camps as well as an Outreach team to support families in remote rural areas.

The charity was founded by Val Jourdan, MBE, a paediatric physiotherapist.

www.abcdbethlehem.org UK registered charity.