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Galilee Society Newsletter - Issue 27

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  1. 1. The Galilee Society Newsletter In This Issue: Issue 27, September 2007< Groundbreaking Conference Joins International < Tiberias AIDS Workshop Joins GS Peer Educa- Scientists with R&D Center to Promote Tradi- tors with Young Church of Scotland Members tional Arab and Islamic Medicine < “Your Life is in Your Hands”: GS Breast Cancer< ‘Ataa Group Publishes Report Citing Wide- Project Produces Poster for National Campaign spread Lack of State Emergency Services for < News in Brief Arab Locales During 2006 Lebanon War < How to Support the Galilee Society< GS Joins Concerned Citizens to Spray Town’s Fields for Insects Carrying Deadly Virus Groundbreaking Conference Joins International Scientists with R&D Center to Promote Traditional Arab and Islamic MedicineThe Galilee Society’s R&D Center recently held Taking place on August 8-10, the conference wasthe first ever Regional Scientific Conference on organized by the R&D Center in partnership with theTraditional Arabic and Islamic Medicine (TAIM) Arab Group for the Protection of Nature (APN) andin Amman, Jordan. The conference explored the sponsored by the Antaki Center for Herbal Medicinecurrent state of research and practice in this field, Ltd, Delass Co., and the World Health Organizationbringing together prominent international scientists. (WHO). The conference highlighted traditional uses of herbs, agricultural research, pharmaceutical Page 1
  2. 2. development, homeopathic remedies, as well asmedicinal products and marketing.Participants included research scientists, localand regional traditional healers, internationalpharmaceutical and medical research companies,medical doctors, ethnopharmacologists and otherparties interested in the study of TAIM.The conference achieved its objectives of establishing Participants in the First Regional Conference on Traditionala framework for the advancement of TAIM, the Arab and Islamic Medicine in Ammangathering of a wide body of TAIM scientists, andthe beginning of a system for increasing training of Switzerland, Tunisia, Uganda, and the and existing TAIM practitioners. The conference is part of the R&D Center’s efforts toThe conference consisted of seven scientific revive the rich culture of TAIM. In the last five yearssessions, including a presentation on historical and researchers at the Galilee Society R&D Center, incurrent studies indicating that the Eastern region of cooperation with different institutes, have publishedthe Mediterranean has enjoyed a particularly rich more than twenty articles and review papers in peerinventory of complementary alternative medicine. reviewed Journals demonstrating the importance ofAnother presentation introduced in vitro test methods traditional Arabic medicine.employing human cells that could be potent tools forstudies on drug efficacy, toxicity, and metabolism in The modern use of Arab botanical medicines hasthe pharmaceutical industry. Market authorization historical roots in ancient Arabic medicine, for whichregulations for herbal products was the subject of Arab herbalists, pharmacologists, chemists, andanother presentation. In addition, Dr. Omar Said physicians in the Middle Ages adapted the ancientintroduced “Al-Maissam”, the Galilee Society’s medicinal practices of Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome,Medicinal Plants Center, as an efficient model for Persia, and India. Medical innovations introducedpreserving and developing traditional knowledge of by Arab physicians included the discovery of theArabic medicinal plants. immune system, the introduction of microbiological science, and the separation of medicine fromMore than 35 presentations were given during the pharmacological science.conference, and more than 65 papers were presentedas posters. Extracts hailed from 15 countries including The next conference on Traditional Arab and IslamicAlgeria, Denmark, Egypt, France, Iran, Jordan, Medicine is slated to take place in 2009 at a locationLebanon, Libya, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, yet to be decided. Page 2
  3. 3. ‘Ataa Group Publishes Report Citing Widespread Lack of State Emergency Services for Arab Locales During 2006 Lebanon WarA new report published by ‘Ataa, a committee createdby the Galilee Society and a group of Arab NGOsto provide support to Arabs affected by the Israeliwar on Hezbollah and Lebanon, found a severe lackof emergency facilities and services in war-affectedArab villages in Israel.Partners in the ‘Ataa committee included Adalah –The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel,the Ahali Center, the Arab Cultural Association, ‘Ataa report summarythe Arab Psychologists Association, Ittijah, and theMedical Relief Committee. Arab towns and villages in Israel. In addition, itThe report, entitled, “The Arab Population in found that Arab towns and villages lack the facilitiesNorthern Israel under a State of Emergency – and services required to contend with states ofDamages from the Second Israeli War on Lebanon,” emergency, such as air raid sirens or Arabic languageis based on a survey conducted in 24 Arab towns and emergency literature. Lastly, the report concludedvillages in northern Israel. The survey covered 1,129 that local authorities and civil society organizationsrespondents living in these localities, including the were, and continue to be, unable to provide themixed city of Haifa, all of whom were harmed by necessary assistance to the Arab population that ismissiles in the course of the war. under bombardment.An October 19 study day is slated to take place in According to the survey, the number of fatalities amongHaifa to present the results of the survey to the public Arabs in the country resulting from Israel’s attack onand to generate actionable recommendations to the Lebanon was 18, with 112 injured. This number accountsauthorities for improving the problems highlighted for 41 percent of the total number of civilian fatalitiesby the survey. among Arabs and Jews who were killed from the first day of the attack (July 12th, 2006) to the day on which it ceasedAmong the clearest results of the report were that (August 14th, 2006). Seventy-eight percent of the totalthe state, through its numerous apparatuses, did number of Arab victims was killed during the last thirdnot deal with the consequences of its attack on of the war’s duration (from August 3rd to August 13th),Lebanon and the Lebanese missiles that landed on and 65 percent of the total number of Jewish victims died Page 3
  4. 4. during the first part of the Israeli war against Lebanon. indicated that they had been psychologically harmedThe data contained in the report indicates an urgent during and after the hostilities. The percentage ofneed among eleven Arab towns and villages for fire physical injuries was approximately 10 percent,services during the hostilities. In spite of this need, and approximately 20 percent of those who werehowever, there is no center to provide fire services in physically injured were children and young teenagersany Arab town or village. From the data collected, 70 (0–14 years); around one third were within the 15–percent of the families that sustained damages did 30 age group; and around 48 percent were in the 31+not have alternative accommodation at their disposal. age group. A large proportion (46 percent) of thoseApproximately 67 percent of those questioned injured was within the 20–50 age group. GS Joins Concerned Citizens to Spray Town’s Fields for Insects Carrying Deadly VirusThe Arab village of Majd al Kroum in NorthernIsrael has long suffered from a lack of infrastructurethat has caused large-scale raw sewage overflow. Thesmell notwithstanding, residents have endured theeffects of pollution of their natural springs and fieldsand the resultant hordes of mosquitoes and otherinsects that thrive in the contaminated fields. Thepresence of untreated sewage near human habitationposes the risk of infectious diseases, pollutes drinking Participants in the spraying of insecticides near the village ofand agricultural water, and severely degrades the Majd al Kroumenvironment. act. Mr. Agbaria met with Galilee Society staff andFeet dragging by the local authority government agreed to donate sufficient quantities of insecticidesministries to improve the situation has compelled to eradicate the possibly disease-carrying insects thatthe Galilee Society’s Environmental Justice Center breed in the stagnant sewage ponds near the town.(EJC) to launch a class-action lawsuit to compel theauthorities to fix this grave health risk. On Saturday, September 1st, Mr. Agbaria, aided by five Galilee Society staff and eight Majd al KroumWhen the Israeli Ministry of Health announced citizens, sprayed the fields with his donated chemicals.recently that insects from Majd al Kroum were suspected The group also marched through the town carryingof carrying the deadly West Nile Virus, a concerned signs demanding accountability from the authoritiescitizen of Majd al Kroum named Mahmoud Agbaria, and the allocation of funds to resolve the problem on athe owner of Heteen Pesticide Company, decided to long-term basis. Near the village, the group observed Page 4
  5. 5. a sewage pit 20 meters in diameter and at least 2 Environment initiated a criminal investigationmeters in depth, completely filled with raw sewage. against the Local Authority for failing to resolve the problem. However, in real terms this brought littleThe Environmental Justice Center has a long history improvement to the situation for residents. Althoughof intervention on behalf of the environmental the Local Authority repaired the pumping machines,rights of the citizens of Majd al Kroum. Following the sewage pipes remain neglected and ineffective,action by the EJC in 2006, the Ministry of the leading to the current action by the EJC. Tiberias AIDS Workshop Joins GS Peer Educators with Young Church of Scotland MembersA group of young adults visiting Israel from the Churchof Scotland participated in an HIV/AIDS workshopwith Galilee Society peer educators at the Scots Hotelon the lakeside city of Tiberias on 23 July.Led by Galilee Society HIV/AIDS projectcoordinator Abeer Ghantoos and Director ofResource Development, Felice Nassar, the workshopincluded information about the Galilee Society’s Arab and Scottish participants in the Galilee Society HIV/HIV/AIDS project and practical activities focusing AIDS workshop in Tiberiason prevention and breaking stereotypes. interaction fomented understanding between twoThe Edinburgh-based Church of Scotland is the disparate groups of young people and providedprimary funder for the Galilee Society’s HIV/ a constructive forum for breaking down taboosAIDS project. The Church of Scotland workshop associated with HIV/AIDS.participants were visiting Israel to learn about itsArab Christian community. The workshop was hosted by the historical Scots Hotel, which is owned by the Church of Scotland.Peer educators are high school students trained by Following the workshop, participants were providedthe Galilee Society to act as peer role models and with lunch and used the hotel’s swimming pool.who lead the development of HIV/AIDS awarenessprograms in their schools. Ten peer educators Ms. Nassar also recorded a video interview thatparticipated in the Tiberias workshop, providing will be used by Church of Scotland organizers for athe visiting Church of Scotland members with the program for congregation members in Scotland onperspective of Arab-Israeli youth. This positive NGOs and Arabs in Israel. Page 5
  6. 6. “Your Life is in Your Hands”: GS Breast Cancer Project Produces Poster for National CampaignA public education poster encouraging earlydetection of breast cancer has been produced by theGalilee Society’s Breast Cancer Awareness project.It will now be posted in health centers, hospitals,clinics and schools throughout Arabic-speakingIsrael.The poster is part of a public health educationcampaign that promotes breast cancer awarenessamong Israel’s Arab population. In addition to theposter campaign, the project will produce an Arabic-language film on breast cancer, conduct an advocacycampaign to improve breast cancer education by thenational healthcare provider, organize a study day, Breast cancer poster detailtrain women to give self breast checks, and createArabic-language printed resources. and encourages women of different ages to performThe poster includes the statistic that one in every self-checks, and receive regular clinical breast14 Arab women in Israel suffers from breast examinations and mammograms.cancer, and that early detection can help cure 90%of those sufferers. It encourages women to seek Through this campaign the Galilee Society hopes tofurther information about breast checks or clinical encourage a more open debate on the issue of breastexaminations from family doctors or local HMO cancer among Arab women in Israel and to makeclinics. The post also contains a list of recommended the community more aware of the disease.activities to promote early detection, such as monthlyself breast exams and professional breast exams every Israel-based TEVA Pharmaceuticals Industry, Ltd.,year for at-risk groups and those older than 50 and a donor to the Galilee Society project, providedevery two to three years for those between the ages support for the poster campaign. The US-basedof 40-50. private foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, isThe poster includes statistics stressing the low rate also a major donor to the Breast Cancer Awarenessof mortality if breast cancer is detected promptly project. Page 6
  7. 7. News in BriefAl-Maissam: Workshop Prepares Employees for Busy Year of Educational ProgramsIn preparation for an academic year that couldpossibly see the number of visitors double fromlast year, Al-Maissam Medicinal Plant Center forResearch & Education held a staff workshop onAugust 31 to prepare new and existing employees toconduct educational programs.The training was organized by Al-Maissamcoordinator Hussein el Hajj, Galilee Society General Al-Maissam employees participating in a workshop at theProgram Director Naim Karim, and Dr. Medhat natural spring near the village of SafooriOssman, Inspector of Environmental Courses fromthe Ministry of Education. In June, Dr. Ossman control), recycling (residential, industrial, andparticipated in a workshop organized at Al-Maissam agriculture), environmental conservation, and thefor environmental high school teachers. interconnectedness of all living things.The August training introduced newly hired In addition to educational training, participants leftstudent guides to Al-Maissam’s different science, Al-Maissam to visit the industrial zone of Kafr-conservation, and medicinal plants stations. This Kanna, the village where Al-Maissam is located, toyear, Al-Maissam has increased the number of observe environmental conditions. Following thisstations and subjects. The training also instructed tour, the group inspected the natural spring (pictured)guides in the use of the various scientific equipment in the nearby village of Safoori for environmentalused to illustrate the production of medicines from degradation.traditional Arab medicinal plants. Education programs at Al-Maissam enableThe workshop also trained employees to lead students to gain hands-on, practical and technicalstudents to stations on botany and regional expertise and information, and provoke interest inindigenous plants, marine life (algae and fish), biotechnology.beekeeping, insects (including use as organic pest Page 7
  8. 8. GS Staff Meets with Naqab Department Donor and its Middle East Partners in BethlehemThe Galilee Society’s General Director, Dr BaselGhattas and Naqab Department Director, AdnanSaid attended a meeting on July 12 in Bethlehem forlocal recipients of grants from ACSUR Las Segovias,a leading Spanish NGO. ACSUR also acts as anintermediary to channel funds to local partners fromthe Spanish Government’s Development Fund, andhas been the Galilee Society Naqab Department’sprimary donor from 2004 until 2007. Map showing the location of BethlehemThe meeting was held to evaluate ACSUR’s currentgrant-making strategy in the Middle East, especiallyIsrael and the Palestinian Territories, and to allowlocal NGOs and partners to participate in plans forACSUR’s future direction in the region.The Galilee Society Welcomes Two New StaffThe Galilee Society welcomes two new staff members  Emily Antoon joins the Resource Developmentthis September. Department from Jordan, where she was studying and living for one year as a Fulbright Fellow, after Dr. Soleman Abu-Bader, an Associate Professor majoring in International Comparative Studies at the School of Social Work at Howard at Duke University in North Carolina. University in Washington, D.C., joins the Rikaz The Galilee Society is excited to welcome such team as a statistical specialist. talented and dedicated people to its staff. Page 8
  9. 9. Al-Maissam: GS Employees Sample Honey HarvestGalilee Society staff took a break from workadayduties to participate in the honey harvest at Al-Maissam. The results indicate a productive year forthe Kafr-Kanna bees.Al-Maissam’s beekeeping facilities make up one ofits many educational stations, which serve to providevisiting students with hands-on demonstrations ofecology, conservation, and the value of traditionalArab medicinal plants.Students make candles from the beeswax producedby Al-Maissam’s bees, assist in harvesting honey, andlearn about maintaining bees. One beehive yields15 kilos of honey per year. Al-Maissam plans toincrease the number of beehives in the coming year Al-Maissam Coordinator Hussein al Hajj harvesting honeyfrom three to 12.HRC Conducts AIDS Prevention Workshops for Boarding School Employees and OrphansThe Health Rights Center, as part of its HIV/AIDS young people about the dangers of HIV/AIDS.awareness project, conducted workshops in Augustfor employees of a boarding school and for students Twenty orphans from the Vitso High School inof a school for orphans. Nazareth attended an August 8 event where they learned about HIV/AIDS transmission and participated inAbout 20 employees of the Dar es Salaam Boarding conversations about the traditionally taboo subject ofSchool in Abilene, including teachers, administrators, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS.mentors, and the school’s psychologist, attended athree-day event on August 27-29. The workshop The Galilee Society provided students with specialfocused on the promotion of AIDS awareness, study packs complete with leaflets and literature onstrategies for prevention, and the particular roles of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS, onmen and women in AIDS prevention. Participants confidential HIV-testing clinics and a PowerPointwere provided with information on the work of the presentation containing a wide range of HIV/AIDSGalilee Society and with publications on talking to related information. Page 9
  10. 10. GS 25th Annual Board Meeting Welcomes Three New Board MembersA lawyer, a mayor, and an educator were elected as the The new board members are Mohammed Al-Galilee Society’s newest board members during the Shayeb, a lawyer; Dr. Fathee Dakka, the mayor of25th Annual Board Meeting at the Galilee Society Zeemr; and Abd-Elrahman Jssar, a retired highheadquarters in Shefa-‘Amr on July 14. school economics teacher. The makeup of the board is the following:In addition, the Board scrutinized and approved the2006 audited financial statement and report by anindependent CPA. Name Profession Position Mr. Wael Omari Head of Health and Nursing, Rand Institution for Handicapped Chair people and Special Education Mr. Abd-Elrahman Jssar Retired Teacher, B.A Economics Co-Chair Dr. Fathee Dakka Mayor of Zeemr Board Member Mr. Mohammed Al-Shayeb Advocate Board Member Dr Iyad Jahshan Gynecologist Board Member Mr. Abed Massalha Nurse Board Member Ms. Rosland Daem Lecturer Board Member Page 10
  11. 11. How to Support the Galilee SocietyHelp achieve equitable health, environmental, and socio-economic conditions and development opportuni-ties for Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel by supporting the Galilee Society.How to Donate to the Galilee SocietyTax-Exempt DonationsIn order to facilitate giving, the Galilee Society has recently received tax-exempt status in the United States,via the Friends of the Galilee Society. To donate in the United States, please make checks payable to theFriends of the Galilee Society and send them to:Dr. Shouki KassisChair, Board of Directors7 Lee Road, Audubon, PA 19403United Stateskassis25@comcast.netTel: +1 610 662 3693Bank transfers to the Friends of the Galilee Society can be made to the following account:Account Name: Friends of the Galilee SocietyBank Name: PNC BankBranch: Audubon Village Shopping CenterAccount Number: 86-0943-9642Please inform Friends of the Galilee Society of your DonationsTo donate to the Galilee Society directly, please send checks (in any currency) payable to the Galilee Societyat: Page 11
  12. 12. P.O. Box 330Shefa-Amr, 20200IsraelAlternatively, bank transfers (in any currency) can be made directly to the Galilee Society’s bank account:Account Number: 9800Bank Name: Bank HapoalimBranch Number: 731Bank Address: Jabour Street, Shefa-Amr 20200 IsraelSWIFT Code: POALILITPlease inform us of your donation at Galilee Society - The Arab National Society for Health Research and Services is a leading disk utility commu-nity-based Arab NGO. The overriding goal of the Galilee Society is the achievement of equitable health and socio-economic conditions for the Palestinian citizens of Israel.The Galilee SocietyP.O. Box 330, Shefa-Amr 20200, IsraelTel.: +972 4 986 1171Fax: +972 4 986 1173Email: Page 12