Why can’t people put Christmas trees away?

Behind-the-scenes story related to Christmas in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip [Original by Yoriko YAMAMURA, Palestine Project (January 28, 2020); Translated by H. Ueda/A. Taguchi] What comes to your mind when you hear the word Christmas? It is widely recognized by the Japanese that December 24 is Christmas Eve and the 25th is Christmas Day. After the 25th, people in Japan put away Christmas trees and put up New Year decorations instead. However, things are slightly different in the Holy City of Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, Christmas decorations including Christmas trees remain here and there even after the 25th. The same scene can be seen in the West…

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At the end of the 4-year Project: The Growth of the Children Observed at the Symposium

[Original by Syunya NAKAMURA, Intern of the Palestine Project/ Yoriko YAMAMURA, Palestine Project (February 25, 2020); Translated by J. Sparks] On February 4th, a symposium was held in the theater room of a partner organization in Ramallah, the center of the West Bank, to conclude the East Jerusalem project, which JVC has supported for four years. The project has been implemented in order to improve both the resilience of the Palestinian youth living in East Jerusalem and the health environment in the community by cooperating with local NGOs. Resilience is “the power to flexibly come back from events or encounters with difficult situations”, and in a Palestinian area routinely exposed…

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Women in Gaza move forward with their heads held high despite many difficulties confronting them, living their lives with a positive attitude

[Original by Yoriko YAMAMURA, Palestine Project (July 30, 2019); Translated by M. Kanai/M. Hajjaj] Scorching hot summer has started in Gaza, during daytime people will be soaked in perspiration if they merely walk down the streets. In Jerusalem, I can walk around wearing short sleeves. However, in Gaza it is considered inappropriate as is customary for women to show their skin in public places, so that I also cover up myself with a thin long-sleeve shirt when I go to work. In this report, I would like to share with you a story about Palestinian women living in Gaza. Due to stress arising from the blockade, considerably high ratio of…

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Sharing early spring from the Jerusalem office

[Original by Mai NAMIKI, Public Relations (February 28, 2019); Translated by M. Goto/S. Altman] Hello, this is Namiki, the former program officer of the Palestine project. I moved to the Public Relations department this January. I will start reporting what you want to know about our work overseas and the local people. I would be glad if you could feel closer with us. I went on a business trip to Jerusalem, Palestine, this February. From my previous experience, I thought it would be cold in Jerusalem. February is the rainy season in the Middle East and it usually rains a lot. However, this year, it was warm and full of…

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At a school in East Jerusalem: The students who are changing even in a difficult situation

[Original by Yoriko YAMAMURA, Palestine Project (December 20, 2018); Translated by M. Takahashi/S. Altman] Hello, everyone. It’s been cold in Jerusalem. There are many houses built on stones here. We feel colder inside of a house than outside. This time I am going to tell you about a school in East Jerusalem that we visited under our project. We visited the Hassan Al-Thani School located close to the old town in East Jerusalem. Together with our partner organization, the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS), we provide various kinds of training for the students of the school health committee. The students work with local residents in order to solve problems in…

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Muhammad in Gaza

A 10-year old boy undergoing periodic hospitalization for anticancer treatment in Jerusalem away from his family [Original by Yoriko YAMAMURA, Palestine Project (January 10, 2019); Translated by M. Kanai/S. Altman] Hello. My name is Yamamura and I’m serving as a representative at the JVC Jerusalem Office. Today, I would like to introduce an article written by Ms. Hiromoto who’s working as an assistant in our office. About half a year ago, we received an urgent message from a woman who’s a member of an organization collaborating with JVC in our operation in the Gaza Strip about her relative, Muhammad. He was to be admitted to a hospital in East Jerusalem…

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The life of Razan Al Najjar, a volunteer at a partner organization, has been taken

[Original in JVC Facebook written by Yoshie NIMODA (June 5, 2018); Translated by K. Iuchi] Volunteer medic Razan Al Najjar of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS), a partner organization with whom JVC has been working for over 10 years, was killed on June 1st, 2018 upon being shot by a bullet to the chest at a protest in Gaza. With people being shot in succession around her, Razan, still 21-years-old, had been rushing to the aid of a wounded protestor when she was killed. Some of you may have seen this on the news. JVC attended Razan’s memorial held in Palestine (photo included). An attendee said, “Twice before, Razan…

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Request letter to MoFA regarding the US President’s announcement on Jerusalem

[Original (December 26, 2017); Translated by J. Hills/S. Igawa] Written request to the Japanese Government – “A request for the Japanese Government to express a position of opposition in response to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.” US President Donald Trump’s announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has not only caused outrage amongst the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation but has also caused a huge backlash throughout the international community. The Japanese government voted in support of condemning the United States’ announcement at the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly. However, by refraining from speaking out at the United Nations General…

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AIDA’s statement: INGOs are deeply concerned about the US announcement about Jerusalem

[Original (December 16, 2017); Translated by K. Takemura/A. Senkoff/S. Igawa] The announcement by US President Trump that “the US recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will move the American embassy to Jerusalem” has caused a large uproar not only in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) but also throughout the international community. Israel continues to violently suppress Palestinians who protest against the US announcement, and carries out attacks and bombings in the Gaza Strip almost everyday. In this situation, AIDA (Association of International Development Agencies), a coalition of NGOs working in the oPt, of which JVC is a member, released the following statement. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: INGOs are deeply…

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I met a boy who said “He did a good job of killing“

[Original by Mai NAMIKI, Palestine Project (October 17, 2016); Translated by K. Takemura/S. Igawa] It was Tuesday evening, 11th October 2016. When I got out of my home in East Jerusalem, three Palestinian boys talked to me. They were my neighbors and of age of junior high school. One of them, who had black eyes and looked friendly, told me. “You often come to my shop, don’t you? It is closed today.” “Which one is it?” “The shop in front of the Rockfeller park.” I often go to the shop, as it is open until late night. The manager and employees are so gentle that I love it. The boy…

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