News & Links

1.  Call out for Volunteers – CEPAL 2009 Summer Program
2.  OPT: Additional support from the European Commission to the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon (ReliefWeb)
3.  It’s time to rethink Zionism (The Guardian)
4.  Explosives haul missing in Gaza (BBC)
5.  Lebanon: Funding struggle slowing cluster bomb clearance in south (IRIN)

CEPAL is recruiting for the 2009 Summer Program

The application process for the 2009 Summer Program has begun. CEPAL works in partnership with local Palestinian NGOs in the refugee camps in Lebanon, and CEPAL Summer Program volunteers teach as part of ongoing local summer school programs and activities. The focus of CEPAL’s Summer Program is language skills training through informal teaching techniques.
We are looking to send highly motivated individuals looking for a chance to use their teaching or group coordination skills in a truly meaningful experience abroad. CEPAL offers a unique opportunity to learn about life in a Palestinian refugee camp, while working with children to improve their English skills through the arts.

Positions and deadlines:
Volunteer Teachers: Friday, February 27th, 2009 at 5:00 PM EST
Wavel Camp Coordinator: Friday, February 20th, 2009, at 5:00 PM EST
Lebanon Field Coordinator: Friday, February 20th, 2009, at 5:00 PM EST

Program dates and duration:
Pre-departure orientation: 3 days in May 2009
Overseas Period: July-August 2009
Debrief: one weekend in early autumn

Volunteer Teachers will be expected to fundraise toward participation costs. Return flight and daily stipend provided.
To fill out an application or for more information please visit

OPT: Additional support from the European Commission to the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon

European Commission – Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), ReliefWeb
16 February 2009

The European Commission has allocated a further €6 million in humanitarian aid to support operations in favour of the most vulnerable Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. These funds will contribute to the delivery of water and sanitation services, shelter rehabilitation, livelihoods, health and psycho-social support. This financial commitment is part of the Commission’s 2009 Middle East Funding Plan allocating €58 million to assist the Palestinian population in Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon.

All funds are channelled through the Commission’s Humanitarian aid department (ECHO) under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel. The projects will be implemented by UN agencies, NGOs and the Red Cross/Red Crescent family.

The humanitarian situation of the 419,285 (UNRWA figure – September 30, 2008) registered Palestinian refugees in Lebanon continues to be of concern to the European Commission.

The funded projects aim at tackling immediate humanitarian needs and contributing to ensuring that families have access to basic shelter, health care and livelihood support, including the Nahr el Bared displaced populations’ unmet needs.

Following a closer mapping of the needs which emerged after the Nahr el Bared crisis, up to 4500 displaced persons will benefit from the Cash for Work projects by rehabilitating community spaces in the adjacent area of Nahr el Bared refugee camp. Humanitarian operations aiming at improving access and availability of safe and potable water will be implemented for the Palestinian refugees living in the most contaminated areas. Shelter interventions linked with sanitation will enhance the living conditions of 950 Palestinian families living in substandard homes. In addition, specific needs in secondary health care as well as health and psychosocial support to the disabled, youth and elderly will be supported.

The Commission’s humanitarian projects are delivered complementarily with the mandated United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), in places where the Palestinian population does not have access to UNRWA services.

The Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department has provided humanitarian aid to Palestinians worth €353,75 million to the most vulnerable population, since 2000. It has a long-standing commitment to provide speedy and impartial help to distressed people, irrespective of the media spotlight.

The European Commission continues to be one of the largest humanitarian donors for the Palestinian population in the Middle East.


1. Explosives haul missing in Gaza
Tim Franks, BBC
17 February 2009

A large stockpile of unexploded weapons has disappeared in Gaza, before United Nations experts were able to dispose of it safely, the BBC has learned. The explosives, including aircraft bombs and white phosphorus shells, were fired by the Israeli military during its recent offensive in the Gaza Strip. UN officials said they were urgently trying to establish where the arms had gone and have called for their return.

2. It’s time to rethink Zionism
Daphna Baram, The Guardian
17 February 2009

The desire for ethnic purity that drove out Palestinians and bars the way to democracy in Israel is the rotten fruit of an old debate. The results of last week’s parliamentary elections in Israel brought to the surface some of the most rotten fruits of a debate that has been going on throughout the state’s existence: the idea that a mono-ethnic Jewish state is feasible, legitimate and desirable. In other words, it enhanced the predicament of the moral and practical consequences of the Zionist state ideology.

3. Lebanon: funding struggle slowing cluster bomb clearance in south
IRIN – UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs,
5 February 3009

Waning international interest and funding is harming efforts to rid southern Lebanon of its hundreds of thousands of remaining cluster bomblets, posing a continuing threat to farmers and children, according to mine clearance organisations.

Israel dropped a large number of cluster bombs on southern Lebanon during the July 2006 war with the Shia guerrilla and political group Hezbollah. Each bomb can release hundreds of individual bomblets, and about a quarter failed to explode on impact, effectively becoming landmines that can kill or maim.

“For almost all the organisations, it’s a continuous struggle to generate enough interest and funding to keep the teams on the ground working, which obviously has an impact on the amount of cluster bombs [bomblets] they can clear,” said Tekimiti Gilbert, the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre’s (UNMACC) acting programme manager. This year started with 33 teams on the ground, down from 44 last year, he said. But six of those teams, hired by the UK-based NGO Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and Denmark’s DanChurchAid, have been dropped since then.

The Canadian-Palestinian Educational Exchange

Images displayed in this gallery are by Nancy Kendle, an emerging documentary photographer. Nancy began photographing eight years ago, and she is now a graduate (2006) of the Professional Photography Program at Dawson College in Montreal.

Nancy is committed to using visual language to tell the stories of the people she photographs. She traveled to Lebanon during CEPAL’s 2006 Summer Program to photograph CEPAL volunteers working with CEPAL partner organizations in Bourj el Barajneh, Shatila and Wavel refugee camps. She is currently working on a photo documentary in Quebec and hopes to further the work she began in the summer of 2006 in Lebanon.

Please visit for more information about her work.
[nggallery id=1]

Support The Palestinian Right of Return!

CEPAL affirms its position of support for the Palestinian refugees’ right to choose to return to their homeland or to resettle in another country, and to compensation for their losses and suffering. Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are urging CEPAL and the international non-governmental community to assist in raising awareness of their rights, especially the right of return.

2008 marks the 60th anniversary of “Al-Nakba” – the catastrophe – that resulted in the first mass expulsion of Palestinian refugees and led to the ongoing suffering of their descendants. In Lebanon, the Palestinians’ exile has been marked by unimaginable violence, most particularly during the 1975-1991 war, with the 1982 Israeli invasion, protracted sieges of Palestinian camps, and massacres, but also more recently with the fighting in Nahr el-Bared refugee camp, which forced the displacement of the entire camp population.

The number of Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA in Lebanon is approximately 409,714 today. Currently, Palestinian refugees make up an estimated 10 per cent of the population of Lebanon.[1] Of all the Palestinian communities, the refugees in Lebanon continue to confront the greatest insecurity: Israel will not allow them to return to their homes, Lebanon adamantly rejects their permanent resettlement in Lebanon, the current international peace process effectively ignores them and the continued instability and tensions in Lebanon only serve to further isolate them. They wait in limbo – citizens of no country.

While the general situation in Lebanon is politically and economically precarious for everyone, Palestinian refugees nevertheless remain particularly vulnerable, largely because they face harsher socio-economic and political pressures. Considered foreigners, they are prohibited by law from employment in some 70 trades and professions, they are denied social and civil rights and they have very limited access to health or educational facilities. The majority rely entirely on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) as the sole provider of education, health and relief and social services. Over 60% of Palestinian families in Lebanon are living below the UN-established poverty line, and they form a greater percentage of UN-defined “hardship cases” than any other Palestinian community, including Gaza.[2]

Canadians have an important role to play in supporting the Palestinian right of return, which is a crucial element to the achievement of a just and durable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. CEPAL urges every Canadian to contribute to this process. You can support Palestinians’ rights and the right of return by:

1) Writing a letter to your Members of Parliament calling on our government to uphold international law and human rights including the Palestinian refugees’ right of return;

2) Provide financial contributions to support CEPAL’s efforts in providing education to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and in raising awareness in Canada;

3) Donate valuable time to assist organizations such as CEPAL both in Canada and overseas.

[1] From

[2] From

CEPAL’s Summer Program involves sending Canadian volunteers to work in three Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon: Bourj el-Barajneh and Shatila near Beirut, and Wavel in Baalbek. The Summer Program is a unique opportunity to learn about life in a Palestinian refugee camp, while working with children and adults to improve their English and French language skills.

To learn more about the program, click here

Our summer program lets students go to lebanon to teach english

Since December 26th, 2008, the shelling of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza by Israeli forces has resulted in the death of at least 425 Palestinians, in addition to over 2000 wounded. The majority of the deaths and injured are civilians, many of whom are children. This death toll is mounting by the hour.

Moreover, the humanitarian situation, already dire due to the frequent closure of the Gaza Strip over the past year and the consequent depletion of food, medicine and petrol stocks, has been greatly aggravated. The UN warns that there is now a “critical emergency” in Gaza, despite the arrival of some humanitarian shipments.

CEPAL opposes all use of violence, including Hamas’ launching of rockets into Israel; however, CEPAL believes that the measures adopted by Israel in Gaza have been drastic and disproportionate. CEPAL regrets the Canadian government’s description of Israel’s assault on Gaza as self-defense. This position only allows Israel’s assault on Gaza to continue, leading to the continued loss of innocent lives and the destruction of vital civilian infrastructure. In the interest of human rights for all those affected by the current crisis, CEPAL therefore urges an immediate ceasefire and the use of diplomacy to resolve the conflict.
Many of CEPAL’s partner NGOs in Lebanon have begun protests and sit-ins to condemn the attacks. Starting Friday, January 2, 2009, a solidarity tent for Gaza will be set up near the entrance of Bourj Barajneh camp in Beirut. A number of activities will take place, including:

• Open phone lines to Gaza for those who wish to send their words of encouragement and solidarity to those in Gaza
• Card making activities for children who wish to draw cards for children in Gaza
• A mock funeral for the consciences of the Arab regimes who have failed to respond to the calls of their own people in condemning the Israeli government’s recent acts of aggression, along with a reception area for those who wish to offer their condolences for the families of those who have lost loved ones
• A donation box for those in Gaza, whose proceeds will be delivered via an NGO who has access to Gaza.

The initiative is being organized by a group of local NGOs in Bourj Barajneh camp who have come together in the past, such as during the 2006 July War, in order to organize emergency relief efforts and activities. The Emergency Forum for Relief has stressed the non-political nature of this initiative, and their concern as local development professionals for the well-being of their fellow Palestinians. All interested NGOs are welcome to participate, and should contact either Hiba Izdahmad or Hekmat Staytee for how they can become involved. Activities are scheduled to begin at 12:30pm on Friday, and will continue until 7 pm. The tent will remain open each day following from 9 am until 7 pm, and will host different activities each day. In case of inclement weather, activities will continue in a nearby shelter. For Canadians wishing to show their solidarity with the victims in Gaza, a Facebook group, Solidarity for Gaza in Lebanon, is scheduled to up in the next few hours, and will have a listing of current activities at the solidarity tent, as well as other activities in Lebanon in support of those in Gaza.

For more information, please contact (in Lebanon):

Hiba Izdahmad, Media and Outreach Coordinator, 03 053 290 (Arabic and English) Hekmat Staytee, Logistics Coordinator, 03 580 836 (Arabic)CEPAL thanks you for your support,

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CEPAL cookbook for sale
CEPAL cook books for sale: $15 each. Enjoy Palestinian food at home! Email to order