Photo: A Palestinian farmers picks potatoes at his farm in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip, February 2012. Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90.Photo: A Palestinian farmers picks potatoes at his farm in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip, February 2012. Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90.

Emergency Food Aid for Gaza

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Gershon Baskin raises $93,361 in 6 days for emergency food aid to Gaza

The Israeli vegetable growers’ association has a surplus of 5000 tons of potatoes that will be destroyed on Sunday. The farmers get .50 NIS per kilo ($0.144) as compensation for not being able to send the potatoes to market. This is a system that exists in most countries with a modern agricultural system. It aims at protecting the farmers by guaranteeing them a fair price for their hard labor. We asked the association to donate the potatoes, they simply cannot. It is against their bylaws and they are an association founded by the growers to protect them.

We can get those potatoes for the same price + shipping and send them to Gaza. For about $730,000 we can send 5000 tons of potatoes to Gaza.

The going price for potatoes today in Gaza is between 4-6 times that price.

We will arrange for a reputable International Charitable organization working in Gaza to receive them and distribute them to the most needy in Gaza.

All funds contributed to the campaign will go directly for this. If we collect less money, we will try to bargain with the association to give us more for less. We will purchase as much as we can with the money collected.

The funds must be committed by Sunday August 17, 2014

UPDATES:
The money for this campaign is going to buy food for the people who need it the most in Gaza. 5000 people will be getting food for 3 days. Not one cent is going to an organization or for administration. 100% of it is going to buy food for those who need it. This was the only way we could get food to the people who need it the most. The idea was to buy potatoes – in the end it was not possible. We are not supporting UNRWA – we are bring food to those who need it. To all those who contributed – thank you once again.

After asking the Israeli vegetable growers association to donate some of the potato surplus to Gaza they responded positively and agreed to reduce the price we will pay by 20%!!! That is a sizable amount of money and will enable us to increase the amount of potatoes we will send to Gaza’s neediest people! Spread the word!

I am so overwhelmed by the generous contributions we have received from 923 people so far – $67,412 + another $10,000 that will be sent directly to the Grower’s association. Today I worked on the logistics of the operation. We will find out tomorrow if the international aid organizations in Gaza can effectively distribute such large quantities of potatoes in a short time. If they can’t, we will purchase the amount that they can deliver to the most needy people in Gaza and use the rest of the money to purchase something else such as powered milk for babies. We will take guidance from the international organizations on the ground in Gaza and purchase what is most needed and would be the most helpful. We will stay within the category of food support – so keep the contributions coming.

Once again thank you to everyone who contributed to the emergency fund for food for Gaza.

The easiest and most effective way for us to get food to the people who need it most is through the food programs run by UNRWA and the World Food program.

Our money will be going to purchase food parcels which will be distributed through the food allocation programs in Gaza.

Each food parcel costs $5.51 per person per day. Parcels are prepared to cover the needs of 3 people during 3 days, with a total cost of $49.59 each parcel. Therefore, our contributions will allow us to procure and prepare 1,557 parcels, providing food to 4,670 people during three days.

I will begin transferring money today – we will receive all the funds from the campaign over the next 2 weeks and it will be distributed as we receive it.

A strange thing happened on the way to the potato fields:

A smart vegetable importer from a Gaza, a savvy businessman learned about the surplus of potatoes in Israel and purchased 1000 tons of potatoes and brought them to Gaza. Now the market is Gaza is flooded with potatoes (for profit). But don’t worry, the food distribution centers working with international aid agencies prepare food packages for families in need with 3 days supply at a time. Most of the people in need don’t have proper refrigeration, don’t have electricity and cannot cook.
The packages being given to the poor families in Gaza include:

– UHT Milk (liquid, not powder) in small containers 150-250ml (not requiring refrigeration)
– Canned beef/chicken/turkey, 800g or 200g
– Canned tuna, 175g
– Canned hummus paste, 250-320g
– Canned foul, 400-550g
– Halawe, 500g or 700g containers
– Cream cheese, 100g, 200g or 400g box (not requiring refrigeration)

Many of the products are purchased from Palestinian factories in the West Bank.

I will get the information today on the costs. The simplest solution may be for me to transfer the money raised directly to the purchasing of the food items and have them sent directly to Gaza.

The Emergency Food for Gaza Campaign is now officially over – we have raised $93,361!!!!
The breakdown by countries is as follows:
Country Amount Contributions
United States $46,758.00 652
Israel $22,920.00 128
Europe $6,898.00 120
Netherlands $4,072.00 21
Australia $3,286.00 23
United Kingdom $1,824.00 36
Germany $1,760.00 20
Canada $1,296.00 24
Austria $964.00 19
Italy $410.00 5
France $340.00 8
Sweden $241.00 6
Brazil $182.00 5
New Zealand $136.00 2
Satellite Provider $120.00 2
Chile $100.00 1
Russian Federation $30.00 1
South Africa $10.00 1

I am now working on the logistics and will report back in the coming days.

Gershon Baskin

Gershon Baskin

Gershon Baskin is one of the most recognizable names in the Middle East Peace process. His dedication to creating a culture of peace and environmental awareness, coupled with his impeccable integrity, has earned him the trust of the leaders of all sides of the century old conflict. Few people have such far-reaching and positive impacts on promoting peace, security, prosperity and bi-national relationships.
Gershon is an advisor to Israeli, Palestinian and International Prime Ministers on the Middle East Peace Process and the founder and director of IPCRI, the Israeli-Palestinian Public Policy Institute. He was the initiator and negotiator of the secret back channel between Israel and Hamas for the release of 1,027 prisoners – mainly Palestinians and Arab-Israelis of which 280 were sentenced to life in prison for planning and perpetrating various attacks against Jewish targets that resulted in the killing of 569 Israelis in exchange for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit. Gershon is actively involved in research and advocacy concerning topics such as social policy, environmental security, political strategy, peace education, economics, culture and in the development of affordable solar projects with the goal of providing clean electricity for 50 million people by 2020.
Gershon Baskin