Roots in Palestine: Dedicated to Palestinian Refugees Since 1948
For Palestinians around the world, May 15th marks the “Nakba” (literally “disaster” or “catastrophe” in Arabic) which commemorates the 1948 Palestinian exodus during the establishment of the State of Israel. The resulting humanitarian crisis has affected geo-politics, individual states, the environment and human development in the Middle East and beyond for 71 years.
It was in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War that an early precursor to Anera, American Middle East Rehabilitation (AMER) – now Anera’s in-kind program – started delivering donated medicines and medical supplies to Palestinians living in refugee camps. AMER was founded by a group of prominent Arab-Americans and was led by Dr. Emmett Holt, a distinguished New York pediatrician, and assisted by Arab-American physician Dr. Rosa Lee Nemir.
Following the 1967 War and second Palestinian exodus – known to Palestinians as the “Naksa” or “setback” – the most influential organization created in response was Near East Emergency Donations (NEED). NEED was an American corporate initiative responding to high-level political encouragement for large-scale assistance to Palestinian refugees. Former Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman became honorary co-chairmen of NEED, and Time, Inc. President James A. Linen became NEED’s president. NEED made clear its intention to raise as much money as it could in a short time, give it away, and go out of business. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) was the principal recipient of NEED’s estimated $10 million distribution, but a portion went to a fledgling organization called Anera.
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