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Buckets of support for Palestine

The #rubblebucketchallenge has taken off as a way to show solidarity with Palestinians.

The #rubblebucketchallenge has taken off on Twitter as a way to show solidarity with Palestinians. Picture: Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - What started as the #icebucketchallenge as a way to raise funds for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) sufferers has been transformed into a statement of solidarity by Gazans who have started the #rubblebucketchallenge or #RemainsBucketChallange.

The trend that got celebrities soaked and freezing by tipping a bucket of ice water over their heads has been adapted by Palestinians in war-torn Gaza, to tipping a bucket of rubble over their heads.

Water is a precious resource in the now mostly flattened coastal enclave where thousands of homes have been destroyed or damaged in the conflict in the region.

Nearly 500,000 people have been displaced in the territory where Palestinians, citing Israeli attacks that have hit schools and mosques, say no place is safe.

The UK's_ Daily Mail_ on Tuesday quoted Ayman al Aloul, a Palestinian journalist who posted the first rubble bucket challenge as saying: "I have to do something and to send a message all over the world about Gaza".

In the video, filmed on a Gaza street destroyed by bombs, Aloul said that he liked the idea of the ice bucket challenge, but that he couldn't justify using water.

"The use of water is more important than to empty over our heads. And even if the water is available it is difficult to freeze it."

The rubble used in the challenge is taken from the remains of destroyed buildings in the Gaza strip.

The ice bucket challenge - which asks every person taking part to make a donation to a charitable cause - has raised nearly £40 million for the ALS Association, which works to fight the neurological disorder also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Aloul said that rather than material aid, he wanted people to offer their solidarity and support for the people of Gaza.

He said that while he could see the benefit in having high-profile people take part in his challenge, he wanted it to be seen as something for all people to take part in.

"It is not for specific people but for all people who sympathise with the Palestinian people.

"We do not have water but this is what we have. Perhaps I will not find water to wash up with when I get home."

Palestinian health officials say 2,122 people, most of them civilians, including more than 400 children, have been killed in Gaza since 8 July, when Israel launched an offensive with the declared aim of ending rocket fire into its territory.

The challenge has taken off on Facebook and social network Twitter, where users have shown their support by posting videos along with the tags #RemainsBucketChallenge #rubblebucketchallenge and #dustbucketchallenge.