October 23, 2016
Room No. 4 Exhibit at the UNA-USA Luncheon

room no. 4 handcuffed

Monona Terrace Hall of Ideas
1 John Nolen Drive, Madison
11:45 AM to 2:30 PM

“They left me in the room for 5 hours with my hands tied behind my back and my legs tied to each other. When I refused to confess, they slapped me and tightened the hand ties more and more.” 15-year-old boy

Room No. 4 is a photographic campaign prepared by the Madaa Silwan Center and War Child Holland to illustrate the violations of Palestinian children’s rights in East Jerusalem. The 12 staged photos are accompanied by written testimonies from the children themselves. Room No. 4 is the name of the Israeli interrogation room at the Russian Compound Detention Center in Jerusalem.

This exhibit was presented last November by Sahar Abbasi Baidon, a mother of four and the deputy director of MECA’s partner, Madaa Silwan Creative Center, in East Jerusalem. Sahar’s interviews and research (“The Impact of Child Arrest”, a study published by Sahar and Dr. Kasahun) are the basis for the Room Number 4 photo exhibit.

Sponsored by the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, and Playgrounds for Palestine-Madison.

Note: Paid registration for the UNA-USA luncheon is required. The charge is $40 per person ($20 for students):

Please join the UNA-USA Dane County Chapter for our annual luncheon on Sunday, October 23rd, 2016 at Monona Terrace. This year’s luncheon: “Madison: A Tale of Two Cities…One Humanity, Shared Responsibility,” will feature a keynote address by activist Everett Mitchell, Dane County Circuit Court Judge and Pastor at Christ the Solid Rock Baptist Church.

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October 22, 2016
Wisconsin Book Festival: The Way to the Spring

Wisconsin Book Festival

The Way to the Spring - Ben Ehrenreich - <span class="date-display-single">10/22/2016 - 12:00pm</span>

The Way to the Spring
Ben Ehrenreich
10/22/2016 – 12:00pm
Central Library – Community Rooms 301 & 302

Ben Ehrenreich first started reporting from the West Bank in 2011, on an assignment for Harper’s Magazine. He went back again for the New York Times the following year, which resulted in a powerful, much talked-about cover-story for the magazine. Palestine, it seemed, had gotten under Ehrenreich’s skin.

Eventually he moved to Ramallah, and started writing what would become The Way to The Spring: Life and Death in Palestine. Ehrenreich was moved by the injustices that he witnessed, and by the general silence about them in most U.S. media. As well informed as he was on the Arab-Israeli conflict, he nonetheless was consistently shocked by what he saw, and by how little the vast majority of people in the U.S. (and even in Israel, just few miles away) understood about the lived realities of the occupation. He felt strongly that he wanted to write to break through those silences.

In cities and small villages alike, men and women, young and old, a group of unforgettable characters shared their lives with Ehrenreich and made their own case for resistance and resilience in the face of life under occupation. Blending political and historical context with deeply human stories, The Way to the Spring makes clear that conditions on the ground are changing–and getting worse, in an accelerating dynamic that should provoke the conscience of us all. In a great act of bravery, empathy and understanding, Ben Ehrenreich, by placing us in the footsteps of ordinary Palestinians and telling their story with surpassing literary power and grace, makes it impossible for us to turn away.

Presented in partnership with the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project.

Ben EhrenreichAbout Presenter Ben Ehrenreich

Ben Ehrenreich is the author of two novels, Ether and The Suitors. His writing has appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, and the London Review of Books, among others. A recipient of the National Magazine Award, Ehrenreich lives in Los Angeles.

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PHROC Welcomes the Launch of Women’s Boat to Gaza

Al-Haq, 26 September 2016

ZAYTOUNAThe Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) expresses its full supportof the Women’s Boat to Gaza, with the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, to break the Israeli closure of the Gaza Strip. PHROC calls upon the international community to support the voyage of the Boat until it reaches Gaza’s shores in an expression of solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip andin rejection of the illegal and inhumane closure imposed on the Strip for over 10 years. Theclosure  constitutes a form of collective punishment, in violation of international humanitarian law, and rises to the level ofa crime against humanity that should be terminated and thus its perpetrators should be prosecuted.

According to availableinformation, the Women’s Boat to Gaza Campaign, comprised of Al-Amal and Al-Zaituna ships, launchedon Friday, 23 September 2016, from Messina port in Italy towards the Gaza Strip. The female activists on board announced they were sailing towards the Gaza Strip with a message of peace the elimination of injustice, and solidarity with the besieged Palestinian people. The Freedom Flotilla Coalition consistsof a group of international organizations that support the Palestinian people’s right tofreedom and ending the Israeli occupation. The Coalition organized this voyage in which a group of female activists and public figures, including Nobel Peace Laureates, from around 20 countries, participated to end the inhumane closure imposed on the Gaza Strip.

PHROC welcomes the Freedom Flotilla initiative which coincides with the tenth anniversary of the closure’s imposition. Furthermore PHROC believes this action is important in the face of  international silence over Israel’s continued violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.. PHROC also appreciates the international solidarity expressed by the Campaign.

PHROC calls upon civil society organizations and all Arab and international solidarity campaigns to support the safe arrival of the Women’sBoat to the Gaza shore to break the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip imposed for more than 10 years. PHROC further calls on states and international organizations to ensure that Israeli authorities respect international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and guarantee the safety and security of the boat and its passengers.

Zaytouna-Oliva departs for Gaza

Amal-Hope II to follow soon

Women’s Boat to Gaza, Messina, Italy, September 27, 2016

This morning at 9:50 am, women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here.

miki_photo_zo Photo: Freedom Flotilla Italia.

When asked why they are going, the women gave a variety of responses. Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate from Ireland, notes that “they say that ‘silence is golden’, but regarding the plight of Palestinians in Gaza the silence of the world, especially concerning their little children, shows a lack of moral and ethical leadership from the international community. Why has it lasted so long?”

For two of the women, their countries’ own historical struggles for human rights played an important role in their decision to join the Women’s Boat to Gaza. Leigh-Ann Naidoo, an Olympic volleyball player from South Africa, feels that “South Africans understand the importance of international solidarity in fighting regimes that practice segregation.” Marama Davidson, a Maori Member of Parliament from New Zealand, carries with her a strong personal connection to Palestinian women in Gaza. “As an indigenous woman myself, I want to stand alongside the women of Gaza and to draw attention to the ongoing humanitarian crisis there.”

The Amal-Hope II has been making final preparations to sail and is scheduled to depart from Messina soon. Both boats are expected to arrive in Gaza in early October.

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Zaytouna-Oliva leaves Corsica for Italy

Women’s Boat to Gaza, September 20, 2016

Ajaccio, Corsica, France: The Women’s Boat to Gaza (Zaytouna-Oliva) left the port of Ajaccio at 09:30 this morning. It is due to arrive later this week in Messina, Sicily, Italy, where it will dock for the last time, prior to sailing to challenge the illegal blockade of Gaza.

One of the participants aboard, Lisa Gay Hamilton said: “It is an honor to be here and join this extraordinary group of women. This issue is bigger than me, than any of us. As a mother, as a daughter, as a sister, I cannot help thinking of Palestinian women in Gaza, who live in an open-air prison because of the occupation. It is so painful to think of them, we have to take action to end the blockade of Gaza.” A full list of the participants on this leg is available at: https://wbg.freedomflotilla.org/participants

Renè Abu Joub, spokesperson and one of the local organisers in Messina said: “We are very pleased to host the women on Zaytouna-Oliva before they embark on this historic voyage.” During their stay in Messina, all of the women will participate in non-violence training, whilst finalising supplies and equipment for the boat.

A previous Freedom Flotilla Coalition ship, the Marianne av Göteborg from Sweden, departed from Sicily last year. It however was raided in international waters by the Israeli Occupation Forces. When asked whether the Zaytouna-Oliva will reach its destination, Abu Joub replied: “Our destination remains the conscience of humanity. It is up to every one of us to help them succeed in this.”

A special appeal from our friend Anees Mansour in Rafah

The Hope and Peace Foundation has now been providing services for Rafah children for one year. The program is going to lose the lease on the building they are presently using, unless they raise six months worth of rent by the end of this month, through this on line funding campaign. Please see the link below for more information. Anees wrote:

My friends,

I hope you, your families and your loved ones are doing well. I would like to wish all my Muslim brothers and sisters Eid Mubarak.

The 1st September was the final day of the building rental, and this is where we practice our activities with the kids. We received an evacuation note from the building owner to evacuate the building. As you all may know that we have been doing our best since August 2015 to serve the children of Rafah via the art and cultural activities. As a team we believe these kind of activities are extremely beneficial to the kids, where we can keep them away from the bad psychological situation. We are all together here to support those who in need our help. So we are hoping to achieve our goal as soon as possible through this link: http://www.launchgood.com/ ChildrenOfPalestine

Let me thank you all for all of your kindness and support.

​Best Wishes
Anees