September 1 – 23, 2008
Rachel Corrie Soccer Tournament

Dear Members and Friends of MRSCP,

We have been asked by some of our friends from Olympia, Washington, Rachel Corrie’s home town, to solicit support for an ambitious new undertaking to benefit the young people of Rafah.

In September, during the month of Ramadan, the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP), one of our partner groups in Rafah, plans to host the first ever all-Rafah youth soccer tournament. They hope that this tournament will begin the process of establishing a soccer park and organized soccer leagues in the war-ravaged Rafah community, providing a healthy outlet for Rafah’s youth (over half the population of Gaza is under 18).

Organizers have set a modest but critical goal of raising $2,500 by August 1. MRSCP has agreed to contribute $500 to this cause. We urge you to join us.

Tax-deductible U.S. donations will be channeled through the Gaza Mental Health Foundation, an approved 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Please do not make out checks or send donations to MRSCP.

As always, we thank you for your support!

August 8 – 10, 2008
Rafah Soccer Tournament: Benefit Garage Sale

Shafia Powell and her friend Nabila have generously offered to host a garage sale next weekend to benefit the Rafah Youth Soccer Tournament planned for this September.

THE SALE WILL BE ON MADISON’S NORTH SIDE AT 3601 MARCY LANE, OFF OF TROY DRIVE. THE TENTATIVE HOURS ARE:

FRIDAY, AUGUST 8, 12 NOON – 5 PM
SATURDAY, AUGUST 9, 9 AM – 5 PM
SUNDAY, AUGUST 10, 9 AM – 3 PM

Tournament supporters in the U.S. were successful in raising the money needed to launch the tournament and will shortly be doing “Phase 2” fund raising to support it.

IF YOU HAVE ANY ITEMS TO DONATE TO THE SALE, please contact Nabila at 242-9179 to arrange to drop them off. If you need help transporting donations please contact Shafia at 772-5744. Holy Land Olive Oil should be available at the sale as well.

Please help us spread the word about this sale. And as always, thanks for your support.

Film: Occupation 101

Escape Java Joint
916 Williamson Street
Madison

“Occupation 101” (2006) Made at considerable personal sacrifice by two brothers, Sufyan and Abdallah Omeish, this 60-minute 2006 film has won at least eight major film festival awards. It provides an excellent, comprehensive historical summary and analysis of the Israeli occupation. Discussion will follow: What is the nature of the occupation? What does it mean for current proposed “one-state solutions”? Can there be an end to the Israeli occupation? Is real peace possible? What can we, in Madison and the U.S, do to work for peace in this part of the Middle East?

Petition to protest Israeli assault on Mohammed Omer


Washington Report

ACTION ALERT
July 2, 2008

Contact: communications@wrmea.com

Washington Report Correspondent Mohammed Omer Hospitalized Following Detention by Israeli Soldiers at Allenby Bridge Crossing

Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer, Gaza correspondent for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and co-recipient of the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, was hospitalized with cracked ribs and other injuries inflicted by Israeli soldiers at the Allenby Bridge crossing from Jordan into the occupied West Bank.

Omer was returning home to Gaza after a European speaking tour and the June 16 London ceremony at which he accepted the prestigious Gellhorn Prize.

Mohammed Omer with John Pilger and Dahr JamailJournalist John Pilger (c), a member of the Martha Gellhorn Prize judges panel, congratulates co-recipients Dahr Jamail (l) and Mohammed Omer. Photo Paul de Rooij.

Dutch MP Hans Van Baalen, head of the parliament’s foreign relations committee, and award-winning journalist John Pilger spent weeks lobbying Israel to issue an exit permit for the 24-year-old journalist. As has been the case before, diplomatic intervention was necessary to secure permission for his return as well. Nevertheless, Israeli authorities initially refused to allow Omer to return to his home in Rafah from Amman. Finally—after missing his brother’s wedding—he was told that arrangements had been made for him to cross the border on Thursday, June 26. Dutch diplomats awaited him on the other side to escort him to the Gaza Strip.

Instead of being granted free passage, however, Omer was detained, questioned by a Shin Bet agent, strip searched at gunpoint, assaulted and dragged by the heels to an ambulance after he began vomiting and going in and out of consciousness. When he finally came to, he was in a Palestinian hospital in Jericho, where he was treated and allowed to return home in the custody of the Dutch diplomats. See the following article by John Pilger in the July 2 Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/02/israelandthepalestinians.civilliberties

The following afternoon, speaking from home, a recovering but still traumatized Omer told the Washington Report that he was having difficulty breathing and swallowing. The next day, suffering from cracked ribs and other injuries, he was admitted to a hospital in Gaza, where he remains as of this writing.


Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, correspondent Mohammed Omer lies in his hospital bed in the Gaza Strip June 30, 2008. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa (GAZA)

In his article in the August 2008 Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, “A Voice for the Voiceless,” Omer defines his life’s mission as “to get the truth out,” and describes himself as “not pro-Palestinian or anti-Israeli, but simply…an eyewitness on the ground, reporting what happens and why.”

One of the Shin Bet agents who interrogated him at the Allenby crossing advised Omer not to return to Gaza, where—thanks to the Israeli siege—there is no electricity, potable water, medical supplies, gasoline or other necessities of life. Clearly Israel wants to silence Mohammed Omer’s voice, as it has silenced the voices of other journalists—most recently Omer’s colleague Fadel Shana, the 24-year-old Reuters cameraman killed by an Israeli tank shell on April 16.

Palestinian journalists risk their lives on a daily basis to tell the world what is happening in their homeland. Their words and pictures remind us that we have yet to realize the vow, “Never again!”

Sign the Petition: Please click on the button at right to sign a petition condemning Israel’s attacks on journalists, both Palestinian and international. Add your voice to Mohammed Omer’s on behalf of voiceless Gazans and all Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation—an occupation made possible by American tax dollars.

June 8, 2008
Film: USA vs Al-Arian

Sunday, June 8
7 pm
Escape Java Joint, 916 Williamson St.

This film about U.S. political prisoner Dr. Sami Al-Arian will be shown with remarks by Professor Mel Underbakke, a colleague of Al-Arian. Professor Underbakke is taking this film on a national tour to raise awareness of the Al-Arian case. For more information on the tour see www.freesamialarian.com.

Peregrine Forum, the Madison Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project are co-sponsors of this event.

Sami Al-Arian’s Long Ordeal

Stephen Lendman, Opednews.com, March 24, 2008

Sami Al-Arian is a political prisoner in Police State America. This article reviews his case briefly and updates it to the present.

Because of his faith, ethnicity and political activism, the Bush administration targeted Al-Arian for supporting “terrorism.” In fact, he’s a Palestinian refugee, distinguished professor and scholar, community leader and civil activist.

Nonetheless, the FBI harassed him for 11 years, arrested him on February 20, 2003, and falsely accused him of backing organizations fronting for Palestinian Islamic Jihad – a 1997 State Department-designated “Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).”

A week later, in spite of his many awards, impeccable credentials and tenured status, University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft fired him under right wing pressure.

Since February 20, 2003, Al-Arian has been imprisoned – first at Tampa, Florida’s Orient Road jail, then on to more than a dozen different maximum and other federal prison facilities. He’s currently on hunger strike at Warsaw, Virginia’s Northern Neck Regional jail after being transferred back March 18 from Butner, North Carolina’s medical prison.

Al-Arian’s trial began in June 2005 and was a travesty. It lasted six months, cost an estimated $50 million, and the prosecution called 80 witnesses, including Israeli intelligence agents and victims of suicide bombings to prejudice the jury. It introduced portions of hundreds of wiretapped phone calls from over a half million recorded; “evidence” from faxes, emails and what was seized from his home; quotes from his speeches and lectures; conferences, events and rallies he attended; articles he wrote; books he owned; magazines he edited; and various publications he read – all legal and in no way incriminating unless falsely twisted to appear that way.

After years of effort and millions spent, Al-Arian was exonerated. On December 6, 2005 after 13 days of deliberation, the jury acquitted him of all (eight) “terrorism” charges. They were deadlocked 10 – 2 for acquittal on nine others. All of them were false and unjust.

June 7 – October 18, 2008
Peregrine Forum 2008 "NAKBA" Series

PALESTINE HISTORY CLASS
March thru October at Escape Java Joint, 916 Williamson St., Madison

In commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the 1948 Palestine War and subsequent events, based largely on the book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappe (One World Publications 2007), 313pp., $14.95 pbk, which can be ordered though Rainbow Books. The series began on March 22, but you can join anytime. Dates and topics follow; for more specific information contact dvdwilliams51 at yahoo.com • 608-442-8399

SAT. JUNE 7 • 2 – 5 pm “The Two ‘Nakbas’, 1948 and 1967: Parallel Conquests and Parallell Mythologies.” Screening and analysis of the 2007 WGBH Boston Public TV documentary “Six Days in June.”

Standard Israeli and American accounts of the 1948 War repeat a story of “David” versus “Goliath”: “Little Israel” threatened on all sides by overwhelming Arab forces bent on destruction of the Jews. In 2007 WGBH Boston presented “Six Days in June” on the 40th anniversary of the 1967 War, recycling the standard portrayals. It was screened on PBS affiliates across the U.S. without any rebuttal or countervailing points-of-view. Peregrine Forum will screen the film with critical commentary on inaccuracies and distortions.

SAT. JUNE 14 • 2- 4 pm “The ‘Arab-Israeli War’ of June-September 1948.” Reading from Pappe.

SAT. OCT. 4 • 2 – 4 pm “Completion of the Conquest: October 1948-January 1949, and Other Illegal Acquisitions.” Reading from Pappe.

SAT. OCT. 18 • 2 – 4 pm “1948 Palestine War and Its Legacies: Occupation, ‘Memoricide’, and the ‘Peace Process’. ” Reading from Pappe.

Free and open to all; donation requested.
Co-presented by David Williams & Steve Wolvin.
Contact: dvdwilliams51 at yahoo.com • 608-442-8399