April 28, 2013
Susan Abulhawa Talk in Madison

Playgrounds for Palestine Annual Benefit Dinner
Nile Restaurant [Map]
5:30 pm-8:00 pm

The Madison chapter of Playgrounds for Palestine is pleased to invite you to attend a talk given by Susan Abulhawa, a Palestinian-American writer and political commentator. She is the author of the 2010 international bestselling novel Mornings in Jenin and founder of Playgrounds for Palestine.

Today and twenty years after the Oslo Peace Accord (in 1993) when the US led a peace process between Israel and the Palestinian, Israel is still unhindered accelerating the settlement construction by creating a new form of apartheid system in the Middle East. The recent “Arab only buses” is an example of the apartheid activity the government of Israel is imposing on Palestinians.

Susan Abulhawa’s talk will highlight the ongoing practices that the Israeli government and military are perpetrating to exceedingly diminish the Palestinians’ struggle for self-determination. The dinner’s funds raised will go toward the completion of our 22nd playground (3rd Madison chapter funded), which will be built in the West Bank.

A vegetarian menu will be served and includes hummus, falafel, spinach pie, cheese pie, foul (fava beans), lentil soup with spinach, bread, and dessert. Ticket prices are $25 per person at the door, or $22 if paid in advance by Monday, April 22. We are doing our best to keep the dinner cost as affordable as we can; we hope that those who can afford more will consider donating more.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Samir El-Omari at pfpmadison (at) gmail.com or (608) 395-7047 with the number in your party. Space is limited, so we urge you to get your reservation as soon as you can.

Join us on Facebook: search “causes” for “Playgrounds for Palestine – Madison, WI Chapter

Playgrounds for Palestine – Madison Chapter
3902 Birch Ave
Madison, WI 53711

April 1, 2013
WORT Interview about Elias Chacour Play

“A Public Affair”
WORT 89.9 FM
12 noon

“A Public Affair” will be previewing the performance this Thursday, April 4th, of a one man play — We Belong to the Land — based on the life of world-renowned Palestinian peacemaker Elias Chacour. The Archbishop of Galilee of the Malkite Greek Catholic Church, Chacour is also a founder of the nonprofit “Pilgrims of Ibillin,” which works to advance understandings about persons of all faiths living in Israel. Its projects include the Mar Elias Educational Institutions in Ibillin, where Christians, Jews, Muslims and Druze are educated without regard to religion or ethnic background. Much of the work of the program is made possible by support from American churches and other institutions and individuals, several of them in greater Madison.

John Quinlan’s guests on “A Public Affair” will include the Rev. Joan Deming, the Madison-based executive director of Pilgrims of Ibillin, and George Shalabi of Sauk City, a retired business person, native of Haifa, Ibillin board member, and lifelong friend of Father Chacour. Also joining us will be actor Bruce Bradley, who will be portraying Chacour, and answering questions about the man whose life he’s bringing to the stage. The show streams live at www.wortfm.org, where it is also podcast.

We Belong to the the Land tells a remarkable story of peace and reconciliation in the face of a life that began shortly before the traumatic disruption of Palestinian lives during the birth of Israel. Born in the village of Kafr Bir’im in Upper Galilee to a Palestinian Christian family, Elias Chacour’s family was forced to leave their home and take refuge in the neighboring village of Jish after Bir’im was taken over by occupying forces for Israeli independence. Chacour and his family became Israeli citizens in 1948, shortly after the establishment of the Israeli state.

Chacour came to the village of Ibillin in Galilee as a young priest in 1965. This village was the birthplace of the most recent saint of the Melkite Catholic Church. Chacour, seeing the lack of educational opportunities for Arab youth beyond the 8th grade, set about creating a school open to all local children, regardless of religious affiliation.

An advocate of non-violence, Chacour travels often between the Middle East and other countries around the world. In addition, many visitors, fact-finding missions, and pilgrims have come to Ibillin. In recognition of his humanitarian efforts he has received honors including the World Methodist Peace Award, the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur, and the Niwano Peace Prize (Japan), as well as honorary doctorates from five universities including Duke and Emory. In 2001 Chacour was named “Man of the Year” in Israel.

Chacour is the author of two best selling books, Blood Brothers and We Belong to the Land. Blood Brothers covers his childhood growing up in the town of Biram, his development into a young man, and his early years as a priest in Ibillin. This book has been translated into more than twenty languages. His second book, We Belong to the Land, recounts his work in the development of Mar Elias Educational Institutions, from humble beginnings to major schools for educating Palestinian young people and for helping to bring about reconciliation in a land of strife. This book has been translated into 11 languages.

With stunning accuracy, the actor “becomes” Archbishop Chacour as he tells about working for peace in Israel/Palestine over the past 45 years. Audiences hear how Abuna (“Father” in Arabic) Elias Chacour, against all odds, established the multi-cultural Mar Elias Educational Institutions in Ibillin.

We Belong to the Land will be performed from 7-8:30 pm on Thursday, April 4th at The Crossing, 1127 University Ave. (University at Charter Street) on the UW-Madison campus. Some limited parking is available onsite, with other spaces available beneath the UW School of Business two blocks east. The play will be followed by a question and answer session with actor Bruce Bradley. The event is free; a free-will offering will be taken.

For more information, go to Pilgrims of Ibillin. This event is co-sponsored by The Crossing and Pilgrims of Ibillin.

Other local organizations will be present with tables and information about their programs:

John L Quinlan
QuinlanJohnL at aol.com
cell: 608-213-8409

Rachel Corrie’s Rafah Legacy

Ramzy Baroud, CounterPunch, March 21, 2013

“Hi Papa .. Don’t worry about me too much, right now I am most concerned that we are not being effective. I still don’t feel particularly at risk. Rafah has seemed calmer lately,” Rachel Corrie wrote to her father, Craig, from Rafah, a town located at the southern end of the Gaza Strip.

‘Rachel’s last email’ was not dated on the Rachel Corrie Foundation website. It must have been written soon after her last email to her mother, Cindy, on Feb 28. She was killed by an Israeli bulldozer on March 16, 2003.

Immediately after her painful death, crushed beneath an Israeli army bulldozer, Rafah embraced her legacy as another ‘martyr’ for Palestine. It was a befitting tribute to Rachel, who was born to a progressive family in the town of Olympia, itself a hub for anti-war and social justice activism. But Olympia is also the capital of Washington State. Politicians here can be as callous, morally flexible and pro-Israel as any other seats of government in the US, where sharply dressed men and women jockey for power and influence. Ten years after Rachel’s death, the US government is yet to hold Israel to account. Neither is justice expected anytime soon.

Bordering Egyptian and Israeli fences, and ringed by some of the poorest refugee camps anywhere, Rafah has never ceased being a news topic in years. The town’s gallantry of the First Palestinian Uprising (Intifada) in 1987 was the stuff of legends among other resisting towns, villages and refugee camps in Gaza and the rest of Palestine. The Israeli army used Rafah as a testing ground for a lesson to be taught to the rest of Palestinians. Thus, its list of ‘martyrs’ is one of the longest, and it is unlikely to stop growing anytime soon. Many of Rafah’s finest perished digging tunnels into Egypt to break the Israeli economic blockade that followed Palestine’s democratic elections in 2006. Buried under heaps of mud, drowning in Egyptian sewage water, or pulverized by Israeli missiles, some of Rafah’s men are yet to be located for proper burial.

Rafah agonized for many years, not least because it was partially encircled by a cluster of illegal Jewish settlements – Slav, Atzmona, Pe’at Sadeh, Gan Or and others. The residents of Rafah were deprived of security, freedom, and even for extended periods of time, access to the adjacent sea, so that the illegal colonies could enjoy security, freedom and private beaches. Even when the settlements were dismantled in 2005, Rafah became largely entrapped between the Israeli military border, incursions, Egyptian restrictions and an unforgiving siege. True to form, Rafah continues to resist.

Rachel and her International Solidarity Movement (ISM) friends must have appreciated the challenge at hand and the brutality by which the Israeli army conducted its business. Reporting for the British Independent newspaper from Rafah, Justin Huggler wrote on Dec. 23, 2003: “Stories of civilians being killed pour out of Rafah, turning up on the news wires in Jerusalem almost every week. The latest, an 11-year-old girl shot as she walked home from school on Saturday.” His article was entitled: “In Rafah, the children have grown so used to the sound of gunfire they can’t sleep without it.” He too “fell asleep to the sound of the guns.”

Rafah was affiliated with other ominous realities, one being house demolitions. In its report, Razing Rafah, published Oct 18, 2004, Human Rights Watch mentioned some very disturbing numbers. Of the 2,500 houses demolished by Israel in Gaza between 2000-04, “nearly two-thirds of these homes were in Rafah… Sixteen thousand people, more than ten percent of Rafah’s population, have lost their homes, most of them refugees, many of whom were dispossessed for a second or third time.” Much of the destructions occurred so that alleyways could be widened to secure Israeli army operations. Israel’s weapon of choice was the Caterpillar D9 bulldozer, which often arrived late at night.

Rachel Corrie was also crushed by the same type of US manufactured and supplied bulldozer that terrorized Rafah for years. It is no wonder that Rachel’s photos and various graffiti paintings adorn many walls of Rafah streets. Commemorating Rachel’s death anniversary for the tenth time, activists in Rafah gathered on March 16. They spoke passionately of the American girl who challenged an Israeli bulldozer so that a Rafah home could remain standing. A 12-year-old girl thanked Rachel for her courage and asked the US government to stop supplying Israel with weapons that are often used against civilians.

While Rafah carried much of the occupation brunt and the vengeance of the Israeli army, its story and that of Rachel’s was merely symbolic of the greater tragedy which has been unfolding in Palestine for many years. Here is a quick summary of the house demolition practice of recent years, according to the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, also published in Al Jazeera August 2012:

The Israeli government destroyed 22 homes in East Jerusalem and 222 homes in West Bank in 2011, leaving nearly 1,200 people homeless. During the war on Gaza (Dec 2008 – Jan 2009), it destroyed 4,455 homes, leaving 20,000 Palestinians displaced and unable to rebuild due to the restrictions imposed by the siege. (Other reports give much higher estimates.) Since 1967, the Israeli government destroyed 25,000 homes in the occupied territories, rendered 160,000 Palestinians homeless. Numbers can be even grimmer if one is to take into account those who were killed and wounded during clashes linked to the destructions of these homes.

So, when Rachel Corrie stood with a megaphone and an orange high-visibility jacket trying to dissuade an Israeli bulldozer driver from demolishing yet another Palestinian home, the stakes were already high. And despite the inhumane caricaturing of her act by pro-Israeli US and other western media, and the expected Israeli court ruling last August, Rachel’s brave act and her subsequent murder stand at the heart of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It highlighted the ruthlessness of the Israeli army, put to shame Tel Aviv’s judicial system, confronted the international community with its utter failure to provide protection for Palestinian civilians and raised the bar even higher for the international solidarity movement.

The Israel court verdict last August was particularly sobering and should bring to an end any wishful thinking that Israel’s self-tailored judicial system is capable of achieving justice, neither for a Palestinian, nor an American. “I reached the conclusion that there was no negligence on the part of the bulldozer driver,” Judge Oded Gershon said as he read out his verdict in a Haifa District Court in northern Israel. Rachel’s parents had filed a law suit, requesting a symbolic $1 in damages and legal expenses. Gershon rejected the suit, delineated that Rachel was not a ‘reasonable person’ and, once more blamed the victim, as has been the case with thousands of Palestinians for many years. “Her death is the result of an accident she brought upon herself,” he said. It all sounded that demolishing homes as a form of collective punishment was just another ‘reasonable’ act, deserving of legal protection. In fact, per Israeli occupation rules, it is.

Rachel’s legacy will survive even Gershon’s charade court proceeding and much more. Her sacrifice is now etched into a much larger landscape of Palestinian heroism and pain.

“I think freedom for Palestine could be an incredible source of hope to people struggling all over the world,” she wrote to her mother nearly two weeks before her death. “I think it could also be an incredible inspiration to Arab people in the Middle East, who are struggling under undemocratic regimes which the US supports.”

Ramzy Baroud is editor of PalestineChronicle.com. He is the author of The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle and “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story” (Pluto Press, London).

Not Enough Water in the West Bank?

Click image for full screen

Visualizing Palestine, March 2013


In partnership with EWASH (a coalition working in the water and sanitation sector in Palestine), VP produced ‘West Bank Water’, which describes the ways in which the Palestinian water supply in the West Bank is appropriated by the Israeli government before it reaches Palestinian homes. Despite the fact that Ramallah receives more rainfall than London (one of the world’s most renowned rainy cities), the average West Bank Palestinian can access only one quarter of the water available to the average Israeli each day, and 30 liters less than the World Health Organization’s minimum recommendation.


UK Met Office, 2012. Historic Station Data (accessed on 21 March 2012)
Palestinian Water Authority, 2003. Rainfall Variability and Change in the West Bank (PDF)
“Amnesty, 2009. Troubled Waters – Palestinians denied fair access to water” (PDF)
UK DEFRA, 2013. Domestic Water Saving (accessed on 7 February 2013)
WHO, 2003. Domestic Water Quantity, Service Level and Health (PDF)
C. Messerschmid, 2007. Hydro-hegemony in shared Israeli, Palestinian groundwater resources (PDF)
EWASH, 2012. Israeli restrictions on the WASH sector in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and their impact on vulnerable communities (PDF)


February 28, 2013
Film: 5 Broken Cameras

Trailer "5 Broken Cameras" from Guy Davidi on Vimeo.

Hummus and a Movie: Screening of 5 Broken Cameras

Our Saviors Lutheran Church
550 Lincoln Drive, Sun Prairie
6:30 pm [Map]

Academy award-nominated movie by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi, Palestinian refreshments served, fair trade Palestinian gifts for sale. Free admission. Contact person: Susan Berggren ph: 608.444.2745

An extraordinary work of both cinematic and political activism, Five Broken Cameras is a deeply personal, first-hand account of non-violent resistance in Bilin, a West Bank village threatened by encroaching Israeli settlements. Five Broken Cameras was shot almost entirely by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, who initially purchased a camera to record his youngest son. Structured around the violent destruction of that and four subsequent cameras, Burnats collaboration with Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi follows one familys evolution over five years of village turmoil. Burnat watches from behind the lens as olive trees are
bulldozed, protests intensify, and lives are lost. I feel like the camera protects me, he says, but its an illusion.

Film Trailer: 5 Broken Cameras Official Trailer [HD] YouTube

Note: You can now get 5 Broken Cameras on Netflix, and it has been purchased by the South Central Library system, although there is a waiting list.

Emad Burnat, co-producer, and his family were recently detained at Los Angeles International Airport as they arrived prior to the Oscars. Intervention by Michael Moore helped secure their release.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) called on the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to issue an immediate apology to Emad Burnat. Also, ADC formally requested the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General to initiate an immediate investigation to determine to what extent CBP officials engaged in racial profiling based on a recent agreement between the US and Israel.

Palestinians call for a boycott of Israeli diamonds

9 February 2013

Palestinians call for a boycott of Israeli diamonds

Over 50 Palestinian organisations, representing a cross-section of Palestinian civil society, including women’s groups and trade unions, and international organisations in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for equality, justice and an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, have issued an appeal to women and men of conscience and jewellers worldwide to reject diamonds processed in Israel.

The Palestinian civil society organizations and international solidarity groups call upon:

1. Jewellers worldwide to immediately end the trade in diamonds processed in Israel, and

2. women and men of conscience the world over to reject diamonds from Israel which fund a military regime that murders, maims and terrorises innocent men, women and children with impunity.

Samir Abed-Rabbo, a coordinator of the campaign for a global rejection of Israeli diamonds said: “Revenue from Israel’s diamond industry is a major source of funding for the Israeli military which stands accused of war crimes by the UN Human Rights Council, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Diamonds processed in Israel evade the human rights strictures of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme which only bans ‘conflict diamonds’ or rough diamonds used by rebel groups to finance conflicts against legitimate governments.”

Pointing out the repeated refusal of the Kimberley Process to ban all blood diamonds he said: “The failure of the Kimberley Process to broaden the definition of a “conflict diamond” and ban polished diamonds that fund war crimes means that diamond purchasers are being sold blood diamonds, which are falsely labelled conflict-free by jewellers, including most, if not all, of the world’s most iconic jewellery establishments.”

Decrying the lack of security for Palestinians he continued: “International governments, the US and EU in particular, have failed to protect Palestinians from Israel’s diamond-funded military which last November killed 170 Palestinians, mainly civilians, including 33 children and in the last four weeks shot and killed six unarmed Palestinians. He said: “Diamonds are Israel’s most important manufacturing export commodity; accounting for 30% of Israel’s manufacturing exports. Without revenue from the diamond industry Israel could not afford the financial burden of the illegal occupation, construction of Jewish colonies on Palestinian lands and the brutal subjugation of the Palestinian people. ”

He concluded by calling on diamond-purchasers to: “be wary of claims by jewellers that “ethically sourced” or “responsibly sourced” diamonds are conflict-free, as the diamonds may still be blood diamonds if they were cut and polished in Israel where diamond-revenue funds a regime guilty of war crimes. Consumers should demand to know where a diamond was cut and polished as well as where it was sourced.” They need to be aware that when they buy a diamond processed in Israel it is tarnished with the blood of innocent Palestinian men, women and children.

This call is endorsed by the following Palestinian and International organisations:

1. The Association of Women Committees for Social Work (AWCSW)
2. The Society of Women Graduates
3. The Palestinian Development Women Studies Association
4. Center for Women’s Legal Research and Consulting
5. Women’s Affairs Center
6. Community Media Center
7. SemSem – Association for Relief and Development
8. Palestinian Association for Development and Reconstruction
9. Creative Women Forum
10. Muslim Women Association
11. Palestinian Association for Development and Heritage Protection
12. Al-Mustaqbal Society for Development
13. Afak Center for Women
14. Women and Community Empowerment Center
15. Nour El Marefa El Khairia Association
16. Al Aqsa Sport Club
17. Samed for Relief and Development Association
18. Palestinian Association for Truth and Justice
19. Humans without Boarder and for Social Security
20. Union of the Committees of Women in the Struggle
21. Union of the Committees of Workers in the Struggle
22. The Coast for Growth and Development
23. The European Center for Studies and Documentations
24. The Union of Agricultural Workers Committees
25. Milad Association for the Development of Youth Capabilities
26. Palestinian Renaissance Society
27. Ghassan Kanafani Development Association
28. Progressive Democratic National Gathering
29. Campaign to Boycott Israeli Products
30. Labor Resources Center
31. Union of the Committees of Independent Workers
32. Akabir Group for the Art
33. CompuLife for General Services
34. Afaq Jadeeda Association
35. The Palestinian Union for Struggling Women
36. General Union of Cultural Centers
37. Union of Palestinian Engineers in the Struggle
38. Union of Palestinian Students in the Struggle
39. Progressive Students Front
40. Union of Palestinian Women
41. AL-Awda New York, The Palestinian Right to Return Coalition
42. Beit Conivencia
43. Free Gaza Movement
44. Free Palestine Movement
45. International Solidarity Movement – Northern California
46. Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
47. Labor for Palestine (US)
48. New York City Labor Against the War
49. Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
50. Siegebusters Working Group
51. US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
52. US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
53. Interfaith Committee for Palestinian Rights.
54. Friends of Deir Ibzi’a
55. Bay Area Women in Black
56. 14 Friends of Palestine
57. Al Nakba Awareness Project
58. Birmingham Peace Project
59. Corvallis-Albany Friends of Middle East Peace
60. CU-Divest
61. North Texas, Boycott Divestment and Sanctions of Israel Campaign
62. St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee
63. International Women’s Peace Service
64. Free Gaza Scotland
65. Democratic Progressive Youth Union
66. Cultural Centre of Maghazi Association
67. Progressive Popular Front for Students
68. Heritage Benevolent Association
69. Al Mirsad for the Rights of Palestinian Refugees
70. The Palestinian Association for the Treatment of Addiction
71. The Arab People Union – All Branches
72. Arab People Parliament
73. Cardiff Palestine Solidarity Campaign
74. Northwest BDS Coalition
75. Palestine Solidarity Committee – Seattle
76. Madison-Rafah Sister City Project
77. Oberlin College Students for a Free Palestine
78. If Americans Knew
79. Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice
80. Women for Palestine (Gaza)
81. Australians for Palestine
82. Women for Palestine (Australia)
83. Coalition for a Free Palestine (South Africa)
84. Canada Palestine Association
85. Voice of Palestine (Canada)
86. Innovative Minds (inminds.com)
87. Leeds Palestine Solidarity Campaign
88. Trade Union Friends of Palestine (Ireland)
89. Centre for Civil Society Economic Justice Project, Durban, South Africa
90. The National Union of Families of Martyrs
91. Palestinian Media Forum
92. The Palestinian Youth Coalition in Lebanon


For comment contact:

Samir Abed-Rabbo – USA – 001- 972-810-7285
Nasir Hammad – Palestine – 00-972-599-454-744
Sean Clinton – Europe – 353-87-2725300

Notes for Editors

1. – According to Israeli political economist, Shir Hever, “Every time somebody buys a diamond that was exported from Israel some of that money ends up in the Israeli military, so the financial connection is quite clear. Overall the Israeli diamond industry contributes about $1 billion annually to the Israeli military and security industries.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q76ktVtvgVg

2. – Cut and polished diamonds that generate revenue used to fund war crimes evade the Kimberley Process Regulations which ban “conflict diamonds” described as: “rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments” http://bit.ly/11rzZre

3. – Israel is one of the world’s leading diamond exporters, with exports valued at $22 billion in 2011 accounting for 30% of Israel’s exports. http://www.israelidiamond.co.il/english/news.aspx?boneid=401

4. – Diamond exports added $11 billion NET to the Israeli economy in 2011. Israel’s Ministry of Defence budget in 2011 was $14 billion. http://aje.me/AbxToz

5. – “The Mission finds that the conduct of the Israeli armed forces constitutes grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of wilful killings and wilfully causing great suffering to protected persons and, as such, give rise to individual criminal responsibility. It also finds that the direct targeting and arbitrary killing of Palestinian civilians is a violation of the right to life.” UN Human Rights Council Report of the Fact-Finding Mission of the Gaza Conflict – http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/12session/A-HRC-12-48.pdf

6. – IPSC – Impunity to kill: Six Palestinians shot dead by Israeli forces in less than a fortnight. http://www.ipsc.ie/press-releases/impunity-to-kill-six-palestinians-shot-dead-by-israeli-forces-in-less-than-a-fortnight

7. – November 2011 – Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition, Brussels Communiqué calling of the inclusion of the cutting and polishing industry in the Kimberley Process http://www.pacweb.org/Documents/Press_releases/2011/KP_CSC_Brussels_Communique_Dec2011-Engl.pdf

8. – Human Rights Watch – Israel/Gaza: Unlawful Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Media
“Official statements that reflect the military having adopted an unlawful basis for attacks are evidence of war crimes because they show intent.” http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/12/20/israelgaza-unlawful-israeli-attacks-palestinian-media

9. – Global Witness leaves Kimberley Process, calls for diamond trade to be held accountable – “Most consumers still cannot be sure where their diamonds come from, nor whether they are financing armed violence or abusive regimes.” http://www.globalwitness.org/library/global-witness-leaves-kimberley-process-calls-diamond-trade-be-held-accountable

10. – Israel’s greatest fear – its diamond trade exposed. http://www.opednews.com/articles/Israel-s-greatest-fear–i-by-Se-n-Clinton-121027-116.html

11 – “Israeli forces killed hundreds of unarmed Palestinian civilians and destroyed thousands of homes in Gaza in attacks which breached the laws of war, Amnesty International concluded” – http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report/impunity-war-crimes-gaza-southern-israel-recipe-further-civilian-suffering-20090702

For latest list of endorsements please see https://dl.dropbox.com/u/8654956/Diamond Press Release Feb 1. 2013.doc

March 17, 2013
Annual Rachel Corrie Commemorative Dinner

Sunday, March 17
Nile Restaurant, Madison
5:30 pm, dinner at 6:15 pm

March 16, 2013 will mark the tenth anniversary of the killing of Rachel Corrie in Rafah in the Gaza Strip.

As we have for the last few years, MRSCP will mark this occasion with our annual dinner benefit, once again at the Nile Restaurant on Odana Road. Funds raised by the dinner will go toward the completion of our third water filtration system for Rafah schools, which will be dedicated to Rachel.

The program which follows will feature a recorded video message from Craig and Cindy Corrie and a report on what we saw and learned in our recent delegation to Gaza.

The menu will include hummus, felafel, spinach pie, cheese pie, foule, lentil soup with spinach, bread and dessert.  Ticket prices are $25 per person at the door, or $22.50 if paid in advance by Tuesday, March 12. We are doing our best to keep the dinner cost as affordable as we can; we hope that those who can afford more will consider donating to the water filter project.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Donna Wallbaum at dwallbaum@gmail.com or 235-7870 with the number in your party by Thursday, March 14. She will give you instructions as to paying in advance or at the door.

Space is limited, so we urge you to get your reservations in as soon as you can.

As always, thanks for your support and we look forward to seeing you on March 17.

Contact: rafahsistercity at yahoo.com

Tell Obama: Condition aid to Israel on compliance with international law

Annie Robbins, Mondoweiss, January 10, 2013

There’s a big rally coming up on Inauguration Weekend in Washington DC and we’re all invited. The “No Blank Check Rally,” sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace, Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee and Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace is a chance, as the promoters say, to

                                         Tell President Obama:

                                   Israel should not be above the law.

Condition US aid to Israel on compliance with US & international law.

No Blank Check for Israel

Rally & Candlelight Procession to the White House

Saturday January 19, 2013

4 – 6 pm EST

Washington, DC


Rally starts at Farragut Square (Connecticut Ave., 17th and K Streets, NW)

Followed by candlelight procession down 17th Street

Ends at 17th St. and Pennsylvania Ave.—one block from White House.

So what’s it all about and why is it so important Americans show up? I spoke with Shelley Fudge, Jewish Voice for Peace DC Metro Chapter coordinator, and asked her what the No Blank Check rally was all about. She said she wanted peace in the Middle East to be on Obama’s front burner with US aid to Israel in compliance with US and International laws. ”Obama told us to make him do it at the beginning of his presidency and we’re ready. … we have to make him. We want something for our tax dollars we give Israel.”

Fudge is referring to Obama’s own description of presidential power and community organizing. As Amy Goodman said, “In Obama’s second term, hope for change rests with us, the people” and she continued:

President Obama is a former community organizer himself. What happens when the community organizer-in-chief becomes the commander-in-chief? Who does the community organizing then?

Interestingly, he offered a suggestion when speaking at a small New Jersey campaign event when he was first running for president. Someone asked him what he would do about the Middle East. He answered with a story about the legendary 20th century organizer A Philip Randolph meeting with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Randolph described to FDR the condition of black people in America, the condition of working people. Reportedly, FDR listened intently, then replied: “I agree with everything you have said. Now, make me do it.”

That was the message Obama repeated.

There you have it. Make him do it. You’ve got an invitation from the president himself.

President Obama has asked that we make our voices heard to move his administration and Congress in the right direction. This is our chance. Israel, the biggest long-term recipient of US aid, should not be above the law.

There’s a letter to Obama with almost 50,000 signatures so far and the goal of the sponsors is to collect as many signatures as possible before Inauguration Day and deliver the letter to the president. Sign it HERE.

The Obama Letter:

Dear President Obama,

We are Americans from small towns and big cities, and we are Palestinians and Israelis a world away. We are the women, men, and children who are suffering every single day in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel, and we are the people from across the world who seek to end that suffering. We are mothers of soldiers and children of refuseniks. We are Jews and Muslims, Christians and atheists, and people of the many other traditions of the world.

And we are all united by our determination to see a truly just peace take root in Israel and Palestine. That goal became even more elusive during your first term, but the American voters have just given you a second chance to make history.

Our request is simple.

Fifteen church leaders have bravely spoken out in a letter to Congress–stating a principle that should be obvious: Israel, the biggest long-term recipient of US aid, should not be above the law. Mr. President, please condition US aid to Israel on compliance with US and international law. It must not be used to violate the rights of Palestinians.

Anything less is a danger to Palestinians, to Israelis, to Americans and to the entire world.

Sign it HERE.

Endorsed by over 50 organizations from around the country, sponsors have been overwhelmed by the response. Many endorsers and signatories from around the country will be attending. Show your support by attending the rally/candlelight procession to the White House – along with Radio Rahim and other entertainers soon to be announced.

  Sign the letter to President Obama Now! Help secure 75,000 signatures!


Alliance for Global Justice
American University Students for Justice in Palestine
BDS LA for Justice in Palestine (Los Angelos, CA)
Brooklyn For Peace
Chicago Divests
Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy
Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel
CodePink Arizona
Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism
Committee for Palestinian Rights (Howard County, MD)
Cornell University Students for Justice in Palestine
DC Statehood Green Party
Dorchester People for Peace (Boston)
Episcopal Peace Fellowship Palestine Israel Network
14 Friends of Palestine
Friends of Palestine Wisconsin
Hilton Head for Peace
Interdenominational Advocates for Peace of Ann Arbor, MI
Interfaith Peace-Builders
Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.
Jewish Voice for Peace – American University
Jewish Voice for Peace Bay Area Chapter
Jewish Voice for Peace Boston
Jewish Voice for Peace – DC Metro
Jews Say No! (New York City)
Madison-Rafah Sister City Project (Madison, WI)
Middle East Committee of Women Against Military Madness
Middle East Peace Now
Minnesota Break the Bonds
Palestine Israel Action Group of Ann Arbor Friends Meeting
Pax Christi Hilton Head
Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore
Peace Action Montgomery (Montgomery County, MD)
Sabeel DC Metro
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Boulder, CO Branch)
Unitarian Universalist Church Of Kenya
Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East
United Methodists’ Holy Land Task Force
University of Maryland Students for Justice in Palestine
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
US Palestinian Community Network
Veterans for Peace – Phil Berrigan Memorial Chapter (Baltimore MD),
Washington DC International Socialist Organization
Wisconsin Middle East Lobby Group
Women in Black Union Square

January 19, 2013 March and Rally
No Blank Check For Israel!

The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, January 9, 2013

peace, washington, middle

Saturday, January 19th 2013, 4-6 pm
Washington, DC

Rally at Farragut Square (Conn. Ave., 17th and K Streets, NW) at 4 pm
Followed by Candlelight Procession to the White House

Tell President Obama:

Israel should not be above the law.
Condition US aid to Israel on compliance with US & international law.

Sign the letter to President Obama NOW:


Sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace

Endorsed by: Alliance for Global Justice, American University Students for Justice in Palestine, BDS LA for Justice in Palestine (Los Angelos, CA), Chicago Divests, Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy, CodePink, CodePink Arizona, Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism, Committee for Palestinian Rights (Howard County, MD), Cornell University Students for Justice in Palestine, Episcopal Peace Fellowship Palestine Israel Network, 14 Friends of Palestine, Hilton Head for Peace, Interdenominational Advocates for Peace of Ann Arbor, MI, Interfaith Peace-Builders, Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., Jewish Voice for Peace – American University, Jewish Voice for Peace Bay Area Chapter, Jewish Voice for Peace Boston, Jewish Voice for Peace – DC Metro, Jews Say No! (New York City), Madison-Rafah Sister City Project (Madison, WI), Middle East Committee of Women Against Military Madness, Minnesota Break the Bonds, Palestine Israel Action Group of Ann Arbor Friends Meeting, Pax Christi Hilton Head, Peace Action Montgomery (Montgomery County, MD), Sabeel DC Metro, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Boulder, CO Branch), Unitarian Universalist Church Of Kenya, Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, United Methodists’ Holy Land Task Force, University of Maryland Students for Justice in Palestine, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, US Palestinian Community Network – DC Chapter, Veterans for Peace – Phil Berrigan Memorial Chapter (Baltimore MD), Washington DC International Socialist Organization, Women in Black Union Square

More info here: http://tinyurl.com/NoBlankCheckForIsrael

No Blank Check for Israel Rally video: http://youtu.be/7VV4VKgOmZM

The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, PO Box 53062, Washington DC 20009. Phone: (202) 939-6050, Fax: (202) 265-4574, Toll Free: (800) 368-5788, www.wrmea.org Published by the American Educational Trust, a non-profit foundation incorporated in Washington, DC to provide the American public with balanced and accurate information concerning U.S. relations with Middle Eastern states. Material from the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs may be printed with out charge with attribution to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.