Madison Rafah Journal

A Forum for the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project

April 28, 2013
Susan Abulhawa Talk in Madison

Categories: Event,Madison,Occupied Palestine. Posted by: Administrator on April 2, 2013 at 11:09 pm.

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. (Read on …)

April 1, 2013
WORT Interview about Elias Chacour Play

Categories: Event,Madison,Occupied Palestine,West Bank. Posted by: Administrator on March 30, 2013 at 5:49 pm.

“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, 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. (Read on …)

March 17, 2013
Rachel Corrie Commemorative Benefit Dinner

Categories: Event,Gaza,Madison,Occupied Palestine,Rachel Corrie,Rafah,USA,Water. Posted by: Administrator on February 24, 2013 at 7:05 pm.

RACHEL CORRIEPeace activist Rachel Corrie died while protesting in front of a bulldozer trying to destroy a Palestinian home in Rafah in March 2003. Photograph: Denny Sternstein/AP

The Nile Restaurant
6119 Odana Road, Madison [Map]
Doors open 5:30 pm
Dinner begins 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. 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 will feature a message from Rachel’s parents 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. (Read on …)

February 28, 2013
Film: 5 Broken Cameras

Categories: Event,Madison,Occupied Palestine,Violence,West Bank. Posted by: Administrator on February 23, 2013 at 7:34 pm.

Hummus and a Movie: Screening of “5 Broken Cameras”

Our Savior’s 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 Bil’in, 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, Burnat’s collaboration with Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi follows one family’s 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 it’s an illusion.” (Read on …)

Palestinian non-violent resistance leader speaks in Madison

Categories: Event,Madison,Occupied Palestine,West Bank. Posted by: Administrator on January 26, 2013 at 5:44 pm.

Veena Brekke, December 19, 2012

On Sunday afternoon, Dec. 16   citizens of the Madison area were fortunate to hear a presentation by Iyad Burnat, a Palestinian farmer and leader in non-violent protests currently on a four-month speaking tour of the United States. About 60 people gathered at Memorial United Church of Christ in Fitchburg to view photos and videos and to listen to stories of successful organizing of grassroots non-violent protests against Israeli occupation in a West Bank farming village called Bil’in.
Bil’in has recently become famous as the subject of the award-winning film, “5 Broken Cameras,” by Burnat’s brother Emad Burnat and Israeli director Guy Davidi. 
Since the 1967 war, Israel has illegally occupied and expanded its military presence in the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem in defiance of UN Security Council resolution 242 and many others which demand “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the (1967) conflict.” It has placed nearly 500,000 illegal Israeli Jewish settlers on Palestinian land in direct violation of international law. 

In 2003, Israel began building a hugely controversial “separation wall” primarily on the Palestinian side of the “green line” between the West Bank and Israel proper. Burnat reported that the wall, which is 8 meters high in some places, has taken over half of Bil’in’s farm land.  It was in opposition to this wall that Bil’in citizens began their weekly marches to the fenced area.  Since 2005, Bil’in farmers have been joined by Israeli and International peace activists and protests have spread to about 20 other villages in the West Bank.  

The videos showed creative methods used by from 200 to 4000 demonstrators every Friday and the violent response from Israeli soldiers. Demonstrators repeatedly endured injuries from tear gas rockets, chemical infused water, and rubber-coated metal bullets.  Burnat reported 40 deaths and 1,300 injured among all the villages. He argued that the goal of Israel’s separation wall is not security but the confiscation of Palestinian land for Israeli settlers, the theft of Palestinian water to supply them, and to put more Palestinians in prison. 
In a soft-spoken voice, Burnat explained that the “olive tree is the life of farmers in this area.”  He showed videos of demonstrators chaining themselves to olive trees and of the burning and bulldozing of olive groves, noting sadly that many Palestinian farmers who used to sell olive oil now have to purchase it.  As a result, over 60 percent of Palestinians are unemployed in Bil’in. 
Burnat graphically described the hardship of Palestinian farmers and their families under the Israeli occupation: diminished farm land due to the separation wall, Jewish-only roads and settlements; lack of freedom of movement due to checkpoints and roadblocks; running water limited to one day per week or less; and nighttime curfews and raids that especially terrorize village children.  He observed that the Israeli settlement enterprise has now made it impossible for an Israel-Palestine two-state solution for peace in the region. 

Burnat was asked how the Palestinians can maintain their commitment to non-violent protests in the midst of a very militarized Israeli opposition. Burnat said he finds hope from the solidarity with the other Palestinian villages, the support of the people who join from outside, and his firm belief that they will succeed in ending the occupation.  He cited the success of Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and Mahatma Gandhi in ending oppression. 
Burnat was also asked if he was troubled by the violent means used by others such as rockets shot out of Gaza. Burnat observed that Hamas is always blamed for violence when, in fact, the Israeli government wants to provoke such violence, such as when Israel recently assassinated the Hamas representative who was involved in peace negotiation talks. He asked the audience to remember that Hamas has been in existence for 25 years whereas the violent Israeli occupation of Palestine is 65 years old. He noted that in Bil’in, Israel has even sent “special forces” disguised as Palestinians to throw stones in order to justify the violent response from the Israeli soldiers. 
Burnat holds on to the hope that through non-violent grassroots movements, unity among Palestinians, and pressure from the international community Israel can be forced to end its siege and occupation of Palestine. Burnat also stated that the only chance for permanent peace is through a one-state solution with equal rights for all where “we can all live together.”  He invited people to Bil’in as “all the families will welcome you,” reporting the Palestinians are not against Jewish people, only against the illegal occupation. 
(Read on …)

Next Page »