Maia Project Update

For Over 11 Years



The new unit providing clean water to the kids in Shuka, Rafah (MECA, 12/29/21)

Help us give the gift of Clean Water to the Children of Rafah

There is a water crisis in Palestine that affects the health of virtually every adult and child. In the Gaza Strip poor sanitation and over-extraction have polluted the limited water supply. Israeli military attacks and the blockade have prevented repairs to water infrastructure. Water to Gaza is restricted and often too expensive for families to purchase from a safe source.

MAIA is Arabic for water, and the MAIA Project began when children at a UN school in Gaza picked clean drinking water as the one thing they wanted most for their school.

That’s why the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project joined with the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) in 2010 to provide water filters to schools in Rafah. You can help today!

For a limited time we are offering a 22-oz. Trek II aluminum refillable water bottle with this Maia logo for all donations of at least $60.

Donations of $80 or more can also receive a GAZA logo pin. If you want the water bottle and/or pin, please mail a check and send us a phone number or email address with your request; we will contact you to arrange delivery.

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December 12, 2021
Online Film: To Treat Kids Like Me in Gaza

Screening & discussion
Sun, Dec 12, 2021, 1:00 PM CST

With severe medicine shortages and an overstretched health care system in Gaza, children in need of medical treatments can only find them outside the strip. Yet Israel’s convoluted, arbitrary permit process leaves them waiting in pain, often missing life-saving care. To Treat Kids Like Me (produced by Donkeysaddle Projects and +972 Magazine) follows the family of Mohamed Saleh and several other children in the Gaza Strip as they navigate the often Kafkaesqe process of getting permission from the Israeli army to leave the besieged strip for medical treatments that are unavailable there.

The 5th offering in DSP’s Freedom Film Series will be followed by a discussion with filmmaker Jen Marlowe and special guests:

  • Ghada Majadli: Director of the Physicians for Human Rights-Israel department for Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT); featured in To Treat Kids Like Me.
  • Mohamed Lafi: Public health professional working for the World Health Organization in the OPT, with a focus on access to health care for patients who need to seek care outside the OPT.
  • Fadi Abu Shammalah: Manager of Donkeysaddle’s Palestine Grassroots Distribution Project; has been DSP’s on-the-ground support for Mohamad Salah (who is featured in To Treat Kids Like Me)
  • Miranda Cleland: Communications Manager for Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP). DCIP documents cases like Mohamed’s where Israeli forces kill or injure Palestinian children.
  • Tickets by donation. 50% of ticket proceeds go to Palestine Grassroots Distribution Project, including Mohamad Salah’s medical care.

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    SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN RETRACTED PRO-PALESTINE ARTICLE WITHOUT ANY FACTUAL ERRORS


    A Palestinian child, wounded by Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip, receives treatment at Al-Shifa Hospital on May 19, 2021 in Gaza City, Gaza. Fatima Shbair/Getty Images

    Murtaza Hussain, The Intercept, July 1 2021

    After right-wing outrage, the esteemed journal removed an opinion piece expressing solidarity with Palestinians under Israeli bombardment.

    Sabreen Akhter felt an urge to help in whatever way she could. Like many people around the world this May, Akhter was following news of war in the Gaza Strip, where Israeli bombardment was exacerbating a humanitarian crisis in the territory. Scanning her social media feed, Akhter, a doctor from Chicago, made contact with a few other health care professionals across the United States who had also been posting news online about the crisis.

    Akhter set up a call to discuss what they could do, on behalf of their profession, for Palestinians. They settled on the idea of writing an article together as a group of medical workers concerned about the medical situation in Gaza and pitching it to Scientific American, where Akhter had published in the opinion section in the past.

    “We didn’t know each other previously but had all been watching all of this violence and devastation happening in Palestine and were feeling helpless about it,” said Akhter. “I remembered that there had been an article published in The Lancet in 2014 about health care workers speaking up for Palestine. I thought it was really powerful at the time and remembered that a lot of people in the health care field had responded to it when it was published.”

    On June 2, following an extensive editing and fact-checking process with the publication, the article ran in Scientific American under the headline “As Health Care Workers, We Stand in Solidarity with Palestine.”

    Less than two weeks later, on June 11, the article was removed from Scientific American’s website without warning. A short editor’s note appeared in its place. “This article fell outside the scope of Scientific American and has been removed,” the note said. That same day, an editor from the publication emailed Akhter and the others, informing them of the retraction and apologizing for any “confusion” caused by the initial decision to publish the article.

    “We were shocked, completely shocked. We all got on a call together and talked about it,” Akhter said. “We sent an email back to the editor later stating that we were disappointed and asking to clarify what they meant that the article had fallen ‘outside the scope,’ but we never got a response.”

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    How a West Bank Trip Turned This Congressman Into One of Israel’s Strongest Critics

    Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan tells Haaretz why he welcomes a new Israeli government, even one led by a right-winger like Naftali Bennett who has renounced the two-state solution


    Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan. Andy Manis / AP

    Ben Samuels, Haaretz, Jun. 7, 2021

    WASHINGTON – How does a lawmaker go from surface-level familiarity with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to being one of the most vocal proponents of Palestinian rights in the history of Congress?

    It starts with Humpty Dumpty.

    July 1 & 14, 2021
    VIRTUAL DELEGATIONS TO RAFAH REFUGEE CAMP

    Eyewitness Palestine

    Join us for a Virtual Delegation to the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip with We Are Not Numbers, Palestinian youth telling the human stories behind the numbers in the news. The camp was established in 1949 and is now home to more than 125,304 refugees according to United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Join us to walk around the camp and understand more of its particular challenges.

    More Information Coming Soon!

    Update: Fresh Food for Families in Rafah

    Josie Shields-Stromsness, Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA)

    Update for Madison Rafah Sister City Project

    BACKGROUND
    The economic situation in the Gaza Strip is deteriorating dramatically as a result of the continuation of the Israeli occupation and the Israeli blockade. The precautions taken to limit the spread of coronavirus including imposing of lockdowns and curfews have worsened the dire situation. As a result, more than 70% of the population are reported below the poverty line and food insecurity and malnutrition pose serious risks to the health of hundreds of thousands of people, particularly children.

    ACCOMPLISHMENTS
    With donations from MRSCP, MECA and our local partner in Gaza, the Never Stop Dreaming Association, were able to provide nutritious food parcels to families in need in Rafah while also supporting local farmers and businesses.

    We received additional funding from several individuals and organizations in the United States for this project and in total were able to provide 1413 families in Rafah, Khan Younis and the middle region of the Gaza Strip with food parcels. Families were nominated by community organizations in each location and then checked against official lists to ensure we are reaching people most in need. MRSCPs donations of $4655 provide food parcels to 116 families in Rafah governate in the southern Gaza Strip, the transportation, warehouse rental, and meals for volunteers were covered by other funding sources.

    The contents of the food parcels were purchased from 4 farms employing 24 individuals and 3 small grocery stores. This project therefore provided critical income to 27 families in Gaza.

    Each food parcel contained fresh vegetables, chickens, and other household staples designed to provide each family with the necessary items to make healthy, balanced meals for two weeks. MECA staff member Wafaa El-Derawi is a trained nutritionist and oversaw the contents of the parcels.

    CHALLENGES
    We faced some challenges with the COVID-19 restrictions in Gaza. We overcame this by having several distribution points, providing all staff and volunteers with masks and gloves, and by organizing pick up times well so there was not overcrowding at the warehouses.

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    Dr. Fauci, Please use your Israeli prize money to buy vaccines for Palestine

    JEWISH VOICE FOR PEACE HEALTH ADVISORY COUNCIL, Mondoweiss, MARCH 1, 2021

    February 28, 2021

    Dear Dr. Fauci,

    We are writing to you as “fans” of your work. As health professionals, we so often found ourselves appreciative and relieved by your calm steady voice during the Trumpian chaos, bravely, stubbornly standing up for science and public health, truly a monumental task. Thank you. Thank you.

    We understand that you stay above the fray by refusing to engage in bruising political fights. Ironically, public health, by nature, lives at that intersection between health care and politics. Just think of your involvement in HIV/AIDS research and treatment.

    You have said, for this pandemic to be defeated, everyone must be vaccinated, that is the nature of conquering a highly infectious disease. Yet we are faced with massive global inequities, countries – particularly in the global south – where there is no vaccine at all, while first world countries scoop up the vaccine supply as their disadvantaged populations and people of color struggle for access. Addressing this issue is going to take incredible political and moral will.

    In that vein, we want to congratulate you on winning the Israeli Dan David Prize for “Speaking Truth to Power” amid the pandemic. As you are likely aware, Israel is being lauded for an amazing vaccination program (despite a lack of attention to its Palestinian citizens and the resistance of the ultra-Orthodox). However, Israel’s refusal to take responsibility for the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation is highly problematic. That policy is illegal according to international law, immoral, and ill advised. Tens of thousands of West Bank Palestinians work in Israel, in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, or are imprisoned in Israeli jails. Living amongst a largely unvaccinated population puts Israelis at risk for the current virus and developing variants.

    Even U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reminded the Israeli government of its obligation to the Palestinians. Blinken spoke with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and asked that Israel help in delivering coronavirus vaccines from abroad to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

    The ultimate solution to the issue of vaccine inequity for Palestinians is for Israel to uphold its responsibility under international law and provide vaccine to the Palestinians under occupation. However, we would like to suggest that you could send a powerful message and improve public health for many thousands of people if you donated some portion of your one million dollars in prize money and used that to buy vaccines for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. Not only would that be a step towards resolving vaccine inequity, but it would be a powerful message about the value and dignity of every human life. It would also be a strong message saying that health care needs to be above politics, and that it is just plain wrong to allow politics to be a divider, where some lives are valued and protected and others ignored.

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