Sister Cities

Invest in Justice by Building Genuine Connections

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Image via Sacramento to Bethlehem

Cities for Palestine by the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights

WHAT’S THE CAMPAIGN ABOUT?

Invest in justice by building genuine connections between US and Palestinian cities, towns, villages, or refugee camps through a sister city relationship. Sister Cities promote ties between community members in both places to learn about each other’s lives and work together on projects to support one another.

Sister Cities have transformed US city officials’ and other residents’ understanding of what is happening in Palestine through personal and official connections with Palestinians living under Israeli apartheid. Sister Cities also open the door to delegations to Palestine, including by city officials.

Current official and unofficial sister cities between the US and Palestine include:  Continue reading

THE ANSWER IS PALESTINE

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CODEPINK, 1/13/20

On Friday, January 11, 2020, on the Beloved game show Jeopardy, Katie Needle of Brooklyn, N.Y. correctly answered the clue “Built in the 300s A.D., the Church of the Nativity” by responding What is Palestine?” But host Alex Trebek responded “nope” and told Jack McGuire, who answered, “What is Israel?” that he was correct — he was not!.

Take action now: tell Alex Trebek and Jeopardy that the Church of the Nativity, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, is in Palestine, not Israel! 


Dear Alex Trebek and Jeopardy,

On Friday, January 11, 2020, answering the clue “Built in the 300s A.D., the Church of the Nativity,” Katie Needle replied CORRECTLYwhat is Palestine?.” But you falsely told McGuire, who followed up with the INCORRECT answer “what is Israel?” that he was right — he was not!

The Church of the Nativity, located in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, is not located in Israel, but in Occupied Palestinian Territories (oPt). Palestine is a member of the United Nations. The United Nations and the US State Department list the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem as being located in Palestine. International law and world consensus are clear that Bethlehem and the rest of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem are Palestine, not Israel. Israel’s occupation and annexations of these lands are entirely illegal.

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To Prison, Again, for Protesting Against Israel’s Colonial Rule

Israeli activist Jonathan Pollack pens a powerful Op-Ed in Haaretz on his arrest, putting into context his act of solidarity with Palestinians who face altogether different circumstances than his own.

The Ofer military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, October 2, 2009.
The Ofer military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, October 2, 2009. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Jonathan Pollak, Haaretz, Jan 07, 2020

I am currently detained in an Israeli jail, the result of refusing to attend or cooperate with criminal charges laid against me and two others for joining Palestinian protests in the West Bank against Israel’s colonial rule. Because I am an Israeli citizen, the proceedings in the case are held in an Israeli court in Jerusalem and not at the military court, where Palestinians are tried.

>> Police arrest left-wing activist Jonathan Pollak in Haaretz building

It has been almost nine years since the last time I was incarcerated for more than a day or two. Much has changed since. Politically, reality does not even resemble that of a decade ago, and none of the changes were for the better.

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The U.N. once predicted Gaza would be ‘uninhabitable’ by 2020. Two million people still live there.

The shoreline in Gaza City during strong winds on Christmas Day.   (Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images )
The shoreline in Gaza City during strong winds on Christmas Day (Mohammed Abed-AFP-Getty Images)

Hazem Balousha and Miriam Berger, The Washington Post, January 1, 2020

GAZA CITY — Jana Tawil was born in 2012, the same year that the United Nations released an alarm-raising report on the state of the Gaza Strip: If the prevailing economic, environmental and political trends continued, the organization warned, the besieged coastal enclave sandwiched between Israel and Egypt would become unlivable by 2020.

The United Nations revised its initial rating in 2017 to warn that “de-development” was happening even faster than it first predicted.

Jana’s father, 35-year-old Mahmoud Tawil, never thought much of that assessment.

“When the U.N. report [said] that Gaza would be unlivable, I felt that Gaza was not fit for life in the same year, not in the year 2020,” he said.

That is the bleak reality facing Gaza’s 2 million Palestinian residents as they approach a new year and new decade: still stuck living in a place the world has already deemed uninhabitable in perhaps the most surreal of 2020 predictions.

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Final 2019 Appeal — Clean Water for Kids


Best Photos of 2019 from MECA

We are now more than halfway to providing another water filter system to a school in Rafah, Palestine.

If you have contributed to this project, thank you.

If you have not yet contributed, please consider an end-of-year donation to help us raise the balance of the $16,000 needed to provide clean, safe water for 2,200 students at the the Al-Shuka Preparatory School.

This is the fifth Maia water filter project funded by MRSCP and other citizens of Madison.

At least 95 percent of the groundwater in Gaza is unfit for drinking, cooking, washing, or bathing. Read about the causes and consequences of the Gaza water crisis.

You can donate in three ways:

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BDS impact in 2019

Mahmoud Nawajaa, BDSMovement.net

The anti-Palestinian Trump Administration and Boris Johnson government are more than ever directly engaged in Israel’s desperate war of repression on advocacy for Palestinian rights and the BDS movement in particular. Thanks to your support, our BDS movement for freedom, justice and equality continued to grow in scale and impact in 2019.

Here are just a few highlights of BDS impact in 2019:

    South Africa, whose citizens brought apartheid to an end through protests and boycotts, officially downgraded its relations with Israel.

    Leading European trade unions – the European Federation of Public Services Unions, representing eight million people, and the UK’s Trades Union Congress, representing six million people – called for suspending the EU-Israel free trade agreement or ending arms sales to Israel.

    Major international companies – Australia’s Macquarie, Canada’s Bombardier, France’s Alstom, and Germany’s Siemens – withdrew from bidding to build Israel’s illegal settlement railway on stolen Palestinian land in occupied East Jerusalem.

    Support grew among US progressives and liberals for BDS and the right to boycott. Polls show 44% of Democratic voters supporting BDS. 80% of Democrats oppose laws penalizing people boycotting Israel, and 72% of all Americans oppose such laws. Democratic lawmakers introduced a historic House resolution affirming the right to boycott, and the Democratic Socialists of America committed to national BDS organizing.

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Why We Sail, Sail, and Sail Again: Freedom Flotilla 2020

Canadian Boat to Gaza, December 20, 2019

Freedom Flotilla sailors and participants are sometimes asked: Why do you keep sailing toward Gaza only to be captured? Why not give the funds you raise directly to the Palestinians of Gaza as aid? Our rationale for sailing and our experiences in 2018 provide some answers. Our Palestinian partners in Gaza are asking us to challenge the illegal blockade. In May 2018 the Norwegian fishing trawler Al Awda (The Return) and the Swedish sailing ship Freedom sailed from Scandinavia. Over two months, we called on ports in Denmark, Germany, Holland, England, France, Spain, Portugal and Italy spreading the message of freedom for Palestinians. Israel has extended its reach, pressuring governments in Cyprus,Turkey, and Greece to prevent our ships sailing from their ports.

Canadians Karen DeVito and John Turnbull joined the sailing ship Freedom in Denmark and crewed her from Copenhagen to Palermo where John then captained the ship on the final leg toward Gaza. Other Canadians, including Heather Milton-Lightening, Ron Rousseau, Majed Khraishi, Kathy Wazana, and Larry Commodore of the Stó:lo Nation, were on board Al Awda at different points in her voyage, and Canadian journalist Dimitri Lascaris reported for The Real News Network from Flotilla boats and from several ports.

The arrival of the ships at each European port occasioned special events, marches, music, speaking opportunities, as well as visits with municipal and provincial politicians. In some places cities and regions had passed motions to support the Flotilla and recognize Palestine. In Amsterdam, activists organized a small-boat Flotilla through the canals with music, banners and flags. Supporters followed along the canals and bridges handing out hundreds of flyers. Brighton, England gave a rousing welcome on the pier, held an information event in a local park, and a packed house speaking event in the town. Gijón, Spain held a march through the city with about 800 people with music, dancing, singing and a Palestinian flag that required 40 people to parade it through the streets. The City Council of Cádiz, Spain voted the Flotilla “Illustrious Visitor.” Two smaller Swedish sailboats crossed Netherland, Belgium and France by river and canal, catching public interest when authorities prevented them from mooring in Paris, and visited a number of other waterside communities.

Energizing local solidarity groups, providing outreach and diplomacy are all aspects of the Flotilla’s work. The voyage around Europe is so valuable in these respects. We also discovered that refugees would visit our ships at each port. The mayors of three Italian ports met our ships at the piers and declared refugees welcome to their cities, regardless of their then-Prime Minister’s negative attitude. Our crew met with local and provincial politicians, ambassadors– they attended regional parliamentary sessions, municipal meetings and gave presentations to the public as well as tours of the boats. All these activities are part of why we sail.

Palestinians in Gaza are now more than ever connected with the rest of the world by the internet. They know when the Freedom Flotilla is coming; they go to the seashore and wait. We are answering a civil society call when we sail–when we ask our partner organizations in Gaza if they would prefer a donations over a Flotilla, they always respond saying we should to sail and raise international awareness about the blockade. They prefer we expand awareness of the longest running occupation in modern history. They also tell us that our sailing gives Palestinians hope and the knowledge that they are not alone.

The Flotilla movement has launched successful legal challenges to Israel for improper confiscation of our ships. One recent court victory by Ship to Gaza Sweden provided the funds for purchase of the Freedom and two smaller sailboats that travelled through France to the Mediterranean. And so Captain John, when interrogated on the way to an Israeli prison, was pleased to answer this question: “Did a terrorist organization provide your funding?” with a solid “Yes”. Then to “Which one?” , John replied: “The Israeli government.”

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Israel Social TV

Israel Social TV is an independent media organization working to promote social change, human rights and equality.

“We use the unique power of visual documentation, where intellectual arguments alone might fail to change the hearts and minds of people, promoting human rights and bringing about social change in Israel.”


Hiba al-Labadi, a Palestinian with Jordanian citizenship, was detained in August 2019. No charges have been lodged against her and she is in administrative detention.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s Statement on House Resolution 326

US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, December 6, 2019



Today Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib took a principled stand against H. Res. 326, a resolution that will only help perpetuate the unjust status quo in Palestine/Israel and provide cover for Israel’s ongoing violations of Palestinian rights.

Share these social media links widely: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Thank Rep. Tlaib for consistently speaking out for Palestinian rights! We agree that bolder action is needed, and that a progressive US policy on Palestine/Israel should align with the values of justice and freedom for all. She was joined by Reps. Omar, Pressley, and Ocasio-Cortez in voting no, and Reps. McCollum and Garcia voting ‘present’ as a small way to choose the side of justice.

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Human Rights Activist to be Deported by Israel

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, November 25, 2019

Washington, D.C. | November 24, 2019 | adc.org — The targeting of human rights and peace activists by Israel continues to reflect the fact that it is indeed an apartheid state with complete disregard for international and human rights. Recently Israel has ramped up their denial of entry of peace activists and continues to move to deport human rights advocates. Within the next few hours Mr. Omar Shakir of Human Rights Watch (HRW) is scheduled to be deported despite outcry from the international community. The deportation of Mr. Shakir, and other peace activists, signifies that the apartheid state of Israel will do everything it can to prevent the truth from being shown to the world.

Mr. Shakir serves as HRW’s Israel & Palestine Director – he is being removed by Israel for peaceful, human rights advocacy focusing on ending the illegal occupation and illegal settlements. ADC joins a global chorus of voices calling against the deportation of Mr. Shakir and other human rights activists. The work of human rights activists across the world is important to shedding the truth on many of the atrocities we see across the globe. By silencing these voices governments are shielding themselves from international law and continue to oppress millions.

In addition to the deportation, ADC continues to hear from Americans who are denied entry by Israeli authorities into Palestine via the unilaterally controlled international border crossings. The systemic denial of entry leads to a separation of families, extreme hardship, and loss of business or educational opportunities. The denial of entry also serves a clearer objective, just as the deportation of activists like Mr. Shakir – it prevents the international community from witnessing and reporting first-hand about the apartheid policies undertaken by Israel.

Mr. Shakir, along with the thousands of others who have been deported or denied entry, pose a threat to Israel because they will report the truth, and Israel is threatened by the truth. Despite being met with worldwide condemnation, Israel continues its occupation of Palestine, and has shown a complete disregard of international law. The deportation of Mr. Shakir signals that the apartheid state is doubling down on its oppressive policies and will do everything it can to stop the truth from being told.

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