Please mark your calendars for this year’s Rachel Corrie Commemoration on Tuesday, March 16, being done in cooperation with the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice in Olympia, WA and featuring speakers from both the US and Gaza (thus the noon CT starting time.)
We are looking forward to this online collaboration, especially since last year’s events in both Madison and Olympia fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic. And we are especially excited to again welcome Ahmed Abu Artema, the featured speaker at our 2019 Rachel Corrie event.
We hope you can join us as we mark 18 years since Rachel’s stand in Rafah, and also 18 years since the founding of MRSCP in January 2003. Besides the speakers, the event will also be raising funds to benefit the Gaza Community Mental Health Foundation and incorporating some action in protest of vaccine apartheid in Palestine.
For the first time in years, Egypt has “indefinitely” opened its Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip, the only passage to the outside world for the residents of the coastal enclave that is not controlled by Israel.
The move on Tuesday came as Palestinian factions concluded a two-day meeting in Egypt’s capital in which they agreed to “respect and accept” the results of long-delayed legislative and presidential elections – set for May 22 and July 31, respectively.
The Palestinian embassy in Cairo said Egypt had decided to open the crossing as a result of “intensive and bilateral talks between the Palestinian and Egyptian leaderships to facilitate the passage of Palestinians to and from the Gaza Strip”.
Palestinian sources attending the talks said they had been told by Egyptian intelligence officials that the move was designed to create a better atmosphere at the negotiations.
Reporting from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim said some were linking it to the Cairo summit and suspected it was “a gesture from the Egyptians”.
“Thousands have already been registering their names with the interior ministry in Gaza, hoping they can make their way into Egypt – it’s their only lifeline to the outside world,” Ibrahim said.
As 2020 comes to a close, we are writing to ask for your end-of-year contribution to two great efforts: one for Rafah and the other right here in Dane County.
The economic situation in the Gaza Strip was already terrible due to the Israeli occupation and blockade. Lockdowns, curfews and other measures taken to combat COVID-19, while initially slowing the spread of the virus, ultimately worsened the situation. COVID-19 is rapidly spreading and more than 70% of the population is now reported below the poverty line.
MRSCP is therefore partnering with theMiddle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) to provide some of the poorest families in Rafah with fresh, nutritious food parcels. Each family will receive a food parcel with essentials like rice, beans, and lentils as well as fresh local produce and poultry. We are excited about this project because an estimated 20 small farmers and cooperative members will also benefit from providing the produce and locally-made packaged goods such as jam and maftool.
$40 provides one family with a 2-3 week supply of this food. Priority will be given to poor families that have disabled individuals or those with chronic diseases, and to female-headed households. More information on this project including a video and a description of the food parcel contents and selection criteria can be found at our website.
Josie Shields-Stromsness, Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA)
The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project is joining with MECA, ZamZam Water, PaliRoots, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees to provide food parcels to families in Rafah. As always, MECA strives to support the local economy while providing much needed aid for families. With these food parcels many Palestinian farmers and cooperatives benefit, and the end result is a healthy and local package of eggs, vegetables, beans, lentils, rice, cheese, za’atar and more.
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.
The project aims to provide support for some of the poorest families in the Gaza strip through provision of fresh food items as well as protect the livelihoods of small farmers and women by helping generate income to support their families.
Each family will receive a food parcel with essentials like rice, beans, and lentils as well as fresh local produce and poultry. An estimated 20 small farmers and cooperative members will benefit from providing the produce and locally made packaged goods such as jam and maftool.
GlobalGiving’s World Refugee Week Campaign is starting Monday, June 15th, at 9am Eastern / 6am Pacific time and Palestinian refugees are included in the competition this year. I’m delighted to tell you that our newest project, Mrs. Najah’s Kitchen – Gaza Emergency Meals, is part of this campaign and competing for big bonuses!
Mrs. Najah’s emergency food program is a lifeline to keep the most impacted families in Rafah, Gaza safe and fed during the pandemic with the goal of delivering 200 meals a day, 1400 meals a week.
During World Refugee Week, which starts this Monday, this project can win an extra $5,000 and $10,000 if we get the highest number of unique donors and the most total donations, respectively. Additionally, the first $750 of contributions will be matched dollar-for-dollar by GlobalGiving. You and your donation may be the one that helps this important project win the bonuses!
Mrs. Najah, a refugee herself and the head of Women’s Programs Center-Rafah for over 18 years says,
“Hot meals delivered to homes make all the difference in this time of distress because we connect, safely and directly, with women and families who are sheltering in place under the direst of circumstances. We’re also providing jobs to our all-women chefs assisted by community volunteers at the professional kitchen of the Women’s Programs Center (WPC). Working together, we will ramp-up to reach our goal of delivering 200 meals or more a day.”
This event with Tarek Abuata has been cancelled by coronavirus precautions.
You can still listen to an interview with Tarek from Gaza on WORT 89.9 FM’s A Public Affair with host Esty Dinur on Friday, March 27 from noon to 1 pm. Call in at 256-2001 or listen live on line.
Tarek Abuata grew up in Bethlehem and moved with his family to Texas during the first Intifada when he was 12. After graduating from the University of Texas Law School, he worked in Ramallah researching legal and policy issues. From 2004 to 2007, he trained Palestinian youth in grassroots organizing and activism, and from 2007 to 2016 he was the coordinator of the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron. He has been the Executive Director of FOSNA since 2016. In his work in the U.S., Tarek is most interested in connecting struggles at home and abroad for peace, justice and freedom.
Available for a limited time! Can you help put us over the top?
We are happy to report that we are less than $1,500 away from funding the latest Maia Project clean water filter system for a school in Rafah, Palestine.
This will be the fifth Maia filter provided to Rafah schools through the efforts of MRSCP and other citizens of Madison.
Thanks so much to those who have contributed to this project.
We need to raise the balance of the $16,000 needed to provide clean, safe water for 2,200 students at the the Al-Shuka Preparatory school in Rafah by March 29, the date of the Rachel Corrie Freedom is the Future fundraiser, this year featuring Tarek Abuata of Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA).
For a limited time, we are offering a premium of a 22 oz. Trek II aluminum refillable water bottle with this Maia logo for all donations of at least $60.00.
Donations of $80 or more can also receive a red/black/white & green GAZA logo pin. Get ’em before they are gone!
The bottle premiums will first be available this Saturday, Feb. 29 10 am – 5 pm at our table at the International Festival at Overture Center. You can make your donation in person and walk away with your premiums in hand!
If you can’t stop by, you can send a check payable to MRSCP marked “water” to:
P.O. Box 5214
Madison, WI 53705
Please indicate if you would like the premium(s). They can be picked up at the Rachel Corrie event on March 29, where donations will also be accepted. If you can’t make it there, we will make alternate arrangements … be sure to include a phone number where we can call you.
Youth of Sumud, a group of Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills, believes and is committed to a peaceful, popular resistance as a strategic choice to end the Israeli occupation.
Tom Hurndall (27 November 1981 – 13 January 2004) was a British photography student, a volunteer for the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), and an activist against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. On 11 April 2003 he was shot in the head in Rafah, Gaza by an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) sniper, Taysir Hayb. Hurndall was left in a coma and died nine months later.
Hayb was convicted of manslaughter and obstruction of justice by an Israeli military court in April 2005 and sentenced to eight years in prison. On 10 April 2006 a British inquest jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing. Hurndall’s father told reporters that there had been a “general policy” to shoot civilians in the area without fear of reprisals, as stated by Hayb. Hayb had earlier told a military tribunal that the Israeli army “fires freely in Rafah.” (Wikipedia)
Why did the UK and US not react firmly against Israel for the killing of Hurndall and Corrie the way Italy did with Egypt for the death of Regeni?
A foreign peace activist (C) joins Palestinian protesters for a demonstration marking the anniversary of the death of US peace activist Rachel Corrie (poster), who was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer in 2003, at a refugee camp in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on 16 March 2013. (AFP)
The world was shocked at the discovery of the body of Italian PhD student Giulio Regeni in a ditch in Cairo on 9 February. His body showed signs of horrific torture which made it difficult even for his relatives to confirm his identity. The 28-year-old Cambridge University student had been kidnapped 10 days earlier while researching labour unrest and independent trade unions in Egypt.
Ironically, he went missing on 25 January, the fifth anniversary of the start of Egypt’s revolution. Egypt’s initial theories for the cause of his death ranged from being a casualty in a road traffic accident to being murdered by a criminal gang and even to being killed in a lover’s argument.
The reaction of Italy was firm and robust. The Italian interior minister, Angelino Alfano who claimed that Regeni had been subjected to “inhuman, animal-like violence” announced that while Egypt appeared to be cooperating with a team of Italian investigators dispatched to Cairo, Italy wanted justice for Regeni. “We will not settle for alleged truths,” he said. “We want those really responsible identified and punished on the basis of law.” Rejecting suspicions of Egyptian security forces involvement in Regeni’s death, the Egyptian interior minister, Magdy Abdel Ghaffar, called them “completely unacceptable”.
Not satisfied with Egypt’s response the Italian government recalled its ambassador on 8 April for “an urgent evaluation” of what steps to take to “ascertain the truth about the barbaric murder of Giulio Regeni”. In diplomatic norms, recalling an ambassador is a significant step in expressing displeasure at the behaviour of the host nation, in this case Egypt. States use this very sparingly as it can sometimes take months if not years for relations to return to normality, possibly impacting on other aspects of the relationship including trade cooperation. On this occasion Italy saw this move as an appropriate response.
Coverage of Regeni’s death rightly filled many column inches around the world with writers contrasting the significant coverage of his death with that of thousands of Egyptians who lost their lives since the start of the revolution five years ago.
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.