June 15 – 21, 2020
Fundraising for Mrs. Najah’s Kitchen & Gaza Emergency Meals

Rebuilding Alliance

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.

Just $10 can feed a family of 5. Will you help?

PLEASE DONATE

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.”

Thank you for your help, and for all that you are doing in this important time.

Sincerely,
Donna Baranski-Walker
Founder and Executive Director, Rebuilding Alliance

Cancelled March 29, 2020 Tribute to Rachel Corrie: Freedom is the Future

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.

Co-Sponsors: Madison-Rafah Sister City Project; FOSNA; First United Methodist; Playgrounds for Palestine-Madison; Jewish Voice for Peace-Madison; UW Madison Students for Justice in Palestine; The Crossing; Bright Stars of Bethlehem-Madison Chapter; WI United Church of Christ Bethlehem Partnership; Interfaith Peace Working Group; Pax Christi Madison; First Unitarian Society Social Justice Ministry; Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ Mission Team; American Friends Service Committee of Madison Friends Meeting; and James Reeb UUC Justice Leadership Team. Welcomed by WORT Radio.

New Rafah School Water Filter Donation Premium

Available for a limited time! Can you help put us over the top?

Dear Friends,

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:

    MRSCP
    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.

If you don’t want a premium you can also donate online at MECA.

Another option is to purchase some Holy Land Olive Oil from MRSCP; $3 of every bottle sold will go toward the Maia Project. The new shipment has two sizes: 750 ml for $25, and 500 ml for $20. Six-packs are also available at a discount. If interested in buying oil, please come to our events or email veena.brekke at gmail.com.

As always, many thanks for your help in providing clean, safe water to kids in Gaza. We couldn’t do it without you.

Sincerely,
Barb O.
Coordinator, MRSCP

All contributions are tax deductible; if you donate online, Middle East Children’s Alliance, the Maia Project sponsor, will send you a receipt; if you send a check, MRSCP will send you one in January 2021.

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Youth of Sumud Remembers Tom Hurndall

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)

Regeni murder: If only Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall had been Italian

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)

Kamel Hawwash, Middle East Eye, 21 April 2016

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.

The media also tends to give significant coverage to the death of peace or human rights activists around the world including when this happens in Israel. However, if one compares the action of Italy as a state to the killing of one of its citizens in Egypt to the lack of action by the UK and the US to the killing of their citizens by Israeli forces while protecting Palestinians from Israeli violence one finds a marked difference.

Corrie and Hurndall: A muted response

Take the case of Rachel Corrie, an American citizen from Olympia Washington who decided to spend her senior year at college in Rafah, Gaza to connect it to her home town through a sister cities project. She did not live to see this through as she was run down and killed by an Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) Caterpillar bulldozer as she tried to dissuade the driver from demolishing the home of a local Palestinian pharmacist. Her killing on 16 March, 2003, did not draw a sharp response form the US government.

While US Representative Brian Bard introduced a resolution in the US Congress calling on the US government to “undertake a full, fair, and expeditious investigation” into Corrie’s death, the House of Representatives took no action on the resolution. It was left to Israeli military and legal processes to rule on the reasons for Rachel Corrie’s death.

The Israeli army’s investigation absolved the driver of any deliberate wrongdoing, claiming he could not see Corrie from his cab due to limited visibility. The investigation was criticised by a number of international and Israeli human rights organisations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem. It took until 2012 for US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro to say that the Israeli investigation “was not satisfactory, and was not as thorough, credible or transparent as it should have been”.

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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:

  1. Contribute online through MECA. A small service fee is taken from the donation.
  2. Mail a check to MRSCP with the note “water” to:
      MRSCP
      P.O. Box 5214
      Madison, WI 53705

    100 percent of the donation goes to the project.

  3. Purchase Holy Land Olive Oil from MRSCP. $3 of every bottle sold goes to the project. The oil comes in two sizes: 750 ml for $25 and 500 ml for $20. Six-packs are also available at a discount. Contact veena.brekke at gmail.com.

As always, many thanks for your help in providing clean, safe water to kids in Gaza. All contributions are tax deductible, and MRSCP or MECA will send you a receipt.

On the 69th Great March of Return

66 Civilians Injured by Israeli Forces: 28 Children, 2 Journalists, and 4 Women, Including a Paramedic

Palestinian Center for Human Rights – Gaza, August 2, 2019

On the 69th Great March of Return, 66 Palestinian civilians were injured due to the Israeli military’s continued use of excessive force against peaceful protests along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border. At least 28 children, 4 women and a paramedic were among those injured this Friday, 02 August 2019. Twenty-seven civilians were shot with live bullets and 2 children were deemed in a critical medical condition.

While this week’s protests saw a decline in the number of civilian injuries, PCHR fieldworkers documented many cases of live bullets targeting civilians’ upper bodies. Despite the absence of a real threat to Israeli soldiers’ lives; the occupation forces continued the systematic use of excessive force against protestors.

For the first time since the Great March of Return started in March 2018, there were no injuries reported in eastern Gaza City. The deployment of Palestinian security forces in official apparel along “Jakar” street, who denied civilians from approaching the border fence, contributed to the decline in injuries.

Today’s protest, which lasted from 16:00 to 19:00, was titled “Solidarity with Crimes against Wadi al-Humus,” and involved activities such as speeches by political leaders and theatrical performances. Dozens of civilians protested at varied distances from the border fence across the Gaza Strip.

To this date, PCHR documented 208 killings by Israel since the outbreak of the protests on 30 March 2018, including 44 children, 2 women, 9 persons with disabilities, 4 paramedics, and 2 journalists. Additionally, 13,391 were wounded, including 2,775 children, 413 women, 222 paramedics and 209 journalists, noting that many had sustained multiple wounds on multiple occasions.  Among those wounded, PCHR documented cases where 196 persons have become with disabilities, including 28 children and 5 women, and were as follows: 149 amputees; 21 paralyzed, 26 blind or deaf and 9 sexually disabled.

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July 24-25, 2019
Gaza Freedom Flotilla Comes to Madison!

Photos: Jim Maas/FUS Social Justice Ministry, Tsela Barr/MRSCP, and Kit Kittredge/NA Boat to Gaza Campaign

Since 2008, the Freedom Flotilla movement has sent 35 ships attempting to break Israel’s illegal, US-backed military blockade that has devastated Gaza and denied 2 million people — half of them children — access to food, clean water, fuel, medicine, employment, and basic human dignity for 13 years.

On Wednesday and Thursday, July 24 and 25, the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project (MRSCP) welcomes the Gaza Freedom Flotilla’s North American Boat to Gaza campaign with two days of activities.

Wednesday, July 24: Gaza Freedom Flotilla on Lake Mendota!

On Wednesday evening a pontoon on Lake Mendota at the Union Terrace and The Edgewater will give visibility to the crisis in Gaza. We will also be leafleting the crowd on shore. (Anyone interested in helping with this should email rafahsistercity at yahoo.com)

Thursday, July 25: Dessert and a Conversation

Former flotilla participants Kathy Kelly (Voices for Creative Non-Violence) and Kit Kittredge (NA Boat to Gaza Campaign) will talk about Gaza, the importance of the flotilla, and plans for the next international sailing in 2020 — James Reeb Unitarian Congregation, 2146 E. Johnson Street, Madison at 7 pm.

This free event will feature a display of Gaza children’s artwork as well as refreshments & dessert including baklawa. Donations to benefit the Flotilla and a new Maia Project clean water system for kids in Rafah will be appreciated.

For more information, contact MRSCP at rafahsistercity at yahoo.com, and follow madisonrafah.org or the Facebook event.

Welcomed by WORT RADIO. Kit Kittredge and Kathy Kelly, fresh from the Freedom Flotilla’s activities in Chicago, will be interviewed live on WORT’s A Public Affair by host Allen Ruff from noon-1 pm on Thursday, July 25. Kathy Kelly will also be a guest on The Morning Buzz with Jan Miyasaki between 8 and 8:30 am on Wednesday, July 24. Tune in at 89.9 FM or listen live online.

If you can’t attend but would like to support either the Flotilla or the Maia Project, you can still donate:

Flotilla
Make a donation online, or send a check payable to Nonviolence International with the memo “2020 US Boat to Gaza” to:

    Nonviolence International
    4000 Albermarle Street, NW, Suite 401
    Washington D.C. 20016

Maia Project
Online donations here, or save the online fee and send a check payable to MRSCP with the memo “water” to:

    MRSCP
    P.O. Box 5214
    Madison, WI 53705

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Maia Project Update

Latest Maia Water Filters in Rafah (28 Feb 2019)
from Josie Shields-Stromsness, Middle East Children’s Alliance

  • Drinking Clean Water
  • Drinking Clean Water
  • School Yard
  • School Yard
  • Tank & Filter Unit Delivery
  • Tank and Filter Unit Delivery
  • Units Ready for Transport
  • Filter Unit Fabrication
  • Filter Unit Fabrication
  • Control Panel
  • Control Panel
  • Water Storage Tank
  • Filter Unit Housing

maia bro for online


Contribute online at MECAforPeace.org/Madison

For more information, contact
• Congregation Shaarei Shamayim: Shamayim.org
• First Unitarian Society/Madison: FUSMadison.org
• Jewish Voice for Peace/Madison: Facebook.com/JVPMadison

March 3, 2019
Hashtag to Headlines: How the Gaza Great March of Return Challenged the World


 

Join us for the 2019 tribute to Rachel Corrie
with Ahmed Abu Artema
Writer, refugee and peace activist from Rafah

 

First Unitarian Society
900 University Bay Drive
Madison
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Ahmed Abu Artema wrote a Facebook post on January 7, 2018 from his home in Rafah, Gaza that echoed an idea that has reverberated throughout Palestinian history: What would happen if Palestinians marched nonviolently and in large numbers towards the boundary fence with Israel to demand respect for their rights and call attention to the Israeli-imposed blockade that has created hardship for millions of people for more than a decade?

On March 30, 2018, the #GreatMarchofReturn became a reality, grabbing headlines around the world. Ahmed Abu Artema will share his experience with the Great March of Return, his views on the future of nonviolent actions in Palestine, and his vision for a just and lasting peace. He will be joined by fellow Gaza native Jehad Abusalim, Chicago-based scholar and program associate for the American Friends Service Committee’s Gaza Unlocked campaign.

Free and open to the public. Refreshments and desserts including baklawa will be served. Palestinian olive oil, olive oil soap, crafts, and food items will be for sale. Please join us as we honor Rachel Corrie and welcome Ahmed Abu Artema to Madison.

    Sponsors: American Friends Service Committee, First Unitarian Social Justice Ministry, and Madison-Rafah Sister City Project.

    Co-sponsors: American Friends Service Committee-Madison; Amnesty International Group 139; Bright Stars of Bethlehem-Madison; Colombia Support Network; East Timor Action Network-Madison; Interfaith Peace Working Group; James Reeb Peace, Justice and Sustainability Group; Jewish Voice for Peace-Madison; Madison Friends Meeting (Quakers); Pax Christi-Madison; Playgrounds for Palestine-Madison; UNA-USA Dane County; Wisconsin Network for Peace, Justice and Sustainability: and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom-Madison.

Ahmed Abu Artema is a 34-year-old Palestinian journalist, poet and peace activist. He is the author of the book “Organized Chaos” and his writings have been published in the New York Times, 972 Magazine, The Nation, Common Dreams and Mondoweiss. One of the founders of the Great March of Return, he has been interviewed by NPR, Middle East Eye, Al Jazeera, and CNN. His family was forced from Al Ramla village in Palestine in 1948 and he was born and grew up as a refugee in Rafah Camp in the Gaza strip, unable to even visit his ancestral home in what is now Israel. He lives in Gaza with his wife and four children. He is on a speaking tour of the U.S. during March 2019 at the invitation of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).