The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project

“When there are no [other] IDF forces [in the area] … the shooting is very unrestricted, like crazy. And not just small arms: machine guns, tanks, and mortars.” ‘I’m bored, so I shoot’: The Israeli army’s free-for-all violence in Gaza

  • Stop the Massacres!

    Eight actions you can take now


    If you saw photos or videos of the massacre in Rafah from a few nights ago, you know the horror is almost beyond belief. Hundreds of exhausted, hungry, and traumatized people were sleeping in tents in a designated as a “safe area” when Israel dropped a US-made bomb on them killing many people instantly and causing a deadly fire. 

    Children and adults were burned alive or smothered to death by smoke. People were forced to dig through smoldering remains with their bare hands, looking for bodies or injured people.

    Just 30 hours later another Israel dropped another bomb on people in a “safe area”  in Rafah. Now, Israeli tanks now moved in to the center of Rafah. 

    Please act now. Take one or all of these actions today. And, please, don’t stop.

    Here’s MECA’s list of things you can do:

    1. Join a local, regional, or national protest. Check with a Palestine solidarity group near you or this list on the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights website. If you are in the Bay Area, check AROC’s list of local events.

    2. Call for a ceasefire and humanitarian access for Gaza now!Contact your US Congresspeople and Senators.

    3. Boycott companies profiting from genocide. See the list of businesses and more on the BDS website

    4. Educate yourself and others with basic inforecent analysis, or infographics at Visualizing Palestine. Look for books, articles, videos, and podcasts. If you are a k-12 teacher, check out MECA’s Teach Palestine Project.

    5. Support MECA’s emergency aid work in Gaza by making a donation or setting up your own online fundraising page.

    6. Put a sign in the window of your home or business. Purchase “Ceasefire” by Eric Drooker, request a free “We Stand with Palestine” by emailing, or download “NO GENOCIDE IN GAZA” by Ernesto Yerena, and search for others online. Signs are available from the Madison-Rafah Marketplace.

    7. Attend your local city council or schoolboard meetings that are discussing or voting on ceasefire resolutions, teaching about Palestine, false accusations of antisemitism, or other matters about the genocide in Gaza.

    8. DON’T GIVE UP! Every action we take brings a permanent ceasefire closer and builds the movement for justice in Palestine! 

    Thank you for your support, your solidarity, and whatever action you take now.

    In solidarity,
    All of us at MECA


    Hundreds of Palestinian Doctors Disappeared Into Israeli Detention

    Medical supplies scattered inside Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, on April 21, 2024. Photo: Ahmad Salem/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    Kavitha Chekuru, The Intercept, May 24 2024

    IT’S BEEN TWO months since Osaid Alser has heard from his cousin, Khaled Al Serr, a surgeon at Nasser Hospital in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis.

    Before late March, they had been in regular contact — or as regular as the shredded communication infrastructure would allow. Al Serr had created a telemedicine WhatsApp group where he and Osaid, a surgical resident in the U.S., recruited doctors from stateside, the U.K., and Europe to give advice to their overstretched colleagues in Gaza.

    “He reported on a gunshot injury in a 70-year old,” Osaid said, of Al Serr. “It was in her head. And really, there were no neurosurgeons at that time.”

    “He was sharing those cases, and he was asking for help,” Osaid went on. “It was like, ‘Is there any neurosurgeon that can help me? How can I fix this?’”

    Khaled Al Serr in a selfie taken in front of Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, in Jan. 2018. Courtesy: Healthcare Workers Watch – Palestine

    Al Serr was a natural vessel for the collective medical knowledge of the group chat. “He always wanted to help out, always liked to use his hands, to kind of fix a problem and have an immediate impact,” according to Osaid.

    In February, the Israeli military invaded Nasser Hospital. The attack left the hospital hollowed out, just one of the destroyed health care centers in a medical system savaged by an overwhelming caseload and a relentless military assault by Israel.


  • May 31, 2024: Gaza and the West Bank on WORT


    Noon CT
    WORT 89.9 FM
    Live or archived

    We will have two guests this Friday at noon CT on WORT, 89.9 FM’s A Public Affair. First is Robert Schoville, a Madison native best known in Madison as the founder of the Brazilian percussion group The Handphibians. He has spent the last five years living on the Aegean coast of Turkey and will discuss life under Erdogan, attitudes towards Gaza/Israel, the role of the country in the Middle East and the world and more.

    Second is Laila Hasan who is visiting the US on a tour from Hebron. She will talk about life in the West Bank under constant threat by settlers and soldiers, the embroidery collective she has founded and the cultural role of this 3000 year old art and tradition, the lives of the women who have made the items she has brought with her, and the impact of 76 years of Israeli occupation on Palestinian women and their families. Hasan will be in Madison on 6/9 and participate in an afternoon event. 

    Esty Dinur

  • June 1, 2024: Education Against the Gaza War

    Madison Farmer’s Market
    Capitol Square King Street corner
    7 am – 2 pm

    An action including a display of shoes and reading of names of the dead is planned by several local groups at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday.

    If people want to participate, they should go to the Veterans for Peace table on the Square at the King Street corner.

    For more information or to volunteer, please contact Paula Rogge at or 608-577-1721. Help is especially needed at the beginning and the end of the event.

  • A quick guide to Israel’s PR methods

    Check the pattern:

    1. We haven’t heard reports of deaths, will check into it;
    2. The people were killed, but by a faulty Palestinian rocket/bomb;
    3. OK, we killed them, but they were terrorists;
    4. OK, they were civilians, but they were being used as human shields;
    5. OK, there were no fighters in the area, so it was our mistake. But we kill civilians by accident, they do it on purpose;
    6. OK, we kill far more civilians than they do, but look at how terrible other countries are!
    7. Why are you still talking about Israel? Are you some kind of anti-semite?

    Test this against the next interview you hear or watch.

    — Adam Johannes, Secretary, Cardiff Stop the War Coalition
    Independent Jewish Voices Canada, August 3, 2014

  • Nurse fired by NYU Langone Health after referring to Gaza ‘genocide’ in speech

    FILE - Health care workers walk in and out of the entrance at NYU-Langone Hospital on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in New York. A nurse was fired by the hospital after she referred to Israel's war in Gaza as "genocide" during a speech accepting an award. Labor and delivery nurse Hesen Jabr, who is Palestinian American, was being honored by NYU Langone Health for her compassion in caring for mothers who had lost babies when she drew a link between her work and the suffering of mothers in Gaza. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen, File)
    FILE – Health care workers walk in and out of the entrance at NYU-Langone Hospital on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in New York. A nurse was fired by the hospital after she referred to Israel’s war in Gaza as “genocide” during a speech accepting an award. Labor and delivery nurse Hesen Jabr, who is Palestinian American, was being honored by NYU Langone Health for her compassion in caring for mothers who had lost babies when she drew a link between her work and the suffering of mothers in Gaza. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen, File)

    BY  KAREN MATTHEWS, Associated Press, May 29, 2024

    NEW YORK (AP) — A nurse was fired by a New York City hospital after she referred to Israel’s war in Gaza as a “genocide” during a speech accepting an award.

    Labor and delivery nurse Hesen Jabr, who is Palestinian American, was being honored by NYU Langone Health for her compassion in caring for mothers who had lost babies when she drew a link between her work and the suffering of mothers in Gaza.

    “It pains me to see the women from my country going through unimaginable losses themselves during the current genocide in Gaza,” Jabr said, according to a video of the May 7 speech that she posted on social media. “This award is deeply personal to me for those reasons.”

    Jabr wrote on Instagram that she arrived at work on May 22 for her first shift back after receiving the award when she was summoned to a meeting with the hospital’s president and vice president of nursing “to discuss how I ‘put others at risk’ and ‘ruined the ceremony’ and ‘offended people’ because a small part of my speech was a tribute towards the grieving mothers in my country.”

    She wrote that after working most of her shift she was “dragged once again to an office” where she was read her termination letter and then escorted out of the building.

    A spokesperson for NYU Langone, Steve Ritea, confirmed that Jabr was fired following her speech and said there had been “a previous incident as well.”

    “Hesen Jabr was warned in December, following a previous incident, not to bring her views on this divisive and charged issue into the workplace,” Mr. Ritea said in a statement. “She instead chose not to heed that at a recent employee recognition event that was widely attended by her colleagues, some of whom were upset after her comments. As a result, Jabr is no longer an NYU Langone employee.”

    Ritea did not provide any details of the previous incident.

    Jabr defended her speech in an interview with The New York Times and said talking about the war “was so relevant” given the nature of the award she had won.

    “It was an award for bereavement; it was for grieving mothers,” she said.


  • Six Tropes to Look Out for That Distort Israel/Palestine Coverage


    Collection of headlines on Israel/Palestine

    Do Palestinians deserve to be free? “A complex and controversial issue,” says ChatGPT (Twitter, 5/8/23). Do Israelis deserve to be free? “Yes, like all people.”

    “This is quite something,” remarked Nadi Abusaada in a May 8 tweet. As many of us have done, the Palestinian academic found himself experimenting with the seemingly boundless powers of OpenAI’s ChatGPT software. But during this activity, he uncovered something disturbing.

    “I asked @OpenAI whether Palestinians deserve to be free,” he said. The natural-language processing tool responded to Abusaada’s query ambivalently:

    As an AI language model, I do not have personal opinions, feelings or beliefs. The question of whether Palestinians deserve to be free is a complex and controversial issue with many different perspectives and opinions….

    But then he posed the same question about Israelis. This time, the chat box did not equivocate:

    Yes, like all people, Israelis deserve to be free. Freedom is a fundamental human right that should be protected and guaranteed for all individuals, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity or religion. It is essential that Israelis, like all people, are able to live their lives free from violence, oppression and discrimination….

    “Explanation?” demanded Abusaada.


  • June 4, 2024: Palestine Film Screening

    worldbeyondwar.uw Antiwar Film Series – Details on this month’s films and others we’ll show this summer …

    Tues, June 4 at 6 pm, Central Library, 201 W Mifflin St, Room 302.

    Light, a brand-new documentary about Palestine from the unarmed civilian accompaniers of Community Peacemaker Teams [May 2024, 69 mins, trailer] and Israel’s Shocking AI Tools & Ukraine’s Surveillance of Journalists (April 2024, 24 mins, Al Jazeera’s Listening Post)

    Coming Attractions – Please save these dates for our next films – July 23 & Aug 20. Stay tuned – we’re hoping to soon show:

    • Where Olive Trees Weep [2024], a new documentary about Palestine;
    • A Bold Peace [2016] about how Costa Rica abolished their military 74 years ago;
    • Soldiers Without Guns [2019] about how unarmed soldiers from New Zealand used music and Maori culture to help end the bloody civil war on the island of Bougainville, and
    • Disneyland of War [2016] about Veterans for Peace who challenge the glorification of war.

  • Wisconsin activist frustrated over blocked aid to Palestinians

    Longtime international volunteer says she is ‘devastated’ food and medical supplies cannot reach Gaza
    A ship of Freedom Flotilla Coalition anchors at Tuzla seaport in Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, April 19, 2024. Activists and aid workers from numerous international aid NGO’s are gearing up for another attempt to break through the Israeli blockade and deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
    WPR Wisconsin Today interview with Cassandra Dixon

    Wisconsin-based human rights activist Cassandra Dixon was all set to accompany a cargo ship carrying 5,000 tons of humanitarian aid to Palestinians last month. 

    Stay informed on the latest news

    “People were devastated,” Dixon said. “It seemed within reach to deliver the aid, so it was heartbreaking not to be able to.”


  • Gaza 2035: Netanyahu unveils regional business plan

    “Massive free trade zone” with rail service to Saudi Arabia

    By Daniel Roche, The Architect’s Newspaper, May 21, 2024

    AI-generated renderings show skyscrapers, solar fields, water desalination plants, a new high speed rail corridor, and oil rigs off of Gaza’s shoreline. (Courtesy Israel PMO)

    Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office recently released a PowerPoint that gives a glimpse into what the Likud Party has in mind for Gaza’s future, and the Levant region at large. On May 3, Netanyahu unveiled Gaza 2035: A three-step master plan to build what he calls the “Gaza-Arish-Sderot Free Trade Zone.” The plan was first reported by The Jerusalem Post and later by Al Jazeera.

    The Gaza-Arish-Sderot Free Trade Zone would encompass the 141 square miles that make up the Gaza Strip, where more than 34,500 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the past several months, and where experts say that famine is underway. The zone also would include the El-Arish Port to Gaza’s south in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and Sderot, an Israeli city north of Gaza.

    UN officials issued a report on May 2 stating that over 70 percent of Gaza’s building stock has been destroyed, and that it would cost $40–50 billion to rebuild. This prompted one UN official, Abdallah al-Dardari, to say: “We have not seen anything like this since 1945.

    Under the auspices of Gaza 2035, the new free trade zone would be administered by Israel, Egypt, and what the Israeli Prime Minister calls the Gaza Rehabilitation Authority (GRA)—a proposed Palestinian-run agency that would oversee reconstruction in Gaza and “manage the Strip’s finances.”

    The PowerPoint affirms that the GRA would not deliver Palestinian statehood and makes no reference to a two-state system. Instead, by 2035, Gaza and the West Bank would be placed under the “nominal administration” of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel would be responsible for the free trade zone’s security. yNet correspondent Ron Ben Yishai called Gaza 2035 Benjamin Netanyahu’s “Singapore vision.”


  • June 5, 2024: Banners Up for Palestine

  • U.S. silent as global condemnation of Israel’s Rafah offensive grows

    WaPo Washington Post logo

    The Biden administration maintains that Israel’s invasion of the southern Gazan city is “limited,” despite an International Court of Justice order and a worsening humanitarian crisis.

    By Karen DeYoung, The Washington Post, May 25, 2024 at 7:21 p.m. EDT

    Pro-Palestinian protesters hold up red hands as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on President Biden’s proposed budget request for the State Department, on May 22. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

    The United States, which prides itself as a global leader on human rights and international law, was conspicuously silent Friday after the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to comply with its “obligations” under the Genocide Convention and “immediately halt its offensive” in Rafah.

    Sign up for Fact Checker, our weekly review of what’s true, false or in-between in politics.

    The absence of any public statement from the Biden administration was a stark contrast to an almost identical ruling by the ICJ in March 2022, ordering Russia to “immediately suspend the military operations” it had just begun in Ukraine. Noting that the court “plays a vital role in the peaceful settlement of disputes under the U.N. Charter,” the State Department effusively welcomed the order and called on Moscow to comply.

    The administration has sharply rejected any comparison between the two situations, noting that one began with attack on Israel by a terrorist group and the other with an unprovoked invasion by one U.N. member state into another.

    Instead of issuing a statement on the Israel ruling, the National Security Council authorized spokespeople to respond to any questions with a single sentence: “We’ve been clear and consistent on our position on Rafah.”

    That position — that Israel’s invasion of Rafah has been a “limited” incursion to root out remaining Hamas fighters while avoiding undue civilian harm, and to free around 100 living and dead Israeli hostages that remain captives — conflicts with the ICJ conclusion that Rafah is a “change in the situation” since its last warning earlier this year that Israeli actions in Gaza risk genocide.


  • ‘Operation al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 230

    Israel lashes out at West Bank in wake of ICC request

    Airstrikes continue across the Gaza Strip as the Israeli ground invasion continues in Jabalia and Rafah, displacing thousands. Meanwhile, the Israeli army launched a wide-ranging invasion of Jenin refugee camp, killing 12 people.


    Hundreds attend the funeral for the 12 martyrs of the Israeli army's invasion of Jenin and Jenin refugee camp, May 23, 2024. (Photo: Mohammed Nasser/APA Images)HUNDREDS ATTEND THE FUNERAL FOR THE 12 MARTYRS OF THE ISRAELI ARMY’S INVASION OF JENIN AND JENIN REFUGEE CAMP, MAY 23, 2024. (PHOTO: MOHAMMED NASSER/APA IMAGES)


    • 35,709 + killed* and at least 79,990 wounded in the Gaza Strip.*
    • 519+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.**
    • Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,139.
    • 634 Israeli soldiers have been announced as killed by the Israeli army since October 7, and at least 3,568 have been announced as wounded.***

    *Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel on May 22, 2024. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead.

    ** The death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to the PA’s Ministry of Health on May 22, this is the latest figure.

    *** These figures are released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.” The number of Israeli soldiers wounded according to Israeli media reports exceeds 6,800 as of April 1.

    Key Developments 

    • Israel kills 323 Palestinians, wounds 624 since Monday, May 20, across Gaza, raising the death toll since October 7 to 35,709 and the number of wounded to 79,990, according to the Gaza health ministry.
    • Spain, Norway, and Ireland recognize the State of Palestine.
    • Israel revokes the 2005 disengagement law for the northern West Bank, allows resettlement of evacuated illegal settlements and outposts.
    • Israeli forces kill 12 Palestinians in wide-ranging invasion of Jenin and Jenin refugee camp.
    • Israel studies closing embassy in Ireland.
    • Colombian foreign minister says Colombia’s president ordered the opening of embassy to Palestine in Ramallah.
    • Israeli drone strike on school bus kills driver and wounds three students on board in southern Lebanon.
    • Hezbollah fires tens of rockets on Israeli army Regiment 91 headquarters in Galilee.
    • Israeli army admits two officers and soldier killed, dozens wounded over past week in Gaza.
    • Israeli army says two U.S. soldiers wounded at newly constructed sea pier off Gaza shore.

  • “Gaza Votes” May Determine November Election

    According to Polls in Five Battleground States

    Today, Americans for Justice in Palestine Action (AJP Action) released the results of YouGov polls commissioned in five battleground states. The polls show roughly a fifth of Democratic and Independent voters in key states are less likely to vote for President Biden in November because of his support for Israel’s war in Gaza. Forty percent of voters polled say tangible, de-escalatory policy changes will make them more likely to vote for Biden in November: imposing a permanent ceasefire, full humanitarian aid to Gaza, and conditioning military aid for Israel’s war. 

    Surveying 500 registered Democratic and Independent voters each in Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, the statewide polls provide a detailed look at voters’ perceptions of Israel’s war in Gaza and how it impacts their votes in November. 

    Among the states polled, anti-war votes could cost Biden the election in Arizona and Wisconsin in particular—in part due to the especially narrow margins of victory in those states: 10,457 and 20,682 in Arizona and Wisconsin, respectively. However, the polls show anti-war votes will matter in Pennsylvania and Michigan as well, where a third of Democrats and Independents consider a ceasefire and full entry of humanitarian aid as minimum changes to secure or solidify a vote for Biden. Read the full report here.


  • May 22, 2024: Music for Gaza Relief at the Bur Oak

    The Bur Oak [Map]
    2262 Winnebago St, Madison
    Doors open at 7 pm, music at 8

    Grassroots to Gaza presents a night of music for humanitarian aid to Gaza, featuring: Moonboot, The Takeaways, and 20 Minute Mission.

    Suggested $10 donation. All proceeds go to Middle East Children’s Alliance for immediate humanitarian assistance to Gaza.

    Sponsored by Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, Palestine Partners, and WORT 89.9FM

    Learn more about Middle East Children’s Alliance or make a donation.

  • May 23, 2024: Join a conversation on land and solidarity

  • More than 30 people killed in strike on refugee camp in central Gaza

    Rescue workers continuing to search for those missing under the rubble following attack on Nuseirat refugee camp
    The aftermath of the Israeli strike on a house in Nuseirat refugee camp. Photograph: Ismael Abu Dayyah/AP

    Yohannes Lowe (now) and Jessica Murray (earlier, The Guardian, 19 May 2024 09.33 EDT

    • Gaza’s civil defence agency said on Sunday that an Israeli airstrike targeting a house at Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza killed at least 31 people, updating an earlier toll. “The civil defence crew were able to recover 31 martyrs and 20 wounded from a house belonging to the Hassan family, which was targeted by the Israeli occupation forces in the Nuseirat camp,” Gaza civil defence agency spokesperson Mahmud Bassal told journalists. He said rescue workers were continuing to search for missing people under the rubble.
    • The stranglehold on aid reaching Gaza threatens an “apocalyptic” outcome, the UN’s humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths told Agence France-Presse (AFP). Speaking on the sidelines of meetings with Qatari officials in Doha, he said: “If fuel runs out, aid doesn’t get to the people where they need it, that famine, which we have talked about for so long, and which is looming, will not be looming any more. It will be present.” “And I think our worry, as citizens of the international community, is that the consequence is going to be really, really hard. Hard, difficult, and apocalyptic,” he added.
    • Jordan’s foreign minister, Ayman Safadisaid the kingdom demanded an international investigation into what it said were many war crimes committed during Israel’s war in Gaza. In remarks made during a press conference with the head of the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA), Safadi said those responsible for documented crimes should be brought to justice.
    • The Gaza Civil Emergency Service said rescue teams have recovered the bodies of 150 Palestinians killed by the Israeli army in recent days.
    • In the early hours of Sunday morning, Al Jazeera Arabic’s journalists on the ground reported Israeli raids in Rafah in the south of enclave and in the vicinity of the Kamal Adwan hospital in northern Gaza, where raids were also reported in the sheikh Zayed and Zeitoun neighbourhoods.

  • May 15, 2024: Madison Nakba Protest

  • “A Racist, Criminal Project”

    Palestinian Historian Abdel Razzaq Takriti on the 1948 Nakba, Zionism, and U.S. Policy

    Democracy Now!, May 15, 2024

    Palestinians across the globe are marking the 76th anniversary of the Nakba — which means “catastrophe” in Arabic — when those establishing the state of Israel violently expelled over 700,000 Palestinians.

    Palestinian historian Abdel Razzaq Takriti says closer to 900,000 Palestinians were forced out or massacred during Israel’s founding, which is being celebrated inside Israel with calls to ethnically cleanse and settle the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank.

    “The Nakba is continuing. This is a colonial continuum,” says Takriti. “It’s not enough to commemorate. It’s not enough to talk about it. We have to stop it right now. … The first step to doing that is to stop the genocide in Gaza.”

    Takriti lays out four principles for Nakba education: refuting Nakba denialism, recognizing the Nakba is part of an ongoing process of settler colonialism, stopping that process, and then reversing it by restoring Palestinian national rights.

  • May 29, 2024: Live from Haifa Virtual Delegation

    11:00 AM – 12:30 PM CDT Online

    Join Eyewitness Palestine on Wednesday, May 29th at 12PM ET for our Live from Haifa webinar, featuring a special virtual delegation led by Khulood Basel, who will take us around Haifa on a custom tour of the city.

    Khulood will take us around the Palestinian neighborhood of Wadi Salib, where families who remained during the Nakba and those who were able to return from forced displacement re-settled.

    Don’t miss this special virtual delegation to see the remarkable and ancient port city and learn more about its incredibly rich history with a uniquely qualified Palestinian native tour guide! 

    Participation in this event is free as Eyewitness Palestine is seeking to highlight voices in Palestine as broadly as possible. Donations are appreciated.