Gaza is Not a Breaking News Cycle



The Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy

August 11, 2022

 

Good Morning,

As you might have seen or heard, Israel launched yet another assault on the besieged Gaza strip, with bombardments and airstrikes killing 45 Palestinians and injuring more than 360, so far.

With the announcement of yet another precarious ceasefire, the international community’s attention is likely to move away from Gaza, yet again, leaving its people to mourn and rebuild in isolation under Israel’s 15 years of ongoing military siege. With this being Israel’s fifth assault since 2009 it is crucial to educate and inform ourselves and each other on Gaza, and to fight against its invisibilization and its dehumanization as mere periodical news cycle. Gaza has an ancestral history that is an integral and enmeshed part of Palestinian history. We must fight to keep it as part of the whole, and look ahead with a long-term vision, united against Israel’s intention to fragment and isolate Palestinians everywhere. 

This is why we are sharing with you again our latest Palestinian Takes email from June on Gaza, marking the passage of 15 years of Israel’s military siege. The email includes various Palestinian perspectives and resources on Gaza’s present and past, intertwined to bring us to the current moment.

The Nakba in 1948 and “the Gaza strip”:

  • Gaza has been inhabited since around 1500 BC, a thriving port for multiple cultures. Right before the Nakba of 1948, Gaza was one of many of Palestine’s districts, including the areas of Bir Al Sabi’ (Beersheba). As Israel’s ethnic cleansing operations began, 49 villages of the Gaza district were destroyed and more than 200,000 Palestinians were expelled from the southern and coastal areas of Palestine to smaller parts of Gaza district, which came to be known as the Gaza strip, as we learn in the Interactive Encyclopedia of the Palestine Question.
  • Since 1948, Gaza has become the epitome of the Palestinian refugees’ right of return movement, embodied more recently by the Great March of Return, that was co-initiated by Ahmad Abu Artema: “I wondered what would happen if 200,000 protesters gathered near the Israel fence with Gaza Strip, and entered the lands that are ours”.

The centrality of Gaza to iconic Palestinian food and land cultivation:

  • At home, on the sidewalks or dangling from the roofs of the shops at the markets or crossroads, this is how the branches of the unripe dates, called the “red gold”, announce they’re in season, a fruit after which the city of Deir Al-Balah (Land of Unripe Dates) is named.
  • Famous recipes have been curated by Palestinian chef Laila Haddad in The Gaza Kitchen cookbook, documenting people’s history and daily life through traditional dishes like the Rumaniyya (eggplant lentil pomegranate bowl) and Dagga (hot tomato and dill salad).
  • With its long Mediterranean coastline, fishery became a major source of food culture and sovereignty for many families. Yet, following the Israeli blockade in 2007, fishermen were systematically prevented from accessing the sea beyond 20 nautical miles, which gradually decreased to 3 nautical miles, while regularly being targeted and shot at by the Israeli naval army.
  • “In a few years there will be no more fishing at all, we will have to forget our profession and become traders”, said Gaza fishermen in a documentary on the topic.

    Fishermen on a Gaza Beach, 1987
    (Palestinian Museum Digital Archive)

A testing ground for apartheid, weapons and colonial repression:

  • In 1948, Palestinian refugees “were not expecting that their exodus would be prolonged for seven decades, and that they would be subjected to condescending efforts to void their right to return.” writes Jehad Abu-Salim.
  • In the span of two decades, the Israeli regime has led four aerial bombardment campaigns, killing and injuring thousands of Palestinians in the besieged Gaza, intentionally treating it as a testing ground for its military capabilities before it is exported all over the world.
  • “All the injustices Palestinians in Gaza face are a direct consequence of the continued denial of freedom, dignity and return. Overshadowing it with a humanitarian crisis is depriving the people in Gaza of their political will and reducing them to poor, powerless and passive subjects.” – writes Abir Kopty.
  • This thematic chronology by the Interactive Encyclopedia of the Palestine Question is an important resource covering how main events unfolded in the Israeli assaults on Gaza in 2008-2009, 2012 and 2014-2015.
    This visual by Visualizing Palestine explains how the Israeli closure on Gaza started long before the blockade and in the height of the 1990s peace process.

We will never forget and never forgive: Palestinian testimonies from under the rubble:

Continue reading

July 23, 2022
Madison-Rafah Palestinian Crafts Yard Sale

318 W. Lakeside Street
Madison [map]
10 am – 3 pm

Mark your calendars…

MRSCP has new ceramics from Hebron and new embroideries from Atfaluna Crafts.

We also have olive oil and spices from Playgrounds for Palestine, kufiyas, jewelry from Women in Hebron, and an excellent supply of olive oil soap.

You can browse samples at the Madison-Rafah Marketplace.

Palestine Partners at the National Women’s Music Festival


The 46th National Women’s Music Festival
June 30th – July 3rd, 2022
Marriot Madison West, 1313 John Q Hammons Dr, Middleton
Thu 5 pm-9 pm, Fri-Sat 10 am-9 pm, Sun 10 am-3 pm

The Festival Marketplace is open to the public and no tickets are required to shop!

Palestine Partners, a Madison-based organization that supports Women in Hebron and Youth of Samud, will be selling Palestinian crafts in the Music Festival Marketplace.

This four-day musical and cultural extravaganza covers all facets of women’s lives. Choices include workshops, concerts, comedy, theatre, a marketplace, films and videos, silent and live auctions, spirituality and writer’s series, and much more!

They think we Arabs are uncivilized?

Amer Zahr, YouTube, 8 March 2022

Amer Zahr is a Palestinian Arab American comedian, speaker, writer, academic, and adjunct professor at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. He draws on his experiences growing up as a child of Palestinian refugees, performing and lecturing on topics like politics, society, culture, identity, Palestine, Islam, and more.

March 19, 2022
International Festival at Overture Center

10 am – 5 pm FREE

Come celebrate the rich cultural heritage and diversity of our community as International Festival returns live to Overture Center! Enjoy free performances, savor cuisine from around the world, browse the arts and crafts, and check out the many local organizations & businesses with global connections.

The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, Playgrounds for Palestine – Madison, and Palestine Partners will be there, so stop by to help us fully fund the Al Samud Playground in the Old City of Hebron by purchasing olive oil and making donations.

We’ll also be selling olive oil soap, embroidery, ceramics, earrings, Hirbawi keffiyehs and other crafts from Gaza and elsewhere in Palestine. Although our online Marketplace is currently closed, you can browse there before the sale. We look forward to seeing you!

Note: Some programs will also be livestreamed online. For more information including COVID-19 protocols, visit Overture’s website.

Born of war: How a Palestinian woman responds to trauma through art

Malak Mattar was 13 and living under Israeli bombardment in Gaza when she decided to direct her ‘negative energy’ into painting

Indlieb Farazi Saber, Middle East Eye, 5 January 2022

Update: October 3, 2021
Turath Baladna (Our Country’s Heritage)



Sunday, October 3, Noon – 3 pm
James Madison Park shelter

614 E Gorham St, Madison, WI

Wishing you could visit Palestine? Don’t miss this free outdoor celebration of Palestinian dance and culture.

Dance performance by Milwaukee’s Traditional Palestinian Dabka group Al-Ghurba. Free Palestinian snacks and sweets. Taste and celebrate this year’s Olive Harvest! Purchase Palestinian Olive Oil, soap and spices from Playgrounds for Palestine and learn about the playground funded by donations from Madison in the West Bank city of Hebron.

Shop early for the holidays from a selection of Palestinian Kuffiyas and handmade earrings, jewelry and embroidered shawls, scarves, household items, bags, purses and more, made in Palestine by Women in Hebron Craft Cooperative and available in the US from Palestine Partners.

Enjoy a free demonstration of the traditional Palestinian art of Henna painting and have an artist decorate your hands.

Door Prizes, including Olive Oil, a traditional Kuffiya made in Palestine’s last Kuffiya factory, and a hand embroidered coin purse made in Hebron.

This event is free and open to the public. Although the event is in an open park shelter we ask that you wear a mask, to keep yourself and other guests safe. Masks and hand sanitizer will be available free.

Presented by Students for Justice in Palestine, Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, Playgrounds for Palestine Madison Chapter, Palestine Partners, grassroots group Madison for Palestine, and the U.S. Palestinian Community Network.

September 22-28, 2021
Virtual Delegations to the South Hebron Hills

Visit with Youth of Sumud and your guides Bana & Sami
September 2021

Join us for a virtual tour of the South Hebron Hills. During this tour we will visit villages in the southern part of the West Bank where Palestinians remain steadfast and continue to resist the constant threats and attacks from nearby Israeli settlements and outposts. Saurora was abandoned in the 1990’s because of settler violence from the nearby illegal Israeli outpost of Havat Ma’On and the ancient cave homes were damaged or demolished. In 2017, members of Youth of Sumud have begun to revive the village of Saurora – rebuilding the caves and establishing a permanent presence there. Youth of Sumud have also taken on the responsibility of accompannying children who have to travel past neaby settlements and outposts to go to school and farmers who face violence from settlers and Israeli soldiers in their fields.

We will visit with Youth of Sumud and also hear about a new campaign, Defund Racism, a Palestinian-led movement to end the use of ‘charitable’ funds raised in the United States to carry out the mission of Israeli settler organizations.

Your Guides, Bana & Sami!

Bana Abu Zuluf is a researcher and community activist with the Good Shepherd Collective, where she has played a crucial role in developing the Campaign to Defund Racism, helping organize over 200 Palestinian organizations, villages and individuals from across historical Palestine to make the call to stop the flow of charitable money to Israeli settler organizations.

Sami Huraini is a political activist and community organizer in Palestine. Huraini co-founded Youth of Sumud, a nonviolent resistance movement that provides material support for marginalized communities facing settler violence across the West Bank. Youth of Sumud spearheaded the efforts to return a Palestinian presence to the displaced community of Sarura after it been abandoned for over 20 years.

    More info & registration