Rafah Family Guided Home Construction

A fundraiser by the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project

Our goal is to raise $10,064 to renovate a family apartment in the Tal al Sultan neighborhood of Rafah, where in 2005 we funded a playground for local children.

This family consists of a father, mother and three children. The father has become disabled and the mother works to try to keep the family afloat. Their small apartment is desperately in need of roof repairs, interior renovations to the main living area and bath, and the addition of another room — especially now that the cold and rains of winter have arrived.

The building condition directly affects the family’s health and well being. The family covers the roof panels with cloths to try to keep out the rain, but that’s not enough to keep the rooms dry. They cannot afford to repair the concrete ceiling.

The family was nominated by the Al Amal Society for Rehabilitation, a Palestinian Non-Government Organization in Gaza that has partnered with Rebuilding Alliance since 2017. Our grant will be transferred to and administered by this partner organization. Rebuilding Alliance’s Site Engineer, Heba El Khozondar, will supervise the project to sign-off for each phase.

The project will have three construction phases, each commencing as soon as enough funds have been donated:
▪ Phase 1: $3,080  Poured concrete roof repair
▪ Phase 2: $3,555  Main Living Space
▪ Phase 3: $3,429  Adjacent new room
$10,064  Total

On Tuesday, November 29 Global Giving is matching ALL online donations up to $2500. Also, if you are able to make monthly recurring donations, they will match up to $200 each donation after your fourth.

Donate Online

You can also mail a check to MRSCP marked “house repairs” to
MRSCP
P.O. Box 5214
Madison, WI 53705

Mailed contributions will NOT count toward the Global Giving match on November 29.

As always, we thank you for your support.

Light in Gaza Speaking Tour in Milwaukee


Light in Gaza: Writings Born of Fire book cover. (Photo: AFSC)

American Friends Service Committee, Sep 27, 2022

    11/17/22 update: WORT’s Gil Halsted talks with Yousef Aljamal and Asmaa Abu Mezeid, two of the Light in Gaza authors now on tour in the U.S.

Light in Gaza: Writings Born of Fire brings together sixteen essays and poems by twelve Palestinian writers. The book includes political essays, personal narratives, economic analysis, and poetry. The book is edited by American Friends Service Committee staff Jehad Abusalim, Jennifer Bing, and Mike Merryman-Lotze and published by Haymarket Books. Read the full press release here.

AFSC is excited to host a speaking tour featuring Asmaa Abu Mezied and Yousef Aljamal, contributors to the Light in Gaza anthology.

Join us for a discussion of this new literary anthology featuring two of the book’s co-authors: Asmaa Abu Mezied and Yousef Aljamal.

This book imagines what the future of Gaza could be, while reaffirming the critical role of Gaza in the struggle for Palestinian liberation.

“This is a different view than most Americans see in the news.  Usually we see people in Gaza being killed or living without electricity. So they are either victims or superhumans. You miss the everyday family gatherings, the importance of nature. We hope this book inspires people to want to learn more,” said Jennifer Bing, director of the AFSC Palestine Activism Program in Chicago and editor for the Light in Gaza book project.

We will talk with the authors about their contributions to the book, and discuss the current conditions in Gaza. We will also be discussing the role that we here in Turtle Island can play in support the struggle for Palestinian liberation.

This event is co-sponsored by: Milwaukee 4 Palestine (milwaukee4palestine@gmail.com); Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition, Party for Socialism and Liberation (Milwaukee), Jewish Voice for Peace (Milwaukee), Students for Justice in Palestine (UWM), Students for Justice in Palestine (Marquette University).

About the speakers:

Asmaa Abu Mezied is economic development and gender expert working to address issues of gender, development, and climate change.  Her main area of focus is women’s economic justice through gendered economic policies, women’s rights in economic sectors, unpaid care and domestic work campaigning, inclusive markets, and feminist economics in fragile and conflict areas. Asmaa is a beginner gardener in the Gaza Strip and is interested in the intersection of Palestinian political, agricultural, and environmental identities. Asmaa is a policy member and a current fellow at Al Shabaka, a Palestinian think tank.  She was an Atlas Corps Fellow with U.S. President Obama’s Emerging Global Leaders, a Gaza Hub-Global Shaper Alumna in the initiative of the World Economic Forum, and a 2021 Mozilla Foundation Wrangler at “Tech for Social Activism” space. 

Yousef M. Aljamal is a Palestinian refugee from Al-Nusierat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. He has obtained an MA degree from the Department of International and Strategic Studies Department at the University of Malaya. He is now a PhD Candidate at the Middle East Institute at Sakarya University in Turkey. Aljamal, besides his research interests in diaspora, security, and indigenous studies, has contributed to a number of books which highlight the Palestinian narrative. He translated two books on Palestinian prisoners entitled The Prisoners’ Diaries: Palestinian Voices from the Israeli Gulag (2013) and Dreaming of Freedom: Palestinian Child Prisoners Speak (2016). He also co-edited the book A Shared Struggle Stories of Palestinian and Irish Hunger Strikers (2021). Aljamal has published a number of journal articles on topics that include Palestinians in the diaspora, travel restrictions imposed on Palestinians, and struggles for liberation. Over the years, he has spoken at various forums and platforms to highlight the plight of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation.

“You Can Be the Last Leaf” by Maya Abu Al-Hayyat

Maya Abu Al-Hayyat directs the Palestine Writing Workshop on the West Bank. She’ll read poems & be in conversation with poet Deema Shehabi.

    A Virtual Book Celebration!
    October 29, 2022, 1 PM CT
    Benefit for the Palestine Writing Workshop, Tickets $10
    RSVP and share!

Maya Abu Al-Hayyat is a Palestinian writer, storyteller, and mother based in occupied East Jerusalem. Each day she passes through Israeli checkpoints, like the infamous Qalandia checkpoint, to direct the Palestine Writing Workshop, one of MECA’s partner organizations. Maya and her team at the Palestine Writing Workshop have published award-winning Arabic children’s books and led hundreds of interactive workshops from Nablus to Silwan to Gaza for children, youth, librarians and parents on reading aloud, creative writing, and storytelling. Her work is grounded in the belief that art and literature can change lives and aims to improve Palestinian children’s literacy and also encourage their imaginations. She is a gifted storyteller who captures the attention of children of all ages (and adults too!). Maya also runs writing courses for former prisoners, helping them transform trauma into art.

She has published four collections of poems, four novels, and numerous children’s stories, including The Blue Pool of Questions. She contributed to and wrote a foreword for A Bird Is Not a Stone: An Anthology of Contemporary Palestinian Poetry, and she is an editor of The Book of Ramallah. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Cordite Poetry Review, The Guardian, and Literary Hub. Please join us to learn more about Maya’s work and life in Palestine!

Deema K. Shehabi is the author of Thirteen Departures From the Moon and co-editor with Beau Beausoleil of Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, for which she received the Northern California Book Award’s NCBR Recognition Award. She co-authored Diaspo/Renga with Marilyn Hacker and won the 2018 Nazim Hikmet poetry competition. Her work has also appeared in Literary Imagination, the Kenyon Review, Literary Hub, Poetry London, and Crab Orchard, and has been translated into French, Farsi, and Arabic; she has been nominated for the Pushcart prize several times.

Cosponsored by Middle East Children’s Alliance and Sacramento Bethlehem Sister City. Info: meca@mecaforpeace.org, 510-548-0542.

PRAISE FOR “You Can Be The Last Leaf”

“The Palestinian poet’s U.S. debut gathers two decades of her intimate testimony about private life in a public war zone, where ‘those who win by killing fewer children / are losers.’”—New York Times

“Al-Hayyat’s latest devastating and courageous collection captures the precarious everyday lives of Palestinians with enormous empathy and glistening clarity . . . The vivid translations by Fady Joudah will jostle readers into discomfort and pin Al-Hayyat’s stunning voice into their ears.”—Booklist

“Abu Al-Hayyat explores the broader political and geographic aspects of Palestinian life under colonial rule while at the same time interweaving the quotidian aspects of life and loss in such settings. Within these frictions of exterior trauma and private contemplations, large constraints and small freedoms, these poems soar.”—Chicago Review of Books

Gaza: The Longest Siege in Modern History


Video recorded October 3, 2022

In 1948, the tiny Gaza Strip was cut off from the rest of historic Palestine, absorbing a huge number of Palestinian refugees who were ethnically cleansed from their ancestral lands.

In 1967, it was militarily occupied by Israeli forces, its inhabitants suffering from a plethora of colonial domination techniques and movement restrictions over the subsequent decades.

An unprecedented land, air, and sea blockade was imposed on Gaza since June 2007, constituting the longest siege in modern history.

As the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 has noted in her latest report: “Israel’s apparent strategy is the indefinite warehousing of an unwanted population of two million Palestinians, whom it has confined to a narrow strip of land through its comprehensive 15-year-old air, land and sea blockade.” 

The outcome has been a harrowing process of de-development resulting, as the UN Special Rapporteur notes, “in a 45 percent unemployment rate, a 60 percent poverty rate and with 80 percent of the population dependent on some form of international assistance, in significant part because of the hermetic sealing of Gaza’s access to the outside world”. 

Besides this siege imposed by the Israeli state with Egyptian state collusion, the Palestinian people living in Gaza have been assaulted and bombarded by Israeli forces from land, sea, and air on a regular basis. Their cities, villages, and refugee camps have suffered from several Israeli military invasions, which have led to the killing of thousands and the maiming of tens of thousands of Palestinians. Centering the voices of Palestinian scholars and intellectuals from Gaza, this panel examines the political and historic context of this process, accounting for its enormous human toll but also highlighting the ongoing will to resist this oppressive colonial present.


Hosted by Darwish Visiting Professor in Palestinian Studies, Abdel Razzaq Takriti

Panelists:
Jehad Abusalim, PhD candidate, History and Hebrew and Judaic Studies Joint Program, New York University
Aya Al-Ghazzawi , Writer, English language teacher, Palestinian Ministry of Education
Swee Chai Ang , Orthopedic surgeon, Author
Hadeel Assali, Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Lecturer, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University
Fady Joudah, Physician, Poet, Translator 

All About the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Definition of Antisemitism

Eyewitness Palestine, 17 October 2022

It’s been a busy past few months for us at Eyewitness Palestine, but an important part of this work is keeping our ears to the ground when it comes to the pressing issues that we want to ensure we give our base as many resources on as possible.

With that in mind, we hope that you will be able to join us Wednesday, October 19th at 12 pm CT for All About IHRA: A Policy Webinar featuring Lina Assi, Advocacy Manager at Palestine Legal!

As we know all too well, one of the ongoing strategies that Zionist organizations are using to censor Palestine organizing and activism is to pass definitions of antisemitism that falsely equate criticism of Israel with racism.

Join us on the 19th to hear all about the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, or IHRA definition of antisemitism, how it’s been implemented so far, and what YOU can do to take action against this latest attempt at repressing the movement for Palestinian freedom and equality. Read more about the IHRA definition of antisemitism here.

A bit more about our expert:

Lina Assi is a Palestinian community organizer with the Palestinian Youth Movement. Since 2014, Lina has been organizing for the Palestine movement both in Canada and the US. In 2014, she helped to pass a historic BDS resolution at McMaster University that mobilized over 600 students.

Over the years, Lina’s work has been focused on developing political education materials, conducting oral history narrative interviews of Palestinian community members, local grassroots community organizing, and mutual aid work servicing working-class and refugee Arab communities.

Lina has interned at UNIFOR’s Education department where assisted in developing union course curriculum on globalization and labor. During her graduate program, she served as Equity Officer for the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 3906, hosting educational forums on Palestine through the lens of labor internationalism for union membership.

Lina has also worked as an academic research assistant exploring various topics including Palestinian working-class identity and Palestinian youth organizing in North America.

Lina earned her BA in Political Science and Labor Studies, and an MA in Labor Studies at McMaster University. Her dissertation focused on the Palestinian labor movement in the Post-Oslo era. 

This webinar is public and open to all Eyewitness Palestine supporters. Register today!

Looking forward to building with you all!

Omar Zahzah
Education and Advocacy Coordinator

October 14-23 Global Week of Action

Palestinian Youth Movement, Oct 11, 2022

We, the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), call upon all supporters of the Palestinian struggle to join us on October 14th – 23rd for a week of action in support of Palestinian political prisoners and their fight for freedom and dignity.

On September 25th, 30 Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli military prisons began an indefinite hunger strike calling for an end to their “administrative detention.”

Administrative detention is a systematic policy of arbitrary imprisonment whereby the Zionist state detains Palestinians and incarcerates them, without charge or trial, for an indefinite period.

The policy is one of the many colonial tactics used by the occupation to routinely target, harass, intimidate, and silence Palestinian youth and organizers who become a symbol of hope for their people.

Read our full statement on our website to learn more about the strike and how you can get involved. We look forward to your participation!

Emergency Zoom on Conditions in the West Bank

In this time of crisis, I invite you to an

Emergency Zoom Forum with the UN: Conditions on the Ground in the West Bank
Sunday, October 16th, at 1pm CT
Register for Sunday’s Zoom Forum

Who: Our guest speaker is the U.N.’s West Bank Field Coordinator, Jonathan Whittall, who will be calling in from Jerusalem.

  • Before he joined UNOCHA, he spent 5 years as Director of the Humanitarian Analysis Department at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders)
  • As head of the humanitarian innovation team supporting MSF operations in conflict, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Syria, Ukraine and South Sudan, focusing on negotiating humanitarian access

What: In this hour long Zoom forum, Jonathan Whittall will focus on the West Bank — including the recent escalation in violence, Israeli Military closure of Palestinian communities, loss of life, and the ongoing humanitarian crisis — and encourage discussion of ways to de-escalate and ensure the safety and security of all.

Why: A midnight phone call with the U.N. helped shed light on something that might help: Congressional intervention. Now is the time when calls from your members of Congress can ease tensions and ensure the safety and security of all, especially for Palestinian children and families. I fear Congress won’t do the right thing unless you, their constituents, ask.  

Email Congress Now to express your concern and invite them to their own RA Zoom briefing with the U.N.

The Sunday Zoom Forum is an important opportunity for you to hear about what is happening on the ground in the West Bank, ask questions, and share ideas.

Click this link to register for the Zoom Forum on Sunday

We look forward to seeing you on Sunday.

Sincerely,Donna Baranski-WalkerFounder and Executive Director, Rebuilding Alliance

P.S. Al Jazeera in Jerusalem reported this in Arabic on Friday, 10/14, ‘In light of prominent Palestinian models for decades, civil disobedience SUCCEEDS in breaking the siege of Shuafat camp’It includes a history of Palestinian nonviolent civil disobedience movements. You can use Google Translate to read it.

Jewish Webinar Series on Israel-Palestine

The Shaarei Shamayim synagogue in Madison, along with other Reconstructionist synagogues around the country, is hosting this series about Israel/Palestine:

After a month-long break for the Jewish holidays, we return to our series Expanding Our Conversation on Israel-Palestine with a renewed commitment to engage in a deep and respectful conversation as we learn from our speakers and from one another.

Join us this Tuesday, October 18 at 7:00 p.m. CT. Nadia Saah will present “The Nakba: Palestinian History Through Testimonies and Images.”

“The Nakba: Palestinian History Through Testimonies and Images” The Nakba (Catastrophe) began in 1948 when Israeli troops forcibly expelled over 700,000 Palestinians and destroyed over 500 Palestinian villages. Saah argues that a sustainable future in Palestine/Israel can only emerge in the presence of justice. A first step toward that future is facing the realities of the Nakba and its impact on Palestinian lives. She will review evidence using eyewitness accounts, images, and testimony of the descendants of Palestinians who were forced into exile. She will also discuss the ongoing Nakba that Palestinians endure.

Bio of Nadia Saah Nadia Saah founded and directs Project48, a cross-platform initiative to advance awareness of the Palestinian Nakba.  She has served as campaign director and strategist for media companies, rights organizations, and foundations. She also produces and consults on Palestine-themed film and television projects and on campaigns that seek a just, sustainable future in Palestine/Israel. She was Deputy Director of the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU), and she currently serves on the boards of Jewish Currents, UNRWA USA, and the Adalah Justice Project.

Please consider making a donation to advance these conversations and the future of this project.

This series is organized independently and co-sponsored by several Reconstructionist congregations – Congregation Shaarei Shamayim, Havurah Shalom Israel/Palestine Committee, Kadima Reconstructionist Community, Kol Tzedek, Mishkan Shalom, and Or Haneshamah.

L’shalom,Joel, Diana, Marcy, Sue, Rebecca, Brian, and Laurie

P.S. We are pleased that many of you heard the extraordinary presentation in September by Professor Rashid Khalidi, the first speaker in our series. If you were unable to attend, we encourage you to watch the recording:

Please join us for future talks in our series; read presentation descriptions and bios here.

Our programs begin at 8:00 p.m. EST, 7:00 p.m. CST, and 5:00 p.m. PST. On November 1, we will open the room half an hour early for an optional screening of the short film “The Present.”

  • November 1:  Yafa Jarrar, “The West Bank: Life under Apartheid”
  • November 15:  Basma Fahoum, “Palestinian Citizens of Israel”
  • November 29:  Jehad Abusalim, “Light in Gaza: Reflections on Gaza’s Past, Present, and Future”
  • December 13:  Sa’ed Atshan, “Jerusalem: The Politics of Coexistence”

Nora Feder-Johnson
Interim Events and Membership Coordinator
www.shamayim.org

Progressives Exposing Israeli Apartheid

Join AMP on Thursday, October 13th @ 5:30 PM CT for a webinar:
“From Grassroots to Congress: Progressives Exposing Israeli Apartheid”

During Americans for Justice in Palestine (AJP Action) Advocacy Days, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib remarked that “you cannot claim to hold progressive values yet back Israel‘s apartheid government.” She was absolutely right, and recent polls have proven this fact, as net sympathy for Israel has waned in the last few years, especially among progressives, and young people.

It’s not surprising therefore that Israeli apologists in the media, and in congress, resort to smear campaigns and unwarranted attacks against progressives who defend Palestinian rights and condemn Israeli apartheid. However, it’s clear that Israel is losing the battle in the court of public opinion, and it’s our job on the ground to push our elected officials to do what’s right and stand for justice and democratic values.

Join us tomorrow Thursday, October 13th @ 5:30 PM CT for this important webinar where I will be hosting a live discussion on Facebook and YouTube with our wonderful guests: 

  • Josh Reubner: Director of Government Relations at the Institute for Middle East Understanding

  • Beth Miller: Senior Government Affairs Manager for Jewish Voice for Peace Action

  • Katie Halper: National Director of Living Liberally

  • Eva Borgwardt: Political Director at IfNotNow

Please share this webinar on (Facebook, Twitter & Instagram), watch on YouTube, and be sure to invite your friends and family to tune in.

We look forward to having you join us on October 13th @ 5:30 PM CT.

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Update: On-The-Ground Jewish Solidarity with Masafer Yatta

Thanks to those who attended our webinar “On the Ground Jewish Solidarity with Palestinian Resistance in Masafer Yatta” with Peter Beinart, Awdah Hathaleen, Nur Zahor, and Zack Witus. If you didn’t have a chance to see it, you can watch the recording. The testimony by our panelists was emotional and powerful.

It was apparent that the expulsion of Palestinians from Masafer Yatta is happening right under our noses in daily increments. Many left the webinar wanting to take action. Below are resources and suggested actions for you to take today!

Resource Links

TAKE ACTION NOW


REGISTER HERE

 

Join us for an exciting webinar, moderated by Peter Beinart, exploring the role of Jewish activists as they join Palestinian-led resistance to the escalating violence of the Israeli occupation. Together, they stand against the state policy enabling daily army and settler violence, home demolitions, and mass expulsions in Masafer Yatta.

The webinar will focus on the connections between Jews (diaspora and Israeli) and Palestinians in the justice movement in Masafer Yatta. We will discuss the imbalance of power and the responsibility Jewish activists have in standing in solidarity, the personal transformations that take place through this work together, how each of the speakers carries this work forward, and the central importance that this joint struggle activism has. Going beyond personal connections, the work creates space for us to stand up together against Israeli settler and army violence and oppression, and make an impact today and in the future.

  • Peter Beinart, moderator – journalist and professor of journalism at CUNY.
  • Nur Zahor – an Israeli Arabic and Hebrew teacher and activist in Masafer Yatta.
  • Awdah Hathaleen – Palestinian Human rights activist, English teacher, and journalist from Masafer Yatta
  • Zak Witus – Young Leadership & Education Coordinator for New Israel Fund and a recent participant in the Center For Jewish Nonviolence Sustained Solidarity Hineinu delegation in Masafer Yatta.

South Hebron Hills Watch is a group of Israeli American volunteers who forged a strong connection with Palestinian residents of the South Hebron Hills and Jewish activists who are providing witness and physical support to these communities. We are not affiliated with any political party or organization but partner with like-minded people and organizations that support nonviolent activity on the ground and amplify the plight of these Palestinian families in the face of a broader effort to remove them from their lands. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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