Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition hosts Nelson Mandela’s grandson at launch of Nakba tour

Sandra Whitehead, Wisconsin Muslim Journal, May 23, 2023

Photos by Mouna Photography

Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, the grandson of globally respected icon of resistance against injustice Nelson Mandela, meets members of Milwaukee’s Muslim community.

About 40 community and interfaith leaders joined the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition at the Islamic Resource Center in Greenfield May 15 to welcome the grandson of anti-apartheid activist and South Africa’s first president Nelson Mandela on the launch of his six-city U.S. tour to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, the 1948 expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland.

Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition president Janan Najeeb (left) welcomes activist and South African parliament member Nkosi Mandela (center) to the Islamic Resource Center in Greenfield.

Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, the South African parliament member and chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council, repeated the well-known message of his grandfather: “Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of Palestinians.” In his weeklong U.S. tour, Mandela spoke in Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.

Following the dinner at the IRC, Mandela began his tour with a speech at Turner Hall in Milwaukee in which he called on the audience to consider what they could do individually and collectively to support the Palestinian cause. He spoke about how the BDS movement (boycott, divestment and sanctions) had been effective in South Africa and would work to liberate Palestinians.

“His message was uplifting,” said MMWC president and IRC director Janan Najeeb. “If it is possible for South Africa to be free after 350 years of colonialism and six decades of apartheid, it is possible for Palestinians to also one day be free.”

 MMWC president Janan Najeeb (left) welcomed community leaders to a reception for South African activist and parliamentarian Nkosi Mandela (right). Haitham Salawah (center) represented the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, which co-sponsored Mandela’s U.S. tour.

Continuing his grandfather’s legacy

Haitham Salawdeh, the U.S. Palestinian Community national treasurer and Milwaukee chapter co-chair, introduced Chief Mandela. The national tour was hosted by the U.S. Palestinian Community Network and the National Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression. Madison for Palestine was also instrumental in bringing Mandela for this tour.

Salawdeh thanked Mandela for visiting six U.S. cities “to tell the story of our people. Coming from the leadership of anti-apartheid and speaking on the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, your visit here today is historic.”

After thanking USPCN and Madison for Palestine for the invitation, Mandela said, “When the invitation came, I immediately accepted the call to duty.”

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13 Palestinians, including 4 Women and 4 Children, Killed in Israeli Airstrikes

09 May 2023

Today at dawn, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have killed 13 Palestinians, including 4 women and 4 children; one was a 17-year-old girl, in addition to 3 commanders of the Palestinian armed groups with some of their family members.  Moreover, 18 other Palestinians have been injured, including 4 women and 4 children, in a series of simultaneous airstrikes that targeted 4 residential apartments over their residents’ heads without a prior warning as part of extrajudicial execution crimes (assassinations) upon a decision from Israel’s top military, political and judicial echelons.

IOF announced that IOF and Shin Bet (Shabak) conducted airstrikes in a joint targeted operation dubbed as “Shield and Arrow” against 3 commanders of Al-Quds Brigades- the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

This operation reflects Israel’s blatant disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians and its persistence in inflicting harm to them, as it has the full intelligence information about the targeted apartments and has committed this crime with full awareness that it would inflict civilian casualties. This disregard was clear when a Palestinian doctor holding a Russian passport along with his wife and son were killed in their residential apartment that was directly targeted simultaneously with another apartment for one of the targeted commanders in the same building. The doctor was one of the most prominent dental implant specialists and the Chairman of al-Wafaa Charitable Society’s Board of Directors, a non-governmental organization that is a member of the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO) and runs al-Wafaa Hospital for Medical Rehabilitation and Specialized Surgery, which was previously, and several times bombed.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns in the strongest terms this aggression and is concerned that it may continue and escalate, especially in light of the measures announced by Israel, including the closure of crossings with Gaza and taking security measures in Israeli compounds adjacent to Gaza, indicating that the aggression might extend, and Palestinian civilians would pay the price.

According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 02:00 on Tuesday, 09 May 2023, IOF warplanes fired 2 missiles at the 6th and 5th floors of a 6-storey residential building in al-Rimal neighborhood in central Gaza City. As a result, the two apartments were destroyed, 6 Palestinians, including a woman and 2 children, were killed and 6 others, including 2 women, from the apartment’s residents were injured.

Those killed on the 6th floor were identified as Jamal Saber Mohammed Khaswan (52), the abovementioned dentist; his wife, Mervat Saleh Mohammed Khaswan (44); and their son Yousef (19), a second-year student at the Faculty of Dentistry. All of them were civilians and lived on the 6th floor.

Meanwhile, those killed on the 5th floor were identified as Tareq Ibrahim Mohammed ‘Izz al-Deen (51), a commander at al-Quds Brigades; and his two children ‘Ali (9) and Mayar (7).  Also, the building sustained severe damage while the nearby buildings sustained partial damage.

Around the same time, Israeli warplanes fired 2 missiles at a 2-storey house belonging to al-Behtaini family in al-Sha’af neighborhood in eastern Gaza City. As a result, five, including 2 women and 2 girls, were killed, and 6 others, including 3 children and 2 women, were injured. Those killed were identified as Khalil Khaled al-Behtaini (44), a commander at al-Quds Brigades; his wife Laila Majdi Mostafa al-Behtaini (42); his 4-year-old daughter Hajar; a 19-yeat-old girl namely Dania ‘Alaa ‘Ataa ‘Adas and her sister Eman (17), who succumbed to her injuries at around 10:00, noting that Dania and Eman lived adjacent to the targeted building.

Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes fired three GBU-39 bombs at a 1-storey house belonging to Jihad Shaker Diab ‘AbdulHafez/Al-Ghanam (62), Secretary of al-Quds Brigades’ Military Council, in Al-Jeneina neighborhood in Rafah. As a result, Al-Ghanam, who was an amputee, and his wife Wafaa Nimr Tawfiq Al-Ghanam (62) were killed, and 6 others sustained various wounds, including a child and the targeted commander’s son. Also, the nearby houses sustained damage.

The Israeli warplanes also bombed many training sites of the Palestinian armed groups, but no casualties were reported despite enticing fear among civilians, particularly children.

Extrajudicial killings are carried out pursuant to Israeli intelligence information and those wanted are killed instantly instead arresting them. By this, IOF usurp judges’ role in deciding and executing a death sentence at the same time. Assassination crimes by warplanes have mostly and unnecessarily inflicted civilian casualties that amount to a war crime.

PCHR indicates that that IOF have always used this type of crimes in the recent years against the Palestinians in light of international community’s silence, particularly the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, and inaction to stop these crimes and take effective measures against the Israeli occupation, therefore encouraging Israel to commit further war crimes against the Palestinians.

PCHR reminds that the Palestinian civilians always pay the price of Israeli offensives, warning that this Israeli policy holds 2 million Palestinians hostages of bombing, fear, anxiety, siege, and direct targeting.

In this context and as part of their collective punishment policy, IOF announced the closure of Gaza Strip crossings, leading to a further deterioration in the humanitarian situation.

Fearing a further escalation, the governmental Information Office in Gaza announced the suspension of work and education at the educational institutions and postponement of employment exams that were scheduled for Tuesday until further notice, noting that work hours in the rest of governmental institutions shall be at the minimum and according to the instructions of the director of each institution.

PCHR strongly condemns the Israeli offensive and is deeply concerned over the dramatic deterioration of the security situation, fearing an inclusive explosion. Therefore, PCHR:

  • Urges the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to take serious action into the situation of Palestine.
  • reiterates its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention fulfil their obligations as per Common Article 1 of the Convention, “undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances,” and their obligations under Article 146 of the same Conventions, i.e., to hold accountable persons accused of committing grave breaches of the Convention.

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Latest Israel onslaught proves the Nakba is ongoing

Jewish Voice for Peace The Wire, 5/9/23

Last night, “a total of 40 fighter jets participated in bombing different locations,” reported Middle East Eye. “Another air strike in the afternoon targeted a vehicle in Qarara town in Khan Yunis.” The bombings targeted residential apartment buildings, and at least 15 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since last night. There was then an Israeli invasion into Nablus, in the West Bank, early today. The Palestinian Red Crescent says at least 145 were injured, including 12 people shot with live fire and others suffering tear gas inhalation.

There are several indications this may only be the beginning — the military operation was named, “Operation: Shield and Arrow,” and army reservists have been alerted they may be called up. Most chilling were the words of Israel’s Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir, after the attacks in Gaza and the West Bank. Gvir told the media, “It’s a good start.”

As we train our eyes and hearts on the horrors of last night, we must insist on the consistency of what we are seeing.

Israel bombed Palestinian families in their sleep last night off the same blueprint established at the very founding of the state. The Nakba, catastrophe in Arabic, is not just a historical event, but an ongoing structure of violence. With the 75th anniversary of the ongoing Nakba looming, it should come as no surprise that Israel has launched new attacks in Gaza and the West Bank.

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ADC Statement on Israeli War Crimes in Gaza

American-Arab Anti-discrimination Committee (ADC), May 9, 2023

Washington, D.C. | May 9, 2023 – The world must stand united and unequivocally condemn the ongoing  brutal attacks by the Israeli Occupation Forces in Gaza, which at the time of release has resulted in the tragic and senseless loss of 15 lives, including many women and children. Immediate action must be taken by the global community to hold Israel accountable and bring an end to its brutality and occupation.

The Israeli government is responsible for these appalling war crimes, violations of human rights and international law. and the United States and others in the global community are complicit. These war crimes are a continuation of Israel’s unrelenting, disproportionate, and excessive use of force, which has intensified over the years, and has drawn little to no action from the global community.

We call on the international community, including the U.S., to take immediate and decisive action to hold Israel accountable for its war crimes and aggression. Immediate measures must be taken to bring an end to the current bombing, and stop Israel from further killing Palestinians. It is crucial for world leaders to stand united against Israel’s occupation, war crimes, hostility, hate and demand an end to their violent aggression.

In addition to holding Israel accountable, Israel must immediately cease its military aggression, and lift the inhumane blockade on Gaza. The blockade has caused immense suffering to the Palestinian people in Gaza, creating what is essentially an open air prison, and its removal is a necessary step towards restoring the basic human rights and dignity of Palestinians.

The ADC stands in unwavering solidarity with the families of the victims and with all Palestinians who face inhumanities daily. We call upon all people of conscience to join us in standing with Palestinians in demanding freedom, accountability, justice, and an end to the aggression and occupation by Israel.

Gaza mourns 13 killed in Israel raid

Israeli military said they knew of ‘collateral’ in their operation to kill three Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) members.

A woman mourns her friend who was killed along with her husband and son in an Israeli airstrike on their building in Gaza city
A woman mourns her friend who was killed along with her husband and son in an Israeli air attack on their building in Gaza City [Abdelhakim Abu Riash/Al Jazeera]

Maram Humaid, Al Jazeera, 9 May 2023

Gaza City – Adeeb al-Rabai had just fallen asleep in his home in Gaza City when he was awakened by the sounds of bombing in the very early hours of Tuesday.

“I thought I was dreaming until I realised that the bombing was on my building,” the 60-year-old lawyer said.

Israel had launched air raids on several areas across the Gaza Strip, killing at least 13 people, including six women and four children, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Among the dead were three members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) movement.

Several killed in latest Israeli air attacks on Gaza

“It’s a civilian residential building,” al-Rabai said, standing in front of the bombed six-storey building. “Israeli missiles hit the fourth, fifth and sixth floors which were partially destroyed. Civilians live in those apartments, women and children.”

With no warning, al-Rabai said, “[the] Israeli occupation meant to destroy and kill those in the building.”

An Israeli military spokesperson told reporters the attacks had been to target PIJ members, adding, “We’re aware of some collateral and we’ll learn more as the day goes ahead.”

Farewells to those gone too soon

After the dhuhr (noon) prayers, thousands of mourners in a funeral procession through the heart of Gaza City, starting at the Omari Mosque, where they chanted as they lifted the bodies of the victims, promising revenge for the “major crime” committed.

Dania Adass_s finance mourns her body in the mass funeral in Al-Omari mosque
Dania Adass’s finance mourns and prays by her body during the funeral [Abdelhakim Abu Riash/Al Jazeera]

Shaaban Adass was mourning his cousins, sisters Dania, 21, and Iman Alaa Adass, 17, who were killed when an Israeli attack hit near their home in the Tofah neighbourhood east of Gaza City.

“What happened is a heinous crime by the Israeli occupation, which claimed the lives of innocent people who were supposed to be safe in their homes,” he told Al Jazeera.

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UN World Food Programme to suspend aid to Palestinians

Palestinians attend a gathering outside UN offices to protest a decision by World Food Program to suspend aid of around 200,000 people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, in Gaza City, May 7, 2023. (REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)

Nidal Al-Mughrabi, Reuters, May 7, 2023

GAZA, May 7 (Reuters) – The World Food Programme (WFP) will suspend food aid to over 200,000 Palestinians from next month due to a “severe” shortage of funds, the group’s senior official for the Palestinian territories said on Sunday.

“In light of the severe funding shortages, WFP is forced to make painful choices to stretch the limited resources,” Samer Abdeljaber, the WFP’s country director, he told Reuters by phone from Jerusalem.

“WFP would have to start suspending assistance to over 200,000 people, which is 60 percent of its current case load, from June.”

The most impacted families are in Gaza, where food insecurity and poverty are the highest, and in the West Bank.

The United Nations agency offers impoverished Palestinians both monthly vouchers with a value of $10.30 per person and food baskets. Both programs will be affected.

Gaza, which has been run by the Islamist Hamas group since 2007, is home to 2.3 million people, of which 45 percent are unemployed and 80 percent depend on international aid, according to Palestinian and U.N. records.

“WFP understands the implications of this unavoidable and hard decision on hundreds of thousands of people who also depend on food assistance for their most basic needs,” said Abdeljaber.

Citing security concerns with the enclave’s Hamas rulers, Israel has led a blockade together with Egypt that has put restrictions on the movement of people and goods for years.

The U.N. agency will continue its aid to 140,000 people in Gaza and the West Bank, said Abdeljaber, who added the suspension decision was taken to save those who are at the highest risk of not being able to afford their food.

Unless funding is received, WFP will be forced to suspend food and cash assistance entirely by August, he said.

Chanting “No to Hunger” dozens of Palestinians staged a protest outside the WFP offices in Gaza City to protest the decision.

“The voucher is life, the message they sent us equals death since there is no other source of income,” said Faraj Al-Masri, a father of two, whose family gets vouchers worth $41.20 per month.

In Jabalia, in the northern Gaza Strip, Jamalat El-Dabour, whose family receives $164.80 worth of vouchers per month, said they will “starve to death” as her husband was sick and unemployed.

Reporting and writing by Nidal Almughrabi; Editing by Mike Harrison
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

A senior correspondent with nearly 25 years’ experience covering the Palestinian-Israeli conflict including several wars and the signing of the first historic peace accord between the two sides. Continue reading

May 25, 2023
Dr. Don Wagner on Palestinian Rights

Leopold’s Books Bar Caffè
1301 Regent Street, Madison
7 – 9 pm

Join us for an intimate interview and book talk about Dr. Wagner’s latest memoir, which details his personal, political, and religious journey from Evangelical Christian faith and conservative politics to solidarity with the poor and advocacy for anti-war, anti-racism, and Palestinian rights.

Desserts will be served; drinks available for purchase. Signed books for purchase will be available at the conclusion of the event.

Admission is free. Reservations are available.

A brave humanitarian: Tom Hurndall remembered 20 years on

Tom Hurndall, Youth Of Sumud

Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights, 11th April 2023

Tom Hurndall was 21-years-old when, twenty years ago today, he was shot in the head while trying to rescue a small child in Gaza. Tom lay in a coma for eight months, until his passing on 13 January 2004.

Tom is an enduring inspiration for all of us. So too is Tom’s mother, Jocelyn, who is always incredibly encouraging, perceptive, kind, incisive and caring. We are extremely grateful to have her truly inspiring support as a Trustee of LPHR.

Twenty years on, we acutely know that Gaza is still a small piece of occupied territory in this world – now subject to an intensive closure for the past fifteen years – where children are at substantial risk of grave harm. Many hundreds of children have been killed in Gaza, and across Palestine, in the two decades since Tom was killed.

Tom’s profound courage to rescue a young child whilst putting his own life in danger, reminds us that we must do all we can to soon reach a time when children in Palestine no longer need to fear being killed by a soldier’s live-fire or a military bombardment.

We must strive to rapidly reach a time when a child in Palestine no longer needs to be rescued by a brave humanitarian.

In honour of Tom, and all young lives lost far too soon, we will seek to do all we can – together with others – to accomplish this.

20 years later: Remembering Rachel Corrie

WORT 89.9FM Madison

Twenty years ago today, on March 16, 2003, word came to us that our daughter Rachel had been killed in Gaza. She had been run over by an Israeli military-operated and U.S. made and funded Caterpillar D9R bulldozer, as she stood to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian family’s home in Rafah. Members of the family watched the bulldozer approach through a hole in their garden wall.

Our family’s journey without Rachel, but with her spirit large in our lives, began on that day.
—excerpt from a letter from Rachel Corrie’s parents

Cindy and Craig Corrie join us on A Public Affair to share their daughters story and tell us how they continue to fight for justice and peace in Palestine and the middle east. More information about Rachel and the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Justice and Peace can be found here:

Upcoming Events: March 12-16, 2023

Sunday, March 12: WORT interview with Masafer Yatta Activist
Thursday, March 16: Cindy and Craig Corrie on WORT
Thursday, March 16: Tantura Film and Discussion

On Sunday March 12 at 5 pm, tune into WORT’s World View program for a taped interview with Masafer Yatta activist Ali, who will discuss the current situation of Israeli army and settler attacks and Palestinian resistance there.  (The interview will be aired after the news.)

Thursday March 16, 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of the killing of Rachel Corrie in Rafah. We continue to mourn her loss and celebrate her life. We will never forget her.

Locally, we invite you to tune in to WORT Radio’s A Public Affair with host Allen Ruff at 12 noon on Thursday March 16, 89.9 FM or listen on line for a live conversation with Rachel’s parents Cindy and Craig. 

A Public Affair with host Allen Ruff
WORT 89.9 FM Madison

Live Interview with Cindy & Craig Corrie, parents of Rachel Corrie
Thursday, March 16, 2023 10-11 am PDT; Noon-1pm CDT; 1-2 pm EDT

The Corries will talk with host Allen Ruff about their daughter, 20 years of the Rachel Corrie Foundation, RCF’s kinship with the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, and the foundation’s commitment to Gaza and to Palestinian rights today, as startling events continue to unfold in the region.

The hour-long program can be heard live at the WORT 89.9 FM website here. The program will be archived at the WORT 89.9 website for later listening, as well.

At 9 pm CT on March 16, we also invite you to join a zoom showing and discussion of the new film Tantura, about the 1948 massacre in that village, co-sponsored by the Rachel Corrie Foundation as part of a year-long commemoration. 

Mideast Focus Ministry 10th Annual Film Series
Break the Silence – Stories of Occupation
Tantura: Film & Discussion

Thursday – March 16, 2023, 7 pm PT

Zoom only: Register for a link to this film and discussion by requesting a link at

Our colleagues at the Mideast Focus Film Series at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle will commemorate the twentieth anniversary of Rachel’s death with a film screening and discussion of the film Tantura:“When Israeli graduate student Teddy Katz meticulously documented a massacre of Palestinian civilians surrounding Israel’s independence, he was initially celebrated for his groundbreaking work. But soon, he was stripped of his degrees and was publicly shamed as a fraudulent traitor. Decades later, incendiary new evidence emerges to corroborate Teddy’s initial findings, not just vindicating him, but raising profound questions about how Israelis—and we all—deal with the darker chapters of history.”

The discussion will feature a pre-recorded interview with director Alon Schwarz. Continue reading