A public relations effort by the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs

Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin

Back in March, Senator Tammy Baldwin announced a $798,000 grant so the Wisconsin Air National Guard (WANG) can “conduct community outreach, noise mitigation planning, and prepare for the F-35s arrival at Truax Field.” 

Earlier this month, WANG quietly started this outreach program with a new web site.

When Baldwin announced the grant, Safe Skies responded with this news release. Here are notable statements:

“I don’t have words to describe how dismissive and minimizing she is of the magnitude of the threats, “remarked Safe Skies leader Ellen Magee.

“This is chump change,” Boswell commented. “She must think everyone in our impacted community is a chump to take this seriously. Two years ago, the people in the Burlington, VT area got $6.3 million from the FAA after the F-35s arrived, primarily to soundproof one school, the Chamberlin Elementary School,” Boswell noted. “We have 59 schools and daycares within three miles of Truax. Can you even imagine how much it will cost to soundproof all those schools?”

“The most hypocritical and insulting part of Baldwin’s press release,” Boswell said, “was her claim that this government grant is to conduct community outreach. The community has been “reaching out” to the Senator for four years and she’s refused to recognize us at all.”

“Senator Baldwin has failed to respond to more than 6,000 postcards sent to her over the past two years by citizens around Wisconsin opposing the basing of the F-35 fighter jets at Truax,” noted Jane Kavaloski, a retired school social worker and member of the Interfaith Peace Working Group.

“We are going to continue to oppose this despicable and totally inappropriate decision to base this squadron of nuclear-capable, stealth fighter jets in our community, while the Senator continues to lose the support of her constituents,” Boswell pledged.

Not surprisingly, the new community outreach website looks like a public relations promotion for WANG.

On the home page you can sign up to receive updates. The final field for the sign up asks: “What interests you most about this project?”

If you sign up to receive updates, here are questions you can pose:


  • Why was Truax Field chosen for the F-35 fighter jets if it had the greatest environmental impacts and environmental racism of the five sites evaluated in the Air Force EIS?
  • What studies can explain the mental and physical health effects caused by exposure to the noise from F-35 fighter jets on infants, children, adults and the elderly?
  • What is the maximum F-35 fighter jet noise exposure level to the general public around Truax Field?
  • What are the maximum anticipated number of F-35 flights in a day, week, month and year?
  • Can the Wisconsin Air National Guard ask the county airport to evaluate noise impacts lower than the 50-year old 65 decibel DNL it is using for its Part 150 noise abatement plan?
  • Can the Wisconsin Air National Guard ask the county airport to evaluate instantaneous, rather than daily average, noise levels for its Part 150 noise abatement plan?
  • Can the Wisconsin Air National Guard ask the county airport to offer to purchase the homes and relocate everyone within the 65 decibel DNL noise contour as part of its Part 150 noise abatement plan? What steps can be taken so all F-35 fighter jets take off and land north of the county airport?
  • How likely will an F-35 fighter jet from Truax Field crash like the jet that crashed in South Carolina in September?
  • How soon will the F-35 fighter jets at Truax Field be equipped to carry nuclear weapons?
  • How many people work at Truax Field, what percent of them live in the 53704 area code and what percent of Truax Field salaries are paid to people that live in the 53704 area code?
  • Where do pilots of the F-35 fighter jets based at Truax Field live?; Can the Wisconsin Air National Guard encourage the staff of Truax Field to live within the 53704 area code?
  • What steps should be taken by local, county, state and federal representatives to move the squadron of F-35 fighter jets from Truax Field to Volk Field?
  • What steps should be taken by local, county, state and federal representatives to change the mission of the 115th Fighter Wing to an Air National Guard mission that is more compatible with the Madison urban area?
  • When will the Wisconsin Air National Guard complete its investigation to determine the full extent of its PFAS contamination of surrounding groundwater and Yahara chain of lakes?
  • When will the Wisconsin Air National Guard complete the cleanup of its PFAS contamination of surrounding groundwater and Yahara chain of lakes?

Join an open discussion at:!forum/no-f-35s-in-madison
Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin

Hunger, disease ‘inevitable’ in Gaza

Israel’s Sustained Bombing Created Massive Disease Risk

Overcrowded Shelters, Dirty Water, and Breakdown of Basic Sanitation

After more than a month of being subjected to sustained bombing, the besieged people of the Gaza Strip are now confronted with another threat to life: disease.

Overcrowding at shelters, a breakdown of basic sanitation, the rising number of unburied dead and a scarcity of clean drinking water have left the enclave “on the precipice of major disease outbreaks,” according to the World Health Organization.

As an expert in Palestinian public health systems who wrote about the many relationships between war and health for my forthcoming book “How War Kills: The Overlooked Threats to Our Health,” I believe that the looming crisis cannot be underestimated. The easy spread of infectious disease in wartime conditions can be just as devastating as airstrikes to health and mortality – if not more so. Health care services in Gaza – already vulnerable prior to the Israeli bombing campaign – have essentially no capacity to cope with a major outbreak.

Disease already rampant

History has proved time and again that war zones can be a breeding ground for disease. Anywhere impoverished and underresourced people crowd for shelter or access to resources – often in facilities with inadequate living conditions, sanitation services or access to clean water – is prone to the spread of disease. This can be through airborne or droplet transmission, contaminated food or water, living vectors like fleas, mosquitoes or lice, or improperly cleaned and managed wounds.


In any situation of armed conflict or mass displacement, the threat of infectious disease is among the primary concerns of public health professionals. And from the outset of the Israeli bombing campaign, experts have predicted dire health consequences for Gaza.

After all, the Gaza Strip had fragile health and water, sanitation and hygiene sectors long before the Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas attack that killed 1,200 Israelis and prompted the retaliatory airstrikes. The health system of Gaza, one of the most densely populated places in the world, has long been plagued by underfunding and the effects of the blockade imposed by Israel in 2007.

Waterborne illness was already a major cause of child mortality – the result of the contamination of most of Gaza’s water. In early 2023, an estimated 97% of waterin the enclave was unfit to drink, and more than 12% of child mortality cases were caused by waterborne ailments, like typhoid fever, cholera and hepatitis A, that are very rare in areas with functional and adequate water systems.

Other forms of infectious disease spread have also been reported in recent years. Gaza had experienced several previous outbreaks of meningitis – an inflammation of the tissues surrounding the brain and spinal cord typically caused by infection – notably in 1997, 2004 and 2013.

In late 2019, a small outbreak of measles – a highly contagious, airborne virus – was reported in Gaza, with almost half of reported cases in unvaccinated people. Despite a relatively high vaccination rate in Gaza generally, these gaps in vaccination and the inability to respond quickly to outbreaks were attributed by the WHO to “the continuous socio-economic decline since 2009, conflict, and closure.”

And the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Gaza Strip hard, exacerbated by the Israeli blockade that prevented or delayed the import of vital personal protective equipment, testing kits and vaccines.

France 24: “Hunger, disease ‘inevitable’ in Gaza as fuel runs out • FRANCE 24 English”

A system overwhelmed

The vulnerability of Gaza’s health care meant that from the outset of the latest conflict, organizations such as the WHO voiced concern that the violence and deprivation could quickly overwhelm the system.

There are several ways war in general, and the conflict in Gaza in particular, accelerates and promotes infectious disease risk.

Almost concurrently with the start of the bombing campaign, Israel imposed siege conditions on Gaza. This prevented the import of fuel needed to run generators for vital infrastructure. Generators are needed because Israel shut off electricity to Gaza.

As fuel has essentially run out in recent days, this has meant no power for desalination plants or for solid waste collection. As a consequence, many people have been forced to consume contaminated water or live in conditions where living carriers of disease, like rodents and insects, thrive.

Even basic cleaning supplies are scarce, and equipment used to sterilize everything from medical equipment to baby bottles is inoperable.

These unhygienic conditions come as hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza attempt to flee the bombing to the few remaining places left to shelter. This has caused massive overcrowding, which increases the risk of an infectious disease outbreak.

Children especially vulnerable

Already, the WHO has reported worrying trends since mid-October 2023, including more than 44,000 cases of diarrhea in Gaza.

Diarrhea is a particular risk for young children who are prone to profound dehydration. It represents the second-leading cause of death worldwide in children younger than 5 years of age. Half of the diarrhea cases reported in Gaza since the Israeli bombing campaign began have been in children under 5.

Meanwhile, nearly 9,000 cases of scabies – a skin rash caused by mites – have been reported, as have more than 1,000 cases of chickenpox.

More than 70,000 cases of upper respiratory infections have been documented, far higher than what would be expected otherwise. These are just cases that were reported; undoubtedly, more people who were unable to get to a health facility for diagnosis are also sick.

Reports of the spread of chickenpox and upper respiratory infections like influenza and COVID-19 are particularly dangerous considering children’s vaccination schedules are being highly disrupted by conflict. With health services overstretched and the mass movement of families, young children and newborns are likely going without vital, lifesaving inoculations just as winter – the peak season for respiratory infections – arrives.

Upper respiratory infections are also exacerbated by the amount of dust and other pollutants in the air due to the destruction of buildings during bombing.

Then there is the direct impact of the bombing campaign. A lack of antibiotics – due to both the siege and the destruction of health facilities – means physicians are unable to adequately treat thousands of patients with open wounds or in need of medical operations, including amputations.

More death and suffering

Increasingly, doctors are even running out of wound dressings to protect injuries from exposure. Poor infection prevention controls, high casualty rates and high concentrations of toxic heavy metals, among other factors, are leading to reports of antimicrobial resistance, which occurs when bacteria and viruses evolve over time to no longer respond to antibiotics and other antimicrobial medications. This has the potential to lead to health issues long after the bombing stops. Similar trends were also seen in Iraq, where antimicrobial resistance rates remain highdespite the peak of bombing campaigns ending many years ago.

And with many bodies laying under rubble, unable to be retrieved, and the necessity of digging multiple mass graves near sites where people are sheltering, there is also increased risk of disease arising from an inability to adequately dispose of the dead.

While the images and photos from Gaza of areas and people that have been bombed are devastating and have caused a massive death toll – at least 12,000 by mid-November, according to Gaza health authorities – the rapid spread of infectious disease has the ability to cause even greater mortality and suffering to a population reeling from weeks of sustained bombing.The Conversation

Yara M. Asi is Assistant Professor of Global Health Management and Informatics, University of Central Florida.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The facts of the al-Ahli Arab Hospital Bombing

A critical update:

  • Al Ahli Hospital received Israeli orders to evacuate before it was struck on October 17.
  • Al Ahli Hospital had been hit previously by an Israeli missile on October 14.

Ahli hospital bombingStanding in the middle of a pile of Palestinian bodies, the Ministry of Health’s Director General gave a press conference following the mass murder of Palestinians by Israeli forces at Al Ahli hospital, October 17, 2023.

Some basic facts

Today marks the twelfth day since the beginning of Al Aqsa Flood and the subsequent Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people. Since October 7, Israeli colonial forces have murdered thousands of Palestinians in Gaza. The Ministry of Health is struggling to provide accurate numbers, as at least 1,300 bodies remain trapped under the rubble of destroyed buildings—among them homes, shelters, bakeries, clinics, UNRWA food depots, hospitals, and schools. The most recent estimate is 3,478. This is likely a significant undercount. More than a thousand of those murdered are children.

Last night, Israeli forces targeted and bombed Al Ahli Arab hospital, also known as the Baptist hospital in Gaza city. This was not the first time Israeli forces attacked Al Ahli hospital, as it had been targeted and hit by airstrikes only a few days before on October 14, damaging two floors and injuring four people. This hospital was not only housing patients, as well as doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers, but also sheltering hundreds last night who assumed the Christian hospital was a safer place to take cover than most. The airstrike killed at least 500 Palestinians, with some estimates doubling the number. Videos at the scene of the bombing show bodies dismembered, scattered across a courtyard and carried away in pieces. Each of these people were someone’s loved one.

It is clear that Israeli authorities and the forces carrying out these genocidal attacks on Gaza are trying to destroy as much infrastructure and resources supporting human life as possible. In the days before this massive hospital strike, Israeli forces targeted UNRWA depots which housed extra food resources, as well as shelters, homes, and bakeries. Israeli forces have ordered Palestinians to evacuate from the north to the “safer” south, yet continue to bombard Rafah, Khan Younis, and many other areas of the south, making it just as unsafe as the north. Palestinians in Gaza remain without access to electricity, fresh water, food resources, and the aid sent for them on the other side of Rafah crossing. Despite attempts by Israeli forces to threaten medical workers into evacuating 22 hospitals across Gaza, most hospitals and medical workers refuse to evacuate, stating that they will not abandon their patients to die. In the midst of murder and death, Palestinians continue to teach life.


As international condemnation about targeting a hospital—a war crime, for anyone tallying Israel’s war crimes during this murderous campaign—began, Israeli forces immediately pointed the finger away from their own US-backed forces to blame Hamas, then the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. These accusations are an attempt to confuse and create doubt, when it is obvious to anyone paying attention that there is only one military with both the intent and means to murder this many civilians in one strike. [The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem issued a statement that it received three voice or text warnings from the Israeli military before the strike. (New York Times) source edited]

Furthermore, it is a common tactic of the Israeli state and military to deploy false information when confronted about war crimes, and reminds us of the initial responses to the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh at the hands of invading Israeli forces in Jenin, during which Israeli forces claimed that she was shot by resistance fighters. Israeli forces continue to spread misinformation throughout this attack on Gaza; you can read a critical analysis and response to Israeli attempts to frame Palestinian resistance here. It is incumbent on those who know better to not only share accurate information, but correct those around them and reach out to mainstream media who consistently have spread false and misleading information. Here is an eyewitness account in English by Dr. Ghassan Abu Sitta, a Palestinian-British doctor who arrived in Gaza to volunteer at local hospitals.

Last night and this morning, Palestinians in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jenin, Nablus, and elsewhere across the West Bank took to the streets across Palestine, standing in support of Gaza and with the resistance against Israeli colonialism and genocide. They also called out the complicity of the Palestinian Authority, and were met by tear gas and live bullets in return. No doubt, this uprising will continue. Across political factions, there is unity among the people in supporting each other and standing against the violence of a state so desperate to erase us. In Gaza, in response to new calls to evacuate certain areas, many Palestinians have stated clearly, “We will not leave.” Despite increasing zionist pressure campaigns on Palestinian communities throughout all of Palestine, including displacement of Palestinian communities and settler attacks in the West Bank, Palestinians are steadfast.

As we mourn, we must take action. We cannot build the new world we envision or create the justice we seek simply by asking for the mass murder to stop. We know that simply calling for a ceasefire is not enough, as tomorrow, Palestinians in Gaza will remain under siege, those in the West Bank will continue to face settler attacks and forced displacement, home demolitions will continue everywhere, and we will still suffer under zionist settler-colonialism. We need an end to the siege on Gaza and an end to Israeli colonialism.

Stand with Gaza and all Palestinians now—don’t stop organizing. Call your representatives and politicians of all stripes and state your demands, demonstrate wherever you can, educate your community, speak to your friends and get them to join in, and please continue to uplift Palestinian analysis and coverage of the situation—especially from those in Gaza.

Below is a list of specific actions you can take:

Until liberation and return,
Lara Kilani

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Good Shepherd Collective



‘Every western politician has the blood of these children on their hands’

Dr Ghassan Abu-Sittah, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, calls the deadly attack on al-Ahli al-Arab Hospital in Gaza a ‘war crime’ that the world saw coming

Dr Ghassan Abu-Sittah, Middle East Eye, 18 October 2023

A view of belongings near Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital after it was hit in Gaza City, Gaza on 18 October 2023 (Reuters)

This is the statement that Dr Abu-Sittah gave in the aftermath of the Israeli bombing of al-Ahli al-Arabi Baptist Hospital in Gaza on Tuesday.

My name is Dr Ghassan Abu-Sittah. I am a plastic and reconstructive surgeon. I am a British-Palestinian volunteer with Medecins Sans Frontieres.

This morning, upon the request of al-Ahli Hospital administration, I moved from Shifa Hospital to al-Ahli Hospital to help out with the treatment of some of the wounded as the number of wounded had exceeded the number of beds in the hospital.

We had been operating all day and had made the decision that in order to continue operating on these patients, I would stay behind and sleep at the hospital.

In the evening, after we finished one of the surgeries, we heard a missile screech followed by a huge explosion. As a result of the explosion, part of the ceiling of the operating room fell in.

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As I moved towards the outside of the operating room and towards the emergency department, we could see bodies of children piled up, both dead (not moving) and wounded.


‘Bodies piled up’

There were several victims who had been amputated. I attended to a man who had his leg blown off at the thigh. We then carried on trying to resuscitate the patients. When the ambulance came, I decided to help out by carrying one of the wounded who had shrapnel in his neck into the ambulance.

As I was walking towards the ambulance there were body parts everywhere and there were bodies piled up in the courtyard of the hospital. I then got into the ambulance and escorted the patient back to Shifa Hospital.

Follow Middle East Eye’s live coverage  for all the latest on the Israel-Palestine war

This morning, when I drove into al-Ahli Hospital, I noted how full the hospital courtyard was with families who had sought refuge inside the hospital thinking that it would be a safe haven. It’s these very same families who are now either dead or critically wounded as a result of this attack.

Israel-Palestine war: The blood of Gaza is on the West’s hands as much as Israel’s

Read More »

This is a war crime that the world had seen coming. Israel has been warning the entire world that it was going to attack Palestinian hospitals and it did exactly that.

Every western politician who has declared unconditional support for Israel’s war effort on the Palestinian people has the blood of these children on their hands.

That unconditional support is what led us to this massacre. The impunity that Israel believes it has from its western allies is what has led to this massacre.

No other country feels the impunity to target hospitals and get away with it.

What happened today is a war crime and if the Israelis get away with it again then more war crimes will be committed and more hospitals will be targeted.

The views expressed in this statement belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Dr Ghassan Abu-Sittah is a British-Palestinian Associate Professor of Surgery and a Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon. He has worked as a war surgeon in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, South Lebanon and during the five wars in the Gaza Strip, including the latest attack. His work was featured by numerous newspapers and media outlets, including La Monde, The Independent, Telegraph, BBC and CNN.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.

Tragedy in Gaza after 21 people die in fire

The Abu Rayya tragedy is a direct result of the blockade, as frequent power cuts have forced families in Gaza to use alternative fuel sources to fight the dark, often in hazardous conditions.



It was a rough night in Jabaliya refugee camp, north of Gaza City. Neighbors could not sleep peacefully after what they saw on Thursday, November 17 — the image of the woman holding the steel bars of the window on the fourth floor, screaming and pleading for help as the fire raged on in the room behind her, lighting up the area with red flame. In a second, she was engulfed by the flames and fell down.

Neighbors tried to get into the building to help her and her family, but the locked steel doors shut them out. The fire burned alive her extended family of 21 people, leaving the exact cause of the fire uncertain.

They had all gathered inside a single apartment to celebrate one of the family’s sons who had completed his PhD and arrived from Egypt a week earlier, as well as the birthday of one of the grandsons. The father, Subhi Abu Rayya, 51, the mother Yusra Abu Rayya, 44, and their sons and families, were among the dead.

Palestinian firefighters extinguish a fire that broke out in an apartment in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza strip, on November 17, 2022. A large fire that ripped through a home north of Gaza City killed at least 21 people, including seven children, official and medical sources said. (Photo” Palestinian Ministry of Interior/APA Images)

Neighbors in the area told Mondoweiss that a huge flame had gone up and people were trying to go into the apartment to help, but were unable due to the locked doors. The police were the first to arrive and break the doors down, while firefighters and their trucks took over 40 minutes to arrive on the scene.

The tragedy of the Abu Rayya family quickly became what everyone in Gaza was talking about, as speculations abound as to the origins of the fire. Thousands of people came from all over the Gaza Strip to participate in the funeral.

“Everyone is so shocked. Look at their faces, look at how it has affected them,” Abdulnasser Abu Rayya, 41, a family relative of the victims, said as he walked through the funeral procession on the way to the cemetery. Abdulnasser has tried to understand what happened, but all that comes to his mind is a flashback from when entered the apartment that day as it was already on fire, witnessing his relatives burning alive.

“One mother was holding her two kids. Both of them were lying down on her lap. It looked like the mother was trying to protect her children from the fire. They were in there for an hour before the fire was extinguished,” Abdulnasser said. 

The Internal Ministry in Gaza commented on the accident, stating that initial results from investigations have confirmed that the family was storing a large amount of gasoline inside the apartment, which presumably is what caused the huge conflagration.  

“When we entered the apartment, we could not definitively figure out what caused this fire,” Abdulnasser told Mondoweiss. “We start to ask whether they kept gasoline in the house, or whether the cooking gas had leaked at the same time.” Abdulnasser confirmed that no sound of an explosion had been heard at the time of the fire.

Mourners attend the funeral of 21 Palestinians who died in a fire that broke out in an apartment in Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, November 18, 2022. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)

Using alternative fuels to fight the dark

Storing deadly materials in living quarters, such as gasoline, unsaved electricity cables, and batteries to light up glow-lamps during power outages, are fairly common in Gaza, explained by the 15-year blockade that has harshly restricted power sources in Gaza. 

Due to frequently scheduled power cuts, people use alternative energy sources to fight the darkness and light up their homes. In 2006, 3 kids in the Al-Hindi family burned to death in their room at Al-Shati refugee camp, in a fire that was caused by a candle they used in their room. 

Abu Rayya’s neighbors said the family used a generator that ran on gasoline, which is likely why the family had stored reserves of it in the house.

“It is a painful reminder of the unlivable conditions we have to endure in Gaza,” 51-year-old resident Abu Ayman Al-Bardwil told Mondoweiss. “The building is now empty. If we had normal electricity, they would not have stored all that gasoline for their generator, and they would survived.”  

During the winter, electricity hours are rationed to the minimum, as some areas receive power for only 3 – 4 hours a day. As a result, most households in Gaza are forced to rely on alternative fuel sources to ride out the winter. 

The Hamas government in Gaza, which has held power in the coastal Strip since 2007, held the Israeli siege on Gaza responsible for the tragedy. 

“The Israeli siege and its ban on materials and equipment for use by the Civil Defense directly impacted this tragedy. The occupation is fully responsible for this disaster, which is caused byt the siege,” Abdullatif Al-Qanoa, a Hamas government spokesperson at the funeral, told Mondoweiss.

Al-Qanoa appealed to the international community “and the free humans in the world” to put pressure on Israel to end its siege on Gaza.

“This is just another other face of the Israeli siege,” Al-Qanoa said. 

Tareq S. Hajjaj is the Mondoweiss Gaza Correspondent, and a member of Palestinian Writers Union. He studied English Literature at Al-Azhar university in Gaza. He started his career in journalism in 2015 working as news writer/translator at the local newspaper Donia al-Watan. He has reported for Elbadi, Middle East Eye, and Al Monitor. Follow him on Twitter at @Tareqshajjaj.

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

Donate Online

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

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

As always, thank you for your support.

Gaza Background
Israeli raids in Gaza and the humanitarian fallout, December 16, 2022
Gaza archaeologists find ‘complete’ Roman-era cemetery, 12 December 2022
Caged Sparrows: Palestinian Stories from the Gaza Sea, December 12, 2022
Israeli warplanes attack Gaza as EU calls for ‘accountability’, 4 Dec 2022
Photos: Gaza struggles to accommodate the living and the dead, 6 Oct 2022
Fifteen years of the blockade of the Gaza Strip, 03 July 2022

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 (; 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.

Mazin Qumsiyeh: Palestine Is a Climate Justice Issue

Join us to learn the environmental reality in Israel/Palestine today, what is being done by the land’s indigenous protectors. and what we can do to support their efforts.

We are honored to have one of Palestine’s leading voices on Palestinian activism and resistance, Mazin Qumsiyeh, an authority on the natural world of Palestine and environmental justice. Dr. Qumsiyeh is the founder and director of the Palestine Museum of Natural History and the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability at Bethlehem University.

The world’s climate and environmental crisis touches every corner of the globe.The most vulnerable and marginalized populations of the world are bearing the brunt of climate change and suffering daily environmental injustice. Nowhere is that more true than in Israel/Palestine. For Palestinians, climate change is not just a natural phenomenon, but a political one. Israel‘s regime of occupation and apartheid, which denies Palestinians the right to manage their land and resources, greatly heightens the impact of the climate crisis for Palestinians, making them more vulnerable to all climate-related conditions.

Yet Israel cultivates an image worldwide as an environmentally conscious, “green” society. It is even considered to be an environmental leader for the world. The reality is dramatically different.

He is also the author of several books, including Sharing The Land Of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle and Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment, and he has been called “the most important chronicler of contemporary popular resistance in Palestine.”

When we gather online with Mazin Qumsiyeh, representatives from around the world will be meeting in Egypt for the United Nations’ global climate conference, COP27. As we will see on November 9th, the fight for climate justice for all is directly connected to the Palestinian struggle.

Sponsored by Methodist Federation for Social Change and United Methodist Kairos Response.

Update: Back-To-School Backpacks For Rafah Kids

135 backpacks to Rafah by MECA on our behalf
More MECA photos from Gaza



The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project is partnering with the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) to provide back-to-school backpacks to 2000 poor children in Gaza, including Rafah and Rafah camp which suffered significant damage and casualties in the latest Israeli assault.

Our goal is to provide at least 100 Gaza-produced backpacks that MECA will distribute at schools and kindergartens in Rafah. The backpacks cost $17.50 each for a total of $1,750. MRSCP will match half the cost of the first 100 backpacks before the end of August, when school resumes in Gaza. 100 percent of your donation will go to this project.

The people of Gaza suffered terribly from the recent Israeli bombardment, which was just the latest in a series of what Israeli officials callously refer to as “mowing the grass” — periodic military assaults on the two million people (one million of them children) with no safe place to hide in what has been called the world’s largest open-air prison.

But even when bombs are not falling, Gazans struggle to survive under the Israeli land, air and sea blockade that deprives them of safe drinking water, medical care, employment, and fuel, and which kills and traumatizes them day in and day out through this cruel policy of deliberate deprivation.

Your tax dollars are paying for this outrage. Please consider partially offsetting them by contributing to the backpack campaign.


School Backpacks for Gaza!School backpacks for Gaza

Send a check payable to “MRSCP”
and marked “Backpacks” to:
P.O. Box 5214
Madison, WI 53705
or donate online:


Thank you for helping the children of Gaza.


AND…Here at Home:

Urban Triage will be distributing shoes and coats to families on Saturday, September 24th, for their Back to School Give Back event!

“Help us in keeping kids warm during this upcoming Wisconsin winter season, where weather conditions can change rapidly and temperatures can reach to -20, with wind chills down to -40! Adequate shoes and coats can prevent hypothermia and frostbite. With your donations, Urban Triage will distribute shoes and coats to up to 75 families at Penn Park on Saturday, September 24th, from 2:30 to 4:30 PM.

We are now accepting donations. Donate Gift Cards and Cash to support vulnerable families this fall.

To make financial donations online, please fill out the donation form!

Drop off checks and gift cards (and NEW coats & shoes) at 147 S Butler St, Monday thru Thursday from 12 to 5 PM.

For more information, please contact Charnice: canderson at

Thank you for donating and keeping kids warm this winter!”

“Cancel the F-35”: Organizations Sign Letter to President & Congress

Rep. Francesca Hong addresses concerns for the arrival of F-35 jets in Truax Field, surrounded by Eken Park Resistance members. CAMERON CIESZKI/CAP TIMES

One goal of this letter is to bring organizations on the national and international level together with local organizations who have been working against F-35 training in their communities for years. Another is to use the F-35, the most expensive weapons program in history, to address the larger issue of unchecked military spending. The F-35 is causing harm at home and abroad in primarily working class and BIPOC neighborhoods. We hope to begin a substantial and sustained campaign to cancel the F-35 program.

President Biden & Members of Congress,

We, the undersigned organizations from around the world, are calling for a cancellation of the F-35 program, an end to F-35 training in residential areas like South Burlington, Vermont and Madison, Wisconsin, and a reinvestment of the project’s funds to life affirming programs. We are making these demands based on the harm caused abroad, cost of the program to the taxpayer, inefficiencies and failures, the environmental impact of F-35s, and the effects training has on local communities. 


We primarily stand firmly against the F-35 as a weapon of war. Although not ready for full-scale production, the U.S. intends on producing countless F-35s to sell around the world that will without a doubt be used to harm people living in the Global South. F-35s have the capacity to carry nuclear weapons, and the deployment of these jets only aids nuclear proliferation. The U.S. already makes up 40% of the global arms trade, aiding and abetting war crimes all over the world. Israel is procuring F-35’s from the United States which will undeniably be used against Palestinians to further Israel’s goals of ethnic cleansing and displacement in Palestine. Saudi Arabia has expressed interest in F-35s as well as the UAE while both countries wage a brutal war on Yemen. The F-35 is a disaster of a project, but also  a potential disaster for humanity. 


The F-35 spending is becoming impossible for important members of Congress to justify. The Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith called the F-35 a “rathole.” Another member of HASC, Rep. John Garamendi had some scathing comments about the F-35 in a HASC subcommittee hearing in May: 

“For the contractors out there, what are you doing? Why can’t you give us a piece of equipment that actually works? You should never have a contract. And for Lockheed, you want a five-year maintenance contract? You can’t do what you’re doing today. Come on. What are we thinking? If I have not adequately expressed my frustration, I would assume that my frustration is less than the frustration of the pilots and the maintainers out there. … The primary maintenance responsibility on this is Lockheed and you gentlemen.”

The Government Accountability Office said the F-35 “continues to fall short of prescribed mission-capable rates and is consistently missing reliability targets”. According to the GAO, the F-35A in 2021 was fully mission capable 50% of the time, while the F-35B was fully mission capable less than 20 percent of the time. The F-35c was only capable 9.5% of the time.

The signatories call attention to the failures of the program to address harmful projects seeing never ending investment while programs that protect people such as universal healthcare never see the light of day. 


The failures of the program make the spending impossible to justify, even from a militaristic standpoint. The F-35 program is the Department of Defense’s most expensive weapon system program. As of now, the F-35’s projected total cost is $1.7 trillion, which includes $1.3 trillion in estimated operations and sustainment over 66 years.  The F-35 is horribly behind schedule, experiencing massive cost overruns with maintenance costs doubling.  The F-35 is not ready for full scale production. According to the GAO, “if DOD moves forward as planned, it will have bought a third of all F-35s before determining that the aircraft is ready to move into full-rate production.” Spending billions to trillions of dollars on a plane that is not yet up to speed with what the government has requested is poor fiscal policy. 


F-35s also have a significant impact on the environment with their high carbon emissions and pollution on local bases. The F-35 uses a significant amount of fuel – about 2.37 gallons of fuel for every mile traveled and around 1,340 gallons of fuel per hour. This is particularly egregious compared to the F-35’s predecessor, the F-16, which used at least 415 gallons of fuel per hour less. One single F-35 tank of gas produces the equivalent of 28 metric tons of carbon dioxide. These emissions heavily pollute air and water sources in basing locations in the U.S. and abroad. Base site construction for F-35 training in the U.S. has also disregarded the need for environmental remediation of pre-existing contaminants such as PFAS, risking further pollution of surrounding communities. F35 pollution is an environmental justice issue, as they are disproportionately tested, trained, and deployed in low-income communities of color.

These environmental impacts do not even account for the role of the plane in active combat. As they’re deployed around the world, we see Lockheed Martin’s jets subjecting communities globally to egregious noise levels, environmental contamination, and the risk of nuclear warfare. The F-35 is also a part of the U.S. strategic nuclear bomber force, possessing the capability to carry and deploy the B61-12 guided nuclear bomb. If deployed, this bomb – and all other nuclear weapons – would have catastrophic long-term environmental consequences.


Currently, F-35 training in Vermont disrupts the lives of working-class people. The training is irregular and Vermonters go without warning of when these trainings will take place.  The noise caused by the F-35 hits 115 decibels which especially hurts and injures infants and children, the elderly, and the disabled. The F-35 has 300 to 600 takeoffs and landings a month

Let’s consider the City of Winooski, VT. More than half the city is within the US Air Force designated 5.2 mile by 1.2 mile oval-shaped F-35 noise target zone centered on the runway. Winooski is a working-class city, the most densely populated in Vermont, with the state’s most ethnic diversity. As reported by the US Air Force itself in 2013, repeated exposure to military aircraft noise at the level of the F-35, can damage hearing. The Air Force also reported that the much lower aircraft noise level produced by civilian aircraft was still sufficient to impair the learning and cognitive development of children living in the flight path of heavily used commercial airports. The US Air Force identified the entire oval-shaped noise target zone as an area “generally considered unsuitable for residential use.” So it was no secret for the state’s political and military leaders that locating the F-35 at BTV would cause pain and injury to children and adults on a mass scale.

In Madison, where the F-35 is likely to deploy in the next few years, Physicians for Social Responsibility Wisconsin has identified the following risks to children from noise and air pollution:

    • Preterm or low birth weights
    • Delayed speech development
    • Hearing loss
    • Interference with concentration, long term memory, reading and math comprehension.

In addition, adults as well as children would face increased risk of:

    • Stress hormones that cause sleep disturbances
    • Anxiety
    • PTSD
    • Asthma
    • Cancer
    • Heart disease
    • Strokes.

For all the aforementioned reasons, we, the undersigned organizations, reject the government’s reckless over investment in the F-35 program and demand its immediate cancellation. The costs of this program to the taxpayer, the environment, local communities, and the communities upon which the US and its allies will wage war are too high to justify. It is time for the government to prioritize the welfare of human beings and the planet over military superiority and the weapons industry’s profits.

We call on our policy makers to cancel the F-35 program, cancel training within the U.S. and reinvest that money into universal healthcare, student debt forgiveness, housing guarantees and more. 

Current Signatories:
Action Corps
Anti-Imperialist Action Committee
Association of Concerned Africa Scholars (USA)
Backbone Campaign
Baltimore Nonviolence Center
Ban Killer
Casa Baltimore Limay
Citizens Against Nuclear Bombers
Community Organizing Center
Demilitarize Western Massachusetts
Divest Ed
Earth care not warfare
Eisenhower Media Network
El Centro de la Raza
Family Farm Defenders
FCNL Lansing Area Advocacy Team
Feel The Bern San Fernando Valley Democratic Club
Feminist Foreign Policy Project
Food Not Bombs
Foreign Policy Team, Progressive Democrats of America
Freedom Forward
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Greenpeace USA
Historians for Peace and Democracy
Institute for Policy Studies, New Internationalism Project
Interfaith Peace Working Group
Iowa Peace Network
Justice and Peace Team, Edgewood United Church, East Lansing, MI
Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice
Kalamazoo nonviolent opponents of war
Kickapoo Peace Circle
L.I.Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives
Lansing Area Peace Education Center
Lauren Faith Smith Ministry for Nonviolence
Linda and Gene Farley Center for Peace, Justice & Sustainabiility
Madison Environmental Justice Organization
Madison-Rafah Sister City Project
Maine Veterans For Peace
Military Poisons
Minnesota Peace Project
National Priorites Project at the Institute for Policy Studies
No More Bombs
Nuclear Ban.US
Our Wisconsin Revolution
Pax Christi Lansing
Pax Christi USA
Peace Action
Peace Action Bay Ridge
Peace Action of Michigan
Peace Action of San Mateo County
Peace, Justice, Sustainability NOW!
People for Peace & Security
Physicians for Social Responsibility Wisconsin
Racine (WI) Coalition for Peace & Justice
ReThinking Foreign Policy
Rooms for PEACE
Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin
Seattle Anti-War Coalition
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – Justice Team
Spokane Veterans For Peace #035
STEM Strikes for Peace
Stop the War Coalition (UK)
The Center for International Policy (CIP)
The Herd of Northern Vermonters
Transformative Wealth Management, LLC
U.S. Labor Against Racism and War
Veterans For Peace
Veterans For Peace Chapter 27
Veterans For Peace Golden Rule Project
Veterans For Peace Jon Miles Chapter 13, Tucson
Veterans For Peace Linus Pauling Chapter 132
Veterans for Peace Madison, Clarence Kailin Chapter 25
Veterans for Peace the Hector Black Chapter
Veterans for Peace Vermont
Veterans For Peace, Milwaukee Chapter 102
Veterans for Peace, North Texas
Veterans For Peace, Santa Fe NM Chapter
Victoria Peace Coalition
Washington Against Nuclear Weapons
WESPAC Foundation, Inc.
Western WA FOR Seattle Chapter
Wisconsin Resources Protection Council
Women Against Military Madness
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom- Triangle Branch
World BEYOND War
World Without War
Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation

National Nurses United condemns Gaza bombardment

National Nurses United, August 09, 2022

National Nurses United (NNU) mourns the loss of life over the weekend in the besieged Gaza Strip area of Palestine due to Israeli airstrikes that killed dozens—including at least 15 children. “As nurses, we are grateful that a cease-fire between militants in Gaza and the Israeli Government has been accepted and we urge it be permanent,” said NNU Secretary Treasurer Martha Kuhl, RN. “We express alarm at the grave impacts on critical health care infrastructure caused by last week’s bombardment. This includes the incredible strain placed on nurses and other health care workers struggling to provide care at the main hospital in Gaza, the Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza City. In addition to caring for patients who were victims of the bombardment, the hospital faces an energy crisis as Israel cut off vital supplies of fuel to the Gaza Strip late last week. 

“NNU joins the international community in condemning this attack on civilians, on children, on health care infrastructure, health care workers, and public health,” continued Kuhl. “As nurses and as people of conscience, we find these acts of war wholly unacceptable. We stand with Palestinian nurses, doctors, and other health care workers and their unions who have valiantly worked to save human lives during this recent escalation of violence. We call for an end to military aggression, to occupation, and an end to the illegal blockade of Gaza.

Recent violence has only compounded the public health effects of the 15-year blockade of Gaza—where critical goods, services, and freedom of movement have been restricted by the Israeli government as part of its ongoing occupation of Palestine. Due to the humanitarian crisis caused by the blockade, the area has been deemed as “uninhabitable” by the United Nations. According to human rights reports, 97 percent of water in Gaza is undrinkable, where 75 percent of the area’s 2 million residents experience food insecurity. More than half of Gaza’s residents are children, the vast majority of whom suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Since 2008, military attacks by the state of Israel have resulted in more than 4,000 civilian deaths in Gaza, hundreds of whom have been children. Despite the United Nations, international human rights, and international health organizations calling for accountability for Israel’s systematic human rights violations, military occupation, and apartheid practices, Israel remains one of the biggest recipients of U.S. aid, nearly $4 billion annually.

“We want an immediate end to unconditional U.S. aid to the state of Israel that has been used to fund the Israeli government’s human rights violations,” said NNU President Jean Ross, RN. “Just as we seek peace and justice globally, and have opposed the Russian invasion of Ukraine, so do we call for peace and solidarity in Gaza and in the rest of Palestine.” 

National Nurses United is the largest union of registered nurses in the United States with more than 175,000 members nationwide.

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:

  • “My brother was the only one who lived the long 12 hours under the rubble with me. He was calling my name every 5 minutes, asking: ‘Omar are you still alive?’ In his last moments, he asked me to forgive him and pronounced the Shahada. He knew he wouldn’t make it.” – This is the testimony of Omar Abu al-Ouf, the only survivor from his family of 17, who were all killed by an Israeli airstrike on their house in Gaza in May 2021
  • “My siblings and I were playing the moment when the rocket hit the ground, it exploded in front of us. I look around and I see my sister, cousins and brother! I gasped and held my sister and hugged her, I could not leave her.” – testimony of 15-year-old Batoul Al Masri who lost her brother and younger sister after an Israel missile hit them while playing in May 2021.

Gaza, an artistic, creative ground:

  • A group of youth in Gaza launched a platform designed to share stories with the world, defying harmful stereotypes through storytelling: We Are Not Numbers.
  • Gaza Mon Amour, a film released in 2020 and produced by the twin Tarzan brothers exiled from Gaza, is a powerful, moving tale and a love story where Gaza’s ancient Greek heritage meets today’s reality, full of humanity and love behind destruction and war.
  • I am 22 years old, I lost 22 people – A painting by Zeinab Al-Qolaq whose home was shelled by an Israeli airstrike in 2021, killing 22 of her family members overnight, including her mother and three siblings.

Only after having unpacked the situation in Gaza can prospects for decolonization and liberation be found.

Though it is not always easy to fight against oppressive forces, we shall remain strong and united, educating, mobilizing and organizing with you from Gaza, to Nablus and beyond.

In Solidarity,

Inès Abdel Razek,
Advocacy Director

Stop the Line 5 Pipeline Expansion

The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project supports these efforts by Indigenous Women to end fossil fuel projects and protect water.

USA, April 27, 2022 Today, Indigenous women leaders, joined by over 200 organizations, representing millions nationwide, submitted a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers urging the department to deny necessary permits for the expansion of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline, and to conduct a federal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the entire pipeline within the Army Corps of Engineers’ jurisdiction.

Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline was originally built in 1953, and continues to operate nearly 20 years past its engineered lifespan, transporting 22 million gallons of crude oil each day through northern Wisconsin, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and under the Straits of Mackinac. Currently, Enbridge is proposing to expand the Line 5 pipeline, despite the strong opposition of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and other Tribes.

Enbridge proposes to route Line 5 through hundreds of waterways that flow into the Bad River Reservation, their extensive fisheries, and the navigable waters of Lake Superior. The letter sent today delivers key information detailing the impacts the Line 5 tar sands pipeline expansion project would have in the region, and clarifies how it directly undermines Indigenous rights and perpetuates the climate crisis:

“We call on you to reject permits for the expansion of Line 5. This plan places massive risk squarely upon the Bad River Tribe and the Red Cliff Tribe against their will. Furthermore, we consider the pipeline construction an act of cultural genocide. Damage to the land and water destroys food and cultural lifeways that are core to our identity and survival. The pipeline would cut through more than 900 waterways upstream of the Bad River Reservation. The U.S. EPA determined that the plan ‘may result in substantial and unacceptable adverse impacts’ to the Kakagon and Bad River slough complex. This is unacceptable.”

The letter also brings attention to the ongoing investigations and environmental issues with Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota, and details Enbridge’s pattern of misrepresenting risks, violating permits, and covering up environmental damage. While constructing the Line 3 pipeline, Enbridge caused at least 28 frac-outs, polluting surface water and releasing undisclosed amounts of drilling fluid into groundwater, amongst other permit violations.

The letter concludes by bringing attention to the global repercussions of the Line 5 pipeline, noting that increased fossil fuel production will not support President Biden’s goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, nor align with the latest United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report which calls for urgent emissions reductions as quickly as possible.

The letter comes from Indigenous women who are advocating to stop Line 5, and is endorsed by local and national groups representing Indigenous groups, environmental organizations, health professionals, faith groups, and more. Please see quotes from the original signatories of the letter below:

Jannan J. Cornstalk, Citizen of Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, and Director of the Water is Life Festival: “There needs to be a shift, to ensure that Tribes and Indigenous communities are part of the process not after the fact but from the very beginning. That’s consultation. Our very lifeways and cultures hang in the balance as pipelines like Line 5 get rammed through our territories and water. These are our lifeways– when that water is healthy enough that rice is growing– that not only benefits our communities, but that benefits everybody up and down stream. The Army Corps and Biden Administration must put people over profits. Allowing Line 5 to proceed is cultural genocide. The disturbances go deeper than you are hearing. That water is our relative, and we will do whatever it takes to protect our water, our sacred relative.”

Aurora Conley, Bad River Ojibwe, Anishinaabe Environmental Protection Alliance: “As a Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe member, I am calling on the Army Corps of Engineers to reject the permits for the expansion of Line 5 in northern Wisconsin. The construction of this pipeline will bring massive risk and destruction. We do not want to see irreversible damage to our land, water, and wild rice. We do not want our lifeways destroyed. The United States Environmental Protection Agency, stated in their own letter that this plan “may result in substantial and unacceptable adverse impacts” to the Kakagon and Bad River sloughs complex. The Ojibwe people are here in Bad River because of the wild rice. This pipeline would cut through more than 900 waterways of the Bad River Reservation. This is unacceptable. We will not stand for this. We are saying “No” to the expansion of Line 5.”

Jaime Arsenault, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, White Earth Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe: “When it comes to extractive industry, the Army Corps has historically chosen not to use every tool at their disposal to ensure meaningful consultation with Tribal Nations occurs and to listen when Tribes say ‘no’. We saw a multitude of preventable environmental tragedies  occur in Minnesota with the destruction brought by Line 3. As a result – wild rice, watersheds, traditional life ways and the wellbeing of Indigenous communities are still under constant  threat. And so, what will the Army Corps do about that? Right now, the Army Corps has the opportunity to protect Waterways, rice and lands in the destructive pathway of the Line 5 pipeline proposed by Enbridge. Honor the treaties, deny the 404 permits and ensure a federal EIS is conducted.”

Rene Ann Goodrich, Bad River Tribal Elder, Native Lives Matter Coalition and Wisconsin Department of Justice MMIW Task Force Member: “Grandmother, mother, auntie, relative to the peoples here in Wisconsin, Minnesota and along the great lakes. I represent Indigenous grassroots community-led work within these territories, bringing awareness and advocacy leading to action for our MMIW,R families. I am a family advocate. I am greatly concerned about how the Line 5 pipeline, all pipelines, and the fossil fuel industry contributes to missing and murdered Indigenous women and relatives ongoing epidemic. We saw what happened at Line 3. Even with preventative measures from Enbridge to reduce violence, there were still documented instances of trafficking and we still see an increase in solicitation and violence. Pipeline projects that bring an influx of hundreds to thousands of temporary workers – they bring this violence into our communities. This is totally unacceptable. How will Line 5 be any different.The Army Corps of Engineers can help us protect our indigenous women, girls, two spirit relatives and people by denying the permits and making sure Line 5 never reaches the ground.”

Carrie Chesnik, Oneida Nation, Wisconsin, Executive Assistant at R.I.S.E. Coalition: “We have an opportunity here to cease the Line 5 pipeline, together. We all have the responsibility and agency to act in a good way, to care for the land and waters. What our communities have known for a long time is that the water is hurting, Mother Earth is hurting, and pretty soon we won’t have clean water for our kids, for future generations. As a Haudenosunee woman, an auntie, daughter, and sister, I have an inherent responsibility to the water and our children. We are in a moment where we must stop our global dependence on fossil fuels– this is too critical, too crucial, we need everyone to stop this. Every single one of us has agency and a responsibility to take action, honor the treaties, and protect Mother Earth. It is the time to be brave and courageous.”

Gwendolyn Topping, Associate Judge, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa: “I feel that this is important as a mother, a sister and a community member.  I have walked for the water and I have spoken for our stolen relatives. I have gathered rice, berries and medicines.  Line 5 will only cause harm to the natural life that our people has passed on traditionally.”

Gaagigeyaashiik – Dawn Goodwin, Gaawaabaabiganigaag (White Earth-Ojibwe), Co-founder of R.I.S.E. Coalition, Representative of Indigenous Environmental Network: “As a member of the Wolf Clan I have an inherent responsibility to protect the environment and the people. The United States Army Corps should be on my team, we should be working together. The government has failed to protect the water— something is wrong. The process is broken and here we are again speaking against Line 5, after the fight to stop Line 3, where we followed the process, 68,000 people stood against Line 3. Everything terrible that has happened, we predicted would. We say ‘No, do not go through these lands, no!,’ and still this continues. Our treaties are being ignored and yet, treaties are the SUPREME LAW of the land. It is time to honor the treaties as the supreme law of the land. We have been through this entire process and realize it was never meant to work for the protection of our 1855 Treaty lands and water. What can the Army Corps do to help protect these lands? We are the women calling upon you to rise to protect all that is sacred.”

Nookomis Debra Topping, Nagachiwanong (Fond du lac), Co-founder of R.I.S.E. Coalition: “We have been through this whole process. We’ve attended these public comment periods, we’ve demonstrated, we’ve marched, we’ve stopped traffic, we’ve put ourselves on the line to stop this, because what we said was going to happen has happened.  I don’t want to hear your excuses, I don’t care what the permit needs. “NO” means “NO”.  What part of that don’t you understand?  Nibi (water) is sacred, what part of that don’t you understand?  Manoomin is sacred, that is our life blood, that is us, that is why we are here. What the State of Minnesota and Canadian Corporation Enbridge have done to us is genocide. We’ve followed the process, the science is there, the evidence is there. Deny Enbridge any further allowance to destroy our mama aki (earth).”

Carolyn Goug’e, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa: “I am an Ojibwe elder, a mom, grandmother, Jingle dress dancer and a water protector. I have grown up on the Shores of the beautiful Lake Superior and have raised my family here, alongside all who call our beautiful area home. Our families sustain themselves by fishing and gathering medicines. I, amongst the many Anishaanabe Women, Men, and friends have taken a personal oath because of our love and for the teachings of our Anishannabe Elder, Grandma, and friend Josephine Mandamin baa, (Anishanaabekwe), The “Water Walker”. Auntie Josephine, she has since gone home with Creator, but we continue to carry on our responsibilities.

Our protocols are based on Ojibwe Ceremonial understandings of water. I (we) walk to honor the rivers, the lakes and the spirit of the water. In our walk we call attention to the sacred gift of water, the source of all life. Oil spills are of great concern to the Anishinaabe people. They have caused disasters to our water, fish, animals, our manoomin, and our vegetation. We do not want pipelines across our counties, communities, or our Mother the Earth.  We, Anishinabe people, we speak for the water. She cannot speak, so we speak for her. We think about our next seven generations and how Line 5 would impact them. Our common denominator of life is water. We know this all from the teachings and oral inscriptions left by our ancestors. This is for perpetuity. I ask the Army Corps to consider this, to consider what we do for the water and how that can guide its decisions on Line 5. I ask the Army Corps to please do the right thing, Deny the permit.”

The Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International – @WECAN_INTL