“Holding Israel Accountable” is the theme of the Rachel Corrie Commemoration sponsored by the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice and the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project. The commemoration honors the 19th anniversary of the death of the U.S. peace activist crushed by an Israeli bulldozer while trying to peacefully prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home.
How do we hold Israel accountable for decades of oppression, displacement, land theft, occupation and loss? At this moment, what are the avenues for seeking peace with justice for Palestinians and Israelis? Five guests, representing many years of experience with this issue, will share their work and current perspectives.
Meet our speakers who represent years of experience with this issue and will on March 16th share their current work and perspectives on the question of Israeli accountability.
Amnesty International recently published a report calling “Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians a cruel system of domination and a crime against humanity.” Rachel Corrie Foundation March 16th observances are about education, community building, and action. There is work for us all to do – locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. With perspectives as Palestinians in the diaspora, representatives of solidarity organizations, and scholars, our guest speakers will help those of us at the grassroots level think how to effectively challenge Israel’s apartheid system and crimes against humanity that Amnesty International, other human and legal rights organizations, the Palestinian people, and Israeli activists have called out.
If you can’t make the March 16th event but wish to contribute to our support for GCMHP in remembrance of Rachel Corrie and the many others lost, Donate Here. Under “Apply my donation to” select Gaza Community Mental Health Programme. Thank you!
Born and raised in Olympia, Washington, human rights activist and observer Rachel Corrie went to Gaza in 2003 with the International Solidarity Movement, a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the long-entrenched and systematic oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian population, using non-violent, direct-action methods and principles. While standing in front of a home threatened with demolition by the Israeli military, Rachel was killed when run over by an armored Caterpillar D9R bulldozer operated by two Israeli soldiers. With annual March 16th remembrances, we at the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice seek to bring attention to the loss of lives, lands, freedoms, and opportunities that have continued since Rachel’s stand in Gaza in 2003 and to build and strengthen the community of constructive, nonviolent resisters of which she was a part.
Madison-Rafah Sister City Project
We are delighted to again co-host our March 16 observance with friends at the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project. MRSCP was founded in 2003 by concerned citizens in Madison, Wisconsin, to forge person-to-person relationships with Rafah, Palestine, to increase public awareness of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and to influence public policy for the benefit of both peoples. Until COVID-19, MRSCP annually hosted an in-person Rachel Corrie commemorative event in Madison.
We are grateful for the support of the following partners who have helped with technical support and getting the word out!
The new unit providing clean water to the kids in Shuka, Rafah (MECA, 12/29/21)
Help us give the gift of Clean Waterto the Children of Rafah
There is a water crisis in Palestine that affects the health of virtually every adult and child. In the Gaza Strip poor sanitation and over-extraction have polluted the limited water supply. Israeli military attacks and the blockade have prevented repairs to water infrastructure. Water to Gaza is restricted and often too expensive for families to purchase from a safe source.
MAIA is Arabic for water, and the MAIA Project began when children at a UN school in Gaza picked clean drinking water as the one thing they wanted most for their school.
That’s why the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project joined with the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) in 2010 to provide water filters to schools in Rafah. You can help today!
For a limited time we are offering a 22-oz. Trek II aluminum refillable water bottle with this Maia logo for all donations of at least $60.
Donations of $80 or more can also receive a GAZA logo pin. If you want the water bottle and/or pin, please mail a check and send us a phone number or email address with your request; we will contact you to arrange delivery.
Right now, near the 73rd anniversary of the Nakba and during Ramadan (Muslims’ most sacred time of the year), the Palestinian village of Sheikh Jarrah is being forcefully “evicted” by Israel as settlers try to STEAL the Palestinian homes. The government-sanctioned theft-in-progress sparked a Palestinian uprising against their brutal oppressors. Since then, at least an estimated 70 Palestinians, including dozens of children, have been murdered by Israel’s death squad, otherwise known as the IDF.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Our struggles are all connected and none of us are truly liberated until the oppressed are liberated worldwide.
We can’t breathe in part because Palestine can’t breathe. Did you know that American police are trained to use the very same disgusting, inhumane tactics that IDF (Israeli soldiers) uses to terrorize Palestinians on a daily basis? Police brutality in America is directly linked to our government’s unwavering military, financial, and political support of Israel’s fascist regime — and we can stand for it no longer.
Join us as we stand with our comrades in Palestine fighting for their right simply to exist and to live free from Israeli tyranny. Bring your Palestinian flags, signs, and banners. Don’t forget to wear your keffiyahs!
Join us for a Virtual Delegation to the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip with We Are Not Numbers, Palestinian youth telling the human stories behind the numbers in the news. The camp was established in 1949 and is now home to more than 125,304 refugees according to United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Join us to walk around the camp and understand more of its particular challenges.
Josie Shields-Stromsness, Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA)
Update for Madison Rafah Sister City Project
The economic situation in the Gaza Strip is deteriorating dramatically as a result of the continuation of the Israeli occupation and the Israeli blockade. The precautions taken to limit the spread of coronavirus including imposing of lockdowns and curfews have worsened the dire situation. As a result, more than 70% of the population are reported below the poverty line and food insecurity and malnutrition pose serious risks to the health of hundreds of thousands of people, particularly children.
With donations from MRSCP, MECA and our local partner in Gaza, the Never Stop Dreaming Association, were able to provide nutritious food parcels to families in need in Rafah while also supporting local farmers and businesses.
We received additional funding from several individuals and organizations in the United States for this project and in total were able to provide 1413 families in Rafah, Khan Younis and the middle region of the Gaza Strip with food parcels. Families were nominated by community organizations in each location and then checked against official lists to ensure we are reaching people most in need. MRSCPs donations of $4655 provide food parcels to 116 families in Rafah governate in the southern Gaza Strip, the transportation, warehouse rental, and meals for volunteers were covered by other funding sources.
The contents of the food parcels were purchased from 4 farms employing 24 individuals and 3 small grocery stores. This project therefore provided critical income to 27 families in Gaza.
Each food parcel contained fresh vegetables, chickens, and other household staples designed to provide each family with the necessary items to make healthy, balanced meals for two weeks. MECA staff member Wafaa El-Derawi is a trained nutritionist and oversaw the contents of the parcels.
We faced some challenges with the COVID-19 restrictions in Gaza. We overcame this by having several distribution points, providing all staff and volunteers with masks and gloves, and by organizing pick up times well so there was not overcrowding at the warehouses.
Some families from remote areas could not reach the distribution points. With help from the local community organizations in each location, we were able to arrange transportation for these families.
The number of nominated cases was more than the food parcels. This was overcome through rapid research to identify the most difficult cases and families living in severe poverty to prioritize their coverage.
Beneficiaries had positive evaluation of the contents of the food parcels. We received many comments appreciating the fresh vegetables and chicken which are unusual in food parcels.
One family in Rafah that received the food parcel was particularly appreciated. She lives with her family – her sick husband and her 11 children – in a marginalized area. Their house doesn’t have a roof, instead corrugated iron board covers part of it, leaving them to drown in rains every winter. The family has no source of livelihood, and they live on food aid. They were very happy with the food and chicken package. She thanked and prayed for all those in charge of the project.
The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project is joining with MECA, ZamZam Water, PaliRoots, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees to provide food parcels to families in Rafah. As always, MECA strives to support the local economy while providing much needed aid for families. With these food parcels many Palestinian farmers and cooperatives benefit, and the end result is a healthy and local package of eggs, vegetables, beans, lentils, rice, cheese, za’atar and more.
Please mark your calendars for this year’s Rachel Corrie Commemoration on Tuesday, March 16, being done in cooperation with the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice in Olympia, WA and featuring speakers from both the US and Gaza (thus the noon CT starting time.)
We are looking forward to this online collaboration, especially since last year’s events in both Madison and Olympia fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic. And we are especially excited to again welcome Ahmed Abu Artema, the featured speaker at our 2019 Rachel Corrie event.
We hope you can join us as we mark 18 years since Rachel’s stand in Rafah, and also 18 years since the founding of MRSCP in January 2003. Besides the speakers, the event will also be raising funds to benefit the Gaza Community Mental Health Foundation and incorporating some action in protest of vaccine apartheid in Palestine.
For the first time in years, Egypt has “indefinitely” opened its Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip, the only passage to the outside world for the residents of the coastal enclave that is not controlled by Israel.
The move on Tuesday came as Palestinian factions concluded a two-day meeting in Egypt’s capital in which they agreed to “respect and accept” the results of long-delayed legislative and presidential elections – set for May 22 and July 31, respectively.
The Palestinian embassy in Cairo said Egypt had decided to open the crossing as a result of “intensive and bilateral talks between the Palestinian and Egyptian leaderships to facilitate the passage of Palestinians to and from the Gaza Strip”.
Palestinian sources attending the talks said they had been told by Egyptian intelligence officials that the move was designed to create a better atmosphere at the negotiations.
Reporting from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim said some were linking it to the Cairo summit and suspected it was “a gesture from the Egyptians”.
“Thousands have already been registering their names with the interior ministry in Gaza, hoping they can make their way into Egypt – it’s their only lifeline to the outside world,” Ibrahim said.
“Many are still concerned that … they’re not going to be treated greatly, specifically due to security concerns by the Egyptians.”
The Rafah border is the main exit point for the majority of Gaza’s two million population.
As 2020 comes to a close, we are writing to ask for your end-of-year contribution to two great efforts: one for Rafah and the other right here in Dane County.
The economic situation in the Gaza Strip was already terrible due to the Israeli occupation and blockade. Lockdowns, curfews and other measures taken to combat COVID-19, while initially slowing the spread of the virus, ultimately worsened the situation. COVID-19 is rapidly spreading and more than 70% of the population is now reported below the poverty line.
MRSCP is therefore partnering with theMiddle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) to provide some of the poorest families in Rafah with fresh, nutritious food parcels. Each family will receive a food parcel with essentials like rice, beans, and lentils as well as fresh local produce and poultry. We are excited about this project because an estimated 20 small farmers and cooperative members will also benefit from providing the produce and locally-made packaged goods such as jam and maftool.
$40 provides one family with a 2-3 week supply of this food. Priority will be given to poor families that have disabled individuals or those with chronic diseases, and to female-headed households. More information on this project including a video and a description of the food parcel contents and selection criteria can be found at our website.
Here in Dane County, besides straining our healthcare system, the COVID-19 crisis has swelled the ranks of the unemployed and working poor. Children may have lost access to school-provided meals. So this year, we are also asking you to support The River Food Pantry.
The River Food Pantry is Dane County’s busiest, offering free groceries, meals and mobile lunches to anyone who comes for help. Located in a warehouse on the north side, The River is surrounded by low-income neighborhoods and subsidized senior housing—exactly where they are needed the most. They provide a mobile lunch program for children and teens and distribute nutritious packed lunches in the neighborhoods on non-school days.