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:
MRSCP
P.O. Box 5214
Madison, WI 53705
or donate online:

Donate

Thank you for helping the children of Gaza.

 

AND…Here at Home:

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No Path to Justice

Israeli Forces Keep Killing Americans While U.S. Officials Give Them a Pass


Rachel Corrie stands in front of an Israeli bulldozer to protest the destruction of Palestinian homes along the Rafah-Egypt border on March 16, 2003. Corrie was killed later the same day.
Photo: Courtesy of the Corrie family

Alice Speri, The Intercept, July 13 2022

Nearly two decades before Israeli forces killed Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, shooting a single bullet into her head while she was reporting from the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, an Israeli soldier drove a bulldozer over American peace activist Rachel Corrie, crushing her to death.

Both killings left little real doubt about the dynamics at play. Abu Akleh was standing with a group of colleagues, wearing a vest clearly marked “PRESS,” nowhere near the fighting that had taken place earlier that morning. Corrie was nonviolently protesting the demolition of a Palestinian family’s home in Gaza. She was wearing a fluorescent orange jacket with reflective stripes and had been on the scene for several hours, at times speaking into a megaphone.

In the moments before her death, Corrie was standing in the path of the bulldozer as other activists had been doing throughout the day. As the driver pushed the machine forward, she climbed onto a mound of dirt so she would be clearly visible, according to witness testimony reviewed by The Intercept. The driver kept advancing. When she fell to the ground, the dirt engulfed her, but the driver moved several feet forward before backing off, effectively crushing her twice. The possibility that he did not see her, as he later claimed, defies all credibility. Still, the Israeli government never took responsibility for her death, and while the U.S. government rejected the results of the Israeli investigation, it did nothing to ensure that such a killing would not happen again. So it did.

RAFAH REFUGEE CAMP, GAZA STRIP - MARCH 16:  American peace activist Rachel Corrie lies bleeding while being helped by colleagues after she was run over by an Israeli bulldozer March 16, 2003 in the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza strip. Corrie was killed by an Israeli bulldozer when she tried to stop it from destroying a Palestinian house in the Rafah refugee camp. Corrie was a member of the International Solidarity Movement.  (Photo by International Solidarity Movement/Getty Images)

    Rachel Corrie lies in the dirt, waiting for medical help with three other International Solidarity Movement activists, after she was crushed under an Israeli bulldozer in Rafah, Gaza, on March 16, 2003.
    Photo: International Solidarity Movement/Getty Images

Corrie was killed on March 16, 2003, when she was 23. Twelve years later, on the anniversary of her death, her parents and sister met with Antony Blinken for the last time. The deputy secretary of state spoke to them in the sincere way they had come to know well. “Come back anytime,” he told them as the meeting came to a close.

The Corries didn’t want to come back. They had been meeting with Blinken for years, and they were tired. When he asked, earnestly, “What can I do for you?” they felt frustrated. “I appreciate your kindness,” Craig Corrie told Blinken. “I’m glad you are personally engaged. But unless you engage your institution, it doesn’t do me any good.”

“He’s asking, what can I do for you,” Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s mother, told The Intercept. “But there’s a point at which it’s like, what are you guys going to do?”

“I can’t tell you what tools you have to use,” echoed Sarah, Rachel’s sister. “You need to be telling us.”

Rachel’s killing had brought the Corries to hundreds of offices like Blinken’s over the years but nowhere closer to the accountability they were seeking. Blinken, today the secretary of state, was one of several senior U.S. officials who worked closely with the family during their yearslong crusade for justice and one of a number who now occupy top positions in the Biden administration. The Corries liked him, and they appreciated his efforts and warmth. In emails, he signed himself “Tony.” He always responded to their letters and regularly met with them for longer than scheduled.

Ultimately, however, Blinken failed them.

As they prepared to leave his office for the last time, Sarah told him: “There was a promise made to the president of the United States from Prime Minister [Ariel] Sharon of a thorough, credible, and transparent investigation. Your government said that that never happened; that promise was never fulfilled,” she recalled. “You’ve still got a problem here.”

Blinken nodded. “I know.”

“I think in some way I needed them to say no. If they weren’t going to do anything, that’s what I needed to hear out of that meeting.”

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WORT 89.9 FM: Holding Israel Accountable

Madison Rafah Sister City Project, WORT 89.9 FM, March 16, 2022

“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.

This program discusses reports by both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch that describe Israel as an apartheid state, and the recent deaths of Omar Abdalmajeed As’ad and Al Haj Suleiman al-Hathaleen at the hand of Israelis.

19th Annual Rachel Corrie Commemoration

Register in advance for this webinar
March 16, 2022, 7 pm CT/5 pm PT

Join the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice and Madison-Rafah Sister City Project for Holding Israel Accountable, a commemorative webinar marking the 19th anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s stand in Gaza.

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.

 Guest Speakers:

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. 

Donations to the Rachel Corrie Foundation on March 16th will benefit the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP).

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!

Rachel Corrie
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.

Co-sponsors
We are grateful for the support of the following partners who have helped with technical support and getting the word out!

Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights http://www.auphr.org
Bright Stars of Bethlehem-Madison https://www.brightstarsbethlehem.com
Bishop’s Committee for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land https://holylandjustice.org/bishops-committee
Center for Constitutional Rights https://ccrjustice.org
Task Force for Palestinian Human Rights, Episcopal Diocese of Oregon https://diocese-oregon.org
Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) https://www.fosna.org
The Gaza Mental Health Foundation https://www.gazamentalhealth.org
Jewish Voice for Peace – Madison https://www.facebook.com/jvpmadison
Jewish Voice for Peace – Tacoma https://www.facebook.com/Tacoma.JVP
Jewish Voice for Peace – Seattle https://www.facebook.com/JVPSeattle
Students for Justice in Palestine at UW-Madison https://www.facebook.com/SJPatUW
Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights – University of Washington (SUPER-UW) https://www.facebook.com/SuperUW
Tree of Life – West Coast
US Palestinian Community Network https://uspcn.org

Register HereDonate Here

Maia Project Update

For Over 11 Years



The new unit providing clean water to the kids in Shuka, Rafah (MECA, 12/29/21)

Help us give the gift of Clean Water to 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.

  • Make a donation online. Due to coronavirus precautions, this is currently preferred.
  • Mail a check payable to MRSCP with the memo “water”. Send it to
      MRSCP
      P.O. Box 5214
      Madison, WI 53705

The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project is registered as a 501(c)(3) organization and your donation is tax deductible.


Our History with the Maia Project

2019 — 2020 Our current goal is to raise $16,000 for a large Maia filter at the Al Shuka Preparatory School. The siege of Gaza and lack of building materials forces this school to run in two shifts: the first one girls and the second co-ed. A total of 2,200 students and their families will be able to get clean water from this unit.

Maia Brochure 2019 adobe


2018 — 2019 $16,000 for filters at two schools serving 3,250 students and their families in Rafah. A joint project of Congregation Shaarei Shamayim, First Unitarian Society of Madison, Jewish Voice for Peace – Madison, and Madison-Rafah Sister City Project. Photos of the filters by Josie Shields-Stromsness, Middle East Children’s Alliance:

  • Drinking Clean Water
  • Drinking Clean Water
  • School Yard
  • School Yard
  • Tank & Filter Unit Delivery
  • Tank and Filter Unit Delivery
  • Units Ready for Transport
  • Filter Unit Fabrication
  • Filter Unit Fabrication
  • Control Panel
  • Control Panel
  • Water Storage Tank
  • Filter Unit Housing

http://madisonrafah.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/maia-bro-for-online590.pdf

2013 $11,500 for clean water at the Girl’s Preparatory School A in Rafah with 1,187 students.

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Update: May 15, 2021
Palestine Can’t Breathe Demonstration

 

Reshaping Madison Together Event

Occupation is a CRIME!

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!

#SaveSheikhJarrah
#FreePalestine
#EndTheOccupation
#Nakba73

Hosted by Reshaping Madison Together

July 1 & 14, 2021
VIRTUAL DELEGATIONS TO RAFAH REFUGEE CAMP

Eyewitness Palestine

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.

More Information Coming Soon!

Update: Fresh Food for Families in Rafah

Josie Shields-Stromsness, Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA)

Update for Madison Rafah Sister City Project

BACKGROUND
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.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
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.

CHALLENGES
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.

SUCCESSES
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.

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Update: March 16, 2021 Rachel Corrie: Commemorating 18 Years

Madison-Rafah spokesperson starting at 46:23

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.