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!
Hosted by Reshaping Madison Together
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.
Madison-Rafah spokesperson starting at 46:23
Registration link: http://bit.ly/2MHVjgC
Livestream link: https://youtu.be/hybPB0EZARQ
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.
Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas agree to ‘respect and accept’ upcoming polls at Cairo talks
A girl looks on through the window of a vehicle while waiting at the Rafah border crossing’s departure area to travel from the Gaza Strip into Egypt [Said Khatib/AFP]
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.”
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 the Middle 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.
Donate directly online:
GlobalGiving’s World Refugee Week Campaign is starting Monday, June 15th, at 9am Eastern / 6am Pacific time and Palestinian refugees are included in the competition this year. I’m delighted to tell you that our newest project, Mrs. Najah’s Kitchen – Gaza Emergency Meals, is part of this campaign and competing for big bonuses!
Mrs. Najah’s emergency food program is a lifeline to keep the most impacted families in Rafah, Gaza safe and fed during the pandemic with the goal of delivering 200 meals a day, 1400 meals a week.
Just $10 can feed a family of 5. Will you help?
During World Refugee Week, which starts this Monday, this project can win an extra $5,000 and $10,000 if we get the highest number of unique donors and the most total donations, respectively. Additionally, the first $750 of contributions will be matched dollar-for-dollar by GlobalGiving. You and your donation may be the one that helps this important project win the bonuses!
Mrs. Najah, a refugee herself and the head of Women’s Programs Center-Rafah for over 18 years says,
“Hot meals delivered to homes make all the difference in this time of distress because we connect, safely and directly, with women and families who are sheltering in place under the direst of circumstances. We’re also providing jobs to our all-women chefs assisted by community volunteers at the professional kitchen of the Women’s Programs Center (WPC). Working together, we will ramp-up to reach our goal of delivering 200 meals or more a day.”
Thank you for your help, and for all that you are doing in this important time.
You can still listen to an interview with Tarek from Gaza on WORT 89.9 FM’s A Public Affair with host Esty Dinur on Friday, March 27 from noon to 1 pm. Call in at 256-2001 or listen live on line.
Tarek Abuata grew up in Bethlehem and moved with his family to Texas during the first Intifada when he was 12. After graduating from the University of Texas Law School, he worked in Ramallah researching legal and policy issues. From 2004 to 2007, he trained Palestinian youth in grassroots organizing and activism, and from 2007 to 2016 he was the coordinator of the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron. He has been the Executive Director of FOSNA since 2016. In his work in the U.S., Tarek is most interested in connecting struggles at home and abroad for peace, justice and freedom.
Co-Sponsors: Madison-Rafah Sister City Project; FOSNA; First United Methodist; Playgrounds for Palestine-Madison; Jewish Voice for Peace-Madison; UW Madison Students for Justice in Palestine; The Crossing; Bright Stars of Bethlehem-Madison Chapter; WI United Church of Christ Bethlehem Partnership; Interfaith Peace Working Group; Pax Christi Madison; First Unitarian Society Social Justice Ministry; Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ Mission Team; American Friends Service Committee of Madison Friends Meeting; and James Reeb UUC Justice Leadership Team. Welcomed by WORT Radio.
Available for a limited time! Can you help put us over the top?
We are happy to report that we are less than $1,500 away from funding the latest Maia Project clean water filter system for a school in Rafah, Palestine.
This will be the fifth Maia filter provided to Rafah schools through the efforts of MRSCP and other citizens of Madison.
Thanks so much to those who have contributed to this project.
We need to raise the balance of the $16,000 needed to provide clean, safe water for 2,200 students at the the Al-Shuka Preparatory school in Rafah by March 29, the date of the Rachel Corrie Freedom is the Future fundraiser, this year featuring Tarek Abuata of Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA).
For a limited time, we are offering a premium of a 22 oz. Trek II aluminum refillable water bottle with this Maia logo for all donations of at least $60.00.
Donations of $80 or more can also receive a red/black/white & green GAZA logo pin. Get ’em before they are gone!
The bottle premiums will first be available this Saturday, Feb. 29 10 am – 5 pm at our table at the International Festival at Overture Center. You can make your donation in person and walk away with your premiums in hand!
If you can’t stop by, you can send a check payable to MRSCP marked “water” to:
P.O. Box 5214
Madison, WI 53705
Please indicate if you would like the premium(s). They can be picked up at the Rachel Corrie event on March 29, where donations will also be accepted. If you can’t make it there, we will make alternate arrangements … be sure to include a phone number where we can call you.
If you don’t want a premium you can also donate online at MECA.
Another option is to purchase some Holy Land Olive Oil from MRSCP; $3 of every bottle sold will go toward the Maia Project. The new shipment has two sizes: 750 ml for $25, and 500 ml for $20. Six-packs are also available at a discount. If interested in buying oil, please come to our events or email veena.brekke at gmail.com.