Emergency Aid Appeal


First of all, thanks to those who turned out for yesterday’s banner drop and today’s demonstration at the Capitol covered by Channel 27 News. Demonstrations were held all over the world yesterday and today, even in France where they were prohibited by the Macron government at the last minute.

As I write this, live media coverage out of Gaza by Arabic channels is showing the constant bombardment of Gaza that takes place every night. As you may have heard, Israel destroyed yet another high rise building in Gaza, this time the one that also houses many press agencies including AP. Here is a video of the building owner pleading for just 10 extra minutes.

This was preceded by the destruction of 17 media offices and the wounding of 3 journalists in Gaza. Clearly Israel does not want anyone to know what is really going on.

Israel also destroyed a house in Shati (Beach) Camp and killed 10 members of one family.

And there were many injuries as Palestinians protested across the West Bank. Yesterday, 11 were killed by Israel.

The U.S. media is barely reporting and certainly not showing the extent of the damage and casualties. If you want know the reality including pictures please go to Al Jazeera English and Middle East Eye.

Also, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza issues daily reports documenting in excruciating detail the damage, deaths and injuries, including what is happening in the West Bank and to Israel’s Palestinian population.

And for direct, personal experiences and perspectives on life in Gaza be sure to regularly check out We Are Not Numbers.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Emergency Relief: At this time the Middle East Children’s Alliance recommends donations to the Paliroots Food Project.

Action: Four Things Recommended by MRSCP: (from our Op-Ed of today in The Capital Times)

  1. Demand that the Biden administration denounce Israel’s illegal expulsions of Palestinians and the demolition of their homes & property. Ask Senator Tammy Baldwin to follow the lead of Rep. Mark Pocan and others in Congress and do the same.
  2. Listen to and share the voices of Palestinians. Post those stories and photos on social media; Use #SaveSheikhJarrah and #SaveSilwan in all your social media posts.
  3. Support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it lives up to its obligations under international law.
  4. Urge your representatives to support HR 2590, the Palestinian Children and Families Act, which is the first legislation of its kind to have the U.S. taxpayer stop paying for Israel’s arrest, torture, and imprisonment of Palestinian children, its demolition and destruction of Palestinian homes and communities, and the further annexation of Palestinian land. (Pocan is a co-sponsor, so thank him.)
  5. Continue reading

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

And a Facebook video

Reshaping Madison Together

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

Barbara Olson and Tsela Barr: Let’s stop funding Israel’s campaign of oppression


Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021. Weary Palestinians are somberly marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as Hamas and Israel traded more rockets and airstrikes and Jewish-Arab violence raged across Israel. (AP Photo – Adel Hana)

TSELA BARR AND BARB OLSON, The Cap Times, May 15, 2021

For the past few weeks, Israel has intensified a provocative campaign of oppression and ethnic cleansing against Palestinians, focused largely but not exclusively on occupied East Jerusalem.

You can be forgiven if you are unfamiliar with the details, since most of the mainstream U.S. media has studiously ignored them.

Among the major provocations were: looming theft of more homes in Sheikh Jarrah, a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem long targeted by Jewish settlers for “demographic change;” bulldozing homes in adjoining Silwan; protecting a mob of far right Jews as they walked through East Jerusalem chanting “Death to Arabs”; and repeatedly, violently and for no good reason driving Palestinians out of public areas surrounding the Al Aqsa mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, several times even invading and damaging the mosque itself while beating and gassing those inside.

Things got so bad that the Palestinian citizens of Israel marched in the thousands past roadblocks into Jerusalem and rallied in their towns and villages, even launching running urban revolts that very much resemble anti-police violence protests here at home.

Eventually, the Israelis got the response that they foresaw and many probably wanted: rockets fired from Gaza. Now they can unleash their vastly superior, U.S. funded and supported military upon the citizens of Gaza, inflicting damage and casualties in the hugely disproportionate ratio that they are accustomed to. This practice of assaulting the Gaza inmates in their open-air, blockaded prison every few years is publicly referred to in Israel as “mowing the grass.”

As soon as the first rocket left Gaza, the mainstream press suddenly discovered that “tensions are increasing” and that the “conflict,” which by the way was just labeled by Human Rights Watch as an apartheid system, calls for “restraint on both sides.”

And then came the predictable pronouncements from the pundits and politicians of all stripes that Israel has “the right to defend itself.”

Do the Palestinians have a right to defend themselves? Do they have the right to declare, like Black Lives Matter protesters and all human beings the world over, that they have a right to freedom and dignity? That with no justice, there is no peace?

Underwriting this injustice is massive U.S. aid to Israel, currently $3.8 billion annually, which doesn’t include, for example, private tax exempt donations to Israeli “charities” that are funding and driving the expropriations from Palestinians like the residents of Sheikh Jarrah.

Every tax-paying citizen in this country is paying for the military equipment that is used to massacre innocent civilians, illegally detain prisoners without charge, including children; destroy homes, seize land and property, and generally make daily life a living hell for Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.

In appreciation of this largesse, the Netanyahu government recently told the State Department to butt out of Jerusalem. After the “sugar high” of the Trump years, even the slightest hint of disapproval was too much; Americans are expected to just support Israel no matter what it does.

What can you do?

First, demand that Biden’s State Department immediately denounce Israel’s illegal expulsions of Palestinians and the demolition of their homes and property. And insist that Sen. Tammy Baldwin, largely MIA on Palestine, follow the lead of Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan, Minnesota Rep. Betty McCollum and other progressives in Congress and do the same.

Second, listen to and share the voices of Palestinians on the ground and around the world. Post those photos, videos, and articles on social media. Use #SaveSheikhJarrah, #SaveSilwan in all your social media posts.

Third, escalate pressure where we know it counts: support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it lives up to its obligations under international law in its treatment of Palestinians.

Fourth, urge your representatives to support HR 2590, Betty McCollum’s watershed Palestinian Children and Families Act. HR 2590 is the first legislation of its kind to have the U.S. taxpayer stop paying for Israel’s arrest, torture, and imprisonment of Palestinian children, its demolition and destruction of Palestinian homes and communities, and the further annexation of Palestinian land.

Continue reading

May 14, 2021
A Public Affair on WORT

On A Public Affair Friday, May 14 at 12:30 pm, Esty Dinur will be speaking with Mazin Qumsiyeh about conditions in Palestine and Israel.

Qumsiyeh is a Professor and Director of the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity & Sustainability and the Palestine Museum of Natural History at Bethlehem University. He previously served on the faculties of the University of Tennessee, Duke, and Yale Universities. He and his wife returned to Palestine in 2008.

May 14, 2021
Madison-Rafah Banner Drop

In support of Palestinians under attack from the Israeli military and right-wing Jewish extremists. There are now more than 100 dead and 600 injured in Gaza. See In Pictures: Ruins and devastation as Israeli attacks pummel Gaza, Al Jazeera, 13 May 2021.

Campus Drive Pedestrian Overpass
(Parking Lot 41 at University & N. Prospect Ave.)
Friday, May 14
3:30 pm to 5:30 pm

You are invited to join the MRSCP Overpass Brigade.


A Nightmare of Terror Across the Landscape of Palestine

As Israeli lynch mobs roam the streets attacking Palestinians, and as Israeli war planes drop bombs on Gaza, it’s essential to understand how we arrived at this moment.


Israeli forces respond to a Palestinian man protesting in Jerusalem by placing him in a choke hold. (Photo by Menahem Kahana / AFP via Getty Images)

Yousef Munayyer, The Nation, 5/13/21

I have been trying to think of a moment since 1948 when so broad a range of Palestinians have been exposed to as great a level of Israeli violence as they have been these last few days—and I don’t think I can.

In towns throughout Israel, Palestinians have been beaten and terrorized by rampaging mobs; one man was dragged from his car and brutalized in what many are describing as a lynching. In the West Bank, Palestinians have been shot and killed in raids by the Israeli military. In Jerusalem, Palestinian families, facing the ongoing threat of expulsion, have been harassed by settlers and military alike. And across Gaza, Israeli war planes have dropped bomb after bomb, destroying entire apartment buildings. Many have died, many more have been injured. If they manage to survive, they will witness their society shattered when the smoke clears.

The origins of this moment are as obvious as they are painful, but they bear explaining and re-explaining for a world that too often fails—in fact, refuses—to see the true terms of Palestinian suffering.

To understand how we’ve arrived at this moment, it is essential to start with the story of Sheikh Jarrah. That small Jerusalem enclave, from which several Palestinian families have been under threat of expulsion, is perhaps, the most immediate proximate cause of this latest crisis. It is also just the latest targeted dispossession of Palestinians by Israel, which has been part of a more than 70–year process.

Since occupying the West Bank in 1967, the Israeli government has pursued various policies aimed at demographically engineering the city of Jerusalem—again, all with an eye toward ensuring its perpetual dominance over the city. Among such policies are the building of illegal settlements around the city to cut it off from the rest of the Palestinian population in the West Bank; the restriction of movement to deny Palestinians access to and within the municipality itself; the revocation of Palestinian residency status, which is tantamount to expulsion; and the demolition of Palestinian homes. The Israelis also expel Palestinians from their homes, as we are witnessing in Sheikh Jarrah, so that they can be handed to Israeli settlers.

Such policies have created a uniquely potent set of threats, humiliations, and injustices targeting Palestinians in Jerusalem. Yet what is happening in Sheikh Jarrah is not just about Jerusalem but is also reflective of the entire Palestinian experience. Since the start of Zionist settler colonialism in Palestine, the aim has been to slowly and steadily expand control over the territory, pushing the indigenous population out in a continual process of replacement. The single biggest episode of this was the Nakba of 1948, during which Jewish militias and then the state of Israel depopulated hundreds of towns and villages, made nearly two-thirds of the Palestinian Arab population refugees, and subsequently denied their return, first by military force and then by force of law. But the process did not stop there. In the decades since, the settler colonial process has moved forward in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza through the building of settlements, land theft, and brute military force.

All of this would be tinder enough for this moment, but it also happens to be taking place in a broader immediate context, one in which the vise grip of accelerating right-wing, theocratic nationalism is tightening across Israel. Recent Israeli elections brought outright Kahanists – Jewish theocratic extremists who seek to deny any rights to Palestinians and embrace ethnic cleansing—into the parliament in their most significant numbers ever. Right-wing ideologues have long dominated the Knesset, but as Israeli politics shifts ever right-ward, enabled by internationally ensured impunity, there is now increasing political space for the most open and direct racism we have seen. (It should therefore come as no surprise that it has burst out into the streets in the shape of lynch mobs.)

These new depths of depravity have coincided with the possibility that the Likud party, whose leader Benjamin Netanyahu has dominated Israeli politics longer than any other, risks losing power. This is not due to a challenge by those to his left, but those to his right who seek to replace him.

What makes the threat to Netanyahu’s grip on power particularly dangerous is that he is perhaps the most seasoned Israeli politician when it comes to riling up violence by his followers in moments of political turmoil. It is a tactic he has often deployed, perhaps most famously just before of the assassination of his political rival Yitzhak Rabin by a right-wing Israeli in 1995. Since the election in March, these violent extremists have escalated their attacks on Palestinians throughout the West Bank and have rampaged in Jerusalem, shouting “Death to Arabs” as they marched through the Old City. These attacks, fully tolerated if not outright supported by the state, further escalated during the holy month of Ramadan, culminating first with efforts by the Israeli government to shut down the Damascus Gate and then, ultimately, with the brutal raids we have seen this week by the Israeli military inside Al-Aqsa mosque.

Once again, these events, on their own, would have been enough to bring the region to this volatile and fast-shifting moment. Yet there have also been other events, and other shifts—most notably, perhaps, the rupture of an experiment in the politics of Palestinian citizens of Israel. The Joint List, which brought together several smaller parties, once reached 15 seats in the Israeli Knesset, but it broke apart this time as some parties indicated a willingness to back a Netanyahu government for the right price. The failure of this experiment was the failure of the very idea that Palestinian citizens of Israel could have their grievances addressed by participating in the Israeli government. As even these limited mechanisms of representation faltered, people were primed to take to the streets. Just as the election was taking place, thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel rallied in the city of Umm al-Fahem, carrying Palestinian flags, and singing of their beloved homeland, foreshadowing many of the events in recent days.



Nor was it only in Israel that Palestinians have been turning away from institutions that have failed them. In late April, Palestinians throughout the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem were denied the opportunity to express their voices about their so-called leaders in the Palestinian Authority when PA President Mahmoud Abbas postponed Palestinian elections indefinitely. The elections, announced in January, would have been the first in 15 years. But Abbas called off the elections because they could have presented a serious challenge to his party, and his rule, since Israel would not permit Palestinians in Jerusalem to participate in the vote. The denial of even this limited opportunity for political expression undoubtedly contributed to the mass mobilizations we are witnessing.

The representative vehicles for Palestinians, throughout all of Palestine, have broken down irreparably. But that may not be a bad thing, since those vehicles have effectively driven them to a dead end of greater fragmentation and occupation. While many had come to this conclusion long ago, the mass mobilizations we began seeing several days ago in the streets, from Jerusalem, to Haifa, Nazareth, al-Lyd, Umm al-Fahem, Ramallah, Gaza, in refugee camps, and in the diaspora around the world have showed that a new generation not only recognizes this but that they are starting to act on it. These mass mobilizations that have united Palestinians show a shared understanding of their struggle and perhaps even the embryonic form of a united, coordinated effort against Israeli settler colonialism in all its manifestations.

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Rep. Mark Pocan’s Recognition of Israeli Violence


Live: Nine children killed in Gaza, Israeli forces storm al-Aqsa again

Middle East Eye

Follow MEE's updates from Jerusalem and beyond as tensions soar over the threatened eviction of Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah

Key Points

  • Al-Aqsa stormed for the third time in three days
  • 20 Palestinians killed by bombing in Gaza, including 9 children
  • One Palestinian shot dead during protests in Lod, Israel
  • Live Updates

    Palestinian woman killed in Israeli raid on her home in Gaza
    10 minutes ago

    One Palestinian woman was killed in an Israeli bombing that targeted her home in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Tuesday, the spokesman of the Gaza health ministry told Al-Jazeera in an interview.

    According to Ashraf Qedra, the health ministry spokesman, the total deaths resulting from the Israeli raids on Gaza since Monday have reached 22, including nine children and the woman who was killed in an attack in the early hours of Tuesday on her residential home in Al Shati refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. Her children have been wounded in the attack, but their condition is stable, he explained.

    He added that 106 have been wounded in the air strikes, some of them in critical condition.

    Meanwhile, the military wing of Hamas movement, the de facto ruler of Gaza, said it will carry out intensive rocket attacks on Ashkelon, located 13 km north of Gaza, in retaliation for the night raid that killed the Palestinian woman. 

    World condemns Israeli attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque
    1 hour ago

    The Israeli attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque and Gaza have triggered various international and regional criticism and calls for calm.

    US and UK

    The international community, including leaders in the US and UK, have been largely silent over Israel’s air strikes on the Gaza Strip and the storming of Al-Aqsa, instead focusing condemnation against Hamas’ rockets and calling for calm “on both sides”. 

    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday said the rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel should stop “immediately,” and he urged all sides to take steps to reduce tensions.

    “We’re very focused on the situation in Israel, West Bank, Gaza, very deeply concerned about the rocket attacks that we’re seeing now, that they need to stop, they need to stop immediately,” Blinken said ahead of a meeting with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi.

    US Department of State spokesperson Ned Price said the Biden Administration is ‘concerned’ about the escalating violence at Al-Aqsa Mosque and in Gaza and urges ‘calm’ from both sides.

    US House Representative Ilhan Omar, however, quickly labelled Israel’s strikes “an act of terrorism”, saying it would be “unconscionable to not condemn” them.

    UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Monday that the United Kingdom condemned the firing of rockets at Jerusalem and locations within Israel.

    “The ongoing violence in Jerusalem and Gaza must stop. We need an immediate de-escalation on all sides, and an end to targeting of civilian populations”, Raab said on Twitter.

    Saudi Arabia

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    May 23, 2021
    Virtual Book Launch for Determined to Stay on Silwan

    Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA)
    Virtual Book Launch for Silwan!
    “Determined to Stay: Palestinian Youth Fight for Their Village”
    May 23 @ 1-2 pm Central

    Silwan is a Palestinian village just outside the ancient walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. Determined to Stay is the moving story of its people in the face of occupation. As Silwani youth and community members share their lives with us, their village becomes a doorway to Palestinian history and current reality. Written with young people in mind, Determined to Stay draws deep connections between the lives of youth in the US and Palestine — from criminalization, forced relocation, and buried histories to hip-hop as resistance.

    Author Jody Sokolower will read from the book. With Sahar Abbasi, live from Silwan, Palestine, to talk about the current situation. Sahar visited Madison with the Room Number 4 Exhibit in November 2015.

    Registration

    Shooting revives criticism of Israel’s use of deadly force


    Somaya, the wife of Palestinian Osama Mansour, who was shot to death by Israeli soldiers at a temporary checkpoint in the occupied West Bank earlier this month, holds their 10 year-old twins Nissan, left and Bissan, right, at their family house, in the West Bank village of Biddu, west of Ramallah, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. Somaya, who was in the car with her husband and was wounded by the gunfire, says they followed the soldiers’ instructions and posed no threat. The shooting death has revived criticism of the Israeli military’s use of deadly force. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

    JOSEPH KRAUSS, Associated Press, April 23, 2021

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Hours after Israeli soldiers shot and killed Osama Mansour at a temporary checkpoint in the occupied West Bank, the military announced that it had thwarted a car-ramming attack — but the facts didn’t seem to add up.

    By all accounts, Mansour had initially stopped his car when ordered to do so. His wife, the mother of his five children, was sitting in the passenger seat. And after the soldiers sprayed the vehicle with gunfire, killing him and wounding her, they declined to arrest her as an accomplice.

    Witnesses say the soldiers killed Mansour for no apparent reason, part of what rights groups say is a pattern of fatal shootings of Palestinians by Israeli forces under questionable circumstances. The debate over the soldiers’ conduct echoes that over the high-profile police killings of Black Americans in the United States.

    The conviction this week of former Minneapolis, Minn., police officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd, who police initially said had died of a “medical incident” during a “police interaction,” drew attention to the accuracy of official statements about deadly encounters.

    In its initial statement, the Israeli military said the vehicle had accelerated “in a way that endangered the lives of the soldiers” and that forces opened fire to “thwart the threat.” But shortly afterwards, the military said the shooting was under investigation, without elaborating.

    A military spokeswoman declined to answer detailed questions about the incident submitted by The Associated Press, including whether the army still believes it thwarted an attack.

    Somaya, the widow of the deceased, says her husband took her to see a doctor in the early hours of April 6. On the drive back to their home village of Biddu they passed through the village of Bir Nabala, just outside Jerusalem.

    They saw Israeli troops and armored jeeps up ahead, a common sight in the occupied West Bank, where Israeli forces often carry out overnight arrest raids.

    “I said ‘There’s a checkpoint, Osama, stop,‘” she told the AP. “He said ‘I see it,’ and he stopped like the other cars.”

    She said two soldiers came over to the car with their rifles pointed at them. One of them ordered Osama to shut off the ignition, and he complied. The soldier asked where they were from and what they were doing, and they told him, she said.

    “He said ‘Fine, OK, go.’ So we started the car, we moved forward, and a second later they opened fire,” she said. “I froze out of fear, with broken glass falling over my head and the sound of bullets. It was very scary.”

    She said the car veered back and forth. She called out to her husband to go faster, then saw that he was slumped between the seats and took the wheel until they reached some people who helped them get to a hospital.

    “There was blood all over the floor, so much blood,” she said. “I was asking about Osama, I was crying out for him. They said he was in the operating room, for four hours he was in the operating room, and finally they said he had died.”

    The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem says it interviewed two witnesses who largely corroborated her account. Roy Yellin, a spokesman for the group, said the fact that Somaya was not arrested strongly indicates that the military did not think it was an attack. She has been summoned for questioning next week, but there’s no indication Israel views her as a suspect.

    “The army is not very conservative about detaining Palestinians who are suspected of anything,” Yellin said, pointing to the routine arrests of protesters and stone-throwers.

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