Spotlight on a WNPJ Member Group - Madison Rafah Sister City Project

Created in 2003, the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project was founded by a group of concerned citizens in Madison, Wisconsin to start person-to-person relationships with Rafah, Palestine.

 

The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project also wanted to increase public awareness of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and to influence public policy for the benefit of both peoples. Their work has centered on providing solidarity and material assistance to the citizens of Rafah and Palestine in general, understanding and educating the public about Palestinian daily life, society, culture, and history, exposing the devastating effects of Israel’s occupation of Rafah and Palestine, and opposing U.S. support for those Israeli policies that have created a growing humanitarian catastrophe for Palestinians in Rafah, Gaza, and elsewhere.

 

Having become the first and only sister city proposal in the history of Madison to have been denied official status in 2004, MRSCP has continued its work as an "unofficial" group and is one of the most active sister cities in Madison.

 

Since their founding the group has raised funds for projects that directly benefit the citizens of Rafah, especially its children. The first project contributed to rebuilding water wells destroyed by Israeli bombing. Since then, the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project has worked with groups in the U.S. and Rafah to provide professional materials to the Gaza Community Health Programme, a playground in Tal Al Sultan neighborhood, clean drinking water to five schools, furnishings and books for the library of the Rachel Corrie Center for Children and Youth, and funding for the Samira Project to aid traumatized children and their parents.  The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project has also raised emergency relief for repeated Israeli military assaults on Gaza. Every year they sponsor a Rachel Corrie Commemoration honoring the American peace activist who was killed in Rafah by an armored Israeli military bulldozer just two months after their founding.

 

For many years MRSCP has supported Palestinian livelihoods by marketing their fair trade products such as olive oil, olive oil soap, kuffiyehs, embroidery, ceramics, jewelry and wood products. 

 

Presently, there are a number of ways to help the organization. One of them is by educating oneself: learning about the apartheid against Palestinians, Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, and how the U.S. has financially supported Israel. Write to your Congressional Rep. in support of Betty McCollum's bill Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Actnow HR 2590 , which according to the American Friends Service Committee would  "ensure that U.S. financial assistance provided to Israel is not used to support holding Palestinian children in Israeli military detention or prosecuting them in a military court. It also restricts aid use for the unlawful seizure, appropriation and destruction of Palestinian property and forcible transfer of civilians in the West Bank, as well as further Israeli annexation of Palestinian land." If Mark Pocan is your representative, thank him for being a leading co-sponsor of this bill. Write to Sen. Tammy Baldwin insisting that she speak out against the forced expulsions of the Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah, Jerusalem so that their homes can be seized by Jewish settlers.

 

Another way to help - anyone interested in working with MRSCP or being on their email list should send them an email!

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Madison/Rafah Sister City Project
Contact: Barb Olson
Address: PO Box 5214, Madison, WI 53705
E-Mail: rafahsistercity@yahoo.com

Website: http://www.madisonrafah.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/madisonrafah/

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Submitted by WNPJ volunteer, Amber Cornelio  Thanks!