Monday, March 31, 2008

Benefit Dinner Sunday May 18th!

Mark your calendar for PfP-Madison's first benefit dinner!
Sunday, May 18th, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m
King of Falafel
453 W Gilman, Madison

Enjoy a tempting buffet of Middle Eastern delicacies at King of Falafel, and learn about the children of Jenin Refugee Camp for whom we are raising funds to build a playground. We will also have fair trade olive oil and olive oil soap for sale.

$20 for adults, $10 for children 6 - 10, and kids 5 and under free!

Space is limited -- email to reserve your place, and bring along family and friends for a fun and delicious evening!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

We Have Fair Trade Olive Oil and Olive Oil Soap!

We just received our first shipment of olive oil and soap from Zatoun -- a Canadian, all-volunter organization that is very committed to fair trade and supporting Palestinian farmers and non-profits. (There is more information about Zatoun below.)

We have three wonderful products to sell, and because of a very generous donor, 100% OF THE PRICE WILL GO TO SUPPORT PfP - MADISON'S PROJECT TO BUILD A PLAYGROUND IN JENIN!

* Fair Trade Extra Virgin Olive Oil -- 750 ml bottles of the best oil you will ever taste! Great for dipping, dressings, and cooking. And healthy, too! $22/bottle

* Four Bar Gift Box -- This is soap made in Nablus, which was the home of the modern formulation of soap in 700 AD. It was a center of soap making for 1400 years. Pre-1948, there were 45 soap factories there. Today, there are barely 2 in operation, and only part-time.

The soap comes in 4 varieties, one bar of each in the gift box: honey, goat's milk, lemon, & dead sea mud. $20/box

* Scent-Free, Pure, White Soap -- hand made by a women's collective in Tibay, a christian village in Palestine. It is made of pure olive oil, with no additives, and has a dedicated following among parents for use with infants, and with people with sensitive skin. $6/bar

ORDER BEFORE APRIL 15th, AND GET A SPECIAL BONUS! Any order of $40 or more will get a bar of the pure, white soap free! Buy early for Mothers Day and Fathers Day! And we'll even deliver it to you within the Madison area by May 1st. Send an email to with your order, or drop a check in the mail to PfP- Madison, PO Box 5091, Madison, WI 53705-0091 and tell us what you'd like (and how to get in touch with you). AND THANKS!

Do you have a book club, faith community, social group or co-workers that might be interested in the soap or oil? Let us know and we can set you up with materials and can help make it a successful PfP fundraiser!

More on Zatoun:

Zatoun works closely with American Friends Service Committee. All the oil goes to Canada, and is then shipped on from there. It cannot be sent directly into the U.S. because they have chosen to make a statement by printing "Product of Palestine" on the labels, and that means it cannot go through U.S. customs. Other oils use different language to get around that, but they feel strongly enough about it to deal with the consequences.

Zatoun partners with the Palestine Fair Trade Association (PFTA), based in Jenin. Zatoun tries to do have as much of the production done in Palestine as possible to support the economy, so the entire manufacturing process -- label printing, carton making, bottling -- is all done there. They calculate that they have been able to contribute $350,000 to the Palestinian economy in the past 5 years.

Currently, there is no global fair trade standards for olive oil. But Zatoun is so committed to fair trade that they pursued certification through a Swiss organization, the Institute for Market Ecology, and had them review their standards, examine the distribution chain, and monitor
them in order to receive certification.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Playground Destruction Protested in the West Bank

Demonstration takes place on playground near Qalqiliya, two days before it is due to be demolished March 13th, 2008

The whole story is available from the International Solidarity Movement.

"A large protest took place today in the West Bank town of Azzoun against the planned demolition of the children’s playground in the town. 450 protesters came from the local area, the village womens development association and the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC), who celebrated their 25 year anniversary at the demonstration. ...

The playgrounds construction was near completion when on the morning of February 22nd, 2006, bulldozers accompanied by Israeli soldiers arrived and demolished half of the park - which consisted of two swimming pools and changing rooms.

The justification given by the Israeli army for the demolition was that the park lacked a building permit for that specific ground, an area which falls within Area C, thus under Israeli civil and military control."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Great News from Palestine -- Playgrounds #6 and #7 finally released from the port!

Those of you that have been following the blogs by PfP national board members Susan Abulhawa and Sonia Rosen (Sonia is there now and her blog is available here) during their time in Palestine know that PfP has been struggling with approval from the Israeli authorities to transport our playground equipment from the port to our partner ANERA.

Just today, Sonia found out that the materials have finally been released! She wrote:

"I received a call from Lana this afternoon while I was in the Old City, and she told me that we have received approval from the Israeli authorities to bring the playgrounds into the West Bank and install them at the two sites. They will be released from the port within the next few days and should arrive at the ANERA warehouse and be distributed to the their respective sites by the beginning of next week.

I am so relieved that this issue has been taken care of, even though I am still disappointed that I was not able to be here for the actual installation.

Thank you to Lana from ANERA for being so persistent with the authorities!"

The playgrounds will be installed in Bethelem and in Beit Anan (the Beit Anan site is at the left -- the playground will be a great addition!) The situation of having to wait so long for the equipment to be released from the port has underscored one of the benefits we will enjoy when we are able to construct the playgrounds in the West Bank instead of shipping them from the U.S. As if the opportunity to contribute to the local economy wasn't enough of an incentive, the red tape we can avoid certainly is!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Don't Forget: My Name is Rachel Corrie tonight, and next Friday and Saturday!

You'll want to be sure to see the one-woman play, "My Name is Rachel Corrie", about the young woman killed almost exactly five years ago while defending a home in Rafah from demolition by the IDF. Yesterday's opening night performance played to a sold-out crowd, and was incredibly moving. Adding to the experience was a talk-back with the producer/director, actor, and Rachel's parents, Craig and Cindy Corrie.

Visit the Madison Rafah Sister City Project wesbite for more information on tickets.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Craig and Cindy Corrie on WORT Friday, March 7th

Listen to "A Public Affair" on WORT (89.9 FM) Friday from noon to 1:00 p.m. to hear host Diane Farsetta interview Cindy and Craig Corrie. (If you are not near a radio, you can also listen live on-line at

Cindy and Craig are the parents of Rachel Corrie, who was killed March 16, 2003 while defending a Palestinian home in Rafah, Gaza, from destruction. The Corries are in town for the opening performance of the one-woman play "My Name is Rachel Corrie." See this post for more information on the performances.

Call in during A Public Affair with your questions and comments! If you can't listen live, you can also download the program to listen later from the WORT archive, available at

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Catastrophe in Gaza

All of us that are active in Palestinian issues -- and anyone concerned with human rights -- are outraged and disgusted by Israeli attacks on the civilian population of Gaza. Here are some accounts by activists to read:
  • Jennifer Loewenstein, Associate Director of the Middle East Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, member of the board of the Israeli Coalition against House Demolitions-USA branch, founder of the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project and a freelance journalist, wrote this excellent piece for CounterPunch.
  • Kathy Walsh, of the Madison Rafah Sister City Project has written this reflection
  • Sonia Rosen, PfP board member currently in Palestine for playground installation, wrote this account