Israel Bars American Working With Lutheran World Federation, Access to East Jerusalem Hospitals, Catholic Bishops in the Holy Land Issue Communiqué, and more…
1. Israel Bars American Working With Lutheran World Federation in Bethlehem
Faith Rowold, a U.S. volunteer for Lutheran World Federation, was denied re-entry into Israel January 14 when she attempted to return from a vacation. Faith had been working as a volunteer on a religious worker visa in Bethlehem.
A number of U.S. citizens have been denied entry or face deportation recently. An American journalist Jared Malsin, who works for the Palestinian news agency Maan, also was detained and denied entry into Israel last week.
According to Haaretz, the Israeli “Interior Ministry has stopped granting work permits to foreign nationals working in most international nongovernmental organizations operating in the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.” Now the ministry is granting NGO employees tourist visas only, which bar them from working.
A Washington Post article reports that “Since the summer, dozens of Palestinian and Israeli activists have been picked up…”
2. Access to East Jerusalem Hospitals
Dr. Tawfiq Nasser, CEO of Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem, reports that Israeli police have revoked an agreement to allow hospital staff through checkpoints expeditiously. Now only doctors can access all checkpoints.
To read more please click here.
3. Catholic Bishops in the Holy Land Issue Communiqué
January 14 a high level group of Catholic Bishops issued a communiqué saying, “We urge all people to support public officials who take courageous initiatives for a just resolution of the conflict – a two-state solution with security and recognition for Israel, and a viable and independent state for Palestinians. For us, this is not merely about politics; it is an issue of basic human rights.”
The group represents Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Europe and North America. This year the focus of its work will be on property confiscations and evictions in East Jerusalem. The Bishops meet with the Ordinaries of the Holy Land every year and through prayer, encouraging pilgrimage and political persuasion seek to demonstrate solidarity with the local Church in the difficult socio-political climate.
To read the complete communiqué, please click here.
4. Vatican Document Addresses Root Cause of Conflicts in Middle East
This week, the Vatican released a document suggesting that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a root cause of most conflicts in the Middle East and has made life difficult for Christians who remain. According to a Jerusalem Post article, “the document is a guide for discussions for an Oct. 10-24 meeting of Mideast Bishops convened by Pope Benedict XVI to discuss the exodus of Christians from the region and religious discrimination.”
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