JAI Eye on Palestine: April 15, 2016

JAI Eye on Palestine: April 15, 2016

The YMCA-YWCA Joint Advocacy Initiative issues this bi-weekly newsletter to keep you updated on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories related to the Israeli occupation.

Jordan’s Muslim King Abdullah to Fund Restoration of Jesus’ Tomb in Holy Sepulchre

“His Majesty King Abdullah II has issued a Royal Benefaction (makruma) to provide for the restoration of Jesus’ Tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, at His Majesty’s personal expense.” The news was announced by Jordanian press agency Petra, which says that the Hashemite Court sent an official letter to the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III. It will therefore be a Muslim sovereign and direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad who will foot part of the bill for the restoration of the niche in the Holy Sepulchre, the place of Jesus’ burial and resurrection in Jerusalem, which has, for centuries, been the most venerated Christian shrine in the world.

The restoration project was announced two weeks ago – the day before Easter for the western world – by the three Christian denominations which for historic reasons hold joint jurisdiction of Jerusalem’s most important church: the Greek Orthodox, the Latins (represented by the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land) and the Armenians. Restoration work is needed because of the progressive alteration of the mortars as a result of condensed moisture from the breath of thousands of pilgrims and candle smoke.  Read more

BDS: Brazilian province cancels cooperation agreement with Israel’s Mekorot

The Brazilian state of Bahia decided on April 2 to end its cooperation agreement with Israeli water company Mekorot. The decision comes after pressure from campaigners from the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which works to end complicity with Israel’s violations of international law.

Civil society campaigners and social movements denounced in various occasions the agreement signed in 2013 by Bahia’s two water utility companies, Embasa and CERB, due to Mekorot’s role in denying Palestinians their water rights. Regional legislator Marcelino Galo, vice-president of the state commission on environment, draught and water resources, demanded a revision of the agreement. This process culminated in the announcement giving the Stop Mekorot campaign a boost.  Read more

France calls on Israel to stop building wall in West Bank

France has criticized a decision by Israel to resume the controversial construction of a separation wall south of the occupied West Bank, saying the move could seriously hamper the social and economic development in the area.

The French Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday that renewed construction of the Apartheid Wall in Cremisan Valley will affect lives of the Christians in the town of Beit Jala near Bethlehem.

“France is concerned by the Israeli authorities’ resumption of construction of the separation wall in the historical Cremisan Valley, which will affect several dozen Palestinian families in Beit Jala,” the statement said, adding, “This wall is a new obstacle to economic and social development in the town of Bethlehem.”

The statement also reminded the regime in Tel Aviv that building the Apartheid Wall was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004. The ministry called on Israel to reverse its decision to resume the construction work at the site.  Read more