PIEF Post: The visit of Pope Francis and Palestinian Christians

PIEF Post: The visit of Pope Francis and Palestinian Christians

Update from the #Palestine #Israel Ecumenical Forum

Latin Patriarch rejects demand to take down banner welcoming Pope Francis

Authorities in Jerusalem have asked Catholics to take down a banner featuring the Pope, lest it spur attacks ahead of the Pope’s visit May 25-26. Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal in a press conference addressing the issue of images of Pope Francis being displayed in Jerusalem, said that they were put up just as they are throughout the rest of the world, to welcome the pope during his visit. Twal added that in Israel, it is common to put up pictures of athletes and soccer players when they visit, and asked why then should there be such criticism over pictures of the Pope.More…

Israel denies sovereignty deal with Vatican on holy site

Israel denies it had any intention of handing the Vatican sovereignty or ownership on the Tomb of David or the Cenacle following protests by ultra-Orthodox Jews ahead of Pope Francis’ visit this month. The Cenacle is the reputed scene of Jesus’ last supper, and The Pope has planned a mass at the Cenacle, scene of Jesus’ last supper on Mount Zion near the walls of the Old City during his visit.  More…

Anti-Christian graffiti on a Jerusalem church

Anti-Christian graffiti on a Jerusalem was found sprayed on a Jerusalem church. In other such acts of provocation, “Death to Arabs” was found written on a house in the Old City in East Jerusalem, and swastikas were scrawled on the wall of a west Jerusalem apartment. The Roman Catholic Church has demanded Israeli action after Hebrew graffiti reading “Death to Arabs and Christians and to everyone who hates Israel” was daubed on its Notre Dame complex in Jerusalem on Monday.”The bishops are very concerned about the lack of security and lack of responsiveness from the political sector, and fear an escalation of violence,” the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said.

A recent wave of hate crimes targeting Palestinians and church property in Israel has prompted community leaders to express outrage at the culture of impunity and growing extremism which allow attacks to go unpunished. Israeli Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch indicated planned to use detention without trial against the suspected extremists as it comes under mounting pressure over its failure to secure a single prosecution in an intensifying wave of hate crime.

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New yeshiva in heart of East Jerusalem sparks anxiety

A new Yeshiva (a traditional Jewish school devoted chiefly to the study of rabbinic literature and the Talmud) will be opened in East Jerusalem later this month. The decision has set off fears that there may be altercations between the traditional Palestinians residents of the area and Jewish newcomers. The Yeshiva will house as many as 300 young Jews, is the first Jewish housing venture on Saladin Street, a main shopping thoroughfare across from the walled Old City.  Read more

Israeli Supreme Court to Hear Rachel Corrie Appeal

Nine years after filing a civil suit against the State of Israel for the wrongful death of American peace activist Rachel Corrie, her family will have their appeal heard before the Israeli Supreme Court on May 21 at 11:30 a.m. in Jerusalem. The appeal, which will be argued by attorney Hussein Abu Hussein, challenges the Haifa District Court August 2012 ruling which concluded that the Israeli military was not responsible for Rachel’s death and that it conducted a credible investigation.  Read more

International solidarity through Olive picking

Since the year 2000, the olive harvest has been overshadowed by the Israeli policies of repression, closure, blockage of streets, confiscation of agricultural lands, as well as repeated attacks against Palestinian farmers by Israeli settlers and military. The construction of the Apartheid Wall and the continuous expansion of Israeli settlements have worsened the situation. The Alternative Tourism Group (ATG) and the Joint Advocacy Initiative of the East Jerusalem YMCA and YWCA of Palestine (JAI) have been organizing an annual olive picking program in Palestine; a special event where support for Palestinian farmers is provided as well as granting an opportunity to people from around the world to experience Palestine under the Israeli military occupation. The program will also feature presentations on the current situation in Palestine and the effect of the Apartheid Wall, tours in the old city of Jerusalem and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, a tour of Hebron, cultural evenings and social gatherings.
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