Sabeel Wave of Prayer: Week of July 19, 2021
This week’s Kumi Now online gathering focused on the Israeli apartheid wall. On the 20th of July, 2004, the UN passed a resolution declaring the illegality of Israel’s separation wall under international law. Israel has used the wall, settlements and military zones to prohibit Palestinians access to 60% of land in the West Bank. Next week’s Kumi Now will explore the issue of family unification, a right denied to many Palestinians and causing great heartache and suffering.
- Lord of compassion and mercy, we pray for those Palestinians who are cut off from their land by the wall and those cut off from their families by racist laws. We pray for a spirit of hope to fill the hearts of all those suffering under the Israeli occupation. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
On Thursday, the 8th of July, the Israeli Civil Administration handed out a demolition order against the cemetery in the village of al-Deirat, east of Yatta in south Hebron. The villagers are mainly dependent on agriculture and livestock rearing and have been subjected to land theft from two nearby Israeli settlements, as well as the construction of a by-pass road and military installations.
- Lord, we pray for the villagers in al-Deirat as they see the land of their village cemetery annexed by the Israeli authorities. We pray that international lawmakers will openly challenge the Israeli government’s theft of occupied land. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
600 academics and artists from more than 45 countries recently signed a petition calling for the immediate end to the Israeli apartheid regime and to the occupation of Palestine. The petition calls for a democratic constitution that ensures equal rights and an end to discrimination based on race, ethnic origin or religion.
- Lord, we thank you that voices around the world are crying out for change in Israel. We long to see the human rights of all those living in Palestine/ Israel fully respected. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
On Sunday, the 11th of July, the Israeli Cabinet approved the deduction of 597 million shekels from the tax revenue it collects for the Palestinian Authority,(PA). This sum is equivalent to the sum paid to families of Palestinian prisoners and families of those killed by Israeli forces. The deduction will increase the burden on the PA to cover public sector wages.
- Lord, the Israeli occupation comes at such a high cost to the Palestinian economy. We remember the families who are struggling with poverty, unemployment and sickness. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
On Sunday, 18th July, a number of Muslim worshipers were injured by Israeli occupation forces as they prayed at the Al Aqsa Mosque to celebrate Eid al-Adha. Israeli authorities had allowed a big number of Jews to enter the compound to pray as they commemorated Tisha B’av, with armed guards, something which is normally forbidden during the Eid celebrations.
- Lord, we pray for peace and order in the city of Jerusalem. We pray that the occupying Israeli authorities would respect the agreed upon rules for visiting Al Aqsa Mosque. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, (PCBS), reported on Tuesday, the 13th of July, that the unemployment rate among Palestinian university graduates reached 54%in 2020,(35% in the West Bank;78% in Gaza). Most graduates between the ages of 20-29years have to search for their first job for a period of 10 months to two years.
- Lord, we thank you for the determination of many young Palestinians to pursue higher education and employment despite the difficulties they face. We pray for them that they may be resourceful and steadfast even as the pandemic has reduced the availability of work. Lord in your mercy…hear our prayers.
Dr Cornel West, a prominent American philosopher and activist, resigned as a professor at Harvard Divinity School after four years of teaching there. On Monday, the 12th of July, he published his resignation letter on social media. It cited his support of Palestine as one of the reasons the university denied him tenure. He will be rejoining the faculty of the Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where he first taught 44 years ago.
- Lord Jesus you told us that ‘whatever is said in the dark shall be heard in the light’ (Luke12:3). We thank you for prophetic voices ready to speak out clearly about injustice, even at personal cost. We pray for academics like Dr West who pay a heavy price for holding the powerful to account. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
The United Reform Church, (URC) passed significant resolutions about the situation in Israel/ Palestine at their General Assembly, (9th-12th July). They voiced their concern over the ‘de facto’ annexation of the occupied Palestinian Territories, the expansion of the settlements and home demolitions. They have asked local churches to refrain from purchasing products made in Israeli settlements and are reviewing their investments in companies profiting from them.
- Lord, we see these URC resolutions as an encouragement and take them as a reminder that ‘the Palestinians are not forgotten’, as Rev Dr Munther Isaac commented. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
Esther Bejarano died on Saturday, the 10th of July, at the age of 96 years. She was one of the last survivors of the Auschwitz women’s orchestra. After 1945 she went to live in Israel for over a decade, before returning to live in her native Germany. Both she and her husband actively supported the BDS movement. She stated that they found life in Israel had been difficult ‘because we did not agree with the terrible things that were done to the Palestinians’.
- Lord, we give thanks for the long life and witness of Esther Bejarano. We thank you that she was prepared to speak out about injustice and inhumanity wherever she encountered it. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
- We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Djibouti and Somalia. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.