Sabeel Wave of Prayer: Week of Sept. 5, 2022
Next week Kumi Now will focus on the West Bank city of Bethlehem and how the Israeli occupation has ravaged its economy. At the north end of Bethlehem lies Rachel’s Tomb, which is a site sacred to Christians, Muslims and Jews alike. However in 2002 Israel annexed the tomb, built high walls around it and prohibited Palestinians from visiting the site. Thriving Palestinian businesses in the area have now all closed down.
• Lord, we pray for Palestinians living in Bethlehem and struggling to survive. They live in the shadow of the separation wall, their lives are dominated by military checkpoints and they look out over vast, illegal Israeli settlements on nearby hillsides. Lord, in your mercy..
Palestinian prisoner, Khalil Awawdeh, has ended a hunger strike which lasted more than 170 days, after the Israeli authorities agreed to his release in October. He is weak and frail and will have to remain in hospital until he has recovered some strength. He began his hunger strike after his arrest in December 2021 in protest at being held in Israel without charge or trial, on ‘administrative detention’. On this charge prisoners can be arrested on ‘secret evidence’ and cannot defend themselves in court. They are often held for renewable six-month periods that can lead to years of detention.
• Lord, we pray that Khalil Awawdeh will recover strength after his hunger strike. We pray for the other Palestinian prisoners being held in Israel on administrative detention, now 530 Palestinians, including women and children. Lord, in your mercy..
Last week the Beersheba District Court ruled against the appeal for the early release of Ahmed Manasra on the grounds of his deteriorating mental health. He was arrested at the age of 13 years in horrifying circumstances, interrogated and sentenced to nine years in prison. Despite his diagnosis of schizophrenia he has recently been kept in solitary confinement for ten months.
• Lord, we pray that international bodies, including the UN and the EU will continue to press the Israeli government to grant the immediate release of Ahmed Manasra on humanitarian grounds. Lord, in your mercy…
The UN Human Rights’ Commissioner, Michelle Bachelot has deplored Israel’s refusal over the past two years to grant visas for international staff to return to the UN Human Rights’ Office. She reminded the Israeli authorities of their obligations as a UN Member State to process UN visa applications as speedily as possible. She stated, ‘Israel’s treatment of our staff is part of a wider and worrying trend to block human rights’ access to the occupied Palestinian territory. This raises the question of what exactly the Israeli authorities are trying to hide.’
• Lord, we lay before you our grave concerns over human rights’ violations by Israeli forces in the occupied Palestinian territory. We see more and more Palestinians being shot and killed by Israeli forces, at the same time as the work of local and international human rights’ organisations is being shut down and silenced by the Israeli authorities. Lord, in your mercy..
Sabeel, in partnership with Jussor from Nablus, are organising a special event on Friday, the 9th of September. The event will be an opportunity for the community of Nablus, including Samaritans, Muslims and Christians to come together to show their gratitude and respect for the devoted service of Father Ioustinos, who is recovering from a recent attack by Palestinian criminals who broke into the Greek Orthodox Jacob’s Well Church.
• Lord, we pray that this special community event in Nablus will lift the spirits of Father Ioustinos. We pray that the incident will be thoroughly investigated by the Palestinian Authority and that the criminals will be held to account. Lord, in your mercy..
More than 1.3 million Palestinian schoolchildren living in the occupied territories are at risk as they start back at school, according to the UN. Since the beginning of the year twenty children have been killed in the West Bank, while seventeen children died in Gaza during the Israeli offensive in July. Many schools are overcrowded and 6,400 children attend schools which have been targeted for demolition by the Israeli authorities.
• Lord, we pray for the safety of Palestinian children as they return to school. So many of these children living under the Israeli occupation witness scenes of violence and experience intimidation as they travel to school. We pray for courage and perseverance for them as they continue with their studies. Lord, in your mercy…
• We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Benin, Côte d’Ivoire and Togo. Lord, in your mercy…