There has been a second wave of coronavirus infection in the occupied Palestinian Territories, as well as in Israel. There are currently 6,028 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the West Bank. 46 people have now died there, six of these deaths occurred since Monday, the 13th of July, including a two-week-old baby from Hebron, who had underlying health conditions. In Gaza 72 people have tested positive for the virus and one person has died. While in Israel 44,714 people have been confirmed to have the virus and 380 people have died.
Lord, we continue to pray for those suffering from the virus and for those who have recently lost loved ones to the pandemic. We pray for those in authority, that they would take wise and timely decisions to reduce the rate of infection among their communities. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
In Week 40 of the Kumi Now Initiative, Archbishop Elias Chacour, (author of ‘Blood Brothers’) spoke about the barriers to education experienced by Palestinian children. Israel runs a separate and unequal school system favouring Jewish Israelis over Palestinian students. There are some private Christian schools committed to diversity and equality among their students, but they receive a much lower subsidy from the government than Jewish schools. The Mar Elias School in Ibillin is one such school and it welcomes Muslim, Christian and Druze children from 45 different villages in the Galilee area. In Week 41, representatives from Women in Black and other organizations will speak about how the occupation impacts society in Israel/ Palestine on Tuesday, the 21st of July. (sign up here).
Lord, we pray about the divisive use of taxes to fund Israeli Jewish schools more favourably than schools for Palestinian students. We pray that such discrimination will be challenged and will cease. We thank you for schools like the Mar Elias School in Galilee, where Palestinian children from different faith backgrounds are respected and can learn together and grow in mutual respect. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.
On the 1st of July, Kairos Palestine and Global Kairos for Justice launched their ‘Cry for Hope’. Their call is intended for all the people of the land of Israel/Palestine to set free the oppressed and the oppressors from the occupation. Their call points the way to an inclusive nation, where all are respected and valued.
Dear Lord, we pray that Christians around the world will respond to the Kairos ‘Cry for Hope.’ Lord of mercy and compassion, we ask you to move the hearts of believers in different lands. We pray for their renewed efforts to alert their governments to the suffering of the Palestinians under prolonged occupation. We pray for an end to the occupation and a release from fear and oppression. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.
On Tuesday, the 14th of July, Michael Lynk, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian Territories, published his report on Israel’s illegal policies of collective punishment. He recommended an end to the 53-year-old occupation of Palestine and an end to all collective punishment measures, including the siege of Gaza. He urged the international community to take measures ‘to ensure the respect by Israel of its duty under international law to end the occupation’.
Oh Lord, we long to hear of an end to all Israeli policies of collective punishment. We pray that governments and international organizations will bring pressure to bear on the Israeli government to comply with international law and bring an end to the occupation. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.
A joint paper by Medical Aid for Palestinians, Al-Haq, and the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre was released on Wednesday, the 15th of July. The paper clarified ways in which the extended period of Israeli occupation has forced healthcare services for Palestinians in East Jerusalem to breaking point, even before the pandemic. This neglect has left healthcare professionals struggling to cope with urgent demands to care for coronavirus patients and those with serious long-term conditions.
Lord, we pray that after the immediate crisis of the pandemic, the sorry state of the healthcare system in East Jerusalem will be properly reviewed and will receive funding to enable it to care for the health and well-being of Palestinians living in Jerusalem and throughout the West Bank. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.
Some enterprising Palestinians are finding new and ingenious ways to develop their businesses even under the double pressures of ongoing occupation and Covid-19. A manufacturer of metal products based in the northern West Bank area of Jenin is producing electronic gates which can sanitize people and vehicles against Covid-19. Their order book is full, and they have plans to export the gates to neighboring countries.
Thank you, Lord, for the determination and hard work of men and women in the Palestinian community who are overcoming the hindrances of lockdown and the occupation to create thriving businesses. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.