The Palestinian Authority called a 30-day state of emergency throughout the West Bank after twenty COVID-19 cases were confirmed in a Bethlehem hotel. Alongside this, Israeli authorities as part of their public health restrictions, in agreement with the Palestinian Authority, have closed checkpoints only allowing people to leave if they have to travel directly to the airport or have special permission.
Lord we pray for those in the frontline of treating this new virus. We pray for those who have been diagnosed with the virus. We also pray for those whose livelihoods have been affected by ongoing and constantly changing public health restrictions. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.
This week’s Kumi Now looks at the work of the YMCA/YWCA, Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI). This initiative helps to introduce international partners to life under occupation in Palestine through exchange programs and advocacy tours. It also organizes the Olive Tree Campaign which distributes olive saplings, sponsored by people around the world, to Palestinian farmers.
Lord, we thank you for the work of the JAI and especially for their work to restore precious olive trees to Palestinian farmers. We continue to trust in your protection and mercy Lord, ‘like a green olive tree in the house of God’ (Psalm52:8). Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.
As part of infection control measures in Palestine and Israel, many church services, gatherings, and events have been cancelled. On Sunday 8th March, to allow those in areas where churches are closed, a number of Palestinian clergy live-streamed their services on social media.
Lord, thank you for the ability of clergy to continue to reach out to their congregations despite the difficult conditions. We pray for all those involved in organizing events and gatherings as they make decisions about their event and do their best to meet the ever-changing conditions. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
At the Israeli election on Monday, the 2nd of March, Prime Minister Netanyahu did not secure a parliamentary majority to form the next government. His party and their allies secured 58 of the 120 seats in the Knesset. For Palestinians a government led by Netanyahu, or by his rival Benny Gantz, would still mean a continuation of the occupation.
Lord, we pray that the international community will speak out strongly over the Israeli occupation of Palestine and Israeli plans to annex, even more Palestinian territory. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.
The Peace Now human rights group has disclosed that Amazon has been offering free deliveries to Israeli settlements in the West Bank, while charging neighboring Palestinian communities for its services, unless they select their address as being in Israel. Amazon has now confirmed that it will expand free deliveries to Palestinian addresses.
Lord, we thank you for the work of human rights’ groups such as Peace Now which draw attention to the way corporations legitimize illegal Israeli settlements and discriminate against Palestinians. Lord , in your mercy…hear our prayer.
Internationals in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are facing verbal and physical abuse stemming from fear caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. On Sunday, the 1st of March, a Palestinian woman assaulted a Japanese aid worker in Ramallah. The Palestinian woman was arrested after she was filmed pushing the Japanese woman and shouting ‘Corona, corona’ at her. Dr Nimer, the spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of the Interior denounced the attack, saying ‘it doesn’t not represent the morals and traditions of the Palestinian people and culture’.
Lord, you are compassionate and merciful, help us to learn from you and to be kind and tender-hearted towards others, and not allow fear to overwhelm us. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
On Wednesday, the 4th of March, the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem demolished part of a Palestinian owned home in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mokabber . The Israeli bulldozers demolished the home of Iyad Fatafta, a Palestinian citizen, claiming it had been built without an Israeli permit.
Dear Lord, we pray for Mr Fatafta’s family, who are now homeless. We pray for all those Palestinians faced with the dilemma of needing to provide shelter for their families and yet being denied the permits to allow them to build. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer
A gas explosion on Thursday, 5th March in Nusseirat refugee camp, Gaza, has killed 12 people and injured at least 56 others including women and children. The explosion, in a bakery, caused severe damage to shops, homes, and stalls as well as putting pressure on an already over stretched healthcare system.
Lord, we pray for the families of those killed in the explosion and resulting fire. We pray that those injured will have a quick and full recovery from their injuries. Be with all those affected by this tragic event and give them the strength to cope and rebuild. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.
Prayer for 3rd Sunday of Lent
Dear Lord, we are all guilty of judging others. This keeps us from connecting with others in loving, healthy ways. We see threat from may angles, from others within our community, from those of different religions and from internationals. Help remove this tendency from our hearts. Help us to see our brothers and sisters the way you see them and to see the person rather than being led by fear. Amen.