Seventy-one Palestinian civilians, including 28 children, were injured due to Israeli soldiers’ excessive use of force against peaceful protestors at the 78th Great March of Return, on Friday, 11 October 2019. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights’ (PCHR) fieldworkers documented 33 injuries with live-bullet wounds; 3 civilians, including 2 children, with critical wounds; and others with wounds in the upper body due to direct targeting with rubber bullets and tear gas canisters.
Lord, we come before you ready to lay our anxieties and fears at your feet and ask that you would guard our hearts with your peace which surpasses all understanding. We pray for the peaceful protestors in Gaza and that others would be led to express their grievances using non-violent means. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
This week’s Kumi Now initiative looks at the work of Zaytoun (Arabic for Olives) and the support this non-profit organization gives to Palestinian farmers to market their olive oil internationally. Since 2004, Zaytoun has worked with Canaan Fair Trade in Palestine to pioneer the world’s first Fair-trade certified olive oil. They also run a project to distribute and plant olive saplings to farmers who have had their trees uprooted or damaged by Israeli settlers.
Lord, we give thanks for your steadfast love and we remember the words of the psalmist who pictured himself as ‘a green olive tree in the house of God’ (Ps 52:8). Thank you, Lord, for the work of Zaytoun and for the support they give Palestinian farmers as they struggle to cultivate their olive groves in the shadow of the occupation. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
The presence of some of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East is under threat from relentless persecution. In Palestine some Christians are worn down by the occupation and many move abroad. Palestinian Christians make up 1-2.5% of the population in the West Bank and less than 1% in Gaza (2015 figures). In May 2019, the Archbishop of Irbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan spoke in the UK about the vanishing Christian community in Iraq. The numbers of Christians in Iraq have diminished from 1.5 million in 2003, to just 250,000 today.
Lord Jesus, we cry to you as we hear of the weakening of the Christian community in the Middle East after so many years of persecution. Lord, even in your birthplace the number of local worshipers declines. We pray that you will strengthen and encourage all those who seek to remain in the Middle East to continue to witness and to minister to others. Lord, in your name…hear our prayers.
Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria on Wednesday, the 9th of October, has caused hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee their homes. Plans to resettle several million Syrian Arab refugees along the area currently under Kurdish control will destabilize the area and is in breach of international law.
Lord, you watch over the sojourner, you uphold the widow and the fatherless and these are the very people who suffer most when war strikes. We pray for the young, the elderly and the infirm as they flee from their homes just as the winter months approach. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
On Thursday, the 10th of October, a protest convoy of hundreds of cars from the Arab Israeli community converged on Jerusalem. Drivers from the North and the South of Israel had come to protest the lack of response from the government and the police to growing violence in the Arab Israeli community. Joint List leaders formed from an alliance of Arab parties met with Public Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, and Israeli police chiefs to discuss initiatives to deal with the rising levels of violence and gun crime.
Lord, Lord we pray that the Israeli government would seek to care for all the people living in Palestine/ Israel and not just focus on services and care for the Jewish community, while turning a blind eye to the needs of others. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.