Israel has imposed a second national lockdown to last three weeks after a recent surge of over 4000 confirmed COVID-19 cases every day. The lockdown will close all schools and only supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open. Schools have only just reopened for the start of the new academic year and this lockdown will bring major disruption.
Lord, we pray for all those in positions of authority in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory as they take decisions on how to manage the resurgence of the coronavirus throughout the land. We pray for the families trying to manage their work and their children’s education from home. We pray too for the protection of the care workers looking after those who are seriously affected by the virus. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.
An Israeli court has issued a demolition order notice on Qaqaa Bin Amr Mosque in Silwan, East Jerusalem. The authorities claim that the mosque, which was built in 2012, does not have a building permit. Such permits are rarely issued to Palestinians by the Israeli authorities. Silwan has been particularly targeted for the demolition of Palestinian property by the Israeli authorities over the past six months, even during lockdown due to the pandemic. On average 65 Palestinian properties across the occupied Palestinian territory have been demolished each month, leaving many families homeless.
Oh Lord, it is hard for us to imagine how it would feel, particularly at this time of the worldwide pandemic, to watch our home bulldozed before our eyes. Lord we pray that this cruel practice of home demolitions by the Israeli authorities will cease. We continue to pray for a change of heart in the government of Israel to stop forcing Palestinians out of their homes, their businesses and their places of worship. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.
On Thursday, the 17th of September, the Israeli authorities demolished the shelters of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Al Araqeeb in the Naqab desert near Beersheba. This is the 178th time the authorities have levelled the village, the last time being on the 27th of August. Each time this happens the twenty families living in the village rebuild their tents. They have deeds to this land and do not want to be relocated to government zoned townships. The 51 Palestinian Bedouin villages in the Naqab are not recognized by the Israeli authorities. The villagers hold Israeli nationality and pay taxes, just like other Israelis, but they are not accorded the same rights and have no power or water connections.
‘Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of the destitute, Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.’ (Prov.31:8-9) Lord, we pray for the Palestinian Bedouin villagers who see their homes bulldozed by the Israeli authorities, time after time. We pray that many people in Palestine, Israel and around the world will speak out for the rights of these destitute people to live undisturbed on their land, free from such relentless harassment. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.
In 1982 on the 16th to the 18th of September a brutal massacre took place in the Sabra neighbourhood, adjacent to the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut. For days the Israeli army had bombed the area and then looked on while the Lebanese Phalange militia carried out brutal killings. A UN commission carried out the following year concluded that Israel, as the occupying power, bore responsibility for the violence. However, the US and the international community granted impunity to Israel over the crime.
Lord, we bring the city of Beirut to you, where so much blood has been shed and so much suffering endured. We bring before you the Lebanese people ,as well as the millions of Palestinian refugees who are beginning to lose hope. Many will have lost family members in the massacre forty years ago. Many will be suffering from the economic meltdown in Lebanon. Some may have been caught up in the recent chemical explosion in the port. Some will be fearing an outbreak of the pandemic and many are facing cuts in the critical aid from donors. Lord, we pray that other nations will continue to provide support for Lebanon, even as they are struggling with the demands of their own people. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Peru. Lord in your mercy...hear our prayer.