Pilgrims participating in our alternative tour earlier this year were meeting with a settler in the Gush Etzion settlement block, just outside of Bethlehem, when President Trump announced what he had been heralding as his Deal of the Century. The 180-page, so-called peace proposal is formally titled, Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of Palestinian and Israeli People.Read more
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA), has launched a new emergency appeal to raise $93.4 million. The UNWRA appeal is set to prevent a disastrous situation that could leave thousands of lives at risk, by providing basic needs such as food, water and health care to an impoverished population.
Lord, we pray that the international community would rally to fund the UNWRA appeal as they seek to support vulnerable refugee communities in the Middle East as they grapple with the pandemic. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.Read more
On Epiphany Sunday, we posted a reflection on the lectionary text appointed for the day in lieu of a Christmas newsletter to family and friends, given how busy that season is for us in Bethlehem, as you can well imagine!Read more
Zahiyyah is a refugee living in Aqbet Jaber Refugee Camp near Jericho. The camp was established in 1948 and is the largest refugee camp in the West Bank by surface area, although only 8,600 refugees are currently living there. Prior to the 1967 war, 28,780 refugees lived there. Zahiyyah was 17 years old when she was forced from her village, Al-Masmiyya Al Kabira, with her family on July 8, 1948. She remembers that the Muslims and Jews lived together in the village and that their Jewish neighbors and British soldiers from the nearby camp told them to leave and return in a week or two. Al-Masmiyya Al Kabira was a village in the District of Gaza situated on the southern coastal plane. The village was at the junction of highways going north and south. The population in 1945 was 2,520. It had two mosques and two schools – one for boys and another for girls.Read more
In a joint letter to heads of states that are part of the European Union, the World Council of Churches (WCC) and Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) appealed for a firm and principled stance by the European Union against any annexation by Israel of occupied Palestinian territory in the West Bank.
The letter expresses the WCC and MECC’s commitment “to the vision of a just peace for all people in the Holy Land.”Read more
A Statement by the Patriarchs and Heads of the Holy Land Churches on Israeli Unilateral Annexation Plans
A Statement by the Patriarchs and Heads of the Holy Land Churches
on Israeli Unilateral Annexation Plans
(May 7, 2020)
As a result of the stagnation of the Peace Process in the Middle East between the Israelis and Palestinians, an array of plans for Israel to unilaterally annex West Bank land, backed mainly by right-wing factions, raises serious and catastrophic questions about the feasibility of any peaceful agreement to end the decades’ long conflict, one that continues to cost many innocent lives as part of a vicious cycle of human tragedy and injustice.Read more
Religious leaders stood on the terrace of the King David Hotel in West Jerusalem to offer their prayers in Hebrew, Arabic, and English for relief from the Covid-19 virus on Friday, 24th April. More than 200 people have died from the virus in Israel, while so far at least two people have died in the West Bank and Gaza. However, concerns have been raised over the thousands of Palestinian workers who have recently returned home to the West Bank from Israel. At least a third of the confirmed cases of the virus among the Palestinian population have become infected while working in Israel.
Lord, we bring our prayers to you asking that the authorities in Palestine and Israel may share the will and their resources to limit the spread of this deadly virus. So many Palestinians are already suffering from the loss of employment, a lack of food and medication. We pray that the Israeli government will work with the Palestinian Authority to provide the necessary emergency support. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.Read more
Last week Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the decision to annex much of the West Bank was Israel’s to make. With the announcement of an emergency national unity government, bringing together Prime Minister Netanyahu and his former chief rival Benny Gantz, Israel is likely to proceed with an annexation vote as early as July 1. Annexation would have a devastating impact on the ground for Palestinians--taking away any realistic opportunity for a Palestinian state and a just resolution to the conflict.
With such a short timeline, it is imperative members of Congress hear from their constituents who oppose annexation. Congress must act swiftly and take concrete legislative action to make clear the U.S. government will not fund or otherwise support annexation. Please contact your members of Congress today.Read more
His Beatitude the Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Greek Orthodox Church Theophilos III was interviewed by the World Council of Churches (WCC) director of communication Marianne Ejdersten. The interview is transcribed here.
National, religious and ethnic borders are of no relevance to the COVID-19 virus. As we watch its effect on the entire world, we are reminded of the interconnectedness of the entire human family.Read more
Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (Amos 5:23-24)
The board of Kairos Palestine raises an alarm regarding the consequences of the third failed Israeli election in less than a year. The resulting coalition entered on April 20, 2020, combines two of the most right-wing parties—Bennie Gantz’s Blue and White and Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud—in a deal that directly threatens Palestinians’ freedom, health and human rights.
Described as an “emergency government” to address the impacts of COVID-19, and under the cover of a so-called “coronavirus cabinet,” the State of Israel is empowered to continue its policies of home demolitions, closures, arrests, child detention and settler violence.Read more