Updates December 2009

 

 

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  We seek to keep you literally "updated" on movement in terms of truth and justice in the Middle East in general with a particular eye on Palestine.  The links below will take you to various articles and websites that offer the perspective of leaders in the religious, NGO, and human rights communities. Additionally, Al-Bushra, ever vigilant, provides links to regular reporting as well as opinion pieces by journalists. The dates given here indicate when the link was posted; the most recent posting is at the top. Check the article itself for the date of publication.  
     
 

Comments made over the years by Israeli leaders

 
     
 

Last update: 31 December 2009 18:22:24 -0800

 
     
 
 

Dec. 31, 2009

MIFTAH: Hope Springs Eternal by Joharah Baker

Stupidly enough, I even hope that things will be better for the Palestinians, even though all the indicators point to the contrary.

...I think perhaps the one thing to be learned is that there is always some glimmer of hope no matter how bleak. As a Palestinian I ache for my country and all that it has endured. I also know that as long as we continue to call ourselves Palestinians and refuse to compromise our love and loyalty to this land, there will always be the possibility of a better year and a better future for us all.

 

Dec. 31, 2009

JTA: Fight against Adelson’s Israeli paper gets political by Leslie Susser

The Knesset bill, which is being promoted by a collection of interested parties ranging from owners of competing newspapers to rival politicians, stipulates that, as is the case with the electronic media in Israel, only Israeli citizens or residents should be eligible for licenses to own Hebrew-language newspapers in Israel.

 

Dec. 31, 2009

New Israel Fund: Israel’s First-Ever Human Rights March Attracts Thousands of Supporters

"Many of the blind injustices, which have existed from long ago, have been joined in our generation by new injustices; Mizrachi girls in Emmanuel and Bet Shemesh continue to suffer the same discrimination as their parents; the Palestinian people continue to feel the pains of the lack of progress and hope from the occupation, and the lack of equality that their citizenship "bestows" on them; disadvantaged populations continue to try and improve themselves while paying the price of ignorance toward them; new immigrants suffer intolerance and racism; migrant workers unsuccessfully ask to belong; women do not even have control over their bodies.  The list is as long as this march, which strives to transform Israeli society into a more just society characterized by equality and mutual respect."

Dr. Yifat Bitton

 

Dec. 31, 2009

JTA: Pluralism wars reignite, U.S. Jews join fight by Ron Kampeas

"It is not 'Love Israel, right or wrong,' or 'I can't be connected,'" she [Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson] said. "We need to look at the complexities of this country that we love, we can't reject it, nor can we be silent when there are issues that require our involvement."

 

Dec. 31, 2009

Haaretz: High Court allows Palestinians to use Israeli highway by Tomer Zarchin

The High Court of Justice on Tuesday accepted a petition to allow Palestinians access to Israeli Highway 443, which runs through the West Bank and was previously deemed off limits to them.

The Association for Human Rights in Israel filed the appeal to the Supreme Court to allow Palestinians to travel on the highway and Bitounia road, also in the area.

 

Dec. 31, 2009

New York Times: Israeli Segregated Road Ruled Down  by Ethan Bronner

The closely watched case, argued by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, was brought by a half-dozen Palestinian villages where land was expropriated for the road and inhabitants were barred from using it.

 

Dec. 31, 2009

 

Dec. 31, 2009

Foreign Policy: Have you heard about the 'Gaza Freedom March?' Probably not. by Stephen M. Walt

 

You probably didn't know about any of this, but it's not really your fault. You probably get your news from mainstream outlets like the New York Times or Washington Post, and neither of these illustrious newspapers has bothered to cover this story. What do they consider important? Well, in the case of the Times, their idea of a big Mideast story right now is the heart-warming saga of a little shwarma shop in Amman.

 

Dec. 31, 2009

Mazin Qumsiyeh: [Human Rights] Peace with justice in 2010r

 

A year ago, in the midst of the savage attack on Gaza, we in the Palestinian 
Center for Rapprochement between People in Beit Sahour issued a call for
action composed of 25 things that ordinary people can do [follow link for list].
Today we are gathering in Bethlehem (Nativity Square 4-6 PM) in the last day
of the year. Bethlehemite Children will read the names of close to 400
children murdered in Gaza a year ago and to pledge that in 2010 we will
intensify our efforts including with boycotts, divestments and sanctions.
The event in the square of the church of nativity.  
 

Dec. 31, 2009

From the Palestinian Christians:

 

Two articles of interest. The first published in the Toronto Star, Canada's largest circulation paper. The second article published in the Toronto Sun, a conservative nationally syndicated paper. --EC

 

 

Dec. 31, 2009

Jewish Voice for Peace: The bombing of Gaza started one year ago today (Dec. 27, 2008) by Cecilie Surasky

 

The bombing of Gaza started one year ago today. And every time I tuck my own son into bed, I think of Mohammed Shurrab, and the other parents like him who I met in Gaza, in Silwan in East Jerusalem, in South Hebron in the West Bank.

I think about the Israeli soldiers sent to Gaza and Hebron, some taught to hate, most simply armed and scared, the responsibility for enforcing occupation on their young shoulders; and the people in the south of Israel fleeing to shelters every time they hear the air raid sirens warning of Qassam rockets.

I think about the Gazan mothers who had nowhere else to go, who clutched their children in apartment hallways each night as bombs fell overhead-- and I remember the deliberate destruction of Gaza's factories, schools, hospitals and administrative buildings that I saw with my own eyes.

 

Dec. 31, 2009

Christian Peacemaking Team: AL KHALIL/HEBRON: Israeli Military Destroys Buildings in Al Bweireh

On the morning of December 31, 2009 the Israeli Military destroyed buildings belonging to the Sultan and Al Za’atari families in the Hebron neighborhood of Al Bweireh.  At the Al Za’atari house the military destroyed the stables where the family kept their goats and horse as well as a pigeon coop.  The army destroyed a garage of the Sultan family.  The military used a small Bobcat bulldozer to carry out the demolitions.  The Al Za’atari family told CPT that three days ago they observed settlers and soldiers together photographing their barn and animal pens.  More details will follow.

This month, residents of Al Bweireh invited members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams and the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) to accompany their children as they return home from school.

 

Dec. 31, 2009

Eileen Fleming, We Are Wide Awake: NO Excuses and may God have mercy upon US All

 

Failing Gaza: No rebuilding, no recovery, no more excuses...

 

Dec. 31, 2009

Gaza Freedom March: Solidarity Action Reports

 

Get inspired by Gaza Freedom March solidarity actions by viewing photos, report backs, news links, and YouTube videos....

 

Dec. 30, 2009

The Daily Star: 'Israel is the persecutor,' says Holocaust survivor on hunger strike for Gaza...85-year-old Hedy Epstein insists ‘we have to try everything’ to break siege of territory   by Richard Hall

 

Epstein acknowledged that she represents somewhat of an anomaly in the American Jewish community. “There is an almost thoughtless, blind support of Israel no matter what it does,” she said. “The issue for Israeli Jews and the American Jewish community is the holocaust, and everything is due to the holocaust. Israel is not being persecuted now, Israel is the persecutor.” 

 

Epstein did, however, note a slight change in attitude recently: “Since the massacre in Gaza at the end of last year, I do see a crack in the way people are looking what Israel is doing, and that crack needs to be broken wide open, so that a change will take place.” 

 

Dec. 30, 2009

Christian Peacemaking Team: AT-TUWANI RELEASE: Israeli settler violence against children permitted by Israeli army negligence

 

On Wednesday morning, 30 December 2009, an Israeli settler from the outpost of Havat Ma'on (Hill 833) chased and threw stones at Palestinian schoolchildren from the villages of Tuba and Maghayir Al-Abeed. The Israeli army exposed the children to this attack by arriving more than 90 minutes late to escort the children to their school in the village of At-Tuwani.

 

...The young Palestinian children require a military escort to and from school because of repeated attacks by Israeli settlers from Ma’on and Havat Ma’on. The children must wait for the Israeli military in an area controlled by the Israeli settlers, a location where settlers have attacked the children several times in the past.

 

Dec. 30, 2009

Comment from Greta to the Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal: "The U.S. is beginning to wake up." Read what Hedy Epstein says about the Free Gaza Movement in the last paragraph.

 

 

The New York Times: Protesters Gather in Cairo for March to Gaza

One protester, Hedy Epstein, 85, a Holocaust survivor, arrived in Egypt from the United States on Saturday. She said she started a hunger strike on Monday.

“My message is for the world governments to wake up and treat Israel like they treat any other country and not to be afraid to reprimand and criticize Israel for its violent policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians,” Ms. Epstein said. “I brought a suitcase full of things, pencils, pens, crayons, writing paper to take to children in Gaza — I can’t take that back home.”

 

Dec. 30, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, writes:

"There's BREAKING NEWS [in the Reuters article].  Let us examine these "signs of movement" carefully (i.e., full of care).  Has Bibi been persuaded to halt the building of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem?  We'll know soon.  What about Israel's ongoing blockade of Gaza?  Have the VIVA PALESTINA CONVOY and the GAZA FREEDOM MARCH made a difference in Bibi's thinking?  There can be no doubt about that."  

 

Reuters: Signs of movement seen in stalled Mideast process by Ali Sawafta

 

Hints of possible movement in the deadlocked Middle East process have emerged in talks between the leaders of Egypt and Israel, a senior Palestinian official said on Wednesday, without giving details.

See also

 

Dec. 30, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, asks:

"Is it not curious?  This BBC article says nothing about the VIVA PALESTINA CONVOY and the GAZA FREEDOM MARCH.  The US media has been remiss in reporting the events, also.  1,360 people from 42 countries are assembled in Cairo where they plan to break the Israeli imposed siege on Gaza by delivering humanitarian relief supplies on December 31st.  After passing through the Rafah border crossing, they aim to join 50,000 Palestinians in a march across the Gaza Strip, ending at the Erez border crossing which leads into Israel.  But.... Egypt's government has dispersed peaceable assemblies and detained activists in multiple locations.  See:  Gaza Freedom March Members Gain a Small Taste of the Palestinian Experience,"  

 

BBC News: Netanyahu and Mubarak discuss peace process in Cairo

 

Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak have held talks in Cairo to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

 

Dec. 30, 2009

Official Website of Mike Adkins: So, What’s a Nice Irish American “Girl” Like Me, Doing in Occupied Territory? by Eileen Fleming

 

As of this writing, no Palestinian Christian has ever strapped on a bomb and committed suicide/homicide. The Christian Exodus of the Holy Land has reduced their numbers from 20% of the total population to less than 1.3% since Israel became a state in 1948. The reasons are primarily the forty years of occupation, the oppression, The Wall, the lack of economic opportunity, the daily humiliations at checkpoints, the hassle of obtaining permits to be able to move about, ineffective and corrupt governments, the rise of fundamentalism in all three branches of Father Abraham s offsprings and the violence and destruction that surrounds.

 

Dec. 30, 2009

The Berkeley Daily Planet: Jesus the Palestinian  by Jack Forbes

 

I thought it might be helpful to recall that Yehoshu’a (Jesus) was a Palestinian. The district of western Asia long known as Palestine has a history which needs to be understood as we try to sort out the conflicting claims of Jews, Muslims, and Christians in the present day.

 

Dec. 29, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, addresses President Obama:

 

Mr. President,
 
      Sir, please watch this video at your earliest convenience: Roger Waters of Pink Floyd (09:13).  It's important that you do.  You'll be glad that you did.  Waters says poignant things about you on that video.  Waters says, among other things, that he's certain your heart is in the right place.  He believes you're doing the best you can to bring peace to the Holy Land.  I agree with him.  It was Dan Stone, a peace activist in the San Francisco area, who put the video into circulation.  See Dan's note far below.
 
      Waters also speaks of the intensity of his feelings of solidarity with the Palestinian people.  He's speaking for me, too, Sir.  He's also speaking for a large and growing number of my friends and allies.  I want you to know that I have an extensive mailing list.  At least half the folks on my mailing list are Internationals.
 
      One more thing....  immediately below is a report from Cairo....  I suspect I know what your first thoughts will be.  Damage control time?  It's more serious than that, Mr. President.  Somebody has some explaining to do.
 
Peace,
Roy+ 
 
P.S.    Be on the alert, Mr. President.  Be forewarned.  My allies and I are PRAYING for you these days.  We're praying for you very hard.  Very, very hard.  Please read on.

 

 

Eileen Fleming, We Are Wide Awake: December 30, 2009: Back to the Now, Send in The Clowns and related links

 

This morning, I was at the U.S. Embassy with a group of about 40 other Americans. We went hoping to see the Ambassador, but instead we were surrounded by Egyptian police in riot gear and kept penned in for some five hours. The police told us that they did this at the behest of the American Embassy, but later the “political security officer” of the Embassy denied it. So, who is lying?  It is interesting that the French ambassador spent the night outside with the French protesters when they first occupied the sidewalk in front of their embassy, but the American ambassador refused to see us and apparently had us detained, and for no reason.
 

Jean Athey, reporting from Cairo

 

Dec. 29, 2009

Pace e bene: Egypt Apparently to Permit Some Marchers into Gaza; Fr. Louie and Others Detained Earlier

 

Agence France Press is reporting tonight that Gaza Freedom March leaders accepted an offer from the Egyptian government to allows 100 marchers into Gaza.  This decision comes after widespread international support for the march; demonstrations in Egypt held by the marchers; and a  hunger strike undertaken by marchers, including Fr. Louie Vitale and Heddy Epstein, an 85-year0old Holocaust survivor.

 

Dec. 29, 2009

Pace e bene: Gaza Freedom March Halted by Egypt; Louie Vitale Among 1300 Marchers

 

Pace e Bene has just received the following email from Sherri Maurin and Pace e Bene staff-member Fr. Louie Vitale, who are part of the 1300-member Gaza Freedom March, which the Egyptian government is currently preventing from entering Gaza....

 

Dec. 29, 2009

 

Dec. 29, 2009

Amnesty International: Victims of Gaza and Southern Israel conflict still await justice

 

One year after Israel's major military offensive on the Gaza Strip, Amnesty International has again urged all parties to meet their obligations to pursue accountability for war crimes and serious human rights violations that occurred during the conflict.

 

Dec. 29, 2009

Christian Peacemaking Team: At Tuwani Update, October 2009

 

During October, Israeli soldiers and settlers continued to push Palestinians off their roads and grazing lands. Soldiers vandalized and destroyed Palestinian vehicles. Enhancement of settler mobility continued with use of high-power all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) that have frightening speed, even on hilly, boulder-strewn terrain. As usual,
settlers were often masked and armed with guns or slingshots.

Palestinians remained courageous in the face of these new challenges. On some occasions they would retreat to avoid risk to their sheep and goats, but sometimes kept their feet firmly planted in an attempt to feed their flocks and lay claim to their land.

 

Dec. 29, 2009

 

Dec. 29, 2009

Eileen Fleming, We Are Wide Awake: The Good out of the Misery in Gaza: Love in Action and Global Conscience 

Gratitude may be the highest expression of love, but it just maybe the sacrificial love in action being expressed by the thoughtful, committed activists who have converged in Cairo that could light the fire for real change and be the good to come out from the misery in Gaza.

 

Dec. 29, 2009

Palestine Note: Can Palestine elect a Christian president? by  Ray Hanania

What I propose is to change in how we address peace. Instead of seeking to resolve individually the three most difficult obstacles to peace, the refugees, the settlements and Jerusalem, I propose defining a final peace accord based on principles and vision, and then return in an environment of peace to address the difficult details.

 

Dec. 29, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, writes: "Former President Carter concludes his op-ed with the following words:  "The cries of homeless and freezing people demand immediate relief.  This is a time for bold action and the season for forgiveness, reconciliation and peace."

 

The Carter Center: Gaza Must Be Rebuilt Now by Jimmy Carter

 

This is a time for bold action, and the season for forgiveness, reconciliation and peace.

 

Dec. 29, 2009

Guerilla Radio: A message of solidarity with the Gaza Freedom March

 

My name is Roger Waters. I am an English musician living in the USA. I am
writing to express my great admiration for and solidarity with the 1360 men
and women from 42 different countries around the World who are gathering
in Egypt, preparing for The Gaza Freedom March.

 

Dec. 29, 2009

 

Dec. 29, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, writes: "Egypt's Foreign Ministry said the march could not be allowed because of the "sensitive situation" in Gaza.  You and I can endorse the march by going to this website:  CODEPINK : Gaza Freedom March and/or by clicking here."

 

BBC News: Gaza marchers on hunger strike in Egypt

 

Protesters trying to march into Gaza a year after an Israeli offensive are on hunger strike after Egypt blocked them from crossing the border.

 

Dec. 29, 2009

Christian Peacemaking Team: Soldiers beat father and son at checkpoint

 

At 6:50 pm Sunday 27 December 2009, the CPT Hebron team received a call from a neighbor who reported that someone had been beaten by Israeli settlers and shot at the Qitoun checkpoint.  Johann Funk, Kathleen Kern, Drew Herbert and Paulette Schroeder arrived at the checkpoint to find a military jeep, lights flashing, driving away from the scene.  Five soldiers were talking among themselves, and an ambulance and another jeep were standing by.

 

Dec. 28, 2009

Common Dreams: Gaza Freedom Marchers Walled in Behind Police Barricade in Front of UN Office in Cairo

Hundreds of activists staged a sit-in outside the United Nations building in Cairo demanding that the world body intervene to facilitate their entry into Gaza.

 

Dec. 28, 2009

Eileen Fleming, We Are Wide Awake: "The WORLD composed of people with hearts, holds its breath."
  • Gaza Freedom March

  • 85 year old Holocaust Survivor Hedy Epstein Begins Hunger Strike to Open Gaza Borders

  • USACBI Statement on 1 Year Anniversary of ‘Operation Cast Lead’

  • From Al-Ahram Weekly in Cairo

  • Egyptian Security Forces Detain Gaza Freedom Marchers in el-Arish and shut down Gaza Memorial in Cairo

  • Mubarak blows his big chance to behave decently

 

Dec. 28, 2009

BBC News: Gaza still on a knife-edge, one year on from the war by Jeremy Bowen 

Gaza is still in the news...if you can find it. BBC's Mideast Editor, Jeremy Bowen writes:  "The Israeli government has been campaigning against the UN's official report into violations of international humanitarian law in Gaza... "  He writes:  "Mr Goldstone is Jewish with strong Zionist credentials. That has not stopped the Israeli government from condemning his report as biased."  Also see: BBC News - Ban Ki-Moon: Gaza reconstruction not being addressed.  Also, read Joharah Baker's latest essay at MIFTAH's website:  One Year on, No Reprieve for Gaza. 

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal

 

Dec. 28, 2009

The London Guardian: Doctor admits Israeli pathologists harvested organs without consent by Ian Black

This story was published in today's UN WireThe admission by the former head of the Israel's forensic institute followed a furious row prompted by a Swedish newspaper reporting that Israel was killing Palestinians in order to use their organs – a charge that Israel denied and called "antisemitic". 

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal

 

Dec. 28, 2009

America Magazine: Marching Into the Past - President Obama's Nobel acceptance speech was a march backward into cold war history. By The editors

The president was right as far as he went. There is sometimes a place for force in righting injustice. But in Oslo he lost an opportunity to lend the lustre of the peace prize to constructive alternatives to war.

 

Dec. 28, 2009

You Tube: Christmas in the Holy Land - 2009

When celebrating Christmas, it would be a good idea to think about the birthplace of Jesus. What is like in the Holy Land under occupation, injustice and racism? How does Christmas feel when the Holy Land is under siege?

 

Dec. 28, 2009

Reuters: Pro-Palestinian protests in New York mark the anniversary of the offensive in Gaza

Video clip: Protesters mark the one year anniversary of the Israeli offensive in Gaza where at least 1000 people were killed.

 

Dec. 28, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal: An open letter to President Obama about calling Israel on international law

It would be easy for you ... as the leader of the free world ... to call a press conference ... and declare that Israel ... like everybody else ... must comply with International Law.  Perhaps the article pasted below will inspire you to keep promises you made to the American people.

 

Dec. 28, 2009

Notice which media agencies shape the news concerning Israel when headlines refer to settlements as "apartments" and "neighborhoods" and "homes" while omitting any reference to "settlements."

See also

And another perspective

  • Camera: Note to Media: Gilo Is in Jerusalem which claims, "The term 'settlement'" to describe Gilo is itself problematic given that it refers to Jewish communities in the West Bank, whereas Gilo is in Israel's capital." Note also on this page a quote from the Washington Post: "A June 26 A-section article referred to Gilo as a Jewish settlement. It is a Jewish neighborhood built on land captured in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and annexed to Israel as part of Jerusalem's expanded municipal boundaries. The United Nations has not acknowledged the annexation."

Regarding construction, the Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, comments: "The underlying causes of anti-Semitism must sooner or later be addressed."

 

Dec. 28, 2009

BBC News: Ban Ki-Moon: Gaza reconstruction not being addressed

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said more must be done to repair damage done in the Gaza Strip by Israeli military action one year ago.

 

Dec. 28, 2009

BBC News: Child born into a life of conflict in Gaza

Life is hard for my daughter - we still live in fear in Gaza, and there is no hope that life will get better.

Saadiyia al-Sharif,

Gaza resident

 

Dec. 28, 2009

Al Jazeera: Fighting to break the Gaza siege

It was Christmas Day but there was no room at the Inn for the weary travellers. Turned away by the Arab Republic of Egypt, the 500 members of the Viva Palestina Convoy to Gaza spent Christmas in a car park in Aqaba. The last time so many Turks, Arabs and British were together in this town they were fighting the first World War against each other.

George Galloway, a UK politician

 

Dec. 27, 2009

Christian Peacemaking Team: Hebron Update, December 1-16, 2009

 

Christian Peacemaker Teams is an ecumenical initiative to support violence reduction efforts around the world. 

 

Dec. 27, 2009

Sacramento Press: Bethlehem becomes 9th Sister City by Nallelie Vega,

The Sacramento City Council unanimously passed, with a 10-0 vote, the Bethlehem Sister City Initiative proposal, which establishes a formal relationship between Sacramento and Bethlehem, during Tuesday’s council meeting.

The council also adopted a resolution to establish a relationship with an Israeli city in the future.

Sacramentan Maurice Mrabe, initiative supporter who is originally from Palestine, said the Middle East needs that kind of support from cities around the United States.

“I think all the towns of the West Bank need this outlet and this relationship with the outside world,” he said. “These types of relationships can be an open door to the world.”

See also: Sacramento to Bethlehem Sister City Initiative

 

Dec. 27, 2009

World Council of Churches: Palestinian Christian family counters harassment with openness by Emma Halgren

 

"A land is nothing without people, and people are nothing without a land." That's the maxim followed by Palestinian farmer Daoud Nassar. And when he speaks of the intimate connection between people and their land, he is talking from hard-won experience.

 

Dec. 26, 2009

Eileen Fleming, We Are Wide Awake: December 27, 2009: Today, a year ago and what this little one knew in 2005 regarding Gaza

Orlando, Florida] Ever since my first of seven trips to Israel Palestine in 2005, I have searched for a central Florida church with an open mind and heart for the poor, oppressed and occupied in Gaza Palestine.

Perseverance has finally paid off, for this Sunday, December 27, 2009 in downtown Orlando, St. George Orthodox Church has opened their sanctuary to people of all faiths-and those with none-to join their 10 AM Holy Liturgy service that will commemorate all the lives that were lost beginning December 27, 2008 and during the 23 days of war in the Gaza Strip.

 

Dec. 26, 2009

MIFTAH: Christmas Weekend Sees Six Palestinians Dead [December 20 – December 26]

 

Over Christmas weekend, six Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. On December 26, three Aqsa Martyrs Brigades were shot point blank by invading Israeli troops into Nablus. According to Israeli military sources, the three were involved in the earlier killing of West Bank settler Meir Hai.

 

Dec. 26, 2009

Jewish Voice for Peace: Let the freedom marchers in!

 

(December 23, 2009) Within the next few days, over thirteen hundred people from 42 countries will be en route to Egypt and Israel to participate in the Gaza Freedom March on December 31. In fact, some are already there. But the Egyptian government is threatening to pull the plug on the march.

 

Dec. 26, 2009

Uri Avnery, Gush Shalom: Cast Lead 2 

Was the real aim of the war to stop the Qassams? Could this have been achieved by other means? If there were other aims, what were they? Is the final balance sheet positive or negative, as far as the interests of Israel are concerned?

I PITY the historians. They have to scrutinize documents, peruse protocols, disentangle tortuous texts.

 

Dec. 25, 2009

Intifada: A Palestinian Christian Call to End the Occupation by Mazin Qumsiyeh

 

A group of Palestinian Christians representing a variety of churches and church-related organizations have issued an animated and prayerful call for an end to occupation of Palestine by Israel.

 

Dec. 25, 2009

Newsweek: What Would Jesus Do in Gaza? by Christopher Dickey

 

Obama talks about love while justifying wars, but in the Middle East, neither works.

... while the question of what Christ might do in today's Holy Land is hypothetical, the question of what Obama will do is not. And some of his most cherished ideas about peace, love, and understanding could be put to the test Dec. 31 when activists are hoping to stage a massive Gaza Freedom March.

 

Dec. 25, 2009

 

Dec. 24, 2009

Agence France Press: Patriarch calls for peace as Bethlehem rocks Christmas by Gavin Rabinowitz

The celebrations cap a year when tourists returned to the town in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Buoyed by the West Bank's relative calm, more than 1.6 million people have visited Bethlehem so far this year, Palestinian Tourism Minister Khulud Duaibess said. Some 15,000 pilgrims were expected for Christmas.

In 2008, one million tourists visited the town.

However, the tourism boom has not brought prosperity to Bethlehem, with most tourists whisked in for the day and from hotels in Israel, Duaibess said.

The financial woes have been exacerbated by the eight-metre (26-foot) high concrete barrier that separates Bethlehem from Jerusalem. It forms part of the projected 700-kilometre (440-mile) West Bank separation barrier.

Israel says it is a security barrier needed to stop attacks inside the Jewish state. Palestinians say it cuts them off from much of their land and hampers tourism, trade and freedom of movement.

 

Dec. 24, 2009

Associated Press: In Bethlehem, holiday cheer edges out gloom by DALIA NAMMARI

Thousands of pilgrims from around the world descended on the traditional birthplace of Jesus on Thursday, greeted by choruses, scout troops and rock bands for the most upbeat Christmas celebrations this Palestinian town has seen in years.

But the Holy Land's top Roman Catholic clergyman reminded followers that peace remains elusive, while the threat of sectarian violence in the Islamic world and the lava spilling from a volcano in the Philippines clouded the celebrations for other Christian communities across the globe.

Residents of Bethlehem, hemmed in by an Israeli security barrier and still recovering from years of violence, celebrated their town's annual day in the spotlight along with pilgrims and tourists. Visitors milled around Manger Square, mingling with clergymen, camera crews and locals hawking food and trinkets.

 

Dec. 24, 2009

Mostly Water: Christmas Message to the Canadian People From a Bethlehemite by Hanna Kawas

We call on the Canadian people to support “conscience and law”, to support peace with justice, and to say loudly and clearly that Canadians will break this shameful history of complicity with Palestinian dispossession and betrayal of the Palestinian people.

Next Year in a Free and Peaceful Bethlehem:

A Bethlehem without walls, without Apartheid, without oppression

 

Dec. 23, 2009

BBC News: West Bank shepherds fear for their flocks by Bethany Bell 

The United Nations says a whole way of life is under threat.

Hamid Qawasmeh, from the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the future for these herding communities looked grim.

"People can't access the land, they can't herd as they did in the past," he said. "We have less and less rainwater every year, so with all these problems combined we are not seeing a very bright future for these populations."

 

Dec. 23, 2009

Associated Press: Ex-President Carter offers apology to Jews

In a recent appearance at Emory University, he said if he had one more day as president he would use it to bring the "full weight of the White House" to the peace process.

"That's what I'd do with my one day in the White House," he said. "Bring peace to Israel and its neighbors."

 

Dec. 23, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, writes:
 

Everybody on my mailing list knows John Bingham.  I recently circulated an excerpt from his new book:  God and Dreams.  John and I have been friends since the Summer of 1971.  We were ordained together.  We're both serious students of Depth Psychology.  We both have an interest in symbolism.  I officiated at his wedding when he and Barbara married.  It was an outdoor wedding.

 
John has made a new blog entry.  The link is below, and one paragraph is printed here.  What John wrote in that paragraph is true.  You'll probably have a question about the last sentence.  Until you think about it.
 

I want to suggest a third possible explanation [for Jesus' birth in Bethlehem], one that comes to me from an idea of C.G. Jung's. This explanation derives from the symbolic significance of Bethlehem. Bethlehem was a sleepy village at the time of Jesus' birth. It is located about five and a half miles southwest of mighty Jerusalem, the historic capitol of Israel. Dr. Jung's idea was that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, rather than in Jerusalem, because God enters our lives through the back door (the unconscious), not through the well-developed parts of ourselves (the ego). Jesus was born in Bethlehem to illustrate symbolically that God finds His way into our lives by incarnating unexpectedly in the devalued part of ourselves. We often become aware of God's presence when we are surrounded by personal darkness (Winter Solstice), frequently through dreams, visions or someone's witness that brings light and clarity to a part of our lives that previously was in fog. Spiritual awakenings happen when we are in altered states of consciousness - in prayer, meditation, worship, fasting, singing, chanting, etc. Bethlehem symbolizes this altered state in contrast to Jerusalem that typlifies our normal, well-developed way of being in the world.

And the very last paragraph:

This Christmas - or any time you hunger to find God - look in the dark, remote, undeveloped part of yourself for what is stirring about, for what is restless, that disturbs you and won't leave you alone. This is the movement of the Holy within, the place where you will find your own inner Bethlehem; that place in you where God comes alive.

 

Dec. 23, 2009

Sojourners: Stepping Back from Bethlehem by Phil Haslanger

...Bethlehem today – a West Bank city under Israeli occupation, home to three Palestinian refugee camps housing some 20,000 people, a place reeling under economic hardship. Yet it is a city where people are building institutions to create a future worthy of the birth honored in this cave.

...Yet in the midst of that complicated history, people are creating a future that reflects the glow of the star far more than the smoke of conflict.

Phil Haslanger is pastor of Memorial United Church of Christ in Fitchburg. He was  in Bethlehem last month.

 

Dec. 23, 2009

Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions: Breaking the Vessels by Jeff Halper

But something must be done, and given the failure of the international community to either protect the Palestinians or rein in Israel, I, for one, am at a loss to suggest alternatives that address the urgency of a way out of Israel’s increasingly genocidal Occupation. (11/19/09)

Jeff Halper is the Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).

 

Dec. 23, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal: Mideast Peace = Peace of Jerusalem = World Peace

 

Jerusalem must be shared.  Jerusalem must be shared politically in accordance with International Law.  Jerusalem must be shared in spirit by Christians, Muslims and Jews alike.  It would facilitate the peace process immeasurably if Israel had a Prime Minister like Uri Avnery.  For Uri is another man with comprehensive vision.  Please read on.  Let's all do some thinking about non-violent ways we can help to free Jerusalem.  None of us will be free until Jerusalem is free.

 

Dec. 23, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, writes:
It is obvious that the US administration is not yet able to stand up to Israel and the pro-Israel lobby.  It would facilitate the peace process if the American public were informed about the details of the situation.  Is it true that every time George Mitchell mentions East Jerusalem that Israel's Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, stands up and walks out of the room?  If so, that detail should be made public, also.  Below is a link to an opt-ed piece published last week in the New York Times. 

I have lived my entire adult life under occupation, with Israelis holding ultimate control over my movement and daily life.

When young Israeli police officers force me to sit on the cold ground and soldiers beat me during a peaceful protest, I smolder. No human being should be compelled to sit on the ground while exercising rights taken for granted throughout the West.

It is with deepening concern that I recognize the Obama administration is not yet capable of standing up to Israel and the pro-Israel lobby. Our dream of freedom is being crushed under the weight of immovable and constantly expanding Israeli settlements.

 

Dec. 23, 2009

Arab Educational Institute, Pax Christi: Prayers and Wishes for Advent and Christmas in Bethlehem 2009

For the 10th consecutive year, Christmas celebrations will take place in a difficult climate for people in the Holy Land. As we prepare to celebrate Advent and Christmas in the security of our homes and communities, let us not forget to pray for justice, peace and security for Palestine and Israel.

Sending a wish or a prayer by email is an important way of communicating with many people who long to hear a word of hope. Our partners in Bethlehem greatly appreciate receiving wishes and prayers from people outside the region, both as personal and spiritual gestures of comfort and hope on the occasion of Christmas. These messages are one way of breaking through the isolation our Bethlehem partners experience.

Please e-mail your Christmas messages and prayers for peace before the 25th of December 2009 (Western Christmas) and/or the 7 th of January 2010 (Eastern Christmas). While English is the preferred language, non-native English speakers may also send wishes and prayers in their mother tongue. Messages can be e-mailed to the Arab Educational Institute at the following address:  aei@p-ol.com. To read all the messages, please visit www.aeicenter.org

 

Dec. 22, 2009

Zenit: Prelate Urges Christians to Give up Western Ways, Encourages Building Bridges in Middle East

"Christianity is trans-national, trans-ethnic and trans-cultural," the cardinal stated. "It should not be tied to an ethnic group" or "any one culture."
 

 

Dec. 22, 2009

Zenit: Jerusalem Patriarch's Christmas Message, "Our dreams of peace seem to be utopia"

[Speaking to journalists:] First of all, I want to welcome you, all the journalists gathered here today, and thank you for the good but difficult work you perform. Through this work you have the opportunity to seek and serve the truth. Many journalists have paid and continue to pay a real cost to their lives due to their dedication to the truth. Information is not neutral. It has a real ethical dimension. Through informing the readers about what happens in the world, you help them to have an objective and ethical evaluation of the events themselves. Thank you and welcome.
 

 

Dec. 22, 2009

Eileen Fleming: Santa on Claire's street with no name, in the little town of Bethlehem
 

Eileen Fleming reports here on Claire Anastas whose gift shop went out of business with the construction of the Wall. Now Claire sells olive wood gifts online. Claire's brother-in-law and sister-in-law, George and Arlette Anastas, who live in the same building which houses five adults and nine children, also lost their businesses on the ground floor when the Wall went up. Now George and Arlette make infant baptism garments to ship all over the world from Bethlehem where Jesus was born. See www.BaptismGarment.com.Your order helps support families in the Holy Land.

 

Dec. 22, 2009

Eileen Fleming: We Are Wide Awake: Updates on Israeli organ harvesting, The Wall, Gaza and Jerusalem
  • Doctor Admits Israeli Pathologist Harvested Organs Without Consent by Alison Weir
  • Egypt's metal wall sparks crisis with Hamas by Khaled Abu Toameh
  • Finkelstein: Livni 'proud' of Gaza 'war crimes'
  • Egypt bans march into Gaza Strip
  • Gaza Freedom March Update
 

Dec. 22, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, offers
  • A theological critique
  • Glad tidings
  • A new evolutionary movement that proposes Uri Avnery as a political leader
 

Dec. 22, 2009

Counterpunch: Palestine's Gift of Christmas  by Manuel Garcia Jr.

To discuss Palestine at Christmastime, here in the U.S. or in Europe, is to highlight the hypocrisy of so much "statecraft." Israel was bombing Palestine and Lebanon during the last Christmas season, remember?

 

Dec. 22, 2009

Adam Keller, Crazy Country: As we already talk to Hamas

Undoubtedly, the mediators – Egyptian as well as German – would be ready to pass Binyamin Netanyahu's offers to the Hamas leadership. If he has anything to offer.

 

Dec. 22, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, writes:
  • Note 1:   The charities are calling for more pressure to be exerted on Israel to end what they describe as its illegal collective punishment of Gazans.  Netanyahu's response is in the concluding two paragraphs (highlighted).
  • Note 2:   The Holocaust caused by the Nazis was appalling, atrocious, awful, dreadful, frightful, ghastly, grisly, gruesome, hideous, horrendous, horrid, horrifying, lurid, macabre, monstrous, nightmarish, shocking, terrible.  About that we all can agree.  Now I suggest that we postpone our discussions about the Nazi Holocaust until Israel ends the occupation of Palestine and complies with International Law.

Aid agencies have strongly criticised the international community for failing to help bring an end to Israel's blockade of Gaza. The charities made the accusation in a report published just ahead of the anniversary of Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip. The aid agencies condemn not just Israel, but the world community.

 

Dec. 21, 2009

We, as Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Israel, some of us also members of the Jewish people, express our joy concerning the shared view of many Jews and Catholics when it comes to the virtues of Pope John Paul II. For us what is particularly important is all he did to bring the Church closer to the Jewish people.  At the same time, we express our pain once again concerning the division between the Church and the Jewish people when it comes to Pope Pius XII. As Catholics, we are called to understand the figures of the Popes John Paul II and Pius XII in the light of the teaching of the Church. We reject the defamation of Pius XII and that accuses him of cowardice and even anti-Semitism and collaboration with the Nazi enemy. These accusations are absolutely without foundation. Likewise, we reject the interpretations that see any honoring of Pius XII as a minimizing of the importance of the Shoah or as a retreat from the breathtaking progress in the relations between Jews and Catholics in the past decades. On the other hand, we are called to understand the discomfort of many of our Jewish brothers and sisters who argue that the Pope "did not do enough" in saving Jews in the hour of their sufferings during the Shoah.

 

Dec. 21, 2009

The discovery was made during excavations linked to the construction of the International Marian Center of Nazareth, which is being carried out by the Association Mary of Nazareth.

The center is being built next to the Church of the Annunciation, which tradition holds as the site where Mary, the mother of Jesus, lived.

 

Dec. 21, 2009

Benedict XVI is describing his visit in May to Israel's Yad Vashem memorial as an "overwhelming" encounter with hatred.

The Pope stated this today in a traditional meeting with the Roman Curia and other officials for the exchange of Christmas greetings. In his address, the Holy Father recalled some of the major events of 2009, including his visit to Jordan and the Holy Land.

The Pontiff made a special mention of his closeness to the people of Israel, the victims of Nazi cruelty, and his visit to the memorial where he placed a wreath in honor of the dead and met with survivors of the Holocaust.

 

Dec. 21, 2009

Two settlers from the Givat Ha Harsina settlement attacked seven-year-old Amar Zatari this past Wednesday, 16 December, while he, a brother and cousin were walking home from school.  The two young men threw stones at the three boys and, along with a dog, chased them.  In his panic to get away Amar tripped and fell on his face.  His twelve-year- old brother ran back, scooped him up and raced to the safety of the closest house in the Al-Bweireh neighborhood.

 

Dec. 21, 2009

On Sunday, December 20, the Israeli army disrupted transportation of children and teachers from Al-Fakheit school to their homes. The Palestinian driver, accompanied by one CPTer, was on his way to pick up children and teachers after school when, at about 1 pm, soldiers in a Humvee followed and stopped the pickup truck used as a school bus. The soldiers confiscated the driver's ID, searched the truck and personal belongings in it, and ordered that the driver follow them to a field south of Jinba.

 

Dec. 20, 2009

Precisely this last aspect of the prophecy -- that of the messianic peace -- naturally brings us to note that Bethlehem is also a city-symbol of peace in the Holy Land and in the whole world. Unfortunately, Bethlehem does not represent an achieved and stable peace, but rather a peace that is laboriously sought and awaited.

 

Dec. 20, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, writes:
  • Note 1:   Lebanon has forged a unity government which includes Hezbollah.  It was Hezbollah that brought an end to Israel's 20-year occupation of the southern 1/10th of Lebanon in the year 2000.  Hezbollah, like Hamas in Palestine, has a vast social services network that most Americans don't know about.
  • Note 2:   "One man's terrorist is another man's Freedom Fighter."
  • Note 3:   Palestine needs a unity government which includes Hamas.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is due to hold talks in Damascus for the first time since his anti-Syrian coalition came to power in 2005.

 

Dec. 20, 2009

Care 2: Bring Water to Gaza Residents!

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA, more than 10,000 Gaza residents do not have water taps anywhere near their homes. On top of this, about 60 percent of Gaza residents do not have reliable access to water at all.

 

Dec. 20, 2009

Muzzlewatch: B’Tselem’s Anat Biletzki: the worst thing that we do is we don’t use words at all by Cecilie Surasky

Every time you are silenced or allow yourself to be silenced, you must come back stronger and louder than ever. On this, the anniversay of the attack on Gaza, I hope you too will make a promise to speak the truth you know, to stand for full equality and humanity and against repression in all its forms, to assertively challenge someone who puts forth lies or hatred. It’s not just the humanity of Palestinians that is at stake, it’s the humanity of Israelis, and indeed, we Jews and Americans.

 

Dec. 20, 2009

Muzzlewatch: $7 million muzzling shocker- Canadian government cuts off funds for church group it calls anti-Semitic

Minister Kenney’s charge against KAIROS is false. KAIROS did not lead this campaign. In 2007, KAIROS took a public position opposing sanctions and a boycott of Israel.

A recently released document, Kairos Palestine, 2009: A Moment of Truth, is not a document of KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives. Kairos is a Greek word meaning “God’s time” and is commonly used by Christian groups.

 

Dec. 20, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, writes, "A large and growing number of our allies are convinced that Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions are the best tools we Peacemakers have to persuade Israel to end the occupation and comply with International Law once and for all."

End the Occupation: Victory! Credo Mobile Hangs Up On Motorola

Last week we found out that Credo Mobile, a telephone service provider that claims to be guided by progressive values, stopped offering Motorola phones to their customers after complaints from our supporters. This is a major victory in our campaign to boycott Motorola for profiting from Israeli occupation and apartheid against Palestinians!

 

Dec. 20, 2009

Eileen Fleming, We Are Wide Awake: The Twelve Days Before Christmas and an Open Letter to The House 

Recently I and other concerned Americans petitioned our representatives in the House of Congress to vote NO on HR 867, a resolution that called for President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton to oppose the United Nations consideration of the Goldstone Report.

My Congressperson Ginny Brown-Waite co-sponsored the resolution and on November 3, 2009, 344 House congressional reps voted to kill the Goldstone Report.

 

Dec. 20, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, writes, "This post was written by an Arab-Christian who calls God 'Allah'.  This post was forwarded by a Muslim, a Palestinian Refugee who lives in Chicago."

The Blog of Raja Chemayel, Frustrated Arab's Diary: The First Lesson in Theology

Today Islam and Christianity are divided by the cultures only and by geo-politics, occasionally.

 

Dec. 20, 2009

Christian Peacemaker Team: HEBRON REFLECTION: Clipping an angel’s wings by Johann Funk

All I can do is reflect, pray and enter into the suffering God must experience when he sees what is done in his name for the sake of Israeli settlers in Hebron.

 

Dec. 20, 2009

Christian Peacemaker Team: Palestine Poems: December by Johann Funk
 

Dec. 20, 2009

Christian Peacemaker Team: Prayers for Peacemakers by Doug Pritchard

PRAYERS FOR PEACEMAKERS, Wed., Dec. 16, 2009

Pray for the village of at-Tuwani in occupied Palestine. They have sought electricity supply since 2001 but were ignored by Israeli authorities. When the village began its own supply initiatives, the Israeli army destroyed these installations in November 2009.

Doug Pritchard
Christian Peacemaker Teams
Toronto, Canada

Christian Peacemaker Team: Video: "Left in the Dark..."

 

Dec. 20, 2009

Christian Peacemaker Team: Hebron Reflection: The Occupation Illuminates the Incarnation by Paulette Schroeder

I shall be here in the West Bank for Christmas this year. The contrasts I see intensify my desire to work diligently to undo Occupation through media, through friends, through writing. The reality here pushes me to celebrate passionately, to give generous thanks for Jesus, Emmanuel. This real Incarnational faith sustains, leads all Christians to live life abundantly, to work for justice and to open the doors for those denied their humanity.

 

Dec. 20, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, writes, "The Karios Document characterizes the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories as an evil that must be resisted by Palestinians and removed by non-violent means.  The document also criticizes those, such as Christian Zionists, 'who use The Bible to threaten our existence as Christian and Muslim Palestinians'.  The statement calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions to bring about an end to the occupation."

Churches for Middle East Peace: Palestinian Christians Issue "The Kairos Palestine Document," Letter from Representatives of U.S. Churches in the Holy Land, Egypt Building Wall along Border with Gaza

 

Dec. 20, 2009

Mazin Qumsiyeh: [Human Rights] Bethlehem honors Jerusalem and Gaza this Christmas season

Here where life is so abnormal today that visiting internationals no matter how prepared are always shocked to see concentration camps surrounded by walls, Nazi-like behavior of occupation soldiers brought from around the world to police native people, and Palestinian officials who keep accommodating the occupation and finding out that the demands of the occupation keep increasing. But here is also where love and hope grow and where people of all backgrounds (religions and ethnicities) get together to work for peace (and not just talk about it). Come and see.

 

Dec. 19, 2009

Eileen Fleming, We Are Wide Awake: The Jewish CALL and FAST, Hanuka and Operation Cast Lead

Last year, as Israel’s bombs were falling over Gaza, I attempted to organize a group of rabbis to craft a statement of outrage and moral protest. As we were finishing the document, I was contacted one by one by rabbis who reluctantly informed me that they could not attach their names to the statement. The hard reality had set in: their jobs would be in serious jeopardy if if they publicly supported a statement such as this. --Rabbi Brant Rosen

 

Dec. 19, 2009

Eileen Fleming, We Are Wide Awake: A Letter regarding Deir Yassin and Remembering More

As I'm sure you already know, the situation in Palestinian seems to be getting worse every day. An area especially hard hit are the educational institutions. Money for the schools and teachers salaries is almost non-existent. --Steven Beikirch

 

Dec. 19, 2009

Palestine Online Store: 1936 travel poster and many other items

Our best-selling poster was originally designed by Franz Kraus in 1936 and published by the Tourist Association of Palestine, a Zionist development agency. The poster shows the city of Jerusalem, with its neat parks, homes, and the Dome of the Rock.

Embarrassingly for the Zionists, this one poster effectively debunks three of their core myths; that Palestine was a land without people, that Palestine was a barren desert, and that there never was any such thing as Palestine. Well, here is a populated and green Palestine, called by name in a Zionist-published poster!

 

Dec. 19, 2009

Uri Avnery, Gush Shalom: Oybama

In all the long Oslo speech, Obama devoted 16 whole words to us: “We see it in Middle East, as the conflict between Arabs and Jews seems to harden.”

Well, first of all, it is not a conflict between Arabs and Jews. It is between Palestinians and Israelis. That is an important difference: when one wants to solve a problem, one must first have a clear picture of it.

 

Dec. 19, 2009

Adam Keller, Crazy Country: Police in the Service of Robbers

It happened on Friday afternoon. The brave and industrious men of the Jerusalem Police charged head-on at demonstrators who marched through the streets, some of them drumming and others dressed as clowns. Twenty-seven protesters were dragged into the police patrol cars and sent to spend the weekend behind bars at the Russian Compound detention center.

 

Dec. 19, 2009

Mazin Qumsiyeh: [Human Rights] Spain, El Principito and more

A student in Madrid is like a student at Bethlehem University or Yale University. A politician or journalist in Spain also behaves the same as politicians or journalists in Ramallah. Those who care for people are easy to identify and are genuinely interested to know what is really going on and how it impacts people's lives. We explain to all how European governments have been complicit in violations of International law and human rights. We explain the importance of treating apartheid Israel just like apartheid South Africa to effect a restoration of basic justice starting with the right of refugees to return to their homes and lands. We are gratified by the positive response.

 

Dec. 19, 2009

Roy Tov: Tel Aviv's Black Christmas

Most foreigners visiting Israel during Christmas misinterpret reality. It isn't that there are no Christians, but that they are oppressed. If the foreigners cared about looking around, they would see quiet festivities held beyond closed doors and carefully darkened windows. If they really cared, they would analyze the Israeli government official statistics and see they are obviously cooked up; that the number of Christians is larger than reported. The facts are clear. Most major Christian denominations keep temples in Holy Land - with the exception of the Lutheran Church, which is banned by the Israeli government. Many local communities, dating back to Jesus times, are Christian. A large percentage of the Palestinian population - many of them with Israeli citizenship - are Christians. Many ethnic Jews have accepted Christ, but are considered Jews by the Israeli Ministry of Interior, which doesn't recognize freedom of religion. At least a hundred thousand persons of the 1990's Russian immigration were Christians; though they were defined as Jews by the ministry.

 

Dec. 19, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, addresses the Mail Room Supervisor at the White House: "Please make sure the President sees the article pasted below as soon as possible.  He may wish to deny these allegations.  If the report is true, he's in a position to makes CHANGES.  Please inform the President that blind copies of this post are being sent to everyone on my mailing list.  I have an extensive mailing list.  What's more, there are people on my mailing list who have mailing lists at least as extensive as my own.  You folks in the Mail Room are doing a fine job.  Keep up the good work.  Here's wishing all of you a blessed and happy Christmas."

Common Dreams: CIA Working with Palestinian Security Agents, US agency co-operating with Palestinian counterparts who allegedly torture Hamas supporters in West Bank by Ian Cobain

Palestinian security agents who have been detaining and allegedly torturing supporters of the Islamist organisation Hamas in the West Bank have been working closely with the CIA, the Guardian has learned.

 

Dec. 19, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, comments, "Please read MIFTAH's Weekly Mailer very carefully.  Pay particular attention to the next-to-last paragraph.  Do you see an opportunity for CHANGE in today's development?  An opportunity you cannot afford to miss?"

MIFTAH: Europeans Speak Out [December 13 – December 19]

On December 16, the PLO central council ended its two-day session in Ramallah. Among other decisions, the Council approved a resolution calling on President Mahmoud Abbas to stay in power until new elections are held in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Muhammad Subaih, deputy chairman of the council, said Abbas would stay in power at least until June 28, 2010, the scheduled date for new presidential and legislative elections, set by Egypt as part of its efforts towards reconciliation between Hamas and Fateh.

 

Dec. 18, 2009

World Council of Churches: Christmas message

This Christmas message video can be viewed in English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Korean, Portuguese, Arabic, Greek and Kiswahili.

The text of the message can be read in many more languages on the WCC website.

 

Dec. 18, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, writes, "Uri Avnery would have made a great prime minister."

Uri Avnery in Gush Shalom: Travel

TRAVEL

Our leaders
And generals
Want to travel
Abroad?

Let them lift the
Gaza blockade,
Implement the
Prisoner exchange,
And set up
A credible, independent
Commission of Inquiry
About “Molten Lead”.

 

Ad in Haaretz, December 11, 2009

Cheques to help us continue the ads - and the campaigns - to: Gush Shalom, P.O.Box 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033

 

Dec. 17, 2009

The Carter Center: Israeli Fights for Human Rights of Palestinians (2009)

The Carter Center partners with Israeli human rights defenders to support their work in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories as well as amplify their voices in the United States as they work to ensure that human rights play a central role in any peace process.

 

Dec. 17, 2009

World Council of Churches: Kairos initiative: a message of hope for a just peace in Palestine by Ranjan Solomon

At an impressive ceremony which brought together a wide spectrum of Palestinian civil society, including church leaders, and over 50 people from every region of the world, Palestinian Christians launched the document popularly referred to as the Kairos Palestine Document.

 

Dec. 17, 2009

World Council of Churches: A Palestinian Christian call to end the occupation

A group of Palestinian Christians representing a variety of churches and church-related organizations have issued an animated and prayerful call for an end to occupation of Palestine by Israel.

 

Dec. 17, 2009

Links sent from English PAL: Your Door to Palestine in English
  • EnglishPAL: Sharaka: Community Supported Agriculture  Sharaka is a Palestinian Community Supported Agriculture Initiative.
  • EnglishPAL: Historic Gaza Freedom March set for December 31  The Gaza Freedom March that will take place in Gaza on December 31 is an historic initiative to break the siege that has imprisoned the 1.5 million people who live there. Conceived in the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and nonviolent resistance to injustice worldwide, the march will gather people from all over the world to march—hand in hand—with the people of Gaza to demand that the Israelis open the borders.
 

Dec. 17, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, writes: "Please notice that this appeal from the Council of the National Interest [CNI] stands in contradiction to CUFI's appeal. The appeals are diametrically opposed and are not without theological implications."

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, adds: "Please notice that CUFI's appeal stands in direct contradiction to CNI's appeal.  CUFI's appeal also stands in opposition to all the appeals which come from the Churches for Middle East Peace:  www.cmep.org.  The American people have choices, don't we? "

"Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act by an overwhelming margin of 412-12.  Our Congressmen have spoken, and they have sent Iran a clear message that there will be a steep economic price to pay for their illegal pursuit of nuclear weapons. 

"Christians United for Israel has been a leading supporter of this legislation.  Through our visits to Capitol Hill and our e-mail action alerts, we have made it clear to Congress that America's Christians support tough economic sanctions against Iran. And Congress has listened."

- Pastor John Hagee, National Chairman, Christians United for Israel 

- David Brog, Executive Director, Christians United for Israel    

 

Dec. 17, 2009

Assyrian International News Agency: Churches Come Under Attack in Iraq

Speaking from northern Iraq in an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, the Catholic charity for persecuted and other suffering Christians, Fr Bashar Warda described the "fear and shock" of the people who looked forward to Christmas as a time to "lift our spirits".

 

Dec. 16, 2009

The Arab American Institute: Israel’s Fictional Undivided Jerusalem by Dr. James Zogby

Israel’s near hysterical reaction to a Swedish proposal to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, their stubborn refusal to include East Jerusalem in their questionable “settlement freeze” and their defense of repressive policies imposed on Palestinians in the area of that holy city are framed in language that masks their real intent.

 

Dec. 16, 2009

Eileen Fleming, We Are Wide Awake: Message from Vanunu and More TRUTH about Jerusalem 

Vanunu returned to court yesterday and published the following message on his You Tube page [Bold Eileen's] and what follows is more truth about Jerusalem.

 

Dec. 16, 2009

Peace X Peace: Mutual Sharing: This Is What Women Do from Deb Reich, Israel

Jewish Israelis are supposed to hate and fear "the Arabs," especially Palestinians. But many of us resist. I believe that a new country of Palestine/Israel, struggling to emerge in blood and agony, will far outshine its parents someday, like any other ambitious offspring. Many of us can envision a new shared enterprise where, together, we shall build something wonderful for all our children.

 

Dec. 16, 2009

Time: Bethlehem's Complicated Christmas [9-mnute video]

The city where Christians believe that Jesus was born is a complicated place where Christians, Jews, Muslims, and tourists all maneuver to worship at holy sites.

 

Dec. 16, 2009

Time: Christmas with Baghdad's Dwindling Christians by  Abigail Hauslohner

The Catholic Church of Mar Yousif is modest and unassuming from the outside. On Christmas morning, a maze of cars obstructed the street in front, presenting a hundred-foot long physical barrier to any would-be car bomber. The faithful have learned to be cautious: their church is nestled in the Mansur district of Baghdad that was formerly home to some of the city's worst insurgent activity.

 

Dec. 16, 2009

Zenit:Synod on Mideast Will Focus on Communion

As preparations continue for next October's special synod on the Middle East, the working document is nearing completion and emphasizes communion within the Church.

..."the members of the council did not neglect the topic of relations with Jews and Muslims, insisting above all on the need for dialogue and collaboration in several areas of social and cultural activity."

 

Dec. 15, 2009

Adam Keller and Beate Zilversmidt, Editors: The Other Israel, November 2009

Billboard of relevant articles

 

Dec. 15, 2009

Crazy Country by Adam Keller: In Those Days and Time

An interesting coincidence. Exactly the time when Jews, in this country and world-wide, are celebrating Hanukka, was also when Israeli soldiers were sent to capture Abdullah Abu Rahme of Bil'in Village and bring him into detention. Already for years Abdullah Abu Rahme is organizing the people of his village to a persistent struggle, with no weapons in their hands, about the theft of their lands and livelihood – supposedly for erection of the "Separation Fence", in fact in order to extend the giant ultra-Orthodox settlement Modi'in Illit.

 

Dec. 15, 2009

Occupation Magazine: Elderly mother joins in prison her five sons, grandson and daughter-in-law

The elderly Rab’a Belal became the oldest Palestinian woman detainess (and one of the oldest Palestinian detainees in general) when Israeli forces arrived to arrest her in a raid on the family home at Rafidya, western Nablus. Rab’a Belal is the widow of Sheikh Said Belal, one of the Hamas founders, who died five years ago. Her five sons are already in detention, as are a grandson and a daughter-in-law. No reason for the arrest, or specific charges against Rab’a Belal herself, were published.


Palestine Press Agency: Israeli jail gathers Pal'n family

 

Dec. 15, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, writes: "The plot thickens."

BBC News: Israel fury at UK attempt to arrest Tzipi Livni

Israel has reacted angrily to the issuing by a British court of an arrest warrant for the former Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni.

 

Dec. 15, 2009

Churches for Middle East Peace: Fourth Sunday in Advent Reflection

 

For Meditation: Am I praying for healing in the hearts of all the people in this conflict? Does that prayer include asking that all parties will be able to forgive as Christ

asked us to do? Do I understand and respect the common, positive religious

connections the Abrahamic religions share?

 

Dec. 15, 2009

American Association for Palestinian Equal Rights: Sign the Letter to Bethlehem

...the promise of Bethlehem will be born anew, both as an earthly town and as a universal symbol of what human beings can achieve when united in the service of justice.

 

Dec. 15, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, writes: "What are we to think about today's news?  Abbas is standing up to the Israelis and the Americans by refusing to return to the negotiating table until Israel halts all settlements building.  That's good.  But why did Abbas not stand up to the Israelis and the Americans while they were driving a wedge between Fatah and Hamas?  In today's news Abbas criticized Hamas.  Abbas said Hamas does not "believe in democracy or the nation".  What an outrageous thing for him to say.  Hamas defeated Fatah in the 2006 democratic legislative elections.  What does Abbas think he has to gain by sounding like a gevalt-filled Israeli or an American politician?  See:  YouTube - My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story.  Palestine needs a unified government.  Please read on."

Reuters: Abbas sticks by terms for talks, rules out violence by Tom Perry

 

Dec. 15, 2009

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: Restricting Space: The Planning Regime Applied in Israel for Area C of the West Bank

This OCHA Special Focus covers the planning and zoning regime applied by the Israeli authorities in Area C of the West Bank. Under this regime, Palestinian construction is effectively prohibited in some 70 percent of Area C, while in the remaining 30 percent, a range of restrictions virtually eliminate the possibility of obtaining a building permit. In practice, the Israeli authorities generally allow Palestinian construction only within the boundaries of an Israeli-approved plan and these cover less than one percent of Area C, much of which is already built-up. As a result, Palestinians are left with no choice but to build illegally and risk demolition of their structures and displacement. The consequences of the current regime are wide-ranging and extend to the entire Palestinian population of the West Bank.

 

Dec. 15, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, writes, "Polls show that American Jews are becoming increasingly disenchanted with AIPAC.   See:  www.aipac.org."

 

He joins Rela Mazali in this message calling our attention to several articles: "The four items below all touch on the sidelined, yet crucial and smoldering predicament of Palestine's refugees.

"The first item reports on a joint call from Christian Palestinian leaders to churches around the world to join the movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel led by Palestinian civil society organizations. It notes that this call or Kairos, "an ancient Greek term meaning the right or opportune moment … inspired by the liberation theology, especially in South Africa where a similar document was issued," is being made sixty-one years to the day after December 11th 1948, the date of "the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 … calling for the return of the Palestinian refugees to their homes of origin 'at the earliest practicable date.'” 

"The second item is a brief interview, "without diplomatic kid gloves," as journalist Akiva Eldar put it, with Karen Koning AbuZayd, the departing deputy commissioner of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). "It is particularly vexing," AbuZayd noted, "that the prevailing approach fails - or refuses - to accord the refugee issue the attention it deserves. Over 60 years, dispossession has faded from the focus of peace efforts. The heart of where peace should begin is absent from the international agenda, pushed aside …" She went on to emphasize that "not a single conflict of contemporary times has been resolved, no durable peace achieved unless and until the voices of the victims of those conflicts were heard, their losses acknowledged and redress found …"

"Today as well, Israel's dispossession of Palestinians is ongoing. As AbuZayd observed, "forced displacements continue across the West Bank [… and] Palestinians are evicted from their homes in East Jersualem." She continued, "I ask a simple question. Is it not time for those engaged in the peace process to muster the will and the courage to address the Palestine refugee question?"

"Meanwhile, some of the Palestinian and Israeli activists striving to place this question precisely on the public and government agenda were severely brutalized yesterday afternoon by Israeli police. The third item is an announcement circulated on Saturday, December 12th, 2009, on activist lists in Israel in both Hebrew and English, briefly reporting on events occurring the previous day (Friday, Dec. 11th) in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem, and announcing another protest on Saturday evening.

"Finally, this is followed by a report on the protest and arrests from today's Ha'aretz."

 

 

Dec. 14, 2009

MIFTAH: Silently Stealing Jerusalem by Joharah Baker

As the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem writes, "Israel treats Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem as immigrants who live in their homes at the beneficence of the authorities and not by right."

 

Dec. 14, 2009

Churches for Middle East Peace: Access to Higher Education for Gazan Students is Vital for Prosperity, Stability and Peace in the Holy Land

Ask your Representative to sign the Inglis-Moran letter to Secretary of State Clinton because access to higher education for Gaza residents will undercut extremism and strengthen the voice of moderate Palestinians that want to live side by side in peace with Israel.

See NBC: Deported Palestinian student can't finish studies by Lawahez Jabari

 

Dec. 14, 2009

Churches for Middle East Peace: Tell Your Rep. the U.S. Must Meet the Needs of Civilians in Gaza & Ensure the Security Needs of Israel are Addressed

Please take a minute to help bring peace to the Holy Land! Severe restrictions at Gaza’s borders create a dire situation for civilians, strengthen Hamas through the tunnel economy, and make it more difficult for the U.S. to restart negotiations and guide Israelis and Palestinians to peace.

Contact your Representative and ask them to sign the McDermott-Ellison letter to President Obama that urges him to improve conditions in Gaza because the status quo is counter to U.S., Israeli, and Palestinians interests for peace and security.

 

Dec. 14, 2009

Haaretz: American Jews eye Obama's 'anti-Israel' appointees by Natasha Mozgovaya

Every appointee to the American government must endure a thorough background check by the American Jewish community.

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, asks, "Isn't it amazing that this article was published in an Israeli newspaper?"

 

Dec. 13, 2009

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, the Shalom Center: End U S war in Afghanistan: Can YOUR organization adopt this resolution?

[Friends — Today (December 13, 2009), I proposed to a rabbinic organization of which I’m a member that they adopt this resolution (with a few changes to specify our religious tradition). As set forth here (with whatever changes you think appropriate), could you bring it to your own organization, religious or other? For further discussion on this question, see the section of our website here. We welcome comments as made possible at the end of this essay. With blessings toward shalom, salaam, shantih — peace! — Rabbi Arthur Waskow]

 

Dec. 13, 2009

Christian Peacemaking Team, You Tube [6:42]: Left in the Dark: Israeli Military Denies Electricity to At-Tuwani

At-Tuwani, South Hebron Hills, Occupied Palestine - This video documents the struggle of the people of At-Tuwani to bring electricity to their village. The Israeli occupying forces have systematically denied At-Tuwani the proper permits to legally connect to the Palestinian electrical grid. At-Tuwani is located in Area C (under the Oslo Accords) and must apply for construction permits through the Israeli administration. After 8 years of submitting applications and documents and receiving no answer from the Israeli administration, the At-Tuwani Village Council decided to begin work on the pylons needed to connect to the electrical grid. The Israeli military immediately stopped the work and issued demolition orders. Later the Israeli military and police carried out the demolition orders, removing and confiscating two electrical pylons.

 

Dec. 13, 2009

Mark Braverman, the Politics of Hope: Rededicating the Temple – A Hanukah Homily

I know that for Christians in the U.S. today, calling Israel to account puts half a century of interfaith reconciliation at risk. Institutional, personal and family relationships are on the line. But the church must fulfill its historic calling to stand for justice for all the peoples of the earth. And we Jews must reclaim our prophetic tradition. In our Hanukah liturgy, we thank God for “standing by your people in their time of trouble…achieving great victories and deliverance.” Indeed, we are in need of deliverance — but today, as the anniversary of the bombardment of Gaza approaches, it is from our reliance on violence and military force as a solution to our suffering that we need to be rescued. Christianity has struggled to overcome the creedal rigidity and triumphalism that has plagued it since the time of Constantine. It is to our own work of reformation that we Jews must dedicate ourselves in this Hanukah season.

 

Dec. 13, 2009

Ann Haften: A Texas Lutheran's Voice for Middle East Peace

December 2009 ELCA Middle East Network Newsletter

 

Dec. 12, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal: An open letter to President Obama regarding the need to inform Americans about the facts of the Arab-Israeli conflict

Americans need simple information.  Review the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict with the American people.  Explain who, exactly, is perpetrating the conflict and explain their covert reasons. 

 

Dec. 12, 2009

MIFTAH: Settlers Rampage Through West Bank [December 6 – December 12]

Jewish settlers in the West Bank have continued to attack Palestinian residents in what is being dubbed a "price tag" policy for their government's decision to freeze settlement construction for a period of 10 months. On December 11, a group of settlers entered the village of Yasouf in the northern West Bank and torched its local mosque. According to media reports and eyewitnesses, the settlers burned prayer rugs, copies of the Quran and a book stand with Islamic texts, leaving racist graffiti on the floor and walls. "Price tag – greetings from Effi" read one. “We will have our revenge” another scrawling read. “We will burn you all.”

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, comments: Jewish settlers in the West Bank have continued to attack Palestinian residents in what is being dubbed a "price tag" policy for their government's decision to freeze settlement construction for a period of 10 months.  All the settlements have been declared illegal under International Law, but Israel disputes this.

 

Dec. 12, 2009

America Magazine: Another War President? by John J. DiIulio Jr.

In broad outline, to be just, a war must be waged to stop the lasting, grave and certain damage being done by the aggressor (here the Taliban and its allies); and there must be no other practical or effective means to stop the damage, a serious prospect of success in stopping it and a prudent hope that the killing in order to stop killing will not beget even greater evils.

I trust President Obama to wage a tolerably just, if barely constitutional, war in Afghanistan.

 

Dec. 12, 2009

The World Council of Churches: The Kairos Palestine Document

...we have reached a dead end in the tragedy of the Palestinian people. The decision-makers content themselves with managing the crisis rather than committing themselves to the serious task of finding a way to resolve it. The hearts of the faithful are filled with pain and with questioning: What is the international community doing? What are the political leaders in Palestine, in Israel and in the Arab world doing? What is the Church doing? The problem is not just a political one. It is a policy in which human beings are destroyed, and this must be of concern to the Church.

 

Dec. 12, 2009

FOSNA: Kairos Palestine Document, a prayerful call of Palestinian Christians to End the Occupation

Expressing their pain, the signatories of the call decry the emptiness of the promises and pronouncements about peace in the region. They remind the world about the separation wall erected on Palestinian territory, the blockade of Gaza, how Israeli settlements ravage their land, the humiliation at military checkpoints, the restrictions of religious liberty and controlled access to holy places, the plight of refugees awaiting their right of return, prisoners languishing in Israeli prisons and Israel's blatant disregard of international law, as well as the paralysis of the international community in the face of this tragedy.

Rejecting Israeli justifications for their actions as being in self-defence, they unambiguously state that if there were no occupation, "there would be no resistance, no fear and no insecurity."

 

Dec. 12, 2009

Sabeel: Wave of Prayer, Thursday, December 10, 2009

Each week at 12:00 in Jerusalem Sabeel holds a Communion service that is open to the community.  It is a time to join together to celebrate the eucharist, to discuss how the scriptures apply to our lives today, and to pray for the specific needs of this region.  Our hope is that in our respective time zones, individuals and groups around the world will pray together at 12:00 on Thursdays, in solidarity with Sabeel in Jerusalem and with “Friends of Sabeel” worldwide.  Starting in Australia, passing through Palestine, and continuing on around the world we pray for Peace with Justice and focus on specific issues each week. 

 

Dec. 11, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal: UPDATE on the Greek Orthodox Church's squabble with Israel

The controversy in the Holy Land is over the land.  Palestinian families are fighting for their homes, and so are the Christian Churches. 

 

Dec. 11, 2009

Linga.org: Israel: State-backed persecution of Messianic Jews

The methods of harassment and persecution used by the ultra-Orthodox organization Yad L'Achim against innocent, law-abiding Israeli citizens goes beyond the limits of legitimate activity by a civilian body and borders on unlawful. The organization, which has deployed a dense net of activists across the country and the world, is proud of "rescuing" Jewish men, women and children from the "claws" of other faiths and belief systems using coercive and dubious tactics.

 

Dec. 11, 2009

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: Lutheran Bishop, Palestinian Christians, Call for End to Israeli Occupation

The Palestinian Christians expressed gratitude to churches of the world for the solidarity they have shown, and invited them to "come and see."  They asked the international community "to stop the principle of 'double standards' and suggested possible "economic sanctions and boycott be applied" against Israel to reach "a just and definitive peace" to end the occupation.

The Christians also called on Jews and Muslims to join them for peace and to rise above political positions; said education is important for Palestinians; appealed to Jews and Muslims not to make a religious state but a state "for all its citizens"; asked for an end to division among Palestinians; and noted the importance of Jerusalem to Christians, Jews and Muslims.

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, comments: "One of the things we have to admire about the Lutherans is that they communicate what they're doing in the Holy Land (and why) very clearly.  Lutheran Bishops and Pastors keep their people informed.  Lutherans talk with one another about things that matter.  There's community there."

 

Dec. 11, 2009

Council for the National Interest: December 30th candlelight vigil to mark one-year anniversary of the Israeli attack on Gaza

CNI members and citizens from around the country will be meeting to mark the one-year invasion of Gaza, in which over 1,300 Palestinians were killed during 22 days of bombings last winter.  Living conditions in Gaza remain desperate, as Israel continues to impose its siege on 1.5 million Palestinians, preventing almost anyone from leaving the strip and making it virtually impossible to rebuild or repair the thousands of homes and businesses that were demolished during the attack. 

 

Dec. 11, 2009

The National: Bedouins in Israel denied elections by Jonathan Cook

Bedouin leaders counter that their villages predate Israel’s creation and that the approved locales are so tightly confined that they cannot maintain their traditional pastoral way of life.

Israel has faced mounting criticism for its treatment of the 45 so-called “unrecognised villages”, which are denied all public services, including electricity and water. The inhabitants are invariably forced to live in tents or tin shacks because concrete homes are subject to demolition.

 

Dec. 11, 2009

BBC News: Fire attack on West Bank mosque

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal:

  • Attacks on Palestinians by settlers are increasing.  A number of incidents have been captured on video and received wide publicity.  The Israeli military said it "views the incident gravely" and that security forces are working to locate the perpetrators.  Israeli human rights groups have accused the Israeli military of running inadequate investigations into such incidents.  

  • All Jewish settlements in the West Bank including East Jerusalem are illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this. Jewish settlements on Palestinian land have been the issue since the beginning.  Jewish settlers just move in and take over.
 

Dec. 11, 2009

United Methodists: An Advent Letter from Janet Lahr Lewis, United Methodist Liaison in Israel and Palestine

It is the Advent season, and here in Bethlehem people have hung the lights and put up the Christmas trees, despite the concern that Christians will be denied permits again this year [and thus will not be allowed to] get together with family members who live in Jerusalem or inside Israel.

Advent letter from internationals working in the land of Christ's birth from various U.S. churches:  "O Come, O Come Emmanuel!"

 

Reflecting on the society into which Jesus was born, we see many similarities to life here today. The ancient Israelites were occupied and suffered at the hands of a foreign power. The Roman occupiers lived freely, able to use and abuse the local population at will, while the subjugated peoples lived in constant uncertainty and anxiety, never sure how they would be treated or whether they would be singled out for random punishment. This is being repeated today for Palestinians living under the longest occupation in modern history, generally trying to live life and survive, but sometimes crossing the line into illegal and counterproductive violence, such as firing rockets from Gaza into Israel. O Come, O Come Emmanuel!

 

Dec. 11, 2009

Zenit: Students at Jewish College See Pius XII's WWII Efforts, Ready to "Set the Record Straight"

Krupp further stated that one characteristic of the Holy Father's work merits special acclaim: "[H]is life saving efforts were done anonymously, which in Jewish tradition is the highest form of charity. He did this when literally no other religious leaders or political leaders of the era did anything by comparison."

 

Dec. 11, 2009

Zenit: Vatican-Israel Meeting Seen as Positive, Joint Statement Contradicts Negative Media Report

"Cordiality" and "mutual understanding" -- and not "crisis" or "breakdown" -- was how a joint Israel-Holy See statement described the most recent round of talks between the two sides.

 

Dec. 11, 2009

Letter from Brother Jack Curran of Bethlehem University: Israel's High Court Decides: Berlanty Azzam Not Allowed to Finish Her BA at Bethlehem University

 

“We are disappointed that the Israeli military and High Court have interfered with the Church’s educational mission at Bethlehem University by denying Berlanty to be brought back to Bethlehem to complete her studies,” said Brother Peter Bray, Vice Chancellor in hearing of this Court ruling.

 

“We realize that Berlanty is one of the many people in Gaza who suffer so unjustly.”

 

 

Dec. 11, 2009

Bright Stars of Bethlehem: Join us at the Bethlehem prayer service [Dec. 19 -- you may join over the internet]

Behind the wall that separates neighbor from neighbor, patient from hospital, student from school and farmer from land, Palestinian Christians continue to bear witness to their faith this Christmas, as they have done for generations.  Once again, let us join our voices with theirs in seeking and offering hope for a better future.

 

Dec. 11, 2009

American Association for Palestinian Equal Rights: Sign the letter to Bethlehem
 

Dec. 11, 2009

BBC News: Egypt starts building steel wall on Gaza Strip border by Christian Frase

Egypt has begun constructing a huge metal wall along its border with the Gaza Strip as it attempts to cut smuggling tunnels

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal: Why is Egypt building this WALL between Egypt and the Arabs in Gaza?  Is it because Netanyahu is driving a hard bargain with President Obama?  According to BBC, American Army Engineers designed this WALL.  Then should Egypt be blamed?  With the single exception of Israel, Egypt gets more money from the US every year than any other nation.  At least we have this to look forward to:  Aid will arrive in the Gaza Strip on 27 December (02:38).

 

Dec. 11, 2009

Gush Shalom: "A Performance" [ad in Haaretz]

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal: Thanks to Gush for saying things that a Gentile cannot say in public without getting targeted by the Swarm.

 

Dec. 11, 2009

BBC News: Food labels advice change over Palestinian territories

UK food labels are set to distinguish between goods from Palestinians in the occupied territories and produce from Israeli settlements.

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal: An international dispute over food labels may seem like a small thing, but small things have a way of accumulating to make a big difference.

 

Dec. 10, 2009

Arabic News Network Interviews Cardinal Bertone, Al Jazeera Preparing Documentary on the Vatican

The Church "promotes the good of persons regardless of their religion," he affirmed. And that is why she requests that "the defense of the rights of minorities" be valid also for Christians "who are in Muslim or non-Christian countries." The cardinal said this "is a commitment that we must all make together."

 

Dec. 10, 2009

World Council of Churches: Churches advocate for religious minorities' rights in Turkey

An international ecumenical delegation visiting Turkey at the end of November has encouraged the country's authorities to improve the situation of religious minorities. The exercise of religious freedom, the legal status of churches, including property issues, and the right to religious education were on the agenda.

 

Dec. 10, 2009

Regarding Afghanistan and the acceptance speech of President Obama for the Nobel Peace Prize

 

 

Dec. 10, 2009

Sojourners: Advent Echoes: Checkpoints and Childbirth on a West Bank Winter Night by Phil Haslanger, Pastor at Memorial United Church of Christ in Fitchburg, Wisconsin

Although Hani Abu Haikal is a Muslim, he probably can identify with the sense of panic Joseph and Mary must have felt as they searched for a place to stay as the time of Jesus’ birth drew near....

 

Dec. 9, 2009

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, sends this link:

BBC News: Jewish settlers in West Bank building curb protest

The BBC's Paul Wood in Jerusalem says the settlers feel betrayed by a government they thought was on their side.

Israel could just be acting tactically, trying to make the Palestinians look like the roadblock to negotiations, our correspondent says.

 

Dec. 9, 2009

MIFTAH: EU Challenges Israel's Claim to Jerusalem

Things have not been going well for Israel this year. Still reeling from the fallout of the Goldstone Report and the international outcry over Operation Cast Lead, Israel finds itself in the hot seat once again, requiring it to wage yet another “diplomatic campaign” as damage control. Last week the EU heads of commission of Jerusalem released a report which is updated annually and presented to the Palestinian Authority. The report accuses Israel of actively pursuing the annexation of east Jerusalem and undermining hopes for peace with the Palestinians by rendering the two-state solution infeasible.

 

Dec. 9, 2009

Zenit: Women Religious Bring Christmas to Iraq

Christmas will come to hard-pressed Christians in Iraq from the hands of Chaldean nuns with Christmas food parcels.

 

Dec. 9, 2009

Zenit: Caritas Jerusalem: West Bank Needs Clean Water, Sewage Damaging Farmland

A statement sent by Caritas Jerusalem detailed the problems suffered by the some 2,500 residents of Jalbun. Because it is low-lying and adjacent to a cow farm, and because of the rerouting of sewage caused by the separation wall, Jalbun has seen sewage flooding.

According to Palestinian officials, Israel controls about 50 West Bank wells, which are directed to about 250,000 people. Palestinians control about 200 wells, but with them, need water for some 2.5 million people.

 

Dec. 8, 2009

Websites where you may order presents from the Holy Land:
 

Dec. 8, 2009

Washington Post: Bethlehem traders still waiting for Christmas cheer by Erika Solomon

Foreign tourists are whisked through Bethlehem from nearby Jerusalem on half-day visits organized by tour companies located in Israel. The two cities are divided by just a few kilometers (miles) but also an Israeli wall that complicates the journey.

 

Dec. 8, 2009

Counterpunch: Surprising Results of CFR Survey: What the U.S. Elite Really Thinks About Israel by Jeffrey Blankfort

The Pew poll not only reveals that the overwhelming majority, two-thirds of the members of this elite foreign policy institution [Council on Foreign Relations], believes that the United States has gone overboard in favoring Israel, it doesn't consider Israel to have have much importance to the US in the first place.

 

Dec. 8, 2009

Haaretz: EU foreign ministers: Jerusalem must be joint capital of Israel, Palestinian state by Barak Ravid

European Union foreign ministers on Tuesday called for negotiations over the status of Jerusalem, saying a way should be found to make it the capital of two nations, Israel and a future Palestinian state.

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal comments: This is indeed a major development in the Mideast Peace Process.  It's a giant step forward.  It's a veritable breakthrough.

See also:

Haaretz Exclusive: EU draft document on division of Jerusalem

 

Dec. 8, 2009

The Global News Service of the Jewish People: Doves Join Forces by Ron Kampeas

A funny thing happened on the way to modifying punitive legislation targeting Palestinians -- Jewish and non-Jewish groups backing aggressive peacemaking established a coalition.

The groups succeeded in toning down the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006. In the process they forged an unofficial coalition of so-called "pro-peace" groups that now routinely consults on issues ranging from Israel-Palestinian matters to how best to deal with Iran -- most participants oppose new sanctions.

 

Dec. 8, 2009

Eileen Fleming, We Are Wide Awake: On myths and reality and a related link

Security for Israel can only happen through Justice for Palestine.

  • Israel must unpick its ethnic myth by Tony Judt in the Financial Times
 

Dec. 8, 2009

MIFTAH: Israel's Settlement Beast by Joharah Baker

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal: The freeze does not include settlement construction already underway or the building in east Jerusalem or public buildings such as schools and synagogues.  Neither is private building included in the government decision. 

 

Dec. 8, 2009

Creative-i: Ireland To Gaza Update

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal: Four teams from all across Ireland left for London on December 5.  On December 6 over 100 vehicles left London and will travel through France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Egypt.  They will reach Rafah on the border between Egypt and Gaza on December 27th.

 

Dec. 7, 2009

Zenit: Cardinal Foley on Christians in the Holy Land, "A Source of Hope for Understanding, Peace and Reconciliation"

Actually, much of the history of the Middle East is the story of the Islamization of what were once Christian countries. For about three hundred years, Egypt was a Christian country, Syria was a Christian country, and so forth. Gradually the Middle East became an overwhelmingly Muslim world -- and the process still continues.

 

Dec. 7, 2009

Churches for Middle East Peace: Third Sunday of Advent, something to be joyful for by the Rev. Doris E. Warrell, Deacon, Dumbarton United Methodist Church

For Meditation: How do you cultivate the peace of God so that it “guards your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ?” Daily reading of Scripture? Writing a gratitude

journal? Using prayer beads? Fasting? How can this practice be deepened

so that when the sorrows of the world, especially those coming from the

Israeli/Palestinian conflict are felt, you can rejoice through the peace of God?

Does it need done more regularly? Is something new or additional needed?

 

Dec. 7, 2009

Reuters: Israeli settlers step up protest against freeze

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal:

  1. Benjamin Netanyahu appealed to settlers on Sunday to abide by his decision to suspend settlements building temporarily.  Some building is allowed to continue.  Netanyahu reiterated a pledge to promptly resume construction once the suspension was over:  "This is a one time decision and it is temporary."
  2. Netanyahu told his cabinet the freeze move showed he and not Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sought peace: "It made it clear to anyone to whom it wasn't clear before, who is the one who wants peace and who is now acting as a refuser of peace."
 

Dec. 7, 2009

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: Common Terms

These are common terms used in the discussion of Israel-Palestine. Use this as a quick reference for any terms you come across that you do not know.

 

Dec. 7, 2009

Global Ministries: Dr. Bernard Sabella talks of conflict, faith and persevering toward hope at the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees in East Jerusalem

Sabella re-emphasizes the importance of solidarity visits by visitors from abroad, "We are keen on a new initiative by the World Council of Churches on accompaniment in the West Bank and Gaza; ecumenical observers, ecumenical monitors if you will. The idea of them is that they will visit with us in solidarity with the Palestinian people. One of the aims of this program is to advocate the end of occupation, for the establishment of a just and lasting peace and for asking to an end to this cycle of violence. An emergency situation puts more stress on individuals so that it becomes more difficult to really come out and say yes, we are going to put our energies into developing a well thought out advocacy program for all the church related organizations. Yet each church related organization is doing their own advocacy programs, meeting with visiting delegations "

 

Dec. 7, 2009

J Street: Secretary Clinton: Stop Tensions from Flaring in Jerusalem

Provocative actions like home demolitions and evictions by Israel and settler groups in Jerusalem are inflaming tensions, making a two-state solution and long-term security for Israel as a Jewish, democratic homeland harder to achieve.

The best way to get Israel to change course is to ask the US to speak up.

 

Dec. 7, 2009

Eileen Fleming, We Are Wide Awake: Democracy Israeli Style    

Two recent articles by UK journalists and Eileen Fleming's input from 2006 and 2009

 

Dec. 7, 2009

Christian Peacemaking Team: At Tuwani, Palestinians plow fields near Israeli outpost, despite challenges from military and settlers

Shepherd families of the South Hebron Hills need to plow and seed their fields each autumn so they can harvest and build their stocks of barley each spring, to sustain their flocks through the long dry summers.

 

Dec. 7, 2009

Jewish Peace News: The Israeli Army's Secret Salary War by Rela Mazali

One of the fault lines opening up in recent years in Israel in the formerly sweeping and solid public support for the military is a growing disaffection with military salaries, military pensions and financial perks for officers and ex-officers.

 

Dec. 7, 2009

Jewish Peace News: The Israeli Army's Secret Salary War by Rela Mazali

One of the fault lines opening up in recent years in Israel in the formerly sweeping and solid public support for the military is a growing disaffection with military salaries, military pensions and financial perks for officers and ex-officers.

 

Dec. 6, 2009

Christian Peacemaking Team: At Tuwani, Palestinian Farmers Plow Fields Despite Settler and Military Harassment

...Israeli military and police arrived and insisted that the Palestinians could not plow in the area. Internationals showed the Israeli authorities documentation on "The Right to Access to Agricultural Lands", an Israeli high court ruling which stipulates that the Israeli army must uphold property rights and protect Palestinian farmers who are entering and working their land. Instead of complying with the ruling, soldiers and police gave conflicting orders about where the Palestinians and internationals could be and why. As these conversations unfolded, however, the Palestinians continued to work and managed to plow all the fields they had hoped to plow that day.

 

Dec. 6, 2009

BBC News: West Bank settlers reject Netanyahu plea for support

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, comments: "Let's be fair. Let's try to understand today's crisis from Benjamin Netanyahu's perspective. If Bibi were actually to begin implementing the Roadmap in accordance with International Law, there would be civil war in Israel.  Watch this video (a repeat) for confirmation:  Is Peace Out Of Reach? (13:10). An easier, safer way for Bibi to secure support from the Israeli public would be for him to provoke civil war in Palestine. If all else fails, Israel can always attack Iran.  Have you noticed? The media in the US seems to be preparing the American public for an Israeli attack on Iran."

 

Dec. 6, 2009

The Guardian: East Jerusalem should be Palestinian capital, says EU draft paper by Rory McCarthy

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, comments: "An EU document stressing that East Jerusalem should be the capital of a future Palestinian state brought a sharp response from Israel.  Israel claimed that Brussels was damaging the prospects of restarting peace talks.  The Israeli Foreign Ministry said:  "The move led by Sweden damages the ability of the European Union to take a role and be a significant factor in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians."  Sweden, which currently holds the EU presidency, was singled out for blame by Israel.  The draft document will be discussed by the EU in Brussels on December 8."

 

Dec. 5, 2009

Eileen Fleming, We Are Wide Awake: The Vanunu Opera 

Governments get away with mayhem and murder whenever the media fails or is prevented from doing their job; to investigate and report the truth, no matter how ugly or brutal.

 

Dec. 5, 2009

Crazy Country: Is there justice for Bedouins?  by Adam Keller

"In 1951, while still a child, the army deported my family and my entire tribe from the land. They told us that it was only for half a year, but we were never allowed to go back," says al Okbi.

 

Dec. 5, 2009

Gush Shalom: Barkan Wineries boycott continues by Adam Keller

Definition: what is a settlement, and who is a settler? There is a simple, clear and objective test: any community of Israeli civilians living on land captured by the IDF in the war between 5 June to 10 June 1967 is a settlement, whether it is on Palestinian territory or on Syrian one. All who live is such a community are settlers. (...) Whether or not the territory in question was annexed by the State of Israel is immaterial. No country has ever recognized such annexations. As far as International Law, these were and remain Occupied Territories, and the unilateral annexation by the State of Israel is null and void. Any Israeli who goes to live there is violating International Law". So far, the explanatory note on our website. It is clear, therefore, that according to these criteria your client, the Barkan Winery company, definitely counts as one which is still producing in settlements, and purchases raw materials derived from settlements. Therefore, unfortunately, we are bound to continue to include the company’s products in the list of settlement products which we are publishing for the attention of the public in the country and abroad.

 

Dec. 5, 2009

Come and See: Israel: Ultra-Orthodox pressure stalling church, mosque at Ben-Gurion airport

Ultra-Orthodox political pressure has stalled the construction of a church and a mosque at Ben-Gurion International Airport for the past five years....

 

Dec. 5, 2009

Miftah: Ramla or Ramallah: Crossing Borders and Boundaries by Britain Eakin

As someone who has the privilege of being able to travel freely between the two places, I realize that I am at times a bridge between the two worlds, particularly as contact between the two people becomes more severely limited. I am not entirely comfortable in this role and have not yet figured out the best way to navigate the crossing of these boundaries. It is important for me to hear Yael’s perspectives, but it is also important for me to find a way of expressing my own personal truths, whether it be telling my Palestinian friends that I have Israeli friends in Tel-Aviv, or telling my Israeli friends what their government and army is doing in the Palestinian territories. For now I will continue to live in Ramallah and hope that some good, no matter how small it might be, will come from my presence here and my ability to cross boundaries.

 

Dec. 5, 2009

Miftah: Jerusalem Excluded From Settlement Freeze, Not From EU Diplomacy [November 29 – December 5]

Jewish settlers continued to protest this week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's announcement to declare a 10-month moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank. While this freeze does not include east Jerusalem, construction already underway or public buildings such as schools, synagogues and hospitals, settlers were up in arms over the decision, taking their aggression out, unsurprisingly, mostly on Palestinians.

 

Dec. 5, 2009

Uri Avnery, Gush Shalom: The Height of Kitsch 

Israel is a far from monolithic society. It is a vibrant, fermenting mix, with many tendencies, from the extreme Right to the extreme Left. At present we have a government of the extreme right, but there is also a peace camp. There are soldiers who refuse to remove settlements, but there are also soldiers who refuse to guard settlements. Quite a number of people devote their time and energy to the struggle against the occupation, sometimes exposing themselves to physical danger in the process.

Of course, a government has to deal with governments. The German government has to deal with the Israeli government. But from there to kitschy gestures, like a joint session of the two cabinets, the distance is great.

 

Dec. 5, 2009

Muzzle Watch: Jewish institutional chickens coming home to roost by Cecilie Surasky

The new targets of the settlers’ linguistic paramilitary forces, aka the rightwing pro-Israel punditocracy and their followers, aren’t just the usual suspects like Jimmy Carter or Archbishop Tutu. They’re now mainstream, moderate, demonstrably Israel-loving institutional Jews. This is a moment of truth for many of these targets. Faced with new pressure from their right-wing flank, some will fold and adapt to a more McCarthyite environment, especially if loss of funding is threatened. Others will stand strong and even be radicalized.

 

Dec. 5, 2009

Institute for Policy Studies: President Obama's Afghanistan Escalation Speech,  An assessment of what Obama said—and what he didn't say. by Phyllis Bennis

There was one way in which President Obama’s escalation speech brought significant relief to the 59% of people in this country, as well as the overwhelming majorities of people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Middle East and elsewhere who oppose the U.S. war in Afghanistan: It was a pretty lousy speech. That is, it had none of the power, the lyricism, the passion for history, the capacity to engage and to persuade virtually every listener, even those who may ultimately disagree, that have characterized the president’s earlier addresses.

And for that failure, we should be very grateful.

 

Dec. 5, 2009

Palestine Solidarity Project: 5 Youth Arrested Overnight in Mass Military Invasion of Beit Ommar

The 5 were taken to an undisclosed location, no reason for their arrests were [sic] given to the families.

 

Dec. 4, 2009

Mazin Qumsiyeh: [Human Rights] A Day in Palestine

All in all, despite the colonial occupation, the bad news of endless wars (e.g. Obama escalating his foolish war in Afghanistan), and fellow Palestinians in small Israeli jails (where 11000 political prisoners are kept) and in big jails (where 3 million Palestinians are kept)… despite all of that, I say life is good. Yes there is lots of hope but we all must act to bring a quicker end to this nightmare.  Silence is after all complicity.

 

Dec. 4, 2009

Ecumenical Accompaniment: Israeli peace activists protest East Jerusalem Evictions

In November, Israeli peace activists took to the streets in protest at the Israeli authorities' recent evictions of over 50 Palestinians including at least 20 children from their homes in East Jerusalem. The policies of evictions and house demolitions are key to Israel's policy of asserting demographic and political dominance over East Jerusalem, which it occupied in 1967.

 

Dec. 4, 2009

Ecumenical Accompaniment: "My friend, it was bad..." - an Israeli soldier talks by Mandla

Michael said, “You know, my friend, I so wish to wake up one day and have somebody tell me that the conflict, or the war, or the whole situation between Israel and Palestine is over. That is my dream.”

 

Dec. 4, 2009

Palestine Think Tank: Help save the Palestinian village of Lifta from total destruction

This petition aims to save Lifta through the World Monuments Fund , amongst others, and to draw attention to this site which has been threatened by neglect, vandalism and forced occupation by extremist settlers.

 

Dec. 4, 2009

We Hold These Truths: Scripture Plucking to Justify Land Theft and Murder by Charles E. Carlson

"This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, I will give it to your offspring." [Deuteronomy 34:4] The Bible passage often quoted by Christian and Jewish Zionists to justify building settlements on top of Palestinian villages reads: "This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, I will give it to your offspring." However, Zionists who quote this passage probably cannot in honesty take it seriously, because it continues in the very same verse, “I HAVE CAUSED YOU TO SEE IT WITH YOUR EYES BUT YOU SHALL NOT GO OVER THERE.” (Deut. 34:4) The well known story in context relates that the offspring of Abraham's tribe had become so corrupt that God punished them by making their leader, Moses, look at the "promised land" from afar but die in the wilderness without setting foot on it.

 

Dec. 4, 2009

Catholic News Service: Catholics hopeful, dejected by Obama plan to add troops in Afghanistan by Mark Pattison

Catholic groups with a stake in matters of war and peace were alternately hopeful and dejected by President Barack Obama's plan to add 30,000 troops to the war effort in Afghanistan.

 

Dec. 3, 2009

Zenit: Center Seeks Common Language to Dialogue on Mideast, Conference Draws Israeli and Palestinian Scholars by Mariaelena Finessi

Nazmi Al-Jubeh, co-director of the RIWAQ Center for Architectural Conservation in Ramallah, affirmed that it is erroneous to believe that the conflict over Jerusalem is only religious.

 

Dec. 3, 2009

Christian Science Monitor: Israel rejects European Union plan to divide Jerusalem

IMPORTANT comment by the Rev. Roy Hayes, Episcopal: "The headline of this article is misleading.  Please notice the gevalt in statements emanating from Israel's Foreign Ministry these days.  The EU's plan does not propose "dividing" Jerusalem.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The EU is calling for Jerusalem to be shared in accordance with International Law.  There are numerous UN Security Council Resolutions on the books.  Already in place.  Longstanding for decades.  Calling for Israel to end the occupation in accordance with International Law.  But Israel will not.  Hasn't yet.  The situation can be changed.  The situation is changing, even now." 

 

Dec. 3, 2009

Rabbis for Human Rights: Armageddon Straight Ahead by Rabbi Rabbi Arik W. Ascherman

I see Jerusalem in flames – I see Armageddon straight ahead. I see everywhere complacent alarm. I know that tens will answer our call to demonstrate today, but we need hundreds and thousands. The diplomats will write urgent reports, but we need effective pressure. The peace and human rights community will say that this is terrible, but we need them to come out of their homes. The politicians will say that it is a matter for the courts and that they can't interfere, while the courts will say that the law takes precedence over their personal conscience. The police will prepare emergency plans.

 

Dec. 3, 2009

Rabbis for Human Rights:Is This How We Treat Widows in Our Midst?  by Rabbi Rabbi Arik W. Ascherman

I feel deep distress, even shame, at the behavior of our society in this case, particularly because we are always so ready to claim the moral high ground, claiming our righteous treatment of minorities in our midst, and of our enemies, to be unequaled amongst the nations.

 

Dec. 3, 2009

Eileen Fleming, We Are Wide Awake: The EU and if the church is NOT for the poor and oppressed-it is NOT The Church

Amnesty International recently completed an investigation into Israel's water policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It revealed a host of measures that prevent Palestinians throughout the West Bank and Gaza from obtaining adequate water. Demolitions of storage facilities and denial of access to aquifers, along with bans on digging wells, mean that up to 200,000 Palestinians in rural communities have no access to running water at all.

 

Dec. 3, 2009

World Council of Churches: No Water for the Neighbors

Amnesty International recently completed an investigation into Israel's water policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It revealed a host of measures that prevent Palestinians throughout the West Bank and Gaza from obtaining adequate water. Demolitions of storage facilities and denial of access to aquifers, along with bans on digging wells, mean that up to 200,000 Palestinians in rural communities have no access to running water at all.

 

Dec. 2, 2009

AlJazeera Magazine: Jordan's king rejects pro-Israeli's anti-Iran plans

The rare pro-Iran expression by the King of Jordan, which has formal diplomatic relations with Israel, unlike Iran which considers the entity as illegitimate, came during a meeting Monday with a delegation representing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a powerful pro-Israeli pressure group in the US that widely influences American foreign policy in the Middle East.

The Reverend Roy Hays, Episcopal, comments: "Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister dismissed speculations that Israel's warnings to attack Iran are just a bluff.   He insisted: 'They are very real.'  Iran, by contrast, has never threatened to attack anybody.  Only to defend itself if attacked."

 

Dec. 2, 2009

New Profile: Time for Me to Refuse by Or-Ben David

I want all those Palestinian youths who have lost hope to see that there are Israelis who care and who make a different choice. I want all those of my friends who became soldiers or who are about to become soldiers to see that things don’t have to be the way they are and that doing all those immoral things is not something to be taken for granted, that another way is possible, that you don’t have to suffer inside a military system that oppresses you (most soldiers suffer while they’re in the army). Maybe they too will open their eyes and their minds a bit more to what is going on around them (and I know that in the Israeli society it is very difficult to change your mind, to open your mind and to really listen).

 

Dec. 2, 2009

The Huffington Post: Jewish Settlers Force Way into East Jerusalem Home, Evict Arab Family [photos]

"It's clear to me that this is another case of settlers taking the law into their own hands," said Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann of Rabbis for Human Rights, an Israeli group that opposes Palestinian home evictions and demolitions.

 

Dec. 2, 2009

International Middle East Media Center: sraeli Soldiers Get 'Slap On The Wrist' For Force-feeding Detainees by Saed Bannoura

The judge presiding over Monday's sentencing hearing acknowledged the severity of the incident, but did not express any concern about the well-being of the Palestinian victims.

 

Dec. 2, 2009

Electronic Intifada: Discrimination keeps Palestinian women out of Israel's workforce 

... researchers and women's groups pointed out that employment of Arab women in Israel is lower than almost anywhere else in the Arab world, including such employment black-spots for women as Saudi Arabia and Oman.

 

Dec. 2, 2009

Zenit: Orthodox Patriarch Optimistic About Unity

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I is affirming that progress is being made on the path to Catholic-Orthodox unity, and says uprooting the obstacle caused by the "thorny question" of papal primacy will be key for continued progress.

 

Dec. 2, 2009

Zenit: 3 Challenges for Muslims and Christians

Believers of both faiths approach the table of dialogue with three necessities, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran said at a Nov. 17 conference in France. Cardinal Tauran's list is made up of the "challenge of identity" (to know and accept what we ourselves are); the "challenge of otherness" (taking our differences as a source of enrichment); and the "challenge of sincerity" (being firm in proposing one's own faith, but within the limits of respect for the dignity of every human being).

 

Dec. 2, 2009

Zenit: Swiss Bishops Protest Minaret Ban

Say Prohibition Threatens Peaceful Coexistence

 

Dec. 2, 2009

American Association for Palestinian Equal Rights: Holy Land Trust Promotes Nonviolent Resistance to Discrimination in Palestine

"Our goal is to get as many Palestinians as possible involved in resisting the occupation….this road is long and hard and perhaps non-violence will not end the occupation and remove the Wall and the settlements, but it can stimulate international and Israeli society to put pressure on their governments to end the occupation.” --Sami Awad, founder of Holy Land Trust

 

Dec. 2, 2009

American Association for Palestinian Equal Rights: The Price of Justice: Settler Violence Against Palestinians

It is widely believed in Palestine, Israel and around the world that Israeli settlements will have to be dismantled as part of a negotiated peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.  Israel ought to see the dismantling of outposts as an opportunity to learn lessons that will serve it well when the time comes to evacuate the larger and older settlements.  It is up to the Israeli government to decide which will prevail: the rule of law and justice for all or a price tag to be paid by the civilians of Palestine.

 

Dec. 2, 2009

American Association for Palestinian Equal Rights: Bethlehem: From 'Little Town' to Imprisoned City

This December, millions of people around the world will gaze upon their Christmas trees and sing about the “little town of Bethlehem.”  In today’s Bethlehem, thousands of residents will spend the holidays in virtual imprisonment.  Bethlehem, like the rest of the Palestinian West Bank, has been under occupation for over forty years.  In that time, Bethlehem has experienced a substantial loss of land through the expansion of Israeli settlements and the construction of Israel’s wall around the city. And, as a result of Israeli building restrictions, it has been unable to develop even the land that it has maintained. Jerusalem, just five miles away, is completely inaccessible for all but a handful of people.  Traditional mainstays of the economy, including tourism, agriculture, and work in Jerusalem, are continually undermined by occupation policies. Had the myriad of checkpoints, gates and barriers that exist today been present 2000 years ago, the Christmas story cherished by so many would likely be unrecognizable to us.

 

Dec. 2, 2009

American Association for Palestinian Equal Rights: The Gaza Freedom March

Participants in the Gaza Freedom March are adding their voices to those who have gone before. Attorney Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, said, “For too long, and I do not exempt myself, most of us have stood silently by or made only marginal protests about the massive violations of Palestinian rights carried out by Israel.” Mike Hearington, a member of Veterans for Peace from Georgia, told March organizers, “By my presence I hope to demonstrate to the people of Gaza my concern and compassion for their plight. As a U.S. citizen, I’m appalled that we provide the military support to Israel that results in such death and destruction in Palestine. As a Veterans for Peace member, I have the responsibility to serve the cause of world peace.”

 

Dec. 1, 2009

Haaretz: EU draft document on division of Jerusalem  by Barak Ravid

The current holder of the rotating European Union presidency, Sweden, has put together a draft document calling for the division of Jerusalem between Israel and a future Palestinian state and implying that the EU would recognize a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood.

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal: "Sweden is currently the holder of the EU's rotating Presidency.  We can be certain that this development comes as no surprise to President Obama."

 

Dec. 1, 2009

Churches for Middle East Peace: Second Sunday in Advent

Here is a brief reflection, selection of Scripture, prayer and meditation for the coming Second Sunday of Advent.  It will help you not only center on the promise and hope of Christ's birth, but also on our shared work and hope for peace in the Middle East.

 

Dec. 1, 2009

Crazy Country by Adam Keller: Another Day in the Eternal Capital

Perhaps it would be worthwhile for the Foreign Ministry to invite European representatives to tour Sheikh Jarah and see with their own eyes Israel's eternally unified capital.

 

Dec. 1, 2009

Roy Tov: State of Judas

Following the publication of the Goldstone Report, I asked myself once again why does the Christian world allow the crimes of the State of Israel? I think there are two reasons....

 

Dec. 1, 2009

Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem: First stone of the "Pediatric Clinic Benedict XVI" in Beit Jala

Tuesday, October 27, in Beit Jala, His Beatitude Patriarch Fouad Twal blessed the first stone of the future “Pediatric Clinic Benedict XVI”, fruit of the joint effort of the Region and the Episcopal Conference of Tuscany, Italy. This clinic, which will open its doors in two years, will specialize in pediatric surgery. This is the 11th institution of hospital care that the Catholic Church opens in the Holy Land, the earliest dating from the late nineteenth century.

 

Dec. 1, 2009

Latin Patriarcate of Jerusalem: Video and interview with Samir Hodaly, permanent deacon

My ordination [as the first Arab local permanent Deacon of the LPJ] has a great impact on the priests who have a more matured trust in the lay people now. Also, it gave a push for those people who want to serve the Church and think that their work is not considered by others. Many have asked Fr. Ibrahim Faltas if they could become a deacon. My ordination has given the local Church a push towards the unification with other countries that have laypeople, married with children, serving God and the Church. I consider my ordination as overcoming the hesitation that some faithful have in their will to serve God in lay life.

 

Dec. 1, 2009

MIFTAH What does Israel Have Against a Palestinian Stadium? by Amira Hass

A friendly game between an Arab soccer team and a Palestinian team was supposed to inaugurate the new stadium being built in the eastern part of Al-Bireh, near Ramallah, at the end of the year. "Supposed to" because the Civil Administration, an arm of the Defense Ministry, has ordered that the work be halted and is threatening demolition.

 

Dec. 1, 2009

The Electronic Intifada: Olive oil and yoghurt, yoghurt and olive oil  by Hasan Abu Nimah

The same can be said for all the other "peace process" schemes from Madrid to Oslo to the Clinton parameters, the "Geneva initiative," the Road Map, Annapolis, and finally the failed mission of US envoy George Mitchell. They can all be summed up in that village wisdom which despite decades of Israeli oppression still survives, and provides much needed clarity, today: "Zeit ou laban, laban ou zeit."

 

Dec. 1, 2009

Nine ELCA [Evangelical Lutheran Church of America] Synod Bishops Preparing for Middle East Visit

"They (ELCA bishops) are welcome to visit us," said the Rev. Munib A. Younan, bishop of the ELCJHL. "We are happy they can finally come. I want to assure them that even though there is no war now, things are not better because there is (still) an impasse in the region."  He said people in the region are concerned about the U.S. government's role in the Middle East."

 

Dec. 1, 2009

Christian Peacemaking Team: Al Khalil Update: 1-30 November 2009

Activities in November involved regular mosque and school patrols, monitoring settler tours on Saturdays, networking with partners and beginning to engage shopkeepers with the help of a translator.  In the absence of ISM on Tel Rumeida the team agreed to walk through the neighbourhood three times a week until they return.  The harassment of women at the Tel Rumeida Checkpoint is increased.  The team visits one family in Tel Rumeida every Friday.  The entry of the Israeli Golani brigade created a lot of apprehension in the Palestinian community.  The Brigade has a reputation for its severe treatment of Palestinians.  There is an increase of detentions and ID checks. There were no Palestinian led actions this month.

 
 
       

 

 

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