Aid group says funds sent to Gaza amount to far less than Israel claims was diverted.
In care you REALLY want to know.
Aid group says funds sent to Gaza amount to far less than Israel claims was diverted.
In care you REALLY want to know.
An Open Doors documentary.
Christianity Today has just published an interview with my friend Dr. Hanna Massad, former pastor of the Baptist Church in Gaza, on the situation of Christians in that area following the current IDF military operation there.
Here is the beginning of it.
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What are Christians inside Gaza telling you?
I was happy to hear about the ceasefire. This morning the news was that, unfortunately, the fighting has continued. Several times daily I communicate with Gaza by phone or Skype. Water supplies are very low in Gaza. There’s little or no electricity. I’ve spoken with my Muslim neighbors and Christians. All are waiting and anxious about what will happen next.
Are Gazans being sheltered in churches?
Gaza Baptist Church hasn’t been damaged, but it’s next door to Gaza’s main police station, which is a target. The bombs have made it too dangerous for Baptist church members to meet. But thousands of Muslims have found refuge in other churches that have opened their doors to refugees. My neighbor called to ask if he and his family could move into my family home in Gaza. Now there’s almost 100 people living in my house. People throughout Gaza are taking care of each other. Continue reading “Interview with Hanna Massad, Former Pastor of the Baptist Church in Gaza”
Lord, you are the rightful Advocate of peace, teach us to carry the torch of peace and justice that it may reside within the hearts of Palestinians and Israelis, and radiate in our Middle East. Banish the violence and evil within all combatants in Syria, Iraq, Palestine and Israel. Through the grace of Love transform the Middle East into a heaven, where Sunnis, Shiites, Jews and Christians can live together as brothers and sisters, and sons of You Almighty God.
Welcome into your kingdom all children killed in Gaza, and comfort the wounded people from both sides, sustain parents and families who are under siege and fire. Sustain our staff in Gaza that they can provide light and hope in a very desperate environment.
Lord, it is time to end violence and hatred. We cannot go on like this, something should change and we are waiting for your intervention. Change our hearts and transform lives of all people especially children. Strengthen our faith that we continue to witness Your love and mercy among people surrounding us.
Lord we trust in You.
(I have received this from my friend and colleague Dr. Charlie Abou Saada, in Bethlehem, Palestine.)
Today God weeps over the situation in Palestine and Israel. Today God weeps over Gaza. With God, our hearts are broken when we see the carnage in Gaza and in Israel.
We at Bethlehem Bible College consistently called for a just peace for both Israelis and Palestinians. We always sought a nonviolent resolution to the conflict. “All forms of violence must be refuted unequivocally”, stated the Christ at the Checkpoint manifesto. We also believe that as long as the occupation of Palestinian territory and the siege of Gaza remain, the conflict will continue to escalate. To quote the manifesto again, “for Palestinian Christians, the occupation is the core issue of the conflict”.
As Christians committed to nonviolence, we do not and cannot endorse Hamas’ ideology. However, we believe that the people of Gaza have the right to live in freedom and dignity. This means that the siege over Gaza should be lifted and the borders should be open. The people of Gaza need a chance to live.
We oppose Hamas launching rockets at Israeli town and cities. At the same time, we are shocked by the unproportional and inhuman response by the Israeli military and the disregard of civilian life and specially innocent women and children.
We are grieved by the mounting hate, bigotry and racism in our communities today, and the consequent violence. We are specially grieved when Christians are contributing to the culture of hatred and division, rather than allowing Christ to use them as instruments of peace and reconciliation.
In the face of this, we affirm – using the words of our own Dr. Yohanna Katanacho:
We are against killing children and innocent people. We support love not hatred, justice not oppression, equality not bigotry, peaceful solutions not military solutions. Violence will only beget wars, it will bring more pain and destruction for all the nations of the region. Peacemaking rooted in justice is the best path forward. Therefore, we commit ourselves to spread a culture of love, peace, and justice in the face of violence, hatred, and oppression.
We call on all the friends of Bethlehem Bible College to pray for an immediate ceasefire, followed by serious efforts to address the root of the problem not the symptoms. We pray comfort for the bereaved families. We specially pray for the Christians of Gaza, who although are currently under bombardment, yet they are offering shelter and support for the displaced and wounded. We finally call for you to pray for all those – Palestinians, Israelis and internationals – who are committed to spreading a culture of love, peace, and justice in the face of violence, hatred, and oppression.
Note: Pray for the Shepherd Society – a ministry of Bethlehem Bible College – as we contemplate practical ways to minister and walk along the destitute and displaced in Gaza. We will soon share with you how you can help us respond to the huge needs.
A statement by Bethlehem Bible College’s board of directors, president, deans, faculty, staff and students – and the local committee of Christ at the Checkpoint.
Joint Statement on Israel/Gaza
July 22, 2014
Imam Mohamed Magid & Rabbi Michael G. Holzman
The current military operations in Israel and the Gaza strip should disturb all people of faith. The only moral path to a solution between Israelis and Palestinians (Israeli Jewish/Muslim/Christian and Palestinian Muslim/Christian) will be dialogue and negotiation. This is a long and arduous path, but the faith that grounds our traditions can sustain the slow evolution of history. The current conflict is an outgrowth of over a century of opposing narratives and ideological differences that no military operations can resolve.
Our traditions exist to uphold the moral foundations for civilizations and as such we urge an end to the current violence. While we acknowledge the need for self defense, when the can of violence opens, as it has now, worms of vengeance and blood-feud crawl out. Then people begin to abandon the principles of justice and mercy upon which civilizations are founded. Instead they turn to more tribal urges, seeking retribution for past wrongs.
We believe the current violence crosses that line. At some point people cease looking for solutions and instead succumb to base human urges for violence. They crave the blood of the enemy to compensate for the pain of loss. This is the way of our animal instincts, the ethos of ancient tribes and clans who exist only to protect all within, while opposing all others. The teachings of our ancestors rose above that thinking long ago to build great civilizations. We believe that when we look to our texts and traditions we can rise above the narrative of suffering and victimization to find roads to healing and wholeness.
The Torah this week teaches of the “Cities of Refuge” (Numbers 35: 6-28) places where a person can flee after an accidental death or manslaughter in order so that relatives of the deceased cannot exact revenge. The one who flees must face criminal justice, and the City of Refuge serves as both a haven and prison for the man slaughterer while restricting the blood thirst of the avenger. The people living in Israel and Gaza can look at the current situation and see only murder and intentional killing, or they can see how decades of hatred breed spontaneous violence. In these heated emotions, our traditions call for cooling off, seeking refuge, and then finding a path to justice. Only through such systems can order and peace be restored.
Several verses from the Quran also give us reminders to work for the protection of life and how to respond with good and forgiveness in times of major challenge and conflict.
“Good and wrong cannot be equal; repel wrong with something which is better and verily he between whom and thyself was enmity may then become as though he had always been a close, true friend.” (Quran 41:34)
The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree): but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from God: for (God) loveth not those who do wrong(Quran 42:40)
“Whoever kills a person, unless [as punishment through due process] for murder or mischief in the land, it is as though he has killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved all mankind.” (Quran 5:32)
While we do not pretend to know the pain of the mourners, we also urge them to honor their loved ones not through the tribal urge for revenge, but rather to build up societies of justice and mercy.
These values are the cornerstones of civilization and the paving stones to peace. Seeking more blood for blood only perverts and discards the great traditions of Islam and Judaism. We abandoned an “eye for an eye” centuries ago. Now we urge our brothers and sisters in the Middle East to seek a solution that protects the self while fostering compassion for the other.
Note: I have just received this prayer request from a Palestinian friend who works with the Baptist Church in Gaza. Please join us in prayer for that place.
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Today, due to the desperate situation which is unfolding in Gaza, I must write to you again to ask for more prayers to be said. Yesterday, Mrs Jalila Ayyad, became the first person from the Christian community to lose her life under the bombardment from Israeli bombing. Her son has also been seriously injured. This is just one of so many tragedies happening now in Gaza on a daily basis.
Something else happened too that brings home the danger that so many are in. A man in the street where my house in Gaza is told his next door neighbour that he had received a warning that this next door neighbour’s house was going to be bombed. Under such a dangerous threat this neighbour and his family have moved into my home in Gaza. Fear is everywhere and nowhere is safe.
In the midst of this fear and devastation people work together and do what they can to help. The Greek Orthodox and the Catholic churches have both opened their doors to refugees who have fled from the bombing. Some flee because their homes have been destroyed, others because the IDF has told them to go because their area is about to be bombed. It’s a truly desperate situation. Continue reading “Urgent Prayer Request for Gaza”
22 July 2014
The World Council of Churches is deeply saddened and gravely concerned by the continued escalation of the military operations in Gaza, human devastation on every side, and the disproportionately high number of Palestinian civilian casualties, including women and children.
As well as the Israeli strikes against civilians and civilian infrastructure in Gaza, the Council condemns the indiscriminate firing of rockets against Israeli civilian targets by Hamas and the positioning of rocket launchers in close proximity to civilian populations.
The Council appeals to all parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law. The indiscriminate and disproportionate killing of civilians in the context of an armed conflict is strictly prohibited by international humanitarian law. Continue reading “WCC Statement on Gaza”
I believe it is important to start recognising the right of Israel to exist as a state, however ambiguous was its beginning. It is obvious we cannot go back to the situation before 1948.
Also, I really doubt a two state solution is viable anymore. A short glimpse at the Schweitzer-like map of West Bank above, with the separating wall of shame, with all the Israeli settlements and roads, built on stolen Palestinian land, should convince you of that. Peace and occupation, with its apartheid-like separation is totally incompatible with peace. Violence, on both sides, as condemnable as it is, is unavoidable if the present status quo continues.
The right to return for the over 700,000 Palestinian pushed out of their homes in the Nakhba is very problematic, and controversial, because of its demographic implications, which would make impossible the present anachronistic and unsustainable definition of Israel as an ethnic state. But its a priori refusal by the Israeli government makes impossible for the Palestinians to accept the right of Israel to exist.
Continue reading “Some Considerations on A Possible Solution in the Israel/Palestine Conflict”
A World Vision update.
Please pray for peace in Palestine and Israel.
This is a season of weeping and mourning, but it is not void of hope.
Our tears are the bridge between brutality and humanity;
Our tears are the salty gates for seeing a different reality;
Our tears are facing soulless nations and a parched mentality;
Our tears are the dam preventing rivers of animosity.
AMMAN, Jordan (ABP) — The exiled pastor of Gaza Baptist Church began teaching Aug. 16 at Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary following a three-week visit to his homeland to preach, teach and distribute food and medicine to the poor.
“While food is available in Gaza, it is very expensive, and few can afford to buy it due to the siege and high unemployment,” Hanna Massad said in an e-mail report. Continue reading “Exiled Palestinian pastor returns from ministry in Gaza Strip”
June 7, 2010
I have never been in prison but I live in one when I am in Gaza.
“Hopelessness and desperation.” These two words describe the horrible situation and life of the people in Gaza. This is what I experienced on my last visit to Gaza in February when I stayed for more than 40 days.
It’s hard for me to imagine we live in the 21st century and still more than 1.5 million people in Gaza live under siege. It has been going on for more than 4 years now. Continue reading “Christian News from Gaza”
Gaza City Harbour (Source, Der Spiegel)
The Israeli blockade of Gaza is the main cause of the utter suffering of numerous women, old people and children in Gaza, where over 80% of the population is dependent on aid.
Hamas itself is another important cause of the suffering there, not only indirectly, through its senseless and criminal rocket attacks against Israeli civilians,but also directly, through its political manipulation and misuse of aid. Continue reading “Der Spiegel on the complicated situation in Gaza – UPDATE”
Here are some of the questions that Scot McKnight asks about the latest militarist act of the state of Israel (and my short answers):
I have received an urgent request for prayer.
A friend of mine, who is the pastor of an Evangelical church in Gaza, but who lives now in Jordan, went to visit for two weeks his congregation in the Palestinian territories.
After two memorable weeks and a lot of ministry among those who suffer utterly under the Israeli blockade, my friend tried to exit Gaza and return to his family in Jordan. To his surprise, the Israeli authorities did not allow him to cross the checkpoint and sent him back. Continue reading “Prayer for a friend in Gaza – UPDATE”
I am a Palestinian. My family lived for generations in the village of Al-Maghar. In 1948, my grandparents and their whole family were expelled from Al-Maghar, uprooted and sent to the huts and narrow streets of a refugee camp 100 km. away. This was our Nakbah, or catastrophe. After sixty years, still they taste the bitterness of that loss and watch as the flames of that tragedy continue to burn. As a child I was used to living in one of the huts of the refugee camp, but as I got older and became aware of the discontent inside the family, I would pester my father with questions: Continue reading “Journey through Thorns: A Palestinian’s Story”
Lifting of the siege the only hope of a quarantined people
By Joe Harbison, Interim National Director, World Vision Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza
[September 21 marks International Peace Day. Recently World Vision’s Director for Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza witnessed ordinary life in Gaza, so far from the ideals of International Peace Day].
Gaza,1.5 million people crammed into an urban island pock marked by bullets and bombs. Where the slow cascade of partially destroyed buildings implode upon themselves after a war that is not allowed to be grieved over or repaired. Gazans, over 50% of whom are under 18, crowd the chaos seemingly oblivious to their poverty, the rubble and the cars that roar along the streets.
In mai 2000 faceam prima mea vizita la Ierusalim. Dincolo de responsabilitatile profesionale, legate de slujba mea la World Vision, am avut ocazia de a cunoaste realitatea necosmetizata a Tarii Sfinte, care se deosebeste radical de imaginea paradisiaca promovata de foarte eficienta masina propagandistica israeliana. Dar nu aceasta este obiectivul prezentului articol si voi lasa subiectul respectiv pentru o alta ocazie.
BETHLEHEM BIBLE COLLEGE
(The Shepherd Society)
P. O. Box 17166
Musalaha (însemnând “reconciliere” în limba arabă) este o organizaţie din Israel, care adună laolaltă creştini evrei şi arabi, şi al cărei scop este promovarea reconcilierii între iudei, musulmani şi creştini. Activităţile organizaţiei sunt dintre cele mai diverse: conferinţe, seminarii, concerte, publicaţii, şi, mai ales, tabere inter-religioase, în care tineri din cele trei religii învaţă să convieţuiască împreună, în confruntarea cu condiţiile vitrege ale deşertului.
Redau mai jos comunicatul acestei organizaţii cu privire la situaţia din Gaza. El este semnat de Salim Munayer, liderul acestei organizaţii, cu care m-am întâlnit de câteva ori la Ierusalim. (Atenţie, site-ul Musalaha este încă în construcţie.)
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World Vision targets 50,000 people with emergency assistance in Gaza
Children suffering severe psychological distress according to recent World Vision report.
By Rev. Alex Awad, Dean of Students, Bethlehem Bible College
December 31, 2008
One hundred tons of bombs are Israel’s way of saying to the captive citizens of Gaza, Merry Christmas, Happy Eid (feast) and Happy New Year. These “gifts” that were showered from US-made F-16 fighter jets demolished government buildings, mosques, a university, hundreds of homes and snuffed out many lives – among them scores of children. Continue reading “Alex Awad – Regarding Gaza”