Ahed Tamimi – Living Resistance Tour

Ahed Tamimi, presently in prison in Israel, the harsh occupier of her home country, Palestine,  is called ‘the Palestinian Jeanne d’Arc’. She has become, at only 16 years old, the most powerful symbol of Palestinian non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

If you want to understand more about why is she considered dangerous to the heavily armed occupier, you may read this well written article, by Nina Fischer.

A Cry for Help from Jerusalem

TJerusalem by night

I have just received a desperatee call for help from a very good Christian Palestinian friend. It is related to the implications of the recent decision of the American president to move their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

My friend is telling me that more and more of the evangelical churches in Palestine (representing something like 1% of the Palestinian Christians, who are, themselves, about 1% of the entire Palestinian population in the West Bank) are adopting a Zionist theology, in an attempt to schmooze American churches to support them financially (you may rightly call it ecclesial prostitution). This is, of course, a luxury that historical churches in Palestine (not only Greek Orthodox, Melkite, and Latin churches, but also Anglicans and Lutherans) do not have. Continue reading “A Cry for Help from Jerusalem”

Open Letter from Christian Palestinians to the World Council of Churches and the Ecumenical Movement


Pope Francis at the Apartheid Wall in Palestine

Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. (Isa. 1:17)

Background

As we meet this month in Bethlehem in occupied Palestine, we are still suffering from 100 years of injustice and oppression that were inflicted on the Palestinian people beginning with the unjust and unlawful Balfour declaration, intensified through the Nakba and the influx of refugees, followed by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Gaza and the fragmentation of our people and our land through policies of isolation and confiscation of land, and the building of Jewish-only settlements and the Apartheid Wall.

We are still suffering because of one political declaration from a Western Empire, based on a twisted theological premise. Even some churches and few Christian leaders supported the establishment of the colonial state in our land, and totally ignored – even dehumanized – the nation, our people that had already existed here for centuries and paid the price for atrocities committed in Europe.

Hundred years later with thousands of lives lost, towns and villages razed from the face of the earth – though not our memory –, millions of refugees, thousands of homes demolished and continued incarceration of prisoners, our Nakba goes on. Continue reading “Open Letter from Christian Palestinians to the World Council of Churches and the Ecumenical Movement”

Yohanna Katanacho – The Trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem: Theology Faces Politics

yohanna-katanacho
Dr. Yohanna Katanacho

I want to compare between the trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem in the first and twenty first centuries. I am a Palestinian Israeli citizen. I live in Nazareth and continually commute to Bethlehem. In fact, this Christmas I am travelling with my family from Nazareth to Bethlehem. There are several roads that lead to Bethlehem. There are three major options: one in the east, one in the middle of the country, and one in the west next to the Mediterranean Sea. I shall call them: the eastern, central, and middle roads. Which road should I choose? My decision depends on the political situation, my identity, the cost of travel, time, and traffic jams. Jews don’t like to travel through Palestinian towns. Palestinians don’t like to travel through Jewish settlements. In addition, there are checkpoints on the way. These checkpoints are a potential delay depending on Identity, that is, Palestinians or Jewish. If Israeli soldiers at certain checkpoints discover that I am a Palestinian then I am a potential risk in their eyes. It means delay in my trip. In short, travelling is a political decision connected to my identity. As I reach Bethlehem, I usually come through a neighboring town called Beit-Jala. At the entrance of the town, there is a big sign saying: Israeli citizens are not allowed to enter this region by law. However, the checkpoint is not guarded by soldiers or monitored. Entering into Bethlehem is not only a political question it is also a legal question. In addition, it is a theological question. Should I break the law to enter Bethlehem? Continue reading “Yohanna Katanacho – The Trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem: Theology Faces Politics”

Yohanna Katanacho – Yom Kippur. A Palestinian Christian Perspective

yom-kippur

Today, we celebrate in Israel the day of atonement or Yom Kippur. It is a day of repentance, humiliation before God, and forgiveness. On this day, there is no eating, no bathing or washing, no anointing, and no marital relations. It is a day dedicated to seeking the forgiveness of God. It is a day in which God expects from those who follow Him to forgive the sins of others.

Can Jews forgive the sins of the nations who attacked and abused them? Can they reflect on their own sins that led our country to the current situation? Can Palestinians forgive the Jewish people? I pray that I will discover my own sins on this day and will seek to forgive and bless all of my neighbors. I also pray that my Jewish neighbors will seek true forgiveness that is much more than just ritual celebrations. Perhaps, the test of Yom Kippur is more than ritual! It is also an ethical one. Furthermore, it seems to me that Jewish ethics today cannot be divorced from the Palestinian question. The latter is the litmus test for the authenticity of celebrating Yom Kippur in Israel in the 21st century. Such forgiveness would change the hearts of the nation as well as its politics leading to the support of a politics of peace and reconciliation rather than war and further alienation. May God answer the desires of all the hearts that seek forgiveness and bless them with true atonement! As a Christian I found this atonement embodied in the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth who died on the cross for my own sins. Continue reading “Yohanna Katanacho – Yom Kippur. A Palestinian Christian Perspective”

Southern Baptists Adopt Controversial Resolution on Israel – EthicsDaily.com

By: Brian Kaylor Southern Baptists at their annual meeting adopted a pro-Israel resolution deemed by some Arab Baptist leaders as unbiblical and harmful to their peacemaking efforts.

Source: Southern Baptists Adopt Controversial Resolution on Israel – EthicsDaily.com

A new act of political prostitution and blatent injustice in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Shame, Paige Patterson!

Protest Against the Ahava ad on the Patheos Platform

Ahava

Dear friends,

I am, for a few years now, a subscriber to some of your newsletters, which I find very useful and informative.

I am writing to you because of something that troubles me lately on your newsletter.

On the Patheos newsletter, that I receive regularly, there is for some time now a prominent publicity add for Ahava products. As you probably know, these are produced by an Israeli company functioning on stolen Palestinian land, in the occupied West Bank. I find this add questionable from an ethical point of view. I hope you do too, even if you may not agree with a DBS approach on these matters, as I do (remember the way DBS worked in debunking the apartheid system in South Africa)..

Do you think there is anything we could do to have this add removed from the newsletter? Thanks a lot, and sorry to bother with this. It is important for me, as someone who worked for over 16 years for World Vision in the Middle East, and I have witnessed first hand the utter suffering produced by the Israeli occupation in the (not so) holy land.

Yours faithfully

Danut Manastireanu, PdD

Introducing the Larnaca Statement – Lausanne Movement

The roots of the Lausanne Initiative for Reconciliation in Israel-Palestine (LIRIP) go back to the Third Lausanne Congress, Cape Town, 2010. The second day was devoted, through a range of plenary speakers and seminars, to one of the six major congress themes “Reconciliation: Building the peace of Christ in our divided and broken world.” The…

Source: Introducing the Larnaca Statement – Lausanne Movement

Chris Wright on the recent Larnaca Statement signed by Messianic and Palestinian Christians in the conflict in Israel-Palestine.

Benjamin L Corey – 5 Reasons We So Blindly Support Israel in Spite of the Truth or Biblical Ethics

mary-joseph-israeli-soldiers

Over the course of time I’ve noticed a troubling trend: it’s *almost* impossible to have a reasonable discussion with fellow Christians who believe we are called to give unwavering support the modern secular nation state of Israel.

This of course, has led me to try to figure out why this is the case. Why do so many Christians reject basic facts about Israel? Why do so many of us have an aversion to believing truth on this issue?

As your list-maker-in-chief, I have a few ideas as to why this seems to occur. So, here are my 5 reasons so many of us irrationally support Israel– in spite of truth or biblical ethics:

1. Bad theology regarding Israel has led us to become victims of our own confirmation bias

2. We don’t listen to Palestinian voices– not even our Christian brothers and sisters in Palestine

Continue reading “Benjamin L Corey – 5 Reasons We So Blindly Support Israel in Spite of the Truth or Biblical Ethics”

LOI participants write powerfully on reconciliation | Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative

Source: LOI participants write powerfully on reconciliation | Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative

Rev. Mitri Raheb – Palestinian Lives Matter

Mitri Raheb

Rev Mitri Rageb

NOTE: Here is a timely message on the current violence in Israel/Palestine that Lutheran Rev. Mitri Rageb, from Bethlehem, has published three days ago on Facebook.

* * *

Palestinian Lives Matter

A new wave of political unrest is here. Within the last five weeks over forty young people from Palestine were killed and over 1100 injured. These are not mere numbers, but young people with faces, names, and dreams. Yet, as if their lives do not matter , the Israelis are easing their already loose laws on using arms with a clear message of shoot to kill. For the Israeli government, these young Palestinians are rebels that do not deserve to live. They must be taught a lesson. To add salt to injury, you hear the western politicians talking about Israel’s right to defend itself, and stand shamelessly with Israel. Thus, to those international players the lives of Palestinians are worthless while the life of an Israeli is so precious. This pattern reminds us of how the world viewed the lives of black people under apartheid and how racism against blacks is felt in so many countries around the world. The same applies to Indignous peoples, and the oppressed. The most dangerous thing however, is when young people from those oppressed groups are pushed to the point where they start looking for a life after death but do not believe any more in a life before death that is worth living. In this context, we have three messages to share:
Continue reading “Rev. Mitri Raheb – Palestinian Lives Matter”

The Illusion of Calmness – HLT

Source: The Illusion of Calmness – HLT

Sami Awad, from the Holy Land Trust, on the current surge of violence in Israel/Palestine:

‘Real calmness in the Holy Land can only manifest itself if a real peace emerges between the communities of the land, not the politicians. It is a peace that is founded on the principles of mutual trust and respect and a desire to truly bring a sense of justice, equality and equity to all those who live in the Holy Land. It is a peace that addresses the existential fears of the past on both sides and does not allow that fear to be manipulated by the political establishments.

The structures of oppression, control and fear must be dismantled and if not dismantled by choice of the leaders, then dismantled by the force of the people through nonviolent engagement, working in unity and/or separately. A leadership must emerge that is motivated by a vision of peace and justice, not of maintaining calmness, making false promises, and creating space for prosperity of the few.’

Message of A Palestinian Christian to ‘Christians United for Israel’

My name is Elizabeth Daoud. I, like over a million Palestinians, am both Palestinian and Christian. I actually come from the Assyrian Orthodox Church, the first and original church of Christians in the Middle East. My parents were born in Palestine and have a long blood line from Jerusalem and Bayte Sahour. Many members of my family were first hand victims of the “nakbah” and had to flee their homeland after being expelled from their homes by Zionist militias, leaving them without the right to return to their land, even to this day. Today in Palestine, Christianity is experiencing what some believe is a crisis. The plight of Palestinian Christians, similar to what Palestinian Muslims are going through, is daily injustice at the hands of oppressive, doctoral and inhumane police forces of the Israeli government. This is occurring in both the West Bank and Gaza, where my Palestinian people live under a brutal and illegal military occupation, and also inside Israel itself, where Palestinians, Muslim and Christian, live as second-class citizens.

Palestinian Christians, like their Muslim brothers and sisters, have lived under Israeli policies of occupation and injustice while many living in the West deny this fact. Many Palestinian Christians feel betrayed by Christians living in North America and Europe who support the state of Israel and the oppression of the Palestinian people. We see them as hypocritical, standing by a state that has left us Palestinians, indiscriminately Christian and Muslim, without a state for over half a century.

Today, Palestinian Christians live under harsh, extreme oppression and apartheid policies. While Christian and Muslim Palestinians living in the West Bank under the heavy hand of martial law are not permitted to vote, undocumented Jewish settlers are subject to civil law and are allowed to vote in Israeli elections. South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who fought to end Apartheid in South Africa, has even embraced the movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until they respect my people’s equal rights, an end to the occupation and the return to the homeland which Israel expelled them from, saying, “I have witnessed the systemic humiliation of Palestinian men, women and children by members of the Israeli security forces … Their humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid government.” Palestinian land continues to be confiscated and Palestinians continue to be humiliated by the Israelis for their religious beliefs. They were almost unable to celebrate Christmas in 2014 due to riots and street fights caused by the Israeli Police. They experience unemployment, poverty and illegal occupation. Moreover, they are routinely prohibited from visiting one of the most holy sites of Christianity: the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Old City of Jerusalem, the church that commemorates Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection from the dead.

As a Palestinian Christian, it is truly upsetting and disappointing to see Christians United for Israel justify the oppression of Palestinian Christians under the banner of Christian values. Palestinian Christians don’t have the smallest right to visit even the holiest of sites that started Christianity because of Israeli policies. How can Christians United for Israel be in support of this when indigenous Christians are being prevented from exercising Christianity in the very place that Jesus walked. I end this by calling upon CUFI to please stop justifying oppression, persecution and repression of my people in the name of the message of the Bible and my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Elizabeth Daoud is a Rutgers Business School senior double majoring in finance and management information systems.

(Source, HERE)

Gaza: One Year On – Clinging to Hope amid Despair

It’s Rare That I’m Speechless…My Photographs From Lebanon » Executing Ideas

It’s Rare That I’m Speechless…My Photographs From Lebanon » Executing Ideas.

You have to see these incredible photos.
Pray for Lebanon, and for Syrian and Palestinian refugees.

800,000 Olive Trees Uprooted in Palestine Since 1967

Uprooted

Stories of Christian Persecution – The Church of Gaza Strip

An Open Doors documentary.

Desmond Tutu – My Plea to the People of Israel: Liberate Yourselves by Liberating Palestine

desmond_tutu

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, in an exclusive article for Haaretz, calls for a global boycott of Israel and urges Israelis and Palestinians to look beyond their leaders for a sustainable solution to the crisis in the Holy Land.

The past weeks have witnessed unprecedented action by members of civil society across the world against the injustice of Israel’s disproportionately brutal response to the firing of missiles from Palestine.

If you add together all the people who gathered over the past weekend to demand justice in Israel and Palestine – in Cape Town, Washington, D.C., New York, New Delhi, London, Dublin and Sydney, and all the other cities – this was arguably the largest active outcry by citizens around a single cause ever in the history of the world.

A quarter of a century ago, I participated in some well-attended demonstrations against apartheid. I never imagined we’d see demonstrations of that size again, but last Saturday’s turnout in Cape Town was as big if not bigger. Participants included young and old, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists, blacks, whites, reds and greens … as one would expect from a vibrant, tolerant, multicultural nation.

I asked the crowd to chant with me: “We are opposed to the injustice of the illegal occupation of Palestine. We are opposed to the indiscriminate killing in Gaza. We are opposed to the indignity meted out to Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks. We are opposed to violence perpetrated by all parties. But we are not opposed to Jews.” Continue reading “Desmond Tutu – My Plea to the People of Israel: Liberate Yourselves by Liberating Palestine”

Mubarak Awad – The ‘Palestinian Gandhi’

Mubarak Awad
Dr. Mubarak Awad

Amid the smoke, rubble and blood, the idea of nonviolent protest in Gaza seems as preposterous as it is naive.

Indeed, those Palestinians who preached nonviolence and led peaceful marches, boycotts, mass sit-downs and the like are mostly dead, in jail, marginalised or in exile.

Mubarak Awad is one of the latter. Often dubbed “the Palestinian Gandhi” or “Palestinian Martin Luther King Jr,” Awad now teaches the theory and practice of nonviolence at American University in Washington, DC, far from his Jerusalem home.

Israel kicked him out in 1988. Five years earlier, he had opened the doors of the Palestinian Centre for the Study of Nonviolence in Jerusalem, with the goal of fomenting mass resistance to the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. Do not pay taxes, he lectured. Consume only local goods, like the Indians who followed Gandhi’s movement against British colonial rule. Engage in peaceful protest. Plant olive trees on land coveted by Jewish settlers. Above all, do not pick up the gun. March, and sit down, like civil rights protesters in the American South in the 1960s. Take the beatings, clog up Israeli jails. Continue reading “Mubarak Awad – The ‘Palestinian Gandhi’”

A Prayer for the Middle East

prayer of a child

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.)

 

Some Considerations on A Possible Solution in the Israel/Palestine Conflict

 

map of occupied west bank
Map of West Bank

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”

World Vision Update on Gaza

A World Vision update.

Please pray for peace in Palestine and Israel.

EMEU – War Rages in Israel/Palestine

The violent conflict between Israel and Hamas has now claimed the lives of nearly 600 Gazans (estimated 70% civilians) and about 30 Israelis (including two civilians).  Last week, the Israeli military expanded its assault with a ground incursion, which drastically increased casualties on both sides.  Israel’s stated goal for this war is destroying tunnels that Hamas can use for terrorism and stopping rocket fire from Hamas.  Both sides have turned down cease fire proposals.  Israel claims to be warning civilians to leave targeted areas, but in cramped conditions in the Gaza Strip, where would they go?  One interesting twist is that this time around, portrayals in the media aren’t going quite as well as the Israelis would like.

How should the people of God respond to such horrors?
Please keep both people in your hearts as we yearn for war and conflict to give way to peace and understanding.  May the same Jesus who came to break down the barrier between “us” and “them” bring peace and comfort to all who suffer and live in fear.

Rafeef Ziadah – ‘We Teach Life, Sir’

Listen to this, if you have a heart.

Christ at the Checkpoint: An evangelical shift in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict | The Lausanne Global Conversation

Christ at the Checkpoint: An evangelical shift in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict | The Lausanne Global Conversation.

Munther Isaac and Alice Su about the last Christ at the Checkpoint conference, in Bethlehem, Palestine, March 2014.

Munther Isaac. Reflections of a Palestinian Christian: The Tent of Nations and the Continued Struggle “Not to Be Enemies”

Munther Isaac. Reflections of a Palestinian Christian: The Tent of Nations and the Continued Struggle “Not to Be Enemies”.

Another barbarian act of the Israeli army in Palestine.

There is no end to this injustice.

I have visited again that place in March and I highly admire the determination of this family to refuse the hatred of the Israeli settlers.

Pope Francis offers prayers at Israeli separation wall in Bethlehem

Pope Francis offers prayers at Israeli separation wall in Bethlehem | World news | theguardian.com.

Pope Francis visits Israel's separation barrier in Bethlehem

An excellent article in The Guardian about the daring unplanned stop of Pope Francis at the wall of shame separating Israel from occupied Palestine.

I love this pope. May God keep him from harm!

Will Boycotting Israel Bring Peace?

Will Boycotting Israel Bring Peace?.

An important topic, which is often avoided by Christians.

An Honest Israeli Jew Tells the Real Truth about Israel

Miko Peled was born in Jersusalem into a famous and influential Israeli Zionist family. His father was a famous General in the Israeli Army, of which Miko also served his time. When Miko’s niece was killed by Palestinian suicide bombers, you may have expected the family to put Palestinians at fault, but surprisingly they blamed the state of Israel, and their violent torturing and persecution for driving people to such sadness that they would take their own lives. Continue reading “An Honest Israeli Jew Tells the Real Truth about Israel”

Are Christians Being Persecuted in the Middle East?

2 April 2014

Communique of the Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land and the JUstice and Peace Commission

On 2 April 2014, the Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land and  the Justice and Peace Committee issued a statement about the persecution  of Christians in the Middle East.

Persecution! In many parts of the Western world, this word is people’s lips. It is said that Christians are being persecuted in the Middle East today! However, what is really happening? How should we speak in truth and integrity as Christians and as Church about the suffering and violence that are going on in the region?

There is no doubt that the recent upheavals in the Middle East, initially called the Arab Spring, have opened the way for extremist groups and forces that, in the name of a political interpretation of Islam, are wreaking havoc in many countries, particularly in Iraq, Egypt and Syria. There is no doubt that many of these extremists consider Christians as infidels, as enemies, as agents of hostile foreign powers or simply as an easy target for extortion. Continue reading “Are Christians Being Persecuted in the Middle East?”