YOUR RESOURCE FOR A JUST PEACE
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and UPCOMING TRIPS ►
WORLD COUNCIL OF REFORMED CHURCHES CONDEMNS ISRAELI RESPONSE TO PEACEFUL GAZA PROTEST
CALLS ON WORLD CHURCH COMMUNITY TO EXPRESS SOLIDARITY
At its General Council conference in Leipzig Germany in July 2017, The World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) unanimously approved a history statement committing the world body to study, discern and act in support of justice for the Palestinian people. The WCRC is the largest association of Reformed churches in the world, with 233 member denominations in 110 countries, together comprising 100 million people. Read the 2017 Leipzig resolution here.
On May 18, as the people of Gaza continued their Great March of Return in witness to their suffering and the denial of life and homeland, the WCRC affirmed the commitment it made in Leipzig, issuing an unequivocal statement of support for the people of Gaza,condemning the violent and murderous response by Israel. Quoting from the Leipzig resolution that “with respect to the situation of injustice and suffering that exists in Palestine, and the cry of the Palestinian Christian community, the integrity of Christian faith and praxis is at stake,” the WCRC has issued a call to the world Christian community to remain true to its deepest principles:
“The WCRC expresses regret that sections of the Christian community have welcomed the move of the United States Embassy to Jerusalem. We call on the Christian community to disown any theology that propagate and justify discrimination and oppression. The WCRC further calls on the Christian community to stand in solidarity with the Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim, as they struggle in the context of an ongoing occupation. We call for solidarity with Israeli citizens and organizations that defend Palestinian rights.”
“We call upon churches to be the conscience of humanity.”
Kairos Palestine has issued an urgent,direct and powerful call to the churches of the world on the 70th Anniversary of the Nakba. “This is the 70th year of the catastrophe that befell the Palestinian people,” begins the statement. “Our catastrophe remains ongoing.”
From the Kairos Statement on Gaza and Jerusalem:
“This is our call: this is the cry of the Christian conscience in the Holy Land, the cry of all Christians, leaders and people, on this anniversary.
We call upon the international community to remember its own resolutions and to abide by them. We call upon churches to be the conscience of humanity and hear the cry of the oppressed in the Holy Land.
We urge the international community to shoulder its responsibilities. We call upon it to exert every pressure…to lift the oppression from the people of Gaza and all the Palestinian people, to prevent death in the Holy Land, abandon its apartheid practices, and comply with international law.
We call on churches in our Holy Land and throughout the world to be courageous and faithful to their mission, to assume their responsibilities towards the Holy Land and all those who live in it, to bring through their prayers awareness of what is going on in the Holy Land, and to take effective steps towards justice, equality and peace in this land where the roots of their faith lie.
South African Christian Groups to hold Nakba Day Vigil
A group of South African Christian organizations, including Kairos Southern Africa, South African Council of Churches, Palestine Solidarity Alliance, and the Council of African Independent Churches, along with South African Jews for a Free Palestine and BDS South Africa will hold a vigil this coming Sunday 13 May in support for Kairos Palestine’s call for action and cooperation within the global Christian community. Participants will include Christian, Muslim and Jewish groups. The vigil will be part of a number of events in South Africa related to Nakba Day commemorations and in support for the Great Return March. Main events are taking place in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The initiative will be launched with the presentation of a Christian witness message that includes the commitment to pursue specific actions.
The organizers have emphasized that they form part of an international network commemorating the Nakba this week, especially from the global Christian community and request you to send messages of support.
Palestinian Christian groups in the US, call on faith communities to end Israel’s Apartheid against the Palestinian people.
This call has been endorsed by several faith-based solidarity groups.
We the undersigned, a group of Palestinian-American Christians from several church traditions, call on all faith communities to:
Denounce the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
Lift up, in your places of worship, the plight of Palestinians, Muslims and Christians alike, recognizing that Israeli policies of occupation and apartheid are leading to the virtual extinction of the indigenous Christian population in Palestine.
Recognize the urgency of ending Israel’s genocidal siege and attacks on the entire Palestinian hostage population of the Gaza Strip.
Continue to use economic pressure as well as other nonviolent means to compel Israel to end its apartheid practices and policies against the Palestinian people.
PALESTINIAN CIVIL SOCIETY STATEMENT ON GAZA As the peaceful gathering along the Gaza border that began on Land Day on March 30 continues, a historic call has gone out from Palestinian civil society to Palestinian leaders, Israel, the USA, the Arab states, and the international community. This statement calls for support for the people of Gaza and and for worldwide demonstrations in advance of the 70th commemoration of the Nakba in May.
“We address our call to all those of good will who support us in seeking our freedom and independence…Heed the cries of the oppressed, of the people whose freedom you deny, and who were displaced from their land, villages and houses.” Kairos & Civil Society Gaza Statement
INTERFAITH CLERGY TO DURHAM: END POLICE PARTNERSHIPS WITH THE IDF Demilitarize from Durham2Palestine, a group supported by Jewish Voice for Peace-Triangle, Durham for All, Inside-Outside Alliance, Black Youth Project 100-Durham Chapter, and other groups, called on the city to cut any police partnerships with Israel. A debate that divided Durham’s Jewish community and prompted accusations of anti-Semitism culminated Monday night with the City Council’s approval of a statement opposing international military-style police training.
An interfaith letter signed by 72 clergy endorsed the petition, calling on the most precious principles of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions, and citing “the brutality of Israel’s military occupation and the daily violations of Palestinians’ most basic human rights,” urged the City Council to act. The letter was initiated by Friends of Sabeel North America, American Muslims for Palestine, and Jewish Voice for Peace.
On Tuesday, April 17, the City Council unanimously passed a statement prohibiting police exchanges, “rejecting the militarization of our police force.” “Black lives matter,” concludes the statement, linking the “counter-terrrorism” trainings provided by Israel to police departments in the U.S. to the brutalization of oppressed groups here in the U.S. and across the world.
The book is grounded in international law and brings Palestine into focus through the lens of intersectionality. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” Why Palestine Matters contains study guides and videos to make the material easily accessible and usable in a wide variety of learning settings.
PALESTINIAN CHILD DETENTION BILL
Historic legislation comes to US Congress: the first bill to address Palestinian human rights would end US funding for Israeli military detention of Palestinian children. Introduced by Rep. Betty McCollum and 9 more members of Congress, it now has many more co-sponsors. See a short video, news reports, documentation of Israeli abuse of Palestinian children... learn more here.
CHALLENGING ANTI-BDS LEGISLATION The ACLU has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Kansas teacher – a member of the Mennonite Church USA – who supports her church’s call for boycott.See the ACLU report Faith Coalition Takes Action to Defend Free Speech
In historic show of unity, dozens of faith organizations publish full-page newspaper ad; 20 Christian leaders from national organizations send open letter to Congress. Both defend the right to boycott and oppose anti-BDS laws that violate Americans’ rights. Read the news, the statement & the letter
MORE FROM THE PALESTINE PORTAL COMMUNITY
CMEP Bulletin – Jan 12, 2018
In the News Is Trump Widening a Rift Between the Evangelicals and Mideast Christians? [Religion News Service]
US Projects in Palestinian Territories Face Backlash Amid Calls for Boycott [The Guardian]
Charles Bronfman: Abandoning The Two-State Solution Means Abandoning The Jewish Soul [The Forward]
Christians Are at Risk of Being Driven Out of the Holy Land [The Guardian]
Right-Wing Politicians to Push Bill Applying Israeli Law to Settlements [The Jerusalem Post]
Reasons Why I as an Evangelical Leader in the Middle East Don’t Agree With Trump’s Declaration on Jerusalem [The Christian Post]
Jerusalem’s Political Orphans [Al-Monitor]
Israel Publishes BDS Blacklist: These Are the 20 Groups Whose Members Will Be Denied Entry [Haaretz]
US Cuts to UNRWA Will Hurt Half a Million Palestinian Children [Middle East Monitor]
Prince Ghazi, PA Panel Discuss Ways to Defend Christian Rights in Jerusalem [The Jordan Times] Read CMEP’s succinct synopses of these articles
Happening at CMEP Webinar: Mission, Ministry, and Advocacy: The Episcopal Church & the Middle East
Thur, Jan 25, 2018, 2:00 PM: CMEP ED Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, with The Rev. Margaret Rose, Ecumenical and Interreligious Deputy and The Rev. Canon Robert D. Edmunds, Middle East Partnership Officer. Participants will discuss advocacy and the Episcopal Church’s ministry in Jerusalem, the Holy Lands, and the broader Middle East, followed by a Q&A session. Register now for this webinar!
Historic legislation comes to US Congress – first bill to address Palestinian human rights
Bill would end US funding for Israeli military detention of Palestinian children, introduced by Rep. Betty McCollum and nine other members of Congress. See a short video on this bill, news reports, factual documentation of Israeli abuse of Palestinian children... learn more here.
Breaking the Silence: Accomplishments in 2017 In this courageous Israeli organization, which is often targeted by their government, former members of the Israeli military tell the world the truth about the occupation they enforced.
A message from the Executive Director: Avner Gvaryahu
The High Command report – settler influence on IDF conduct in the West Bank
Kingdom of Olives and Ash – Writers Confront the Occupation
Partnerships with Jewish Diaspora
Black Mirror – 50 years of occupation, 5 hours of public testimonies reading
• Palestine Legal’s 2017 Social Media Highlights • Senate HELP Committee Approves Nomination of Anti-Palestinian Crusader Kenneth Marcus – paves the way for a full Senate vote on Trump’s anti-civil rights, anti-free speech nominee. Palestine Legal staff attorney Rahul Saksena: “Kenneth Marcus’ record should disqualify him from leading the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. Marcus has pioneered a legal strategy of abusing civil rights laws to chill the speech activities and violate the civil rights of students who advocate for Palestinian rights. Read more
Quaker Palestine Israel Network (QPIN) Engaging Critics of BDS: A Resource for Activists! We are pleased to announce the publication of Engaging Critics of BDS: A Resource for Activists! QPIN has written this guide as a tool for BDS activists to help counter some often encountered arguments from critics of BDS. This document was inspired by discussions held at a Quaker consultation in April, 2016 organized by QPIN and hosted by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). Get this resource
Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) The FOSNA Clergy and Seminary Action Council
The Council offers a voice of bold solidarity. As church and seminary leaders, we possess spirit, wisdom, privilege, and opportunity. Let us employ these traits as we join Palestinian colleagues and friends who call for our support in this urgent moment….we aim to strengthen the North American Christian voice for justice for Palestine.” Learn more; join the council
The Palestinian Speakers Bureau from FOSNA No one can tell the story of Palestine better than a Palestinian. The speakers on this list, organized by region, are happy to address your congregation, sit on a panel, or speak at a conference.See the speakers, make inquiries, suggest additions
Episcopal Peace Fellowship – Palestine Israel Network The Palestine Israel Toolkit Resources to help readers learn the basics, broaden their knowledge, dispel misunderstandings, and find ways to work with others toward peace with justice in the Holy Land. Sections include:The Basics, Going Deeper, Why It’s Important, and Time to Take Action. See/download the toolkit
Defense for Children International–Palestine
Child Rights Briefing: October 2017
• Detained teens in Gaza highly vulnerable to abuse • West Bank refugee camps face crisis of safety and space • Military watchtower as a neighbor in Arroub Refugee Camp Read the news
Open letter, Palestinian Christians to WCC Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. (Isa. 1:17) Excerpts of the letter:
“We need your costly solidarity. We need brave women and men who are willing to stand in the forefront. This is no time for shallow diplomacy Christians. We urge you to hear our call….
“Things are beyond urgent. We are on the verge of a catastrophic collapse. The current status-quo is unsustainable.” Read the letter
Round up of 2017 Prophetic Church Actions
Actions by the United Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, Mennonite Church USA, United Methodist annual conferences, and World Communion of Reformed Churches. See the news
Get occasional updates on what’s happening in the community and at Palestine Portal, with our e-news!▼
Laws that penalize support for Palestinian human rights violate Americans’ rights. Urge your elected officials to protect constitutional rights and reject anti-BDS legislation. Send a message to your federal and state elected officials – take action here
Urge Congress to support Palestinian unity and end the Gaza blockade
The recent Palestinian unity agreement is a ray of hope for devastated Gaza and all Palestinians. Urge your legislators to make sure the US supports this effort and works for an end to the blockade of Gaza, which has caused a humanitarian catastrophe. Take action: contact your U.S. legislators
Tell the International Criminal Court: Children in Gaza deservelife
Every week, Christians around the world join in prayer with Palestinian Christians, through the Wave of Prayer from Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center. Below are recent prayers and news bytes from Sabeel. Click on any item, to see it at Sabeel’s website.
Christ at the Checkpoint 5 • May 28-June 1, 2018 – Bethlehem, Palestine
CMEP Advocacy Summit 2018: And Still We Rise: Transforming U.S. Policy Toward a Just Middle East • June 17-19, 2018 – Washington, D.C
Watch this inspiring video from Ginghamsburg Church in Ohio (click the photo below): Church members share how they were convicted and touched by the experience of their 2017 Olive Harvest Trip, their first time in the Holy Land.