YOUR RESOURCE FOR A JUST PEACE Find out what you can do as an individual, at your church, and in your community. Connect with groups around the world committed to the struggle for liberation and justice.
2019 news stories and opportunities for action,
from and for the Palestine Portal community.
Episcopal Church Bars Investments in Companies Profiting from Israeli Occupation, Will Divest of Several Companies’ Stocks
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This week, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church adopted a human rights investment screen related to Israel and Palestine and will sell its holdings in Motorola Solutions, Caterpillar, Inc., and the Israel Discount Bank.
This is the latest step in response to a July 2018 General Convention Resolution (B016) which committed the Episcopal Church to a similar process taken by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America two years earlier. The action also follows steps previously taken by the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ. READ MORE
Palestinian BDS National Committee: “Join the Global Climate Strike. Oppose Israel’s climate apartheid”
Tell multinational corporations to stop investing in fossil fuels and in Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people.
We’re joining the Global Climate Strike, demanding an end to fossil fuel use, climate justice for all, and government action at the UN Climate Summit.
The increasingly catastrophic climate crisis, fueled by global inequality, has been engineered by complicit corporations and governments that put profit before people and planet.
The least powerful are the most affected by the climate crisis. With no control over their land or natural resources, indigenous Palestinians under Israel’s repressive regime endure climate apartheid.
Multinational corporations invest in fossil fuels and in Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian
people, pillage of Palestinian natural resources, and exploitation of Palestinian land.
Take Two Actions Now:
1. CLICK HERE (to tweet) – Tell UK bank HSBC to stop financing Israeli repression and the fossil fuel industry.
2. CLICK HERE (to tweet) – Tell French insurance giant AXA to divest from Israel’s colonial regime
and from fossil fuels destroying the planet
Water, air, and soil pollution caused by Israel’s blockade of and wars on Gaza poison life there. In the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory, Israel steals Palestinian land and water, and destroys hundred-year-old olive trees and solar energy installations.
Israel works to “greenwash” its image. Yet Israel is developing major gas fields for export, and 97.7% of its electricity production comes from fossil fuels. Warfare, a regular activity of Israel’s government, is also one of the world’s most polluting industries.
The struggles against racism and militarization, and for climate, economic and social justice are profoundly interconnected. Join climate week actions in your area, and take action to end Israel’s climate apartheid against Palestinians. See this call at the BDS Movement website
Straining Out a Gnat but Swallowing a Camel: Rev. Alex Awad dispels myths about current conditions for Palestinian Christians
ISRAEL’S APOLOGISTS never seem to tire of pointing a finger of accusation at the Palestinian Authority (PA) with allegations that the PA persecutes Palestinian Christians. Hence, they say, the decline of the indigenous Christian population in the Palestinian territories.
Jesus had words to describe such accusers: “You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.” (Matthew 23:24 NIV.) The camel in the room is the occupation, and Israel’s apologists want to shift blame from the massive crimes of the occupation to place the PA in the defendant’s seat….
….Regrettably, many of these accusations are generated by the Israeli Ministry of (mis)Information and then handed to Christian Zionists who stand ready and eager to receive these accusations and use them to smear the reputation of the PA without checking the facts. Here are facts that any decent researcher can investigate and verify:…. Read the article on Palestine Portal
Preparing for 2020: Advocating for Justice for Palestine and beyond – Alice Rothchild reviews the AFSC Summit in D.C.
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The American Friends Service Committee conference in DC, September 7-8, Preparing for 2020: Advocating for Rights, Justice, and Freedom, was an excellent antidote to the stormy and frightening times in which we live. It is a measure of our failure to be more outraged than we already are that Netanyahu’s pledge to annex much of the West Bank to Israel (as if there was not already one apartheid state) barely caused a flutter of protest.
Between Trump and Netanyahu we are all suffering from shock fatigue and a good dose of gloom about the future of the planet. I lie awake at night wondering, will it be forest fires, drought, floods, and wars over water, or maybe an old fashioned nuclear war that will finish us off. For folks with children and grandchildren, this is not a theoretical concern.
But there I was sitting in the calming simplicity of a Quaker meeting room at the Sidwell Friends School, listening and talking with a wide range of activists, organizers, and policy experts, and brainstorming about grassroots advocacy, at town hall meetings, primary caucuses, and party conventions. The positive energy, humor, honesty, and commitment were infectious and uplifting.
Palestine Through the Eyes of Children, from the UMC Peace with Justice Director, Mark Harrison
September 2019 – IMAGINE Children created in God’s image, boys and girls in Palestine experience violence, conflict and trauma every day.
Imagine these little ones — whom Jesus called and welcomed (Matthew 19:14) — not allowed to travel freely in their own homeland and beyond.
Imagine their every movement restricted and crossing checkpoints and walls to get to school. Worse, imagine their schools being demolished or funding cut off.
Imagine these tender souls denied access to health care services and left tortured.
Imagine them losing a beloved one — a father, a mother, a sister, a brother or friend.
Imagine them as victims of war and conflict, traumatized with every bullet and bomb.
Imagine these children arrested and detained in military court, denied access to basic freedoms and rights. Read more
⚠️ ACTION ALERT:
United Methodist Board: “Tell Congress: Support the rights of children in Palestine”
SEE THIS ACTION
“Allow the children to come to me,” Jesus said, “Don’t forbid them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people like these children.” (Matthew 19:14)
The United Methodist commitment for the rights and protections of children is steadfast. In 1908, the United Methodist Social Creed called for the abolition of child labor.
Today, we continue to call for the full protection and rights of the most vulnerable, especially children (Book of Discipline, ¶162C).
Sadly, however, the day-to-day realities for children in Palestine is marked by violence, conflict, and trauma. They are routinely discriminated against, arrested and detained in military court, and denied access to basic freedoms and rights. Since 2000, more than 10,000 Palestinian children have been subject to the Israeli military court system.
Multiple sources, including UNICEF and the U.S. State Department, have reported the Israeli military’s regular use of force and violence upon detainees as well as a lack of fundamental fair trial rights.
There is no exemption for children.
Recently, H.Res. 2407, the “Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act,” has been offered by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.). The bill aims to promote human rights for Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation and requires that U.S. funds do not support military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children. Click here to contact Congress
22 US church leaders write to Trump, condemn Israeli threats to annex West Bank
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On the heels of the Israeli election and with the US Administration preparing to release the political component of its purported Peace Plan for Israel/Palestine, 22 Christian leaders, including Churches for Middle East Peace Executive Director, Rev Dr Mae Elise Cannon, wrote to the President outlining their recommendations for US policies that would help bring about a just and lasting end to the conflict in Israel-Palestine.
The letter comes shortly after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign promise to officially annex Area C as well all Israeli settlements in the West Bank, a move that would codify a policy of displacement utilised throughout over fifty years of Israeli military occupation. Such a unilateral move will irrevocably damage prospects for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Churches for Middle East Peace strongly condemns annexation of any Palestinian land. Annexation of even part of the West Bank would be a disaster for both Israelis and Palestinians. Read more; See the full letter to Trump and signers
Presbyterian Church Writes to Congress: “Support HR 496: the Right to Boycott”
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The Presbyterian Church (USA) has sent a letter to the House of Representatives today urging support for H.Res. 496. The resolution led by Reps. Ilhan Omar, John Lewis, and Rashida Tlaib, affirms Americans’ right to boycott.
As reported by Presbyterian News Service, the Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, Director of the Office of Public Witness, issued an Action Alert on September 6th urging Presbyterians to support the right to boycott in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad.
Win Without War, who also signed the letter as one of 40 organizations, stated today:
“This resolution is the first measure of its kind recognizing the historical importance of boycotts in advancing human rights and justice both at home and abroad. From the economic boycotts of apartheid South Africa to the Montgomery Bus boycotts against racial segregation, boycotts are a time honored tool of political expression and social change that Congress should be defending – rather than seeking to criminalize this constitutionally-protected exercise of political beliefs it does not agree with. Read more from IPMN
Christians in Palestine Speak to “Hard Hearts” – statement on home demolitions, rising in 2018 and 2019
Kairos Palestine’s statement on House Demolitions Perpetrated by the Israeli Occupation Authorities – EXCERPTS
We are aware of the fact that we are addressing people with a hard heart, when it comes to the demolition of Palestinian houses. Hearts as hard as their bulldozers that demolish constructed Palestinian houses, resulting in the displacement of thousands of people and depriving them from a home. Their main goal is to compel Palestinians to go away, in every possible way. Houses’ demolitions are one way. Our only sin is that we are in our houses and our land. Their real wish for us is not to exist.
We address the state of Israel with a genuine word of truth: It is God’s law that preserves and protects, but laws of demolition can only lead to the demolition of the lawmaker himself. Israelis should always remember that they are the creation of God, and that Palestinians are the creation of God too. In order to guarantee their security, future and survival, Israeli’s must deal with Palestinians on the basis of the God-given equality and dignity. See the full statement
Interview with Palestinian Rev. Dr. Saïd Ailabouni of ELCA’s Middle East desk: “God is on the side of rejected, oppressed, occupied”
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September 2019 – Born in Nazareth, Galilee, Rev. Dr Saïd Ailabouni moved to the US at the age of 19 to become a physician.
But he was so angry at God that he went to study theology instead, becoming a Lutheran pastor. Now he is leading the Middle East & Europe desk of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Since leaving his hometown 50 years ago, he visits his Palestinian family regularly. As the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel approaches, Ailabouni agreed to share some of his lifetime observations with the Word Council of Churches. READ MORE
For Netanyahu and Trump, Palestinian Christians are only pawns for political gain
Father Emmanuelle Awwad, parish priest of the West Bank village of Abboud, writes from Palestine: “We are an integral part of the Palestinian people, yet we are virtually invisible for those in the White House who claim to care about Christianity.”
When Israel barred Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from visiting Palestine last week, it was a clear attempt to keep the congresswomen from witnessing the impacts of military occupation for themselves. This decision, however, also revealed the extent to which the very leaders who claim to care about Christians in the Middle East are willing to weaponize religion. Read more at +972 Magazine
Labeling settlements products - a good step! https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/12/products-israeli-settlements-labelled-eu-court Now we need these products BANNED, in Europe and all over the world - something the United Methodist Church called for in 2012: https://www.kairosresponse.org/oppos_to_settlements_resol.html https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/12/products-israeli-settlements-labelled-eu-court
Everyone's talking about this with different takeaways - conditioning aid to Israel has become a mainstream issue in the Dem Party, huge step forward! But we have MUCH MORE have work to do, to see it actually happen. To progressive Senators: introduce HR2407 in Senate! https://twitter.com/Mondoweiss/status/1192592584209772545
CHRISTIAN PEACEMAKERS: Urgent call for reservists and interns
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Israel continues to ban human rights observers from Palestine, and Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is committed to maintaining our presence with our partners in al-Khalil/Hebron. We request interns and Reservists to join the Palestine team ASAP!
• Presence on the team is requested by August 25
• Both trained CPTers and interns are welcome Airfare and costs on the ground covered by CPT, with a three month commitment.
Interested? Contact Mona el-Zuhairi immediately email@example.com.
Evangelical Lutherans’ Assembly 2019 Adopts Four Actions on Israel/Palestine
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On August 6, 2019, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran in America (ELCA) approved four Assembly Actions related to Israel and Palestine by a vote of 96%. The Assembly Actions addressed the denomination’s human rights investment screen, Palestinian children in military detention, political action for humanitarian aid, and more.
1. Asking Portico (the ELCA’s investment arm) to continue the work of implementing the church investment screen passed in 2016, for justice in Israel/Palestine
2. Supporting justice for Palestinian children detained and abused by Israel
3. Supporting Augusta Victoria Hospital and other Palestinian supportive services through direct political pressure to support humanitarian aide and to change “anti-terrorism laws that defund Palestinian aid.
4. Encouraging members to learn more about and engage more deeply with church partners in Palestine and to continue to listen to various perspectives on the conflict. Learn more about these church actions
Faith leaders ‘take it to the streets;’ disrupt VP Pence during CUFI Summit
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On July 8, 2018, over 100 faith leaders and community organizers protested Christians United for Israel (CUFI) during its annual summit, held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C. The group led direct actions, including sit-ins outside the center while 21 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faith leaders staged disruptions of the opening plenary session featuring CUFI founder John Hagee, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. Read FOSNA’s full report and the video
See these reports from EPF PIN members:
• Randy Heyn-Lamb
• Newland Smith • Related story in Haaretz: “Trump Rolls Out the Big Guns for pro-Israel Evangelicals’ Confab Ahead of 2020 Read it
Methodist Delegation Sees ‘Bitter Fruits’ of Palestinian Occupation, expresses horror at Israeli occupation
July 2019 – After a visit to the region, a delegation of Methodist representatives expressed horror at the military occupation of the Palestinian people.
“We witnessed the bitter fruits of military occupation that have fallen disproportionally upon
the Palestinian people,” said a statement of the delegation, which was made up of leaders of the World Methodist Council, the British Methodist Church, and the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church.
“We heard stories of families being separated, the denial of basic human rights, inequality of treatment, and the need for the Palestinian people to have a voice in the process of governing their own lives and future.”
The group’s visit marked the seventh anniversary of the opening of the Methodist Liaison Office in Jerusalem, jointly sponsored by the three organizations. The delegation visited with individuals, churches and partners. Their goal was to further the office’s mission of engaging the world Methodist family in Christ’s ministry of peace, truth, justice and mercy among all peoples living in the land, in partnership with the Palestinian Christian Community. See their full statement
Unitarian Unversalist Assembly 2019 Supports First Amendment Right to Boycott
Jerusalem from the Lens of a Native Son — Ghettoization and Pauperization
Philip Farah reports on changes he found in hometown during summer visit
August 2019 – Last month, I participated in an Eyewitness Palestine delegation of 22 Americans. Over a 10-day period, our intensive tour took us to cities and villages all over Palestine/Israel. We met with over 22 groups involved in various forms of resistance to Israeli domination. Our home base was Jerusalem, the city where I was born and spent the first 27 years of my life before emigrating to the U.S. in 1978.
East Jerusalem had been—overall– a very pleasant city to live before the Israeli occupation of 1967. It was a small city of about 65,000 people, but with strong connections to nearby suburbs and villages. It was the main transportation hub for all the West Bank, and hence a major commercial center. Its status as the home of al-Aqsa Mosques and the Holy Sepulcher has always made it the center of life of all Palestinians— physically for its inhabitants, and spiritually or culturally for all Palestinians. Because of its spiritual importance, it has also always been a far more cosmopolitan place than most cities of its size anywhere in the world.
This was the Jerusalem of my childhood and youth….
….Today, only the Gaza Strip and the so-called H2 section of the Palestinian city of Hebron surpass East Jerusalem in the sense of strangulation that the Palestinians feel under Israeli domination. Read the full article
Palestinian Christians in legal battle with radical settlers over property in Jerusalem’s Christian Quarter
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Israeli Supreme Court has upheld the sale of church-owned property in Jerusalem’s Christian Quarter and issued an eviction order to Palestinian hotel manager. Christian Palestinian leaders have been protesting the sale of property to extremist Israeli settlers. The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate says it is “a strike to the indigenous Christian presence in the Holy City.”
Officials from Israel’s supreme court served an eviction notice at the New Imperial Hotel, following a ruling last month that the disputed 2005 sale of the historic 40-room hotel to a radical settler group was valid.
The notice followed a court ruling in July 2019 that the disputed 2005 sale of the historic 40-room hotel to a radical settler group was valid. The Jewish settlers’ organization Ateret Cohanim then branded the longtime Palestinian manager of the hotel “a squatter” and threatened to seize the building. Such a move would establish a strategically valuable settler presence just inside Jaffa Gate, the main entrance to the ancient city’s Christian Quarter.
The current showdown is the culmination of a lengthy court wrangle dating back to a suspect secret sale of Greek Orthodox-owned properties to settlers, authorised by a now deposed Greek Patriarchate. Three properties were involved: the New Imperial Hotel and the Petra Hotel, both in the Jaffa Gate plaza, and a house in the Muslim Quarter. Read the full article at The Guardian
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem releases statement on Jaffa Gate
On 5 August, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem released a statement in relation to the properties of Jaffa Gate. “The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem views the attempts of the radical organization, Ateret Cohanim, to seize church properties located in Jerusalem’s Jaffa Gate and al-Mu’athamiyah, as a strike to the indigenous Christian presence in the Holy City,” the statement reads. “The Patriarchate affirms that changing the Status Quo in the Old City of Jerusalem, especially in Jaffa Gate; being the main entrance to the various Patriarchates and to the pilgrim route to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, threatens the continuous hundreds-of-years old mosaic and balance that shores the good relations between Jerusalemites of different faiths.” Read the full report from the WCC
Christian leaders protest sale of Jerusalem church properties to Jewish group
Read it at The Times of Israel Settler group strengthens grip on Jerusalem
Read it at The Electronic Intifada Heads of Jerusalem Churches hold prayer rally in protest of Jaffa Gate properties case
Read the report from the Latin Patriarchate Jerusalem’s Christian Leaders Blast Decision to Sell Old City Properties to Settler Group
Read it at Haaretz Israeli court approves settler group purchase of controversial Jerusalem properties
Read it at Middle East Eye
The Bahrain Conference and Trump/Kushner “Deal of the Century”
Statements from the Palestine Portal community:
• Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace (PCAP: “The Palestinian people will not be bribed into submission.” • Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP): Kushner’s Foreign Investment Plan Is No Substitute for Palestinian Freedom • American Muslims for Palestine (AMP): Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan Isn’t a Plan & Won’t Lead to Peace
SEE THIS NEWS
June 2019 – The Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace (PCAP) has issued a strong statement on the U.S. “economic workshop” in Bahrain in June, the overture in Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century” to bring peace to Israel/Palestine. Besides rejecting the blatant attempt at bribery, PCAP also says: “The Trump Administration is putting the cart before the horse because no economic assistance program can ever succeed if the Palestinian people do not have their right to govern themselves in a full sovereign nation with all its institutions.” See the statement
• Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) also issued a statement regarding the Bahrain Economic Workshop convened by the United States: “If the Trump administration is serious about improving the lives of Palestinians, it can begin by restoring the aid that it cut to the Palestinian people and applying pressure on Israel until it grants Palestinians their freedom and rights.” See the statement
• In their statement about the Bahrain Economic Workshop, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) says: “Expectedly, this peace plan, which some critics have argued resembles a “real estate developer’s brochure,” fails to address the core causes of Palestinian suffering and instead aims to bribe them into total capitulation.” “In this tone-deaf plan and attempt to bribe the Palestinian people into submission—using unguaranteed Arab Gulf money—Trump’s team proves once more its willingness to protect Israel at all costs and without having to foot the bill.” See the statement
McCollum Bill Back in Congress, Supported by Millions of Christians: Landmark Bill to Stop U.S. Funding for Military Abuse of Children
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April 30, 2019 – Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) has introduced H.R. 2407, the “Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act,” a groundbreaking bill that prohibits U.S. taxpayer’s dollars being spent for the military detention of children in any country, including Israel/Palestine. This bill would amend the existing Leahy Law, which is part of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act; it seeks to promote children’s human rights by ensuring that U.S. financial aid to Israel is not used to support the widespread and institutionalized abuse of Palestinian children who are detained by Israeli forces and prosecuted in Israeli military courts. UPDATE, AUGUST, 2019:This landmark bill for Palestinian human rights now has 21 Co-sponsors! See them here
• Read the political analysis by Josh Ruebner
• See the report on churches’ support for HR 2407
• Learn more about the bill and get resources with No Way to Treat A Child
• See the Endorsing Organizations
• TAKE ACTION: This bill is the first of its kind in the U.S. Congress, an exciting opportunity for our legislators to stand up for Palestinian rights, and it needs our support. Amplify the call to end U.S. funding for Israeli detention and abuse of children by writing to your Representative in the House today! Send a message now
• MORE ACTION: Take a stand yourself by endorsing HR 2407 as a Citizen Co-sponsor!
Every week, Christians around the world join in prayer with Palestinian Christians, through the Wave of Prayer from the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem. Below are recent prayers as well as news bites from Sabeel: use the scroll bar to see more of them and click on any item, to read more at Sabeel’s website.