June 21 is Jerusalem Sunday – remember our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land

Archdeacon Luay Haddad, director of Holy Land Institute for the Deaf, comforts Mourhaf, a student in the deaf-blind program, earlier this year. (photo: AFEDJ website)
Prayers and resources that can be shared with church members and personal, pilgrim stories from Diocese of Jerusalem leaders that highlight stories from  the Holy Land.

By American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem | May 29, 2020

‘Jerusalem Sunday and the season of Pentecost offer the perfect opportunity to move beyond the headlines and to help Episcopalians across the Church learn more about the lives and ministries of Christians in the Holy Land.’
— Bishop Greg Rickel, AFEDJ Chair and Bishop of the Diocese of Olympia

Each year, on June 22, the Anglican Cycle of Prayer calls for prayers for the Diocese of Jerusalem.

This year American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (AFEDJ) is naming the third Sunday of Pentecost, June 21 – the Sunday closest to the appointed day – as “Jerusalem Sunday” to encourage Episcopalians to remember the Holy Land Christians and the transformative humanitarian ministries they freely offer their neighbors across Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon.

As Christians enter the season of Pentecost, we mark and remember the first Christians who were present when the gift of the Holy Spirit moved among the followers of Jesus.

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On the racial basis of Zionism

Independence Day 1953 Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion on the grandstand during the parade in Haifa. (Photo: Hans Pinn/GPO)
Independence Day 1953 Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion on the grandstand during the parade in Haifa. (photo: Hans Pinn / GPO)
The fight against antisemitism must begin by campaigning against racism and nationalism.

By Sivan Tal | Mondoweiss | May 28, 2020

Because Zionism is seen as the ‘new Judaism,’ opposition to it is labeled the ‘new antisemitism’ – and a new expression was born…

The Likud election campaign for the 23rd Knesset claimed that the Blue and White party aims to form a government supported by the Joint List, and this led Benny Gantz to declare that he “will set up a government with a Jewish majority” that will not depend on Arab parties. Yair Lapid continued in a similar vein, arguing that “we are just a few mandates away from forming a coalition of a Jewish majority.” The term “a Jewish majority” is used by those centrist politicians to refer to a coalition consisting solely of Jewish parties. Later, after being criticized by the entire political spectrum, they both regretted the use of the term “Jewish majority.” Lapid refined the claim by stating “We need a majority of Zionist parties that believe in a Jewish and democratic state,” meaning that “we are by no means racists, we are simply Zionists who believe the state must be Jewish (and of course – democratic).”

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Meet the South Bronx congressional candidate speaking out on Palestinian rights

Samelys López, candidate for New York’s 15th Congressional District. (photo: Corey Torpie Photography via López for the People)
Samelys Lopez hopes to bring her brand of working-class politics to Washington and that includes supporting Palestinian rights and the right to boycott Israel.

By Alex Kane | +972Magazine | May 26, 2020

‘I stand against colonization and human rights abuses in every continent and will fight for liberation from occupation for all people,’
— Samelys López,  New York 15th District congressional candidate 

As one of 12 Democratic candidates running to represent New York’s 15th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives this June, Samelys Lopez has to distinguish herself. One way the community organizer from the South Bronx is doing so is by speaking out on Palestine.

Unlike her main opponents — New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres, who has pitched himself as a progressive for Israel, and Ruben Diaz Sr., whose Israel support stems from his evangelical background — Lopez is staunchly committed to Palestinian human rights. Her pro-Palestinian stance has won her the endorsement of Jewish Voice for Peace Action, the political and advocacy arm of Jewish Voice for Peace.

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What can the pandemic-stricken world learn from Palestinians’ resilience?

Palestinian chefs prepare meals for the needy in a commercial kitchen
Palestinian cooks prepare food at a restaurant kitchen to be delivered to a centre where people returning from Israel and Egypt are quarantined as a precaution against the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, in Gaza City on May 5, 2020. (photo: Majdi Fathi / Nurphoto via Getty Images)
Palestinians have relied on mutual solidarity and support to overcome a long history of injustices and grief.

By Rana Nashashibi |  Truthout | May 10, 2020

With the spread of COVID-19, collective solidarity is on display across the occupied Palestinian territory.

As a Palestinian woman from Jerusalem and a mental health professional, I am both treating and experiencing the extensive impact and far-reaching ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Across the world, communities are dealing with the unbearable pain of death and serious illness, compounded by not being able to comfort or even mourn the victims. On a global scale, people are facing what for many are unprecedented restrictions on freedoms, insecurity and anxiety about the future.

In these testing times, I feel compelled to share our special, decades-long Palestinian caregivers’ experience with dispossession, displacement, denial of basic rights, uncertainty and visceral grief while still maintaining a sense of joy, beauty and finding collective responses that give us realistic hope.

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Palestinian Authority ends West Bank COVID-19 lockdown

A Palestinian man wearing a protective face mask shops during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan in the West Bank City of Nablus on May 09, 2020. (Photo: Shadi Jarar'ah/APA Images)
A Palestinian man wearing a protective face mask shops during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan in the West Bank city of Nablus on May 9, 2020. (Photo: Shadi Jarar’ah / APA Images)
Health protocols and regulations have largely not been enforced for the last month, but some restrictions will remain.

By Yumna Patel |  Mondoweiss | May 26, 2020

The announcement to reopen the country comes after a turbulent Eid weekend, filled with protests and violent interactions with Palestinian security forces in several cities across the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority officially declared an end to the coronavirus lockdown in the occupied West Bank on Monday, nearly three months after the first state of emergency was declared.

During a press conference in Ramallah, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh announced that the 3 million Palestinian residents of the West Bank could expect a return to normal life, albeit with some restrictions, once the current Eid holidays are over.

Banks, government ministries, courts, shops, and public transportation networks are set to reopen on Wednesday morning, while mosques and churches will be opened beginning at dawn prayers on Tuesday morning.

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May 2020 persevering Palestinians

The image was snapped at a protest against Israel's blockade of Gaza on October 22 [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu]
The image was snapped at a protest against Israel’s blockade of Gaza on October 22 (photo: Mustafa Hassona / Anadolu)
A monthly reflection on Palestine from Ed Crouch, member of University Congregational United Church of Christ (Seattle), Palestine Action Group (PAG).

By Ed Crouch | Holylandjustice.org | May 25, 2020

Words are used to cleverly to rewrite history. Israel has boasted for decades that Palestine was ‘land without a people for a people without a land.’

A World War III pandemic has begun, and will wreak havoc for years. Just a hint of what Palestinians have been living with for decades. Let’s list some items:

Living with Rage: This May 15th was the anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (translated Catastrophe). From 1947 to 1949, 750,000 Palestinians became refugees. Zionist forces ethnically cleansed and destroyed about 530 villages and cities. In the process they killed about 15,000 Palestinians in a series of 70 massacres. Now Israel claims 85% of the land.

Living with Fear: A vibrant 85 year old Palestinian friend of mine in Seattle lived in Jerusalem as a girl. In the summer of 1946, 12 year old Huda visited a friend who lived across from the King David Hotel. They were chatting on the girl’s front steps when there was a large explosion at the hotel. They saw the south wing, which housed the British administration of Palestine crumble. 91 were killed by a bomb planted by the Irgun. This Zionist terror organization was trying to get Britain to give up control of Palestine. Huda’s family fled to Egypt. Months later the Zionists succeeded in gaining control of 56% of historic Palestine and the state of Israel was born.

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Peace process was never intended to give Palestinians a state — true confessions from Council on Foreign Relations

Israeli soldier holding a mobile phone in front of the photographer, trying to prevent the documentation of the events taking place in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, April 20, 2018. (photo: Anne Paq)
Truth telling about the objective of the peace process.

By Philip Weiss | Mondoweiss | May 22, 2020

We should be grateful to Cook for saying that the point of the peace process was to fail; and that failure was all for Israel’s interest.

Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations has an article at Foreign Policy saying that the U.S. should phase out aid to Israel and “end the special relationship” because the peace process has attained its real objective: Israel is established as a secure country with a standard of living rivaling the UK and France, and no real military threat.

The piece is shocking because it strips the mask from the peace process, saying just what Edward Said, Rashid Khalidi and Ali Abunimah said decades ago, it was intended to fail, never producing Palestinian sovereignty.

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Abbas, cornered by Israeli annexation, opts for ‘Judgment Day’ scenario

Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, said he is ending security cooperation with Israel, a move that could lead to violence.
Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, said he is ending security cooperation with Israel, a move that could lead to violence. (photo: Alaa Badarneh)
The Palestinian leader has promoted security cooperation with Israel in his quest for a Palestinian state. That strategy may have hit a dead end.

By David M. Halbfinger, Adam Rasgon and Mohammed Najib | The New York Times | May 20, 2020

By declaring his intent to break off the close security cooperation with Israel that has protected his government from more radical Palestinian elements, and Israeli citizens from acts of terrorism, Mr. Abbas’s decision could remove impediments to more militant responses.

Tuesday night, for most Palestinian Muslims, was the Night of Destiny, commemorating the revelation of the first verses of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad.

For Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, it was a night of reckoning.

As long as he has led the Palestinian national movement, Mr. Abbas has opposed violence and espoused negotiations with Israel.

But Israel’s push, with the Trump administration’s support, to annex occupied territory that the Palestinians have counted on for a future state may be steering Mr. Abbas’s strategy to a dead end.

Continue reading “Abbas, cornered by Israeli annexation, opts for ‘Judgment Day’ scenario”

A possible spike in Gaza

A Palestinian child wears a mask as he runs between alleys in Al-Shate' refugee camp, in the Gaza Strip on May 18, 2020. Photo by Mahmoud Al-Hindi/APA Images
A Palestinian child wears a mask as he runs between alleys in Al-Shate’ refugee camp, in the Gaza Strip on May 18, 2020. (photo: Mahmoud Al-Hindi / APA Images)
A news roundup on COVID-19 and other events in Palestine this week.

By Editors | Mondoweiss |  May 22, 2020

After a lull in cases over the previous period this week saw a slight spike in cases of COVID-19, especially in Gaza where the coronavirus had been kept in check until now.

The Latest:

  • 602 total COVID-19 cases; 368 in the West Bank, 55 in the Gaza Strip and 179 in Jerusalem
  • 16,683 Israelis have tested positive for COVID-19; 279 people have died
  • According to a study published by Tel Aviv University, more than 70% of COVID-19 cases in Israel were infected by a strain that originated in the United States
  • According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health: since the onset of the pandemic, 45,343 laboratory samples have been tested. At least 30,581 Palestinians are currently in quarantine at home

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No Bark, No Bite

Vice President Joe Biden in Des Moines, Iowa, May 3rd, 2019. (photo: Michael F. Hiatt via Shutterstock)
It appears the old rules governing the Israel debate in Washington—set by AIPAC and its allies—still apply.

By Peter Beinart | Jewish Currents | May 21, 2020

How could a letter asking Democrats to oppose annexation, which almost all of them ostensibly do, and pledging consequences no more severe than a decline in American public support for Israel—which AIPAC’s own Democratic front group has warned of publicly—still win so little support?

With each passing week, it becomes clearer that Joe Biden’s victory over Bernie Sanders is making it easier for Israel to annex the West Bank.

The latest evidence comes from the United States Senate. On May 1st, with the support of the pro-Israel, anti-occupation lobbying group J Street, three Democratic senators—Chris Murphy from Connecticut, Chris Van Hollen from Maryland, and Tim Kaine from Virginia—drafted a letter opposing annexation, which they asked their colleagues to sign. Murphy, Van Hollen, and Kaine are not Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s toughest critics in the Senate—in 2017, Kaine backed the Taylor Force Act, which cut aid to the Palestinian Authority—but this is precisely what made the three senators appealing messengers. “The letter,” one Senate staffer explained, “was designed to attract more moderate Democrats that don’t typically stick their neck out on these things.”

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