Please join our brothers and sisters at University Presbyterian Church (Seattle) to learn about Christian peace and justice efforts in Israel-Palestine. Churches for Middle East Peace Pilgrimage to Peace Tour appears in person at University Presbyterian Church or by Zoom.
The information that will be presented is more important than ever. Our newspapers only print stories when there is violence (as they say, “when it bleeds it leads”). Critical that we all get information that is more in depth that that points to a path towards true peace, justice and reconciliation in the Holy Land and helps us understand what we can be doing to help promote that process.
Israel didn’t disappoint, but I was as troubled as I was entranced by what I saw there.
Regarding modern Israel, I was once like so many American Christians. Born into a post-Holocaust world and raised in a politically and religiously conservative home and church, I was a reader who had imbibed Leon Uris’s Exodus and its inspiring story by the time of the Six-Day War in 1967. Although only 14, I remember Walter Cronkite’s somber voice as he reported on the outbreak of war, my awareness of potential calamity for the young Jewish state, and my joyful disbelief at Israel’s lightning victory. As I grew older and delved more deeply into the Old Testament and into Jewish history, my admiration for this ancient faith, with its rich and beautiful traditions, its bedrock principles of justice and mercy, and its survival despite diaspora and persecution deepened.
The recent wave of Palestinian attacks on Israelis come as other options have been delegitimized.
By Isaac Scher | Jewish Currents | Apr 12, 2022
Palestinian violence is a reaction to the “incessant pressure on Palestinians from so many different sources…” — Khaled Elgindy, director of the Middle East Institute’s program on Palestine and Israeli–Palestinian affairs
Since March 22nd, five Palestinian assailants have killed 14 people in Israel in four separate attacks. Two of the attackers lived in the West Bank, the other three in Israel. The Islamic State, or ISIS, claimed responsibility for one of the attacks; the attacker in a separate incident was affiliated with the group. A member of Islamic Jihad, a militant group in the West Bank, carried out the most recent attack, in Tel Aviv. “The city shut down when he was on the loose,” Dahlia Scheindlin, a political scientist and a member of the Jewish Currents advisory board, said. “Thursday is usually a party night, but the city was totally empty. It was swarming with officers, helicopters, and cop cars in all directions.” The next morning, the attacker was found and killed.
Israeli radical extremist groups are targeting and hijacking the character of Jerusalem for Christian pilgrims who visit each year.
By Jeff Wright | Mondoweiss | Apr 8, 2022
“The seizure of the Little Petra Hotel by the radical extremist group Ateret Cohanim is a threat to the continued existence of a Christian Quarter in Jerusalem.” — Greek Orthodox Patriarch Beatitude Theophilos III
On Sunday evening, March 27, radical members of an extremist settler group were accompanied by Israeli police as they took control of the Little Petra Hotel in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Located near the Jaffa Gate in occupied East Jerusalem, the hotel is the subject of a years-long and as-yet undecided legal battle between the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and Ateret Cohanim, a settler group which describes itself as “the leading urban land reclamation organization in Jerusalem, which has been working for over 40 years to restore Jewish life in the heart of ancient Jerusalem.” The group seeks to increase Jewish settlement in occupied East Jerusalem, illegal under international law.
Residents hope the valley will become the nature reserve it once was and a lung for Gaza.
By Yasmin Abusayma | The Electronic Intifada | Apr 13, 2022
It’s not just that Wadi Gaza has become a dump. In order to get rid of the waste, people also burn their rubbish. The resulting smoke, however, can contain noxious gases…
It could be a much-needed nature reserve, a lung for Gaza’s imprisoned 2 million strong population whose movement is curtailed by an Israeli blockade that goes back over 15 years.
That, at least, is what the UN hopes as it embarks on a project to clean up Wadi Gaza, a 105 km long valley that starts in the South Hebron Hill, snakes its way through the Negev desert and dissects the Gaza Strip near its middle for nine km before ending in the Mediterranean Sea.
The project has its work cut out though. For years, the valley has been used as a garbage dump, one of few open spaces in an overcrowded strip of coastal land that, until recently, had no sewage system because Israeli restrictions prevented its inhabitants from developing their infrastructure.
Over the years, the activist and organizer from Daburiyya, an Arab village in the north of Israel, has had his fair share of confrontations with Israeli undercover agents who pose as Arab citizens, known as Mista’arvim. But this time was different, he said.
How blocking non-violent change may strengthen those who support violence.
By Peter Beinart | Beinart Notebook | Apr 4, 2022
These dehumanizing arguments about Palestinians don’t make Israelis safer. They put Israelis in greater danger because, over the long term, preventing violence requires giving people hope that they can non-violently achieve equality and freedom.
It’s 2032. Russia occupies Ukraine. Moscow has fragmented Ukrainians geographically and legally. Some Ukrainians enjoy citizenship but face structural discrimination. Many lack citizenship and live without free movement under military law. Many others have been expelled and cannot return. Suddenly, over the space of a few days, Ukrainians begin murdering Russian civilians. What would we say?
Which, as you may have guessed, is my way of talking about last week’s actual Palestinian attacks against Israeli civilians. In the US, the debate about Israel-Palestine is deeply exceptionalized. That’s a fancy way of saying that when we talk about Palestine-Israel we often ignore the principles we apply to other conflicts. So let’s imagine how American politicians and pundits might respond if these horrific acts of violence were occurring not in Hadera and Bnei Brak but in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
Challenging patriarchal notions in Palestinian society is not a separate issue from ending Zionist settler-colonialism. In fact, it has been precisely through gender violence that the colonial project has thrived.
By Tamam Mohsen | Mondoweiss | Apr 1, 2022
Putting indigenous Palestinian women at the center of analyzing the Zionist settler-colonial project aims to demonstrate the connections between gender violence and colonization in the life of Palestinian women.
By the time I am writing this piece the long-running debate flooding social media over the film Huda’s Salon has finally just cooled down.
The tense 90-minute thriller from the Palestinian director Hany Abu Asad discusses how the Israeli secret service (Shabak) recruits Palestinian women. It takes place in Bethlehem where Reem (Maisa Abd Elhadi), a Palestinian young woman, is getting her hair done at Huda’s salon (Manal Awad). Reem is then drugged by Huda, who photographs her naked with a man (Samer Bishara) who is not her husband. The images are then used to blackmail Reem and coerce her into collaborating with Shabak.