Please join our brothers and sisters from Voices from the Holy Land for an Online Film Salon discussion this month focusing on Christians in Palestine today, as we approach the Christmas story. The 2 films are: “Bethlehem – The Living Stones” and “Christians of Palestine, Life Behind the Wall”.
“Bethlehem – The Living Stones”: So often, Christian pilgrims travel to the Holy Land to experience where Jesus lived, walked and performed miracles. Churches now stand over ancient stones on the places where Bible events occurred. The tours come; the tours go. But most of the pilgrims/tourists don’t encounter the Palestinian people in Bethlehem. This film opens the aperture to experience the land where Jesus walked, through the eyes of “the living stones,” Palestinian Christians who descend from the disciples.
“Christians of Palestine, Life Behind the Wall”: This short documentary focuses on how the Israeli occupation impacts the Palestinian population of today. The story, told by Christian-Palestinians, sheds light on different perspectives of the conflict that we don’t hear about in the United States. Watch the film. Witness the Christmas celebration and hopeful spirit of those living in the walled city of Bethlehem. This film conveys a message of peace, along with a deeper understanding of what the Bethlehemites face.
View these films in advance (links provided upon registration) and join our salon discussion on Dec. 12 with Yousef AlKhouri , lecturer at Bethlehem Bible College & member, Christ at the Checkpoint and Elizabeth, a community builder and former teacher at Jerusalem School in Bethlehem. The discussion will be led by Rev. Susan Wilder, Co-Moderator of the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of The Presbyterian Church (USA).
Please join in a discussion with Peter Beinart, Editor-at-large of Jewish Currents; Diana Buttu, Palestinian lawyer, analyst and former legal advisor to the PLO negotiation team; and Daniel Levy, President of the U.S./Middle East Project. The session will be moderated by Rebecca Abou-Chedid, USMEP non-resident Fellow. Following short interventions by the panelists, there will be a discussion and Q&A.
The three-week long May crisis in Palestine-Israel was in part a repetition of well-rehearsed scenes of devastation, but it also witnessed something unusual – a broad Palestinian mobilization transcending a Palestinian landscape normally characterized by fragmentation and atomization, alongside a shift in the public discourse and debate, most notably in the US.
As familiar patterns of behavior reassert themselves, and with business-as-usual approaches coming from the new governments in Israel, the US, and the Muqata bubble (or worse in the case of Israel applying a ‘terror designation’ to six leading Palestinian NGOs), we pose the question: where should one look for hopeful signs of change and fluidity, for a path to get beyond permanent impasse, occupation and inequality?
Please join our brothers and sisters at Foundation for Middle East Peace for a conversation about Israel’s cyber-surveillance of Palestinians, from hacking the phones of human rights defenders and officials, to increased monitoring of Jerusalemites, to the mass deployment of facial recognition software against Palestinians in the West Bank.
Three major stories broke over the past week about Israel’s cyber-surveillance of Palestinians, from hacking the phones of human rights defenders and officials, to increased monitoring of Jerusalemites, to the mass deployment of facial recognition software against Palestinians in the West Bank. To discuss these issues and their broader implications, FMEP is proud to host a conversation with four experts – Andrew Anderson (Front Line Defenders), Marwa Fatafta (Access Now), Avner Gvaryahu (Breaking the Silence), and Sophia Goodfriend (7amleh), in conversation with FMEP President Lara Friedman.
Please join our brothers and sisters at The Bishop’s Committee for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land, Diocese of Olympia for an upcoming seminar. Grounded in the belief that peace in Israel/Palestine cannot exist without justice for all – Israelis and Palestinians: Jews, Muslims, and Christians – this seminar will examine why and how we, as American citizens, must seek effective ways to end U.S. complicity in the dispossession and human rights violations of a people living under Israeli military and civil control.
We will look at present living conditions for Palestinians in the occupied territories, as well as the legalization of an apartheid system of discriminatory laws that deny basic political rights, including peaceful protest. The current “facts on the ground,” costs of maintaining the status quo, its harm to immediate and long-term US, Palestinian and Israeli interests, and how each of us can make a difference will be addressed by:
• Brian Baird, Ph.D., former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, will explore the role of Congress, the influence of special interests, faith-based organizations and the media, and examine the moral imperative for Palestinian advocacy.
• Mark Braverman, Ph.D., Jewish American psychologist and author, co-founder of Friends of Tent of Nations North America and Executive Director of Kairos USA, will focus on antisemitism and the role of theology in the current discourse. • Cindy Corrie, President of the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, will offer practical information on how to advocate both locally and nationally and how to overcome common myths and misperceptions that stand in the way. • John McKay, J.D., former US attorney for Western WA, coordinator for a State Department rule of law project in the West Bank and professor of constitutional and national security law, will examine Palestinian life under occupation through the lens of Israeli, U.S. and international law.
• Alice Rothchild, MD, author, filmmaker and retired professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Harvard Medical School, will discuss the current critical medical crisis and obstacles to access of radiation treatment, cancer drugs and Covid vaccines in Gaza and the West Bank. • Lena Khalaf Tuffaha, Palestinian American whose life and work crosses cultural, geographic and political borders, essayist, and author of Water and Salt, winner of the 2018 Washington State Book Award for Poetry, will share snapshots of the daily lives of Palestinian families.
NOTE: Attendees will be required to follow current King County and Diocese of Olympia guidelines for indoor gatherings; at this time those guidelines require attendees to provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test and to wear a mask.
Please join our brothers and sisters with #nowaytotreatachild campaign and leaders from Defense for Children International – Palestine and American Friends Service Committee for a webinar. Different kinds of military funding that the U.S. sends to Israel will be discussed, updates shared from Capitol Hill that affect Palestinians, and hear from grassroots activists working to advance Palestinian human rights.
Approximately 2.9 million Palestinians live in the occupied West Bank, of which around 45 percent are children under the age of 18.
Palestinian children in the West Bank, like adults, face arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment under an Israeli military detention system that denies them basic rights.
Since 1967, Israel has operated two separate legal systems in the same territory. In the occupied West Bank, Israeli settlers are subject to the civilian and criminal legal system whereas Palestinians live under military law.
Israel applies civilian criminal law to Palestinian children in East Jerusalem. No Israeli child comes into contact with the military courts.
Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that automatically and systematically prosecutes children in military courts that lack fundamental fair trial rights and protections. Israel prosecutes between 500 and 700 Palestinian children in military courts each year.
Ill-treatment in the Israeli military detention system remains “widespread, systematic, and institutionalized throughout the process,” according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report Children in Israeli Military Detention Observations and Recommendations.
Children typically arrive to interrogation bound, blindfolded, frightened, and sleep deprived.
Children often give confessions after verbal abuse, threats, physical and psychological violence that in some cases amounts to torture.
Israeli military law provides no right to legal counsel during interrogation, and Israeli military court judges seldom exclude confessions obtained by coercion or torture.
The dramatic escape of six Palestinian prisoners from a high-security prison in Israel earlier this month has cast a bright light on the long-neglected and intensely polarizing issue of Palestinian political prisoners, their status in Palestinian society, and their treatment at the hands of Israel. What are the conditions of Palestinians being held in Israeli jails? Why does the issue generate such intense emotion among both Palestinians and Israelis as well as in Washington?
Jawad Boulus is a renowned Palestinian human rights lawyer, political commentator, and author. Boulus was born into a Christian family in the small Arab Galilee village of Kafr Yaseef in 1956, and graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1980. As a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship, Boulus has been deeply involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the fight for Palestinian human rights for over 40 years. He currently publishes a notable weekly opinion column in Arabic which is circulated in numerous local and international printed newspapers and online magazines. He is the Director of the Legal Unit of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club in Ramallah. He serves as Co-Chair on the Board of Directors to ‘Hand in Hand,’ a network of integrated bilingual schools for Jewish and Arab children in Israel. Boulus also serves as Secretary to the Mahmoud Darwish Association for Innovation. His own law firm is based in Jerusalem, where he resides with his wife Jumana.
Sahar Francis is the General Director of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, a Ramallah-based Palestinian NGO that provides legal and advocacy support to Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli and Palestinian prisons. An attorney by training, she joined Addameer in 1998, first as a human rights lawyer, then as head of the Legal Unit. With over sixteen years of human rights experience including legal counseling and representation, Francis is a leader of prisoners rights advocacy. She has also represented Addameer at the UN Human Rights Council, sits on the Board of Defense for Children International-Palestine Section, and was recently appointed to be on the technical committee for the Palestinian National Committee for the follow-up of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Francis earned her law degree from the University of Haifa in 1994, entered the Israeli Bar Association in February 1996, and earned her master’s degree in International Studies from Birzeit University in 2006.
Lara Friedman is the president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace. With more than 25 years working in the Middle East foreign policy arena, Lara is a leading authority on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, with particular expertise on the Israeli-Arab conflict, Israeli settlements, Jerusalem, and the role of the U.S. Congress. Prior to joining FMEP, Lara was the Director of Policy and Government Relations at Americans for Peace Now, and before that she was a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, serving in Jerusalem, Washington, Tunis and Beirut. She tweets @LaraFriedmanDC
Khaled Elgindy, moderator
Khaled Elgindy is senior fellow and director of the Program on Palestine and Israeli-Palestinian Affairs at the Middle East Institute. He is the author of Blind Spot: America and the Palestinians, from Balfour to Trump, published by Brookings Institution Press in April 2019. Elgindy previously served as a fellow in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution from 2010 through 2018. Prior to arriving at Brookings, he served as an adviser to the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah on permanent status negotiations with Israel from 2004 to 2009, and was a key participant in the Annapolis negotiations of 2007-08. Elgindy is also an adjunct instructor in Arab Studies at Georgetown University. He tweets @elgindy_
Please join Jonathan Kuttab, author of “Beyond the Two-State Solution” and an international human rights lawyer for a discussion about the book. Kuttab is the co-founder of Nonviolence International and the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq. Read the book and join in the discussion about the work and Nonviolence International (NVI).
Monday, August 16, 2021
10:00 am Pacific Time Zone/ 1:00 pm Eastern Time Zone
Jonathan Kuttab’s book is a short introduction to the crisis in Palestine-Israel, which has been characterized by the competing visions of Zionism and Palestinian nationalism. While many thought the two-state solution would offer a resolution, Jonathan explains that the two-state solution (that he supported) is no longer viable. He suggests that any solution be predicated on the basic existential needs of the two parties, which he lays out in exceptional detail. He formulates a way forward for a one-state solution that challenges both Zionism and Palestinian nationalism. This book invites readers to begin a new conversation based on reality: two peoples will need to live together in some sort of unified state. It is balanced and accessible to neophytes and to experts alike.
Prof. Imad Barghouthi was recently released after nearly a year of administrative detention. After his arrest on July 22nd 2020, he was held in jail for several weeks without charges.
After already spending many weeks in administrative detention, he was eventually charged on the basis of his Facebook posts. Prof. Barghouthi then spent the next several months in administrative detention, away from his students and family, awaiting trial.
Prof. Barghouthi’s arrest came at great cost to him personally, and academically. Happening mere weeks before the semester started, many students were left without a teacher and/or mentor.
Scientists for Palestine’s international campaign demanding Prof. Barghouthi’s release was joined by thousands of scholars worldwide, including Nobel laureates and Fields medalists.
We now have the privilege of hosting Prof. Barghouthi’s first interview after his finally being freed. Join us to hear first hand about what it is like to be a professor in Palestine, the infringements of the Israeli occupation on academic freedom and the enduring determination of Palestinian academics to overcome them.
Please join our brothers and sisters with the United Methodists Kairos Response (UMKR) who are leading the struggle for Palestinian rights in the United Methodist Church. JVP’s Organizing Director, Lisbeth Melendez Rivera, and Dr. Alice Rothchild, leader of the JVP Health Advisory Council will be speaking.
Alice Rothchild is a physician, professor, author, and filmmaker who has focused her interest in human rights and social justice on the Israel/Palestine conflict since 1997. A practicing Ob-Gyn for almost 40 years, she served as Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Harvard Medical School, until her retirement. Rothchild writes and lectures widely, has contributed to a number of anthologies, and is the author of several books related to Israel/Palestine, including “Condition Critical: Life and Death in Israel/Palestine.”
She directed the documentary film, Voices Across the Divide, and is currently working on a middle grade children’s book, a young adult novel, and a memoir in verse. She serves on the board and as a mentor for the We Are Not Numbers program in Gaza, on the board of the Gaza Mental Health Foundation, and on the steering committee of Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council.
Lisbeth Meléndez Rivera, MAL, is a 30+ year veteran of the LGBTQ and labor movements, with extensive experience organizing and training at the intersections of sexual orientation, gender identity, racial/ethnic identity, and culture related explicitly to communities of color in the United States. She has crisscrossed the country, training workers and community leaders in organizing, leadership development, and community building strategies from a grassroots perspective. Most recently, Lisbeth was the Director of Faith Outreach & Training at the Human Rights Campaign. She is a graduate of the United Theological Seminary with a master’s in Theology and Social Transformation.
Please join our brothers and sisters at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle in this zoom class with Dr. Salim Munayer. Dr. Munayer will give a quick presentation of Musalaha, and answer questions about working in the Holy Land in these challenging times.
Dr. Salim Munayer is the founder and Executive Director of Musalaha, an organization with a Christ-centered vision of reconciliation, based in Jerusalem. Musalaha is a long-term mission partner of UPC and many other churches across the world.
Musalaha, which means “Reconciliation” in Arabic, was founded in 1990, with the mission to teach, train, and facilitate reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, based on biblical principles of reconciliation. Over the past 30 years, the mission has grown to include international groups.