A people cannot be permanently repressed in all these ways without viewing the structure that has emerged as an apartheid regime.
by Richard Falk, March 22nd, 2017
Statement from Kairos Palestine, 25th June 2018
Jerusalem, 25, June 2018, The board, staff and supporters of Kairos Palestine and the members of Global Kairos for Justice coalition celebrate the historic pro-justice actions taken by the Presbyterian Church(USA) at its 223rd General Assembly meeting just days ago. We offer our profound thanks to staff, commissioners and advisory delegates of the PC(USA), and to its mission network, the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA) (www.theipmn.org) which worked tirelessly to bring a slate of resolutions to the church’s assembly gathered in St. Louis.
A long-time partner of Kairos Palestine, the PC(USA) was among the first denominations to commend for study the Kairos Palestine document (http://www.kairospalestine.ps/index.php/about-us/kairos-palestine-document) and to endorse the document’s emphases on hope for justice, nonviolence resistance, liberation and reconciliation.
The many resolutions that were overwhelmingly passed include:
The resolutions passed following powerful support from local and visiting Palestinians, Black Lives Matter leaders, Friends of Sabeel North America, U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Equal Rights, American Muslims for Palestine, St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace, St. Louis Jewish Voice for Peace, National Christian Coalition Organizations in Palestine (NCCOP), Kairos Palestine and others.
Because of partners like you, we may be “hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Cor. 4:8-9)
Palestinian health ministry reports Razan al-Najjar, 21, was shot by Israeli soldiers near Khan Yunis on Friday
Agence France-Presse writes in The Guardian on Friday 1st June 2018
Since March 30th, the people of Gaza have been exercising their right to protest by marching for the right to return to their homes. The homes from which they were forcefully expelled to make room for the state of Israel. (more…)
” If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they” (Ecclesiastes 5:8)..
Channelling a reckless Donald Trump, Israeli ministers appear to have adopted a dangerous mindset: to destroy the national aspirations of the Palestinians by military force
The Guardian, Monday 14th May 2018
Proposed UN Security Council statement expressed ‘outrage and sorrow’ at Israel’s shooting of Palestinian demonstrators and demanded ‘independent and transparent’ probe
Chris Baynes writes in The Independent Tuesday 15th May 2018
Gazans, desperate after more than a decade of a crippling Israeli blockade, expected to throw themselves at border fence again despite bloodshed in yesterday’s protests
Bethan McKernan writes in The Independent on Tuesday 15th May
Follow latest developments as 52 Palestinians killed and hundreds wounded in protests in Gaza and West Bank over moving US embassy to Jerusalem
Follow live updates on the situation from The Guardian
Photo: Mohammed Saber/EPA
U.S. blocks Security Council statement calling to investigate Israel over protest death toll ■ Former CIA chief, Congressmen condemn Israeli use of excessive force ■ Israeli army deploys for second day of projected mayhem
Follow live updates on the situation from Haaretz.
Photo: THOMAS COEX/AFP
Trump applauds ‘a great day for Israel’ as hail of bullets kills dozens of Palestinian protestors
Highest Palestinian death toll in a day since rallies dubbed the Great March of Return began at the fence with Israel.
In pictures from Al Jazeera, Monday 14th May 2018
Around 700,000 people fled their homes during the Nakba (Catastrophe). Many are still living in refugee camps throughout the Middle East. To commemorate those who fled and the villages that were destroyed in 1948 the YWCA of Palestine has sought out some of the women who escaped and documented their story in a project called ‘Fabric of Our Lives’, each represented by a unique doll. Each of these ‘Nakba Dolls’, hand carved form Palestinian olive wood, is wearing a thob (Palestinian embroidered dress) that is traditional to one of the destroyed villages. These dolls not only tell the story of displacement and dispossession through a female perspective they also provide employment opportunities for refugee women today who make the dolls. Please help these women’s stories be heard and let these villages be remembered by buying a doll.
We are a collection of Palestinian groups and civil society organizations. We address our call to the Palestinian Authority, all Palestinian leaders, Israel, the American administration, the Arab states, the international community, and to all those of good will who support us in seeking our freedom and independence. We issue a call of peace and love, a strong call that stems from the strength of our belief in God, his righteousness and his love for all mankind, at a time when we see that the potential to achieve our cause, i.e. our demand for freedom and independence, is diminishing. The American administration has disregarded our history and our rights in Jerusalem, our city of our prayer and faith, and the capital of our state. Israel is determined to maintain its military occupation over us, particularly in the siege imposed on Gaza, and is supported by the American administration which says that it will present “the deal of the century” to us.
In response, the masses in Gaza are resorting to peace as an effective weapon by organizing peaceful marches in which thousands are taking part. These activities have been ongoing since Land Day on Friday March 30th. This weapon is what the Sabeel-Kairos “moment of truth” document called for to highlight steadfastness, resist the occupation, and demand our freedom: peace is the only weapon we can use to achieve this.
The power of this new weapon became apparent as Israel tried to transform it into violent confrontation by the use of violence in which they killed unarmed civilians and injured thousands. Nevertheless, the peaceful demonstrations have continued.
Israeli and American pressure on Arab countries has attempted to force the Palestinians to stop their peaceful demonstrations. For our part, and on the basis of our vision of faith and God’s love and righteousness for every human being, we urge all Palestinians to continue their peaceful march. Their lack of arms makes them strong as they seek life, freedom and equality. We call on the thousands to continue their peaceful marches in Gaza and in all West Bank regions.
We direct our call to the Palestinian leadership and tell them to be united. The search for freedom does not permit further divisions and splits. Let these demonstrations unite the hearts of all; let them unite those in charge in all factions and unite officials and the people.
We call on Israel and the American administration to respond positively to the call for peace disseminated by these peaceful marches. Rather than viewing them as a threat, they actually offer a way out of the crisis that we have reached with you. Heed the cries of the oppressed, of the people whose freedom you deny, and who were displaced from their land, villages and houses. Change your outlook: maintaining life is more beneficial than creating death.
The American administration says that it will present us with the ‘deal of the century, but by taking Jerusalem from its Palestinian people and placing it under Israeli sovereignty, it is making this deal the beginning of a fresh injustice.
Pressure is also increasing on Arab countries to force Palestinian leaders to accept the “deal of the century” with some modifications. Based on our rights and love for every human being, we say let the people declare the injustices they face until the conscience is stirred of all those in Israel and Palestine, and the world wakes up. We call on the Palestinian Authority to be strong and steadfast in the face of all pressure and solutions that create fresh injustice for the Palestinian people. In particular we state that we do not trust promises given by the strong. We know that the strong have not met their promises in the past and will not fulfill new promises in the future. The “deal of the century” should start with Israel and the American administration recognizing Palestinian inalienable rights. At that point, negotiations may start. Without this clear and binding condition, negotiations, promises and the deal of the century will be no more than a new means of maintaining injustice, depriving us of our freedom, and subjecting us to occupation and racist discrimination.
To Israel and the American administration we repeat that we are committed to our demand for freedom. Our only weapon is peace and your peaceful response is the only source of security for you. You may want to keep us in slavery but we will remain steadfast and say no to slavery. We are confident that the time will come when you recover your conscience, reinstate your human dignity, and look at the Palestinian people as human beings with whom can live in security, justice, peace and equality rather than people you seek to eradicate.
For however long it continues, injustice will burden your conscience one day after another. Your injustice against us and your own power will be the foundations of your defeat. Your ability to be righteous and to treat the Palestinian people fairly and with humanity will be your only salvation.
These facts require the following:
Despite the extensive power of the Israeli occupation, the political, military and economic support it receives from its donor countries, the killings, destruction, distortion, displacement, siege, starvation, and arrests, the Israeli occupation understands that it has not been able to break the Palestinian spirit rooted deeply in the land and history.
Palestinians are now besieging the occupation in a historic, cultural, ethical, moral and human sense and will be victorious.
We pray to God to guide all to the right path of peace that protects the humanity of man, a just peace and a final peace that liberates every human being from all evil within or against them.
– Sabeel-Kairos Palestine
– Diyar Consortium
– The YMCA/YWCA Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI)
– The National Christian Association (NCA), Jerusalem
– The East Jerusalem YMCA/HQ
– The East Jerusalem YMCA /Beit Sahour Branch
– The Arab Educational Institute AEI, Bethlehem
– Union of Arab Orthodox Club – Jerusalem
– Arab Orthodox Club – Beit Jala
– Arab Orthodox Club, Beit Sahour
– The Arab Orthodox Charitable Society, Beit Sahour
– Alternative Tourism Group (ATG), Palestine
-Al Qistas Forum for Dialogue and Concord- Gaza
Issuing the first decision of its kind, a federal judge today blocked enforcement of a Kansas law targeting boycotts of Israel, ruling in an ACLU lawsuit that the First Amendment protects the right to engage in political boycotts.
Vera Eidelman writes for ACLU on Tuesday 30th January 2018
Shurat HaDin plans to use contentious 2011 law to launch civil suit against two New Zealanders they blame for convincing singer to abandon gig on political grounds
Tia Goldenberg writes in The Independent on Tuesday 30th January 2018
GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations human rights office said on Wednesday it had identified 206 companies doing business linked to unlawful Israeli settlements in the West Bank and it urged them to avoid any complicity in “pervasive” violations against Palestinians.
Stephanie Nebehay writes for Reuters on Wednesday 31st January 2018
Permanent Representative Defends Decision, as Delegations Endorse Two-State Solution, Determination of Final Status Issues (more…)
Please read our latest newsletter, a special edition on Jerusalem with actions you can take to stand against Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (more…)
The Trump administration’s anti-Palestinian and illegal act reverses decades of official U.S. policy regarding Jerusalem and contradicts the international consensus. Trump’s policies on Palestine underscore that it is long past time for the world to apply concrete pressure on Israel to respect Palestinian rights through support for our struggle for rights and dignity. (more…)
Palestinian Ambassador to the UK Manuel Hassassian writes in the Independent (6 Dec) how Trump’s move signals death to the two state solution and declares war on Muslims and Christians across the Middle East. (more…)
This year the Sabeel-Kairos Palestine Christmas Alert sheds light on what Bethlehem has been experiencing since the Balfour Declaration, of partition and of military occupation, to encourage churches around the world to act! (more…)
22 November. During its meeting in Amman, Jordan from 17-23 November, the World Council of Churches Executive Committee issued a statement expressing concern over the ways in which church institutions and properties in Jerusalem are threatened as a result of contracts of disputed legality, the efforts of radical settler groups, and policies of the government of Israel. (more…)
Mariam Barghouti, Diana Buttu and Haider Eid and other prominent Palestinian voices speak out about the pitfalls of Resolution 242 and what it has meant for Palestine half a century since its adoption. (more…)
From Middle East Monitor, 10 Nov. A prominent BBC journalist has deleted a tweet in which a senior Conservative MP can be seen complaining about the British media turning a blind eye to the corrupt relationship that has allowed Israel to “buy access” in Westminster. (more…)
From Middle East Monitor: On 14 November 2012, Israel launched “Operation Pillar of Defence” against the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip. Over the following eight days, almost 175 Palestinians were killed and more than 1,000 were injured. Five years later, Gaza is still subject to Israeli aggression, in violation of the terms of the ceasefire agreement. (more…)
Omar Barghouti, founder of the BDS movement writes in Newsweek: When Zionist militias forced my grandmother, Rasmiyyah, and her family out of their home in Safad at gunpoint during the 1948 Nakba, the process of settler-colonialism that was propelled by the Balfour Declaration and that culminated in ethnic cleansing became more than just a national tragedy for the indigenous people of Palestine. It became personal. (more…)
From the BDS National Committee: Today marks the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, a document which from the perspective of its Palestinian victims, constituted a declaration of war against the Palestinian people. Together we can end its brutal legacy and create a brighter future with justice, peace and a dignified life for all. (more…)
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson declined the Labour Party’s offer to recognise a Palestinian state “now” insisting that “the moment is not yet right to play that card”, amid challenge from Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry. (more…)
On Tuesday 31 October, over 1,000 people will meet at Central Hall Westminster for the Balfour Project’s commemoration of the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, ‘Britain’s Broken Promise: Time for a New Approach‘. (more…)
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry urges formal UK recognition 100 years after declaration that paved way for creation of Israel (more…)
Friends of Sabeel UK/Sabeel-Kairos wish to appoint a part time advocacy officer to support the development of local advocacy groups and national church campaigns.This is a maternity cover position from January 2018. (more…)
Opinion piece by Donald Macintyre in the Guardian: ‘A hundred years after the Balfour declaration that established a pathway to a Jewish state, the prime minister should acknowledge its role in Palestinian suffering’ (more…)
Human Rights Watch has concluded in a new report that there is nothing in Israeli law that forces Israel’s banks to provide many financial services that aid the theft of Palestinian land for Jewish settlements.
While welcoming the report, human rights defenders are criticizing its recommendation that international investors “engage” with Israeli banks, rather than simply divesting. (more…)
La grande partenza in Jerusalem will be a historic first but brings an unprecedented level of political controversy to cycling’s second biggest event (more…)
Ramzy Baroud, Foreign Policy Journal, 21 Sep. “Israel has desperately sought to be legitimized by the UN, while it has done its utmost to delegitimize the UN” (more…)
On August 4 this year, the Rev. Warren Bardsley published in the Methodist Recorder in support of the National Coalition of Christian Organisations in Palestine’s (NCCOP) letter to the World Council of Churches. (more…)
New report reviews effects of Israel’s 50-year occupation of the Palestinian territories and settlement growth. (more…)
Ayah Al-Wakeel reports on the challenges facing women in Arab society (more…)
UN chief Antonio Guterres also held talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Jerusalem and Ramallah on Monday and Tuesday.
From Haaretz: ‘We will deepen our roots, build, strengthen and settle,’ Netanyahu tells settlers at event marking 50 years to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. (more…)
From Middle East Monitor: The Times of Israel quoted private sources as saying that, on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the issue of moving the embassy with Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s advisor and son-in-law. (more…)
“I hope one day we would become as free as this bottle was” says Gaza fisherman who found the British couple’s message in a bottle. (more…)
‘The story of the Holocaust is a history I have always known, have wanted to know in detail, and which has shaped who I am in the world. It has shaped my commitment to valuing and honoring people’s cultures and histories; my commitment to challenging anti-Semitism; my commitment to challenging all forms of injustice —not in the U.S., not in Palestine, not anywhere’ Article by Jewish psychologist and educator Donna Nevel (more…)
Rafah border crossing has only opened for 14 days so far in 2017, but Palestinians expect it to reopen after Id al-Adha holiday (more…)
Human Rights Watch report that Israel’s revocations of the residency status of thousands of Palestinians from East Jerusalem over the years illustrates the two-tiered system Israel maintains in the city. (more…)
From Middle East Monitor: Jewish settlers burnt scores of acres of Palestinian farms on Tuesday (9th Aug) in the neighbourhood of Aqraba to the south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, Quds Press has reported. (more…)
The Israeli government may have backed down on the imposition of metal detectors at the entrances to Al-Aqsa Mosque, but it has not yet allowed situation to return to pre-July 14 status quo. (more…)
Ramallah-based political analyst Diana Buttu answers your questions on the current crisis in Jerusalem. IMEU Q+A
Photo by Activestills
Delegates at the national gathering for the United Church of Christ (UCC) in Baltimore have voted to pass a resolution asserting the rights of Palestinian children!
The PA has not fully made its case for inscription as a heritage site and Israel’s decision to ban the experts from visiting the site make it difficult to conclude if an emergency situation exists, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) said in an 11-page report.
The Spanish parliament has unanimously passed a motion recognizing the right to advocate for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) as protected under the right to freedom of expression and association.
July 9, 2017 marks 12 years since the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement was born. It’s been 12 years since an impressively large and diverse coalition across Palestinian civil society surmounted incredible odds to unify around three basic Palestinian rights and a nonviolent, inclusive, anti-racist path of struggle to achieve them. (more…)
We keep track of the growing awareness inside the U.S. mainstream press of the far-right character of Israeli political culture; and this weekend the LA Times published a long editorial slamming the Israeli government for “trying to wall out its critics.” The editorial grants dignity to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) and rejects a new law that bars visits to the country by boycott supporters. (more…)
The World Communion of Reformed Churches has urged its more than 225 member churches worldwide to examine their mission, education and investment relationships with Israel and Palestine in the light of the witness of Palestinian Christians. (more…)
Read: Robert Cohen’s latest blog:
Visualizing Palestine has produced a new infographic on the 2014 Gaza war, reflecting on the lack of accountability for the horrendous attacks which killed over 1500 Palestinians and rendered over 11,000 homeless. (more…)
On Wednesday 5th July the UK parliament had a debate on ‘Israel and Palestinians talks’. You can find the debate transcript here, thanks to Middle East Monitor: www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170704-parliamentary-debate-on-israel-and-palestinian-talks/
On 6th July the Mennonite Church (USA) voted to create an investment screen for the purpose of “withdrawing investments from companies that are profiting from the occupation.” The resolution was approved near unanimously, with approximately 98% of the 548 voters supporting it. (more…)
As we mark 10 years of the Gaza blockade the international community cries out for immediate action to end the suffering in Gaza and prevent a looming humanitarian disaster. (more…)
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed.
“We need you and we need you now more than ever. 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” (more…)
In this project coordinated by UN OCHA the lives of 50 Palestinians are revealed, and we catch a glimpse of the experience of living under occupation and the humanitarian impact it has.
A decision has been taken by Sabeel-Kairos and Friends of Sabeel UK to merge together as one new organisation, to combine our efforts to support the Palestinian Christian community, and to raise awareness about the plight of Palestinians in our Churches in the UK. (more…)
On May 27th, after 41 days on hunger strike , Palestinian prisoners suspended the strike after Israeli authorities yielded to the demand to enter negotiations with the prisoners’ chosen leaders.
As we mark 50 years of Israeli occupation this week, the message from Sabeel-Kairos Palestine to the Church worldwide becomes ever relevant and present. In this article, Hind Khoury, Sabeel-Kairos Palestine board member reflects on how women can, and must, play a role in bringing about justice and peace for all in the Holy Land. (more…)
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s 12 day visit to Israel and Palestine has been widely reported in the press. The Guardian previewed the visit and published several well balanced articles during the visit. Justin Welby made a surprise visit to Gaza, where he visited several hospitals. He visited Bethlehem in the West bank and met with the Christian Mayor,Vera Baboun.
BDS: Upholding our Rights, Resisting the Ongoing Nakba. The BNC Commemorates the 69th Anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (more…)
Generators have become the only lifeline for Gaza’s hospitals and patients who are in need of urgent medical care. (more…)
From Middle East Monitor: Hamas has finally revealed its new charter. The document was launched by the head of the Hamas political bureau, Khaled Meshaal, at a press conference in Doha, Qatar on 1 May. (more…)
Israel’s decades-long policy of detaining Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Gaza, in prisons inside Israel, and depriving them of regular family visits is not only cruel but also a blatant violation of international law, said Amnesty International, ahead of a mass prisoner’s hunger strike which began on 17th April to mark Palestinian Prisoner’s Day.
Once again, the Board of Deputies of British Jews has shown itself to be a bully when it comes to interfaith dialogue on Israel/Palestine.
So writes Robert Cohen (May 1st 2017) in “Writing from the Edge”
A people cannot be permanently repressed in all these ways without viewing the structure that has emerged as an apartheid regime.
by Richard Falk, March 22nd, 2017
Legal Opinion on IHRA definition of antisemitism launched Monday March 27, 15:00 – 16:30 at House of Lords Committee Room 3
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has proposed the first new settlement in decades in the West Bank as ‘Israeli’ occupation officials and the White House agreed on future colonial settlement construction.
The new illegal settlement will be built for roughly 40 families-about 300 residents- evicted in February from the Amona settlement outpost.
Netanyahu’s proposal still requires confirmation by the ‘Israeli’ cabinet.
The announcement comes as US and Zionist officials in recent weeks conducted talks on limiting settlement construction in the West Bank after President Donald Trump asked the ‘Israeli’ entity to hold off.
The Trump administration gave the new settlement tacit approval on Thursday, by refraining from condemning the settlement construction, as past Democratic and Republican administrations have done.
A White House official said the Trump administration has made clear that “further unrestrained settlement activity does not help advance peace”.
Palestinians and the international community consider all construction in the West Bank illegal ahead of final status talks to maintain the Palestinian state on the already Palestinian-owned lands.
“Today’s announcement once again proves that ‘Israel’ is more committed to appeasing its illegal settler population than to abiding by the requirements for stability and a just peace,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
In the same respect, ‘Israeli’ high court in 2014 deemed the community of Amona had been built on private Palestinian land and ordered it razed.
Netanyahu’s office stated on Thursday that some 2,000 new settler units, out of roughly 5,700 recently approved for construction, had been approved for marketing.
Source: Suhaib Moussa 13th April 2017
Thousands of mostly Jewish protesters have rallied in Jerusalem al-Quds to denounce 50 years of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.
Organizers said around 2,000 demonstrators marched to Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City during Saturday’s event which was organized by the Standing Together movement.
The rally was the first in a series of events organized by the group, an umbrella movement consisting of pro-peace organizations and left-wing parties, marking 50 years since the Six-Day War.
The rally was meant to “protest against the continued Israeli control over the territories and especially East Jerusalem [al-Quds], and in favor of a peaceful solution,” the movement said in a statement.
The protesters called for an end to the Tel Aviv regime’s settlement expansion, chanting “No to a government of annexation.”
Mohammed Abu Hummus, the head of the popular committee of Isawiyah in East Jerusalem al-Quds, urged “anyone who believes in the Palestinian people to stand against the racist” Israeli regime.
On Wednesday, the Arab League called for Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied lands and the formation of an independent Palestinian state based on the borders before 1967 Six-Day War that led to the occupation of the West Bank, and other territories. Since then, Israel has built over 230 settlements in the Palestinian lands.
Israel’s so-called security cabinet on Thursday unanimously voted in favor of the construction of the first new West Bank settlement in 20 years. The move sparked widespread condemnations from the UN to European countries.
Source PressTV April 2nd , 2017
Two pro-Israel activists were removed from the House of Lords during a pro-Palestinian event for breaching Houses of Parliament rules and regulations.
From Middle East Monitor: Israel has tightened restrictions on the movement of tourists to the occupied West Bank with particular limitations on their access to occupied Bethlehem. (more…)
From Middle East Monitor: The sole power plant in the Gaza Strip was shut down on Sunday due to lack of funds needed to buy fuel. (more…)
The BNC – leaders of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement -have issued a statement following the arrest and interrogation of founder Omar Barghouti in March
On the Eve of the 41st Anniversary of Land Day March 30th, 2017, President of Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), Ms. Ola Awad, has presented the Anniversary through Statistics and Figures.
GENEVA (21 March 2017) – Human rights defenders working to draw attention to abuses associated with Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territory are being increasingly targeted as a result of their work, according to a new report from a United Nations human rights expert.
THE Archbishop of Canterbury will spend 12 days in the Holy Land in early May, Lambeth Palace has announced.
He will travel to Jordan and spend time in a camp for refugees from the Syrian civil war, before moving on to the capital, Amman, where he hopes to meet King Abdullah.
From Haaretz, March 21.
Senior officials say attorney general vehemently opposes Minister Gilad Erdan’s bid, arguing his ministry has no legal authority to collect information on Israelis. (more…)
Sabeel-Kairos Forum member and leading South African campaigner the Revd Brian Brown wrote this excellent piece in the Methodist Recorder following UN Security Resolution 2334 in December 2016. (more…)
From Mondoweiss, 13 March. The longtime Israel activist Jeff Halper was detained for allegedly sharing pro-boycott materials during an occupation tour of East Jerusalem. And the head of the British Palestine Solidarity Committee, Hugh Lanning, was deported from Israel last night when he tried to enter. (more…)
‘It’s a sign we’re winning’ – travel ban on BDS supporters heavily criticised, even by those opposed to boycotts, Democracy Now reports. (more…)
March 9 – The World Council of Churches (WCC) today expressed grave concern about a new law passed on Monday by the Knesset which reportedly forbids granting entry visas to foreign nationals who call for economic, cultural or academic boycotts of either Israel or the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. (more…)
Fairtrade Fortnight is here! Our Fairtrade visitors were denied visas to travel – read on for how you can help lobby MPs about this issue, as well as events around the country from Fairtrade feasts, tea breaks and public talks to markets, school assemblies and seminars where we will be talking about how Fairtrade supports Palestinian community resilience.
On 26 February, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas formally received the general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit for a meeting to discuss just peace in Palestine and Israel. Abbas was scheduled for a speech at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, in the beginning of the week.
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the United Church of Christ, and Global Ministries are among 15 Christian organizations that sent a briefing paper to all members of Congress and to the Trump Administration this morning, calling for U.S. policies that promote peace, justice, and equality between Israelis and Palestinians.
The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, said on February 1, 2017 that the Israeli occupation authorities began on Sunday, January 15, 2017 uprooting olive trees and leveling land near the Palestinian villages of ‘Azzun and a-Nabi Elyas in Qalqilya District, under the supervision of Civil Administration (CA) personnel.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign staged a protest on 13th February 2017 to decry the visit of ‘War criminal’ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the United Kingdom.
“The Knesset has never before enacted legislation regulating Arabs’ property ownership. As a rule, elected officials legislate for their constituents and those within the area of their jurisdiction, not others…If you want to pass legislation for the West Bank, you have to extend your sovereignty and allow the residents of Judea and Samaria the right to become citizens and vote in Knesset elections. And the meaning is clear”.
In the latest instance of Israel’s demolition campaign in the Negev region of southern Israel, homes were demolished in two Bedouin villages, which are not recognised by Israel, on Wednesday, while Israeli police surrounded the village of Umm al-Hiran.
Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories continued during the reporting period (02 – 08 February 2017). The long list is a poor reflection in Israel’s failure to accept the Rule of Law.
Please read the full and startling details in Palestine News Network
A new Israeli law that retroactively legalises the seizure of Palestinian land for Jewish settlements is an offense against justice, said Bishop William Shomali, the patriarchal vicar for Jerusalem.
SALARY £19,243 per annum (£32,073 pro rata per annum)
CONTRACT Part time – Permanent
HOURS 21 hours per week – 3 days per week
LOCATION Friends House, Euston, London NW1
The February/March 2017 issue of Justpeace, the Pax Christi newsletter, is now available. This features an article on Sabeel-Kairos.
A court challenge against British restrictions on the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is going ahead, according to human rights campaigners.
ICAHD UK is looking for a Director. The closing date is 24th February. Click here for details.
A few dozen trailer homes on a hilltop may have never made such ripples internationally. But the evacuation of Amona, which Israeli security forces started today after a years-long legal battle, has resonated far beyond the 40 families who live among the prickly weeds and rocks of this West Bank ridgeline.
Israel has decided not to partner with an EU cultural programme because it includes an article banning cooperation with illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, QudsPressreported yesterday.
Five of Europe’s largest pension funds have — against EU directives — invested up to €7.5 billion ($8.09 billion) in businesses linked to illegal Israeli settlements, according to investigative news team Danwatch.
Sabeel-Kairos have joined over 250 European organisations calling on the European Union to recognise over 100 years of continued injustice towards the Palestinians people, and asking them to suspend the association agreement with Israel and cease all complicity with settlement activity. (more…)
From the Guardian: Israeli security forces began the long-threatened eviction of hundreds of hardline Jewish settlers from the illegal outpost of Amona on the occupied West Bank, hours after the government said it was approving the construction of thousands more settlement homes elsewhere. (more…)
The Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip reopened Saturday as Cairo and the Islamist organization hailed an improvement in long-tense ties.
The Palestinian Authority has strongly rejected a set of conditions presented by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the resumption of peace talks, including the recognition of Israel as a Jewish State and the continuous security control over areas located between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.
With basic tools, 43-year-old Mohamed Abu Khamis is turning wastepaper into bricks that can be used to build — or rebuild — Palestinian homes.
Carrying a pair of borrowed speakers and an MP3 player, a group of 13-year-olds cut through the narrow, graffiti-stained alleyways of the Dheisheh refugee camp, rushing past painted murals of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.
Jerusalem-born designer Natalie Tahhan hopes to revive traditional Palestinian embroidery with a modern twist in her collection ‘Prints of Palestine’. By weaving unique historical patterns into elegant modern styles, Natalie Tahhan hopes to demonstrate the diversity of traditional Palestinian embroidery and its importance within Palestinian culture and identity.
A half-century of Israeli occupation is not going to be meaningfully addressed by international meetings.
This photo was taken in Kfar Qaddum last month. The boy and his friends aren’t there to bait Israeli soldiers or indulge a bout of anti-semitism. Jews from the violent – and illegal – settlement of Kedumim have taken over their farm lands. These villagers are being ethnically cleansed.
Gaza’s electricity crisis, a source of great hardship to over a million and a half Palestinians, has grown worse in the past couple weeks, so that residents now get power for just three to four hours out of every twenty-four.
Soft Hands”, an exhibition held at the Stars Entertainment Centre by the beach in Gaza City, has been showcasing the traditional crafts and arts of the Palestinian people, many of whom rely on these traditional handicrafts to make a living and preserve their culture and identity.
Pope Francis received Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Vatican and formally inaugurated the new Embassy of the State of Palestine to the Holy See.
Christians have a responsibility to oppose the construction of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories, bishops from the US, Canada and Europe said.
From Reuters: “My vision is to enact sovereignty over all the settlements”. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told senior ministers he is lifting restrictions on settlement building in East Jerusalem. (more…)
From Haaretz: Officials say outgoing administration notified Congress of move just before Trump’s swearing-in, despite Republican opposition. (more…)
Three US senators introduced a bill to congress on Wednesday 4th Jan that would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital and move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv. (more…)
From the Guardian: Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry and the Labour party call on the government to immediately launch an inquiry into “improper interference in our democratic politics” after the disclosure that an Israeli embassy official had plotted to “take down” UK MPs regarded as hostile. (more…)
Israeli Jews are today significantly less willing to support a withdrawal from the West Bank than they were in 2005, according to a poll released last Monday by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
The Iona Community has published a Position Statement on Israel/Palestine this month, December 2016. This is a response to the call of Palestinian Christians in the Sabeel-Kairos Palestine document of 2009, and is timed to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration. (more…)
On Friday December 23rd, the UN Security Council voted by fourteen votes to nil for a motion that condemns settlements as “a flagrant violation of international law” and calls for an immediate and total freeze.
York council listed Palestinian activism among risks in local ‘counter-terror profile’, while another flagged up charity collections for Palestine
Speaking in Bethlehem on the evening of 8 December, World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit reflected on the light from the very first Christmas in the very same town, and what that light means in a global search for just peace.
Prime Minister Theresa May today announced that the UK is formally adopting a definition of anti-Semitism agreed on earlier this year by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
This definition is not new, however, and it poses a familiar threat to legitimate criticism of the State of Israel. (more…)
Pax Christi International believes that this is the moment for a renewed commitment to end the violence and to reach a just and sustainable solution guaranteeing the fundamental rights of both Israelis and Palestinians in accordance with international law. (more…)
This is the second of our posts about the reaction to Donald Trump’s election as President of the USA – they serve to demonstrate the diverse views and uncertainty around what might happen.
American Jews have transformed virtually overnight from insiders to outsiders; the appointment of ex-Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon, an accused anti-Semite, as chief strategist, is bound to exacerbate the tensions.
This is the first of two posts about the reaction to Donald Trump’s election as President of the USA – they serve to demonstrate the diverse views and uncertainty around what might happen.
Judy Maltz, writing in Haaretz, has done an analysis of what Trump has said about Israel and Palestine. (Nov 11, 2016)
Since announcing his candidacy for president of the United States, Donald Trump has changed his tune on Israel dramatically: From the “neutral dealmaker” who kept his cards close to his chest at the beginning of the race, he was sounding more and more like some of the hardline members of the Israeli government by its conclusion.
Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation unanimously approved a bill on 13th November that would retroactively legalize outposts in the West Bank, despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s objection and Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit’s position on the issue.
Robert Cohen has written a very interesting article on his blog about the Balfour Declaration and Zionism. Well worth reading in the run-up to the 100th anniversary of Balfour in 2017.
The Lajee centre in Aida refugee camp has seen an alarming number of attacks on it recently. Sheffield Sabeel-Kairos community, who hosted the group earlier this year have issued a press release and call to action on behalf of several children from the centre who have been arrested. (more…)
Am I a radical Jew? A disloyal Jew? A post Zionist Jew? An angry Jew? Robert Cohen shares his latest thoughts on Judaism, Israel, justice, and his hope for the possibility of a ‘Jewish Sabeel-Kairos moment’ (more…)
On October 5th the Israeli Naval forces intercepted the Zaytouna-Oliva, which was carrying women activists seeking to reach Gaza and break the blockade. (more…)
“They don’t understand,” said a young man outside an Orthodox New Jersey synagogue where I often pray, spreading his hands helplessly to emphasize the great gulf between the consciousness of religious and non-religious Jews. “We put God first.”
When we created the Sabeel-Kairos Document (launched in December 2009), we at Sabeel-Kairos Palestine tried to reflect on what tourism and pilgrimage really mean to us. In our advocacy, we try to see and respond to both our reality and our rights. (more…)
Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland gave an address at a meeting with Ms Vera Baboun, Mayor of Bethlehem, in the Palestinian Occupied Territories on 13th September. Archbishop Martin is leading an eight-day pilgrimage of solidarity to the Holy Land accompanied by 177 pilgrims from all around Ireland.
On September 14th at the plenary session in Strasbourg Members of the European Parliament from GUEN/NGL organised solidarity action with Women’s Boat to Gaza that left from Barcelona yesterday evening, aiming to arrive in Gaza by October 1.
After leading regular raids on Al-Duheisha camp, an Israeli commander known as ‘Captain Nidal’ has threatened to makeÂ “all of the youth in the camp disabled”Â and made statements including: “I will have all of you walking with crutches and in wheelchairs,”.
From the Guardian: Celtic fans have raised more than £130,000 for Palestinian charities in an attempt to match an impending Uefa fine for displaying Palestinian flags at a match against an Israeli team. (more…)
On Sunday there were several missile attacks from Israel into the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, injuring 5 Palestinians after a rocket fired from Gaza fell inside the southern Israeli city of Sderot. (more…)
Widespread backlash has forced Google to respond to claims accusing it of erasing Palestine from its maps saying the mistake was “a computer malfunction”. (more…)
Sabeel-Kairos has joined together with Jews for Justice for Palestinians and other prominent Christian groups and individuals to challenge the backlash against criticism of Israel’s policies which affect Palestinian human rights, and the classification of such criticism as anti-Semitic. (more…)
Robert Cohen reflects on research conducted this summer by the Scottish Council of Jewish communities. (more…)
Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, approved a bill permitting the imprisonment of children under the age of 14. The legislation, labeled the “Youth Bill,” would allow Israeli authorities to imprison a child if convicted of “terrorism” against Israeli civilians or military personnel.
Britain and the EU join diplomatic push to prevent the demolition of the south Hebron hills village as US try to exert pressure on Israel. (more…)
From Al-Haq comes this first hand experience of Israel deporting foreign activists who stand in solidarity with Palestinians (more…)
Speculation is rife that the Obama administration in a last gasp effort may work to open up spaces that set parameters for a future solution.
Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, acquired a draconian new power last week: With a three-quarters majority of its members, it can now expel an elected politician if their views are found unacceptable.
Israel’s High Court of Justice has given Israel 90 days to explain its decades-long refusal to recognize the Palestinian village of Dahmash, located in central Israel.
More than 30 MEPs have called on the EU High Representative, Federica Mogherini, to take measures assuring freedom of expression regarding the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for justice and equality and recognising Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the BDS movement, as a human rights defender.
This month marks 11 years since the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) as tools to end worldwide complicity with Israel’s regime of colonization and apartheid, and to support freedom, justice, and equality for the Palestinian people.
A new bill proposing fines for social media sites that do not remove anti-occupation content received the Israeli government’s approval last Sunday. The bill (Zionist Union) gave social media providers, including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, 48 hours to remove anti-Israel content. Ignoring the orders would invite a fine of $78,000 per post.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has warned that the needs of refugees in the Gaza Strip are greater than the funds available, the Safa news agency reported.
“(At dawn) … I will resist … (Since) upon the wall there is still a white sheet … And my fingers are yet to (completely) dissolve.”
This is a translated verse from Mu’in Bseiso’s “Three Walls of the Torture Chamber.” He was — and remains — one of Gaza’s most influential intellectuals and renowned poets.
After Israel occupied the Gaza Strip in 1967, he lived in exile for the rest of his life, hopping from one country to another. Many of Gaza’s great intellectuals were exiled as well; others languished in jail or were assassinated.
We’re so close to winning, but it’s not in the bag. After tens of thousands of us raised our voices, FIFA’s official Monitoring Committee, led by Tokyo Sexwale, just recommended that Israeli football teams must stop playing on stolen Palestinian land.
Palestinians officials calls on the international community and human rights groups to intervene and pressure Israel to lift its siege on the Hebron district, end home invasions and halt abductions. (more…)
WCC affirms commitment to finding a timely solution to conflict in Israel and Palestine – Statement on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and Peace Process
“He has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us” (Ephesians 2.14)
Statement approved by the WCC Central Committee, Trondheim, Norway, 2016, 22-28 June
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the USA has approved actions in advocacy towards Palestinian children and against military detention.
During its 222nd biennial General Assembly, which took place in Portland, Oregon this week, the Presbyterian Church (USA) continued its strong support for Palestinian rights with the passage of a series of overtures.
Two years on from the war in Gaza and still 75,000 Palestinians remain homeless or displaced. International organisations working in Gaza are raising the alarm once more and calling on world leaders to #OpenGaza (more…)
The Israelis seem to have figured out the whole thing and opted out. But the hapless Palestinian leadership, along with its Arab League partners, joined by the French, EU and UN representatives, and even US Secretary of State John Kerry, decided to play along. (more…)
Palestinians in Europe against “French initiative” – In defense of Palestinian right of return. (more…)
Kamel Hawwash a British/Palestinian engineering professor based at the University of Birmingham and a long-standing campaigner for justice describes how “Israel certainly knows the concept of fair play, but that is far from evident in the numerous nefarious ways it obtains land from Palestinians”.
Last week a video of Leanne Mohamad went viral when she performed her winning speech “Birds not Bombs” in a regional final of the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge. Now she’s been silenced. (more…)
Philippa Whitford, writing in the guardian on 18 May says:
My return to the territory as a cancer surgeon revealed women struggling to access vital treatment. And the international community has turned away.
Sabeel-Kairos is one of the 354 European human rights organisations, church groups, trade unions and political parties that have called on the EU to support their right to boycott.
Jeremy Moodey, CEO of Embrace the Middle East and board member of Sabeel-Kairos writes a compelling letter in the Church of England on the difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. (more…)
The General Secretary of the World Council of Churches spoke out on Sunday after several staff and partners were detained or deported from Israel after travelling there for a climate justice meeting. (more…)
Two Dutch political parties are calling for sanctions on Israel for its ongoing violations of Palestinian rights.
‘the hyperbole, bias and conjecture that litter public discourse’
Sabeel-Kairos Palestine have issued a statement of concern about the annexation of land in the Cremisan Valley and the effects on the people and environment in Bethlehem and Beit Jala, with suggested action you can take. (more…)
Leaders from churches in the Holy Land met with the heads of faith-based organizations and churches in Atlanta, Georgia (USA) on 19-20 April for a summit that explored the role of US churches in peacemaking in the Middle East. (more…)
Halhul, occupied West Bank – After spending 2.5 months in a prison cell, 12-year-old D* al-Wawi, the youngest Palestinian female detainee, was released on Sunday on early parole. She speaks to Al Jazeera about her time in Israeli prison. (more…)
An open letter to my fellow Israelis:
Jonathan Ofir, Mondoweiss,
This is probably a culmination of nearly a decade’s reviewed study of our history. At some point, beyond the singular stories, cases and arguments, I feel something unequivocal and very generally encompassing needs to be said about our Israeli “miracle”, the manifestation of the Zionist “dream”. (more…)
Robert Cohen, renowned Jewish blogger and human rights activist writes ‘The Wicked Son’s guide to Passover’. Read it in full here
118 Christian Leaders have added their names to a petition denouncing the recent wave of anti- BDS legislation that has been sweeping across the globe. (more…)
Read the latest newsletter from Sabeel-Kairos (more…)
From the Palestine-Israel Ecumenical Forum
On 17 April each year, Palestinian prisoners, the Palestinian people, and the world mark the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners. (more…)
Dear Mr. President,
As president of the most powerful country on the planet; the loving and protective father of two children; and a man fully aware of the human struggles of so many in the down-trodden communities of many lands, including your own, your eyes must have been opened during the last three—of many—Israeli assaults on besieged Gaza, where I live with my wife and young son.
The media have at last taken up an important discussion: the relationship of Judaism and Zionism.
“Responding to international boycott pressures and other constraints, a growing number of Israeli companies operating in the West Bank are moving their facilities to locations within the country’s internationally recognised borders.”
For many more years than any intelligent person would want to count, Israel was the sacred cow of the United States. From its violent, bloody, genocidal inception that involved the ethnic cleansing of at least 750,000 Palestinians, and the murder of another 10,000, right through to the illegal, immoral occupation of the West Bank and blockade (aka occupation) of the Gaza Strip, Israel, in the view of U.S. governance and politics, could do no wrong.
The West Bank has endured an unprecedented number of demolitions during the first part of 2016, leaving an average of 45 Palestinian every week homeless. (more…)
The Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem offer us these wise words at Easter (more…)
Palestine News Network reports that “The Israeli government on Tuesday announced the seizure of 2340 acres of land in the Jericho area, central West Bank, claiming it ‘state land’. Israel Radio said the Israeli government has embarked on this confiscation despite pressures from the United States and the United Nations attempting to prevent it. In most cases, Israel announces thousands of acres as ‘state lands’, which are then granted to the illegal settlers.
Israeli human rights and civil society organisations have condemned in the strongest possible terms the ongoing anonymous attacks against Palestinian human rights organisations, and most recently against Al-Haq.
On Monday, Palestine was awarded a full membership in the Permanent Court of Arbitration, after 57 countries votes in favour, 24 abstained and zero voted against. (more…)
The private “security” conglomerate G4S has announced that they are selling off their Israeli subsidiary, and getting out of the U.S. and U.K. youth prison businesses within the next two years.
This is a huge win for the BDS movement.
Palestinian teachers organised sit-in protests across the occupied West Bank on 1st March as a teachers’ strike calling on the Palestinian Authority to guarantee their rights entered its 16th consecutive day.
Israeli Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein has said he is “proud to represent the Knesset and the State of Israel, including as a settler of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank],” ahead of a controversial visit to Westminster on Wednesday. (more…)
Do you have a heart for Palestine and the Christians who live there?
Friends of Sabeel UK works and prays for the establishment of a just peace for the people of Palestine and Israel. (more…)
Following the government publishing guidlines for local councils and public bodies on boycott and procurements, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign wrote this helpful response (more…)
Vera Baboun, Mayor of Bethlehem writes in the Irish Times.
Vera Baboun is the first woman mayor of Bethlehem. She is also Catholic. It is the case in the Palestinian Territories that those cities deemed Christian have Christian mayors. They include Ramallah, Birzeit, Zababdeh, Jifna, Ein ’Arik, Aboud, Taybeh, Beit Jala, Beit Sahour, and Bethlehem. (more…)
In the face of growing BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) campaigns in support of freedom, justice, and equality, Israel is offering actors, actresses, and directors nominated for an Academy Award this year a $55,000 all-expenses paid trip to Israel as part of its ongoing efforts to hide its violations of Palestinian rights.
The Government’s attempts to block public bodies from boycotting and divesting from companies involved in Israel’s oppression of Palestinians undermines local democracy in order to shield Israel from criticism. (more…)
Want to support Palestinian freedom, justice and equality?
Each year, Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) takes place in more than 150 universities and cities across the world. With creative education and action, IAW aims to raise awareness about Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid over the Palestinian people and build support for the nonviolent Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Check out apartheidweek.org and #IsraeliApartheidWeek to find out what’s happening in your area. More events in different cities are being added all the time, so do check back if there’s nothing in your city listed yet.
You can also watch this video to find out more about BDS:
In support and solidarity of UK civil society members and groups who are opposing the government plans to stop local councils making their own ethical decisions about their investments, here is a letter from Sabeel-Kairos Palestine (more…)
What would you make of it all?
Would you be surprised at what has happened to the Jewish people since your death and how the Jewish story is unfolding in the 21st century? Would you be shocked at how we have misused the memory of the Holocaust? Would you be dismayed at the mess we have made of your legacy? (more…)
PSC are looking for a talented and enthusiastic Campaigns Officer to join our team.
We are after someone to work closely with our Campaigns Manager, across a number of PSC’s key campaigns. These will be activist, parliamentary and political campaigns working with PSC partners, branches, and affiliates.
Official Palestinian institutions and leaders have lost their moral legitimacy in the eyes of the Palestinian people who view them as ineffective or even co-opted by Israel. A new generation of grassroots activists is shifting the focus from the goal of Palestinian statehood to the pursuit of new tactics to resist the Israeli occupation. To improve the lives of Palestinians, this new moral vanguard will need to transform and revive existing Palestinian institutions or build new ones.
NATHAN J. BROWN, DANIEL NERENBERG
Read online on the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace website
One day the occupation will end. It will probably happen in one fell swoop. And when it happens, it will suddenly emerge that everyone was against it. That the politicians had actually worked to end it, that the journalists strove indefatigably to expose its injustices, that the cultural institutions condemned it courageously and that Israeli academia was a center of persistent resistance, from which the struggle drew ideological and moral backing. In short, everyone was part of the Resistance.
Paul Gillespie’s article in the Irish Times on January 16th suggests that Ireland should recognise Palestine if the peace talk fail again.
“It would be a symbolic move, helping to put international pressure on the Israelis and could usefully be debated in the general election campaign.”
Congratulations to Sabeel-Kairos Member Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac, Academic Dean at Bethlehem Bible College, who was ordained in the Church of Redeemer in Jerusalem on 3rd January. May God guide him in his mission!
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for the Occupied Palestinian Territory has released a statistical document related to Palestinians’ humanitarian needs for 2016.
An Arab League meeting will discuss in Cairo next week a Palestinian bid to the UN Security Council (UNSC) amid flaring violence between the Palestinians and Israel. The Arabs and Egypt supports the Palestinian bid to the UN Security Council. The meeting will also tackle the latest developments in the Palestinian territories and the current violent tensions between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Palestinian Muslim and Christian religious clerics and officials launched a campaign aimed at bolstering Muslim and Christian claims over occupied East Jerusalem. They hope the campaign, “Jerusalem Capital of the World 2016,” will raise international awareness of Palestinian Muslim and Christian heritage in the occupied city, and also annul Israeli claims that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of the state of Israel.
“Let the year 2016 be an international year of solidarity with Jerusalem. We are one nation on this land, which we all love and give sacrifices for,” said Sheikh Sabri, at the conference held to launch the campaign. He added, “The connection between Muslims and Christians on this land is based on justice, love and tolerance and rejection to any aspect of injustice and aggression.”
Archbishop Hanna said:
“We express solidarity with every oppressed person in the world, as injustice practiced by humans to their brothers in humanity can never be justified no matter what the pretexts are.”
Dr. Mitri Raheb and Israeli Journalist Gideon Levy have been awarded the Olof Palme Prize “for their courageous and indefatigable fight against occupation and violence, and for a future Middle East characterized by peaceful coexistence and equality for all. By their work they both give a ray of hope to a conflict that has plagued and continues to plague millions of people and to endanger world peace.
2015 was far from being the year when Palestinians saw their aspirations for freedom, independence, securing the right of return of refugees, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem coming closer to realization. Instead, those who fought on the front lines against the occupation found themselves in uneven battles against Israeli soldiers and/or armed settlers backed by the IOF.
According to Israeli National News “Representatives of the major Palestinian Arab organizations met yesterday to discuss how to escalate the “Al-Quds Intifada”.
A research centre affiliated to the PLO has revealed that the Israeli occupation authorities destroyed 478 Palestinian buildings and other facilities during 2015. The demolitions occurred across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, Quds Press reported.
Lehava’s leader, Bentzi Gopstein, told the Israeli TV Channel II that Israeli Jews practically prevent Christians from entering Jerusalem, saying that Christian presence in Jerusalem was not welcome. He also called for ‘making obstacles towards the expansion of Christianity and Islam in the Palestinian occupied city of Jerusalem.’ Gopstein has previously ‘called for a ban on Christmas celebrations in the country and the banishment of Christians, who he referred to as ‘blood-sucking vampires’, from the land.’
The start of 2016 sees the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip entering the 10th year of the Israeli-led and internationally-backed blockade of the territory, which is exacerbated by Egyptian support. The blockade started in the wake of the 2006 Palestinian elections, which the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, won with an overwhelming majority. Local and international monitoring organizations described the Palestinian poll as one of the most transparent ever recorded. In Palestine, though, it is remembered with sadness as the election marked the internal political split and the start of the siege of Gaza.
Israel has imposed new rules on trucks taking goods into the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom Crossing, the only commercial border post with the territory, Palsawa has reported. The new rules were applied.
New estimates show that high Palestinian birth rates are set to equal the number of Jews in Israel and Palestine by late 2017, Haaretz daily reported. According to a recent report by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, currently, the number of Palestinian residents of Israel, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank is about 6.22 million.
A fantastic photo gallery brought to you by Activestills of some of the most significant events in Palestine and Israel in 2015. (more…)
Available now: new book by Brian J Brown
‘A Methodist Minister’s quest for Justice and Freedom on two Continents’ (more…)
Concerned about specific, well-documented instances of probable gross violations of human rights by Israeli military and security forces, eleven churches and faith-based organizations discussed several case summaries at a meeting yesterday with the U.S. Department of State. Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. foreign military assistance.
A Palestinian centre specializing in Israeli affairs has stated that more than 400 military roadblocks have been installed by Israel in Jerusalem and the West Bank in the last few years. In its report, the Al-Quds Centre for Palestinian and Israeli Studies said that Israel continues with its attempts to stop the ongoing Palestinian uprising that erupted in Jerusalem on 1 October, resulting in the death of 118 Palestinians and 22 Israelis.
Once it fell to politicians and diplomats to solve international conflicts. Now, according to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, responsibility lies with social media.
Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, headed off to Silicon Valley to meet senior executives at Google and its subsidiary YouTube late last month. Her task was to persuade them that, for the sake of peace, they must censor the growing number of Palestinian videos posted on YouTube.
President of Sabeel’s board Naim Ateek reflects on the year and what our calling is as Christians working for peace in the Middle East (more…)
We call upon the world and Sabeel-Kairos groups overseas to join the Palestinian struggle for justice and peace in solidarity with their prayers and vigils on Sunday, 29th November 2015 (more…)
The European Commission has issued new guidelines for the labelling of some products made in Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian and Syrian land.
Agricultural produce and cosmetics sold in EU member states must now have clear labels showing their place of origin.
Since the outbreak of the Palestinian-Israeli clashes at the beginning of the month, one distinction was highlighted: the absence of a political and field leader. Meanwhile, the Palestinian youth continue to face the Israeli army individually, even in carrying out their armed operations, as well as the stabbings and hit-and-runs. This raises many questions regarding the absence of a leader and the ability of the Palestinian youth to continue their intifada without a leader.
Sabeel-Kairos Authors at the conference “Mission in the Context of Empire: A Call for Global Theological Resistance for Palestine” gave a powerful and compelling argument for all Christians and all Churches to act concretely in support of the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli occupation of Palestine. (more…)
Violence between Israelis and Palestinians has continued in recent days with attacks concentrated in the Hebron area of the occupied West Bank.
This month, there have been reports of about 20 Palestinian stabbing attacks and attempted attacks there, mostly targeting Israeli soldiers and police.
Statement: 18 October (more…)
The recent increase in violence in Israel and the West Bank has created an international wave of action in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle.
People of conscience who want to stand with the Palestinian struggle have been urged to take action and develop Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions efforts over the past weekend. This was aimed at showing Palestinians that they are not alone.
One of the most common questions asked these days is when will the situation [in the Holy Land] calm down? Despite the rhetoric we hear both sides propagate, slogans like, steadfastness in the face of the other; resistance to the violence of the other, and having a united front in combating the other, most Palestinians and Israelis wonder when will the violence stop. When will things return to the normality that everyone seems to have gotten used to?
Sami Awad, CEO of the Holy Land Trust provides some thoughts in the Huffington Post
Human Rights Organizations in Israel: Politicians’ calls to police and soldiers to shoot rather than arrest endorse the killing of Palestinians
What is happening today is an Intifada, but it is unnecessary to assign a number to it, since popular mobilization does not always follow a neat rationale required by some of us. Most of those leading the current Intifada were either children, or not even born when the Intifada al-Aqsa started in 2000; they were certainly not living when the Stone Intifada exploded in 1987. In fact, many might be oblivious of the details of the original Intifada of 1936.
October 13th, 2015.
The news reports filling out screens and social media feeds are as shocking as they are terrifying as the rule of law breaks down across East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. (more…)
Monday 6th Oct
Tensions are at breaking point in Jerusalem and across the West Bank as Israel imposed a 48 hour ban on Palestinians entering the Old City following the fatal stabbing of two Israelis and the wounding of several others on Saturday.
22 September 2015
In the World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, the President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference have issued a statement on Israel and the West Bank. (more…)
Israel has announced it is sealing off the West Bank for 36 hours from noon on Tuesday 23rd Sep, following outbreaks of violence across the West Bank, sparked by 3 days of clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian worshippers at the Al-Aqsa compound in East Jerusalem. (more…)
People from far and near gathered for the Morning Prayer in Beir Ouna, Cremisan.
August saw an unprecedented level of demolition in the West Bank, leaving tens of Palestinian families homeless and others stripped of their livelihoods.
Sabeel-Kairos partner Embrace the Middle East, has joined 30 other international organisations to condemn a surge in demolition of Palestinian homes and structures across areas of the occupied West Bank.
In one of its more widespread acts of demolition, the Civil Administration last week left 127 men, women and children without shelter in 42-degree-Celsius heat.
Ayelett Shani, writing in Haaretz on August 7th 2015, interviews Itay Mack, a Jerusalem-based human rights lawyer and activist, who seeks greater transparency and public oversight of Israel’s military exports.
Jonathan Freedland, Executive Editor of The Guardian, considers the response of the Israeli politicians to the arson attack on a Palestinian house. He says:
“The condemnations are striking but still they ring hollow. Binyamin Netanyahu denounced the arson attack by Jewish settlers on the West Bank home of the Dawabsha family, in which Ali Saad, a baby just 18 months old, was burned to death, as an “act of terrorism in every respect”.
Netanyahu was joined by Naftali Bennett, the leader of the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party, which is close to being the political wing of the settlers’ movement. Bennett described the murder as a “horrendous act of terror”. The defence minister, the army, they all condemned this heinous crime.
Which is welcome, of course. It’s good that there were no ifs or buts, no attempts to excuse the inexcusable. But still it rings hollow.
The words sound empty partly because, while this act is extreme in its cruelty, it is not a freak event. Talk to the Israeli human right groups that monitor their country’s 48-year occupation of the West Bank and they are clear that the masked men who broke into the Dawabsha family home in the early hours and set it alight committed a crime exceptional only in its consequences.
“Violence by settlers against Palestinians is part of the daily routine of the occupation,” Hagai El-Ad, director of the B’tselem organisation, told me.
Indeed, El-Ad says this attack was the eighth time since 2012 that settlers have torched inhabited buildings. There have been dozens of assaults on property, too: mosques, agricultural land, businesses. “In most of these cases, they didn’t find the perpetrators, despite having the best intelligence agencies on the planet.” He is referring to the culture of impunity that has always protected the settlers.
That charge can be directed at past Israeli governments of the centre-left as well as the hawkish right: while the latter actively sponsored the settlement that followed the 1967 war, the former indulged it. But the right’s guilt runs deeper, which is why its tearful words of regret now sound so false.”
Click here for the full story – Friday 31st July 2015.
The slumbering Dawabsheh family never stood a chance when a pair of arsonists crept into their home in a village in the West Bank in the early hours of Friday. A smashed window, a flaming molotov cocktail, a whoosh of fire and piercing screams followed.
Within minutes, the parents had crawled from the house with life-threatening third degree burns covering most of their bodies. Inside, four-year-old Ahmad was shrieking in fear and pain; his infant brother, Ali, just 18 months old, was dead or dying, his body burned beyond recognition.
For Palestinian-Bedouins living in the south Hebron hills under the threat of demolition and expulsion, victories are rare. Yet residents from the tin and tarp village of Susiya are uncharacteristically optimistic that they will receive a reprieve from the impending demolition of their village that is scheduled to take place before August 3rd.
Source: Diaa Hadid – The New York Times 23rd July 2015
SUSIYA, West Bank — Yousef Nawajaa strode between the tents bedecked with Palestinian flags, scattered through parched orchards and rocky hills, shouting delightedly to a man nearby: “Hey, did you hear? John Kerry spoke about Susiya!”
“Kerry!” the man exclaimed, with a look that said, “No way!”
Mr. Nawajaa, 38, was mistaken, but not by much, in his observation about how outsize the cause of his tiny village has grown. It was not Secretary of State John Kerry but John Kirby, the State Department spokesman, who had recently urged Israel not to raze Susiya.
How did a hamlet of 340 Palestinians in a dusty corner of the southern West Bank find its way onto the global stage?
Readers of PIEF POST will recall that on June 18, the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fish at Tabgha, on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, was set on fire. Anti-Christian graffiti in Hebrew was scrawled on the church wall in an attack that drew condemnation from across Israel’s political spectrum. A group of 16 youth were provisionally held in connection with the attack and questioned but hastily released.
Dr. Alon Goshen-Gottstein, Executive Director of the Elijah Interfaith Institute, agonized over what he describes as “a rise in religious extremism in the Holy Land”. He saw how the church in Tabgha was burned on “explicitly religious, rather than political grounds, as witnessed from the “prooftext” provided through graffiti, a text from the Jewish prayer book”.
“Had they [the arsonists] not written ‘false idols will be eliminated’ [an excerpt from the Jewish prayer of Aleinu] I might have not acted.” He adds: “This is the first time that they did something based on a quote from the sources. That’s a qualitative change; something completely different, and therefore people have to speak in the voice of religion and say ‘no’.”
The campaign is not simply about restoring the church. It is about delivering an educational message. It is also a message to the world that the Judaism that leads to the burning of churches (and mosques) is not our own. It is a way of expressing concrete support for friendship between religions and of demonstrating what kind of Judaism we believe in.
The campaign is obviously pitched at Jews. But all those who wish to contribute are welcome. The Campaign website is Restoring Friendship – rebuilding burnt Friendship center in Tabgha Church.
Press Statement 22 June 2015
How long will our places of worship continue to be burnt without accountability and punishment?
Last Thursday, the 18th of June 2015, on the shores of the Lake of Tiberias, Jewish extremists set fire to the Church of the Multiplication run by the Benedictine monks in Tabgha. Voices of protest—emerging from the Christian, Muslim, and Druze religious leaders and communities—were raised throughout Palestine condemning the attack. Sabeel-Kairos Palestine joined in expressing these genuine religious and national feelings.
This is not the first incident of its kind. In the past three years, over 43 attacks on churches and mosques have been documented. In all cases, the perpetrators are the same: young Jewish extremists, blinded by religious extremism and encouraged by a religious leadership to hate and exclude. “We are perplexed that neither the government, nor the police have taken any measures to arrest and punish those who did it,” noted His Beatitude, Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah, “this is a stark contrast to the oppression Palestinians face on daily basis from Israel’s security establishment”. This principle of double standards is based on ethnic and religious foundations, whereupon a Jew has all rights even if he commits a crime, while a Palestinian is guilty until proven innocent. This discriminatory regime is unacceptable by any standard, especially when used against the indigenous people of the land, a product of its plural and ancient history throughout consecutive generations and centuries.
We warn of the continuation of such incidents that may fan dissent and fire religious conflicts in the Holy Land. This growing extremism and the violence it generates destroys hope for a political and rational solution to the conflict.
We see these crimes as a continuation of the unjust policies and laws used against the Christians, Muslims, and those who have faithfully preserved the religious heritage in the Holy Land for centuries. These incidents remind us with concern that Israel continues to deny regular access to our holy sites and has deprived generations of this right. This is one of the reasons that have led to a systematic dwindling of Christian presence, an important and long presence and witness in the history of this land.
We affirm that the only way to peace in the Holy Land is through respecting the existence, traditions, and places of worship of the three monotheistic religions. Peace depends on respecting basic and elementary human rights of all based on international law, adopting the path of justice and love, and uniting the wills of peoples and governments.
In this context, it is necessary to underline the responsibility of the global community in implementing international law and UN resolutions related to the right of worship. We especially remind the churches of the world of their responsibility to work for justice, peace and reconciliation in the Holy Land. In order to stop this ailment of blind extremism, we call upon the churches to support and stand in solidarity with the calls and demands of Palestinian Christians as expressed in the document “A Moment of Truth” and all ensuing statements. We ask the churches to adopt policies and action plans that help achieve justice and peace, and we express gratitude to the churches that have already adopted such policies.
We call upon and warn the Israeli authorities that ignoring the escalation of extremism without holding the Jewish terrorists accountable for their deeds is encouraging them to pursue such acts in the future, and by doing so, negating the spirit of the Jewish religion itself. The Israeli authorities are responsible for this kind of terrorism and the absence of security for the religious Christian and Muslim sites.
Israel is on the path to moral and economic bankruptcy.
by Mohammed Omer an award winning Palestinian-Dutch journalist, based in Gaza writing in The Middle East Eye (Wed 17th June 2015).
Signs of a peace deal and possible truce give Palestinians cause for optimism during the month of Ramadan
Ramadan 2014 still lingers in the memory of most Palestinians in Gaza. This holy month – usually a time of spiritual reflection and celebration – was filled last year with physical and emotional agony, as Palestinians broke their fast amid missiles and bombs from relentless Israeli airstrikes.
Today, on the eve of Ramadan 2015, Gazans seem more hopeful, as leaked reports whisper of a possible truce with Hamas.
Meanwhile the situation in Gaza plunges downwards. The Gaza Chamber of Commerce opines that the blockade, now in its ninth year, has heaped the worst economic conditions on the people of the enclave in history. Over one million Gazans have no daily income today and ‘extreme poverty’ affects 21 percent of the population.
The situation in Gaza has not escaped serious notice. Alert citizens groups have now organized a new flotilla to break the siege in Gaza with relief supplies. Those on board the three ships that have set sail from Mediterranean ports to Gaza include a former Tunisian president, athletes, academicians, parliamentarians, diplomats and journalists, and a Catholic nun. The outcome of their attempt will be watched with keen anticipation especially because of previous botched attempts.
It will soon be 50 years of Israeli occupation. But with a right wing government in power, the hopes of it ending seem rather remote for the time being unless something miraculous happens.
As B’tselem puts it: “Israel’s government does not believe the occupation must end. We do.” B’tselem is not convinced that this is temporary because 48 years is hardly temporary.
On the Palestinian side, Saeb Erakat says: “We will continue to halt any attempts by Israel to erase and bury Palestinian national identity by prolonging its occupation of our land. The world is accountable for the ongoing crimes committed against our people.
Indeed, the international community must accept accountability. What is happening in Palestine is catastrophic. The silence and inaction of the world is deafening and hard to understand. How many more years will we tolerate a reality in which millions of people cannot take part in deciding their future and cannot vote for the institutions that rule their lives; when thousands see nothing but prison walls without justification and for endless years; when children at play get killed, arrested and tortured; when houses are demolished at will for no ostensible reason, when land is stolen right in front of one’s own eyes just to make way for a settlement; when one’s right to religion is trampled over as if it did not really matter to anyone, and much more.
But as people of faith we believe that righteousness and justice will prevail. But after 48 years of an unceasing and brutal occupation, many Palestinians ask: When O Lord and how?
In this article Falk’s basic presumption is that there is an asymmetry in the Palestinian Israeli equation.He calls for acknowledging the structural distortion and illegitimacy between Palestine and Israel and argues that political progress presupposes an equitable relation between oppressor and oppressed. This is a paramount precondition for a viable political arrangement.
It is incumbent on Israel to do what it take for a sustainable peace. Ending the occupation and restoring 1967 borders would be a beginning before the issues of Jerusalem and refugees and the issues that have emerged- settlements and the Wall- are dealt with. In short, justice and justice alone must form the basis of any negotiations.
The Ma’an News Agency has recently reported on the way in which Israel uses Tourism to spread the official Israeli narrative. Rifat Kassis, the coordinator of Sabeel-Kairos Palestine explains that many people return home as enemies of Palestine without ever talking to a single Palestinian. There are a mass of administrative and military procedures to deprive Palestine of the opportunity to host tourists. Click here for the full story.
Sir Vincent Fean was the British Consul-General in Jerusalem from 2010-2014. So he speaks with some authority on the subject of Israel and Palestine. In a powerful article, he calls on Britain to recognise the State of Palestine, as 130 states out of the 193 UN members have already done.
The Vatican is to formally recognise Palestinian statehood in a treaty that will be signed shortly, officials say.
Israel has expressed its disappointment at the decision which it says will not advance the peace process. Talks between the Palestinians and the Vatican – which favours a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – have gone on for 20 years. President Abbas meets the Pope this weekend when two 19th Century Palestinian nuns will be canonised. The Vatican is eager that property and civil rights of the Catholic Church in the Palestinian state is protected, correspondents say.
The European Eminent Persons Group has written to the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief, Federica Mogherini, expressing doubt about the USA’s ability to negotate with Israelis and Palestinians, and calling for the urgent reassessment of EU policy on the question of a Palestinian State.
The signatories include Hubert Védrine and Roland Dumas, former foreign ministers of France, Andreas van Agt, former prime minister of the Netherlands, John Bruton, a former prime minister of Ireland, Michel Rocard, former prime minister of France, Javier Solana, former Nato secretary general and Sir Jeremy Greenstock, former UK ambassador to the UN. – Click here to see more.
Neve Gordon’s book “The Day After” is reviewed in LRB Online.
Neve Gordon is a professor of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. He served as an IDF paratrooper and suffered injuries in action. In this book he draws on first hand accounts from 70 Israeli soldiers on how they were briefed before Operation Protective Edge in Gaza last year. Leaflets were dropped on Palestinian towns and villages telling them to evacuate their homes. Anyone who remained was considered a legitimate target.
The soldiers were told
“if you spot someone, shoot – there are no uninvolved civilians.”
The interviews provide a chilling of the process of systematic dehumanisation of Palestinians. Some soldiers felt that they should not deface the houses, but they were followed by bulldozers so it did’nt matter what they did to people’s homes.
Even after his retirement, Archbishop Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner for his leading role in the movement to resolve Apartheid in South Africa is a steadfast human rights defender. In this Open Letter to Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentage he calls on the German Churches to address the human rights abuses to Palestinians, the disproportionate force used by Israel, and the use of BDS as a non-violent tool for bringing about a just and secure peace for all.
The Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentage, scheduled to take place from the 3-7th June in Stuttgart. You can find out more about it here
Robert Cohen is a Jew living in North Yorkshire. He writes a blog called Micah’s Paradigm Shift. He has written in his blog about how he should vote in the General Election. He takes the policies on Israel/Palestine as a litmus test of the integrity of the Party, and concludes that The Green Party will get his vote. Click here to read the article.
How will you make the decision on how to vote? If you would like to see what your General Election candidates have to say about Israel/Palestine, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign has received responses from over 900 candidates. Click here to find out what your local candidates have to say, and use this to inform your voting.
Palestinian civil society activists have heralded the decision by French corporate giant Veolia to sell off nearly all of its business activity in Israel as a huge victory for the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The sale follows a worldwide campaign against the company’s role in illegal Israeli settlements that cost the firm billions of dollars of lost contracts.
Israel’s high court recently upheld a law making boycotts of Israeli businesses a civil crime. Within weeks, US Congress introduced a trade measure to “discourage politically motivated actions to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel”. Now the Illinois state legislature has voted to withdraw state funds from companies boycotting Israel.
More than 100 roadblocks, checkpoints, and barricaded alleyways restrict and control the movement of Palestinians in Hebron. This military apparatus was specifically engineered to create a matrix of control around the Ibrahimi mosque, linking all of the Jewish settlements from Tel Rumeida to the northwest to the main settlement of Kiryat Arba to the south east— all built and maintained under the political buzzword of “Israeli security”.
Christian Peacemaker Teams Palestine is a faith-based organization that supports Palestinian-led, non-violent, grassroots resistance to the Israeli occupation and the unjust structures that uphold it. CPT’s Palestine team is based in Hebron/Al-Khalil, and provides protective presence in the Hebron area, the South Hebron Hills and Masafer Yatta (Israeli Firing Zone 918).
Six months since donors pledged $3.5 billion towards Gaza’s recovery, many people are worse off and not a single one of the 19,000 destroyed homes has been rebuilt. 100,000 people are still homeless and many are living in makeshift camps or schools.
So says a report by the Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA). AIDA is a forum of over 80 international non-governmental and non-profit organisations working in the occupied Palestinian territory. Forty six organisations have signed the report.
“Charting a new course: Overcoming the stalemate in Gaza” is a 32-page briefing paper published by Oxfam UK on behalf of AIDA.
Only 26.8 percent of money pledged by donors six months ago has been released so far. Even when funded, many reconstruction projects have not yet begun due to restrictions on essential material under the blockade. Most of the 81 health clinics and hospitals that were damaged still lack funds for reconstruction, but the few that have funds do not have the material needed to proceed.
Tony Laurance, CEO of MAP UK, said:
“The world is shutting its eyes and ears to the people of Gaza when they need it most. Reconstruction cannot happen without funds, but money alone will not be enough. With the blockade in place we are just reconstructing a life of misery, poverty and despair.”
The report sets out specific recommendations to the international community to break the cycle of conflict and destruction.
‘Israel’s decision to withhold $130 million a month in revenue collected on behalf of the Palestinians is strangling the economy and leaving the banking system dangerously exposed, the Palestinian central bank governor said on Wednesday.
‘Israel’ stopped the transfer of revenues from tax and customs duties in January in protest at the Palestinians’ move to join the International Criminal Court from April 1, when war crimes charges may be filed against ‘Israel’. Since then, more than $500 million has been withheld from the economy, prompting the Palestinian Authority, which administers the West Bank, to cut most of its employees’ salaries by 40 percent and resort to an emergency budget.
The government is also in danger of not being able to service its outstanding loans, according to the governor of the Palestinian Monetary Authority, the central bank. “We have informed the Palestinian Authority that we have reached the limits permitted to them, or are about to get there, and that banks will not be able to continue to fund it,” Governor Jihad al-Wazir told Reuters.
Source: Palestine News Network 27th March 2015
Bob Herbst, Civil Rights Lawyer writes powerfully in The Huffington Post (24th March 2015)
There is a silver lining in the black cloud of the recent Israeli election. The pretense at the base of Israel’s pious public pronouncements about its desire for peace with the Palestinians has been stripped away. Netanyahu revealed himself as unalterably opposed to the end of the occupation of the West Bank, to the creation of a viable state for the Palestinians, and thus to a lasting peace and just end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) and the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) issued a statement released in honor of World Water Day that underscored the challenges facing Palestinians as a result of the Israeli occupation.
Ma’am News Agency, 24th March 2015.
Experts estimate that more than 85 percent of Palestinian water resources in the West Bank aquifers are currently taken by Israel, accounting for around 25 percent of Israel’s water needs.
Justin Cohen, News Editor for Jewish News reported Philip Hammond’s remarks about Israel on March 18th.
The Foreign Secretary has spoken of international concern over “what looks and feels like a deliberate attempt to sabotage the two-state-solution” by Israel as he said he would seek urgent clarification over Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments ruling out a Palestinian state.
Philip Hammond acknowledged he had been left “exasperated” by moves from both the Israelis and Palestinians over recent years, during an interview with the Jewish News as Israelis voted in a general election on Tuesday afternoon.
His strikingly candid comments – before official results gave Likud a clear victory – underscores the sense of frustration in the international community at the lack of progress on a solution and the pressure a fourth-term Netanyahu administration is likely to come under. (more…)
Today is a very important day for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. As a democratic country, one might expect that all people over 18 would be able to vote. However. although Israel claims the whole of “Greater Israel” and the government make laws affecting this area, some 2.5 million people are not entitled to vote. Only a minority of Palestinians have Israeli citizenship – those in Gaza and the West Bank get no say in the election.
“The Israeli government must be accountable in some way to the voters that it rules. But it sees itself as completely unaccountable to those it rules without the right to vote. Therefore, the government that will come to power as a result of Tuesday’s elections – like all governments since 1967 – is far freer to determine the fate of all the Palestinians living in these lands than it is to determine the future of Israelis with the right to vote. With each election that passes, the government’s abuses of those without the right to vote grow stronger, because the large majority of Israeli voters choose in these democratic elections to let the abuses grow stronger.”
Quote from Haaretz today (17th March 2015)
The European Union has denounced action by the Israeli authorities on 10th March in demolishing shelters in occupied East Jerusalem. Some 200 temporary shelters had been funded by the EU for use by Bedouin communities just outside Bethlehem.
The action was taken by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, which has declared the area a national park. The process of annexing a corridor of land makes the creation of a contiguous Palestinian State impossible.
Read the full story in Middle East Eye
Chris Gunness, director of advocacy and strategic communications for UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, writes movingly in the Guardian about the failure of the world donors to pay the money which was pledged to rebuild Gaza.
He tells the story of Jibril who lost two of his four grandchildren to hypothermia in the storms last month. The family now live in a tiny plastic-covered wooden structure in Beit Hanoun with a blanket for a door.
UNRWA planned a $720 million programme to give rental subsidies to people whose homes were uninhabitable. They hoped to give cash to people so they could repair and rebuild their houses. But the billions pledged did not materialise and the programme was left with a shortfall of nearly $600m.
You can read the full story by clicking here –The Guardian, Saturday 21st February. Photograph by: Belal Hasna
Street artist Banksy has returned to Palestine, this time to create a series of new works in Gaza.
Included in his works is a piece resembling Rodin’s sculpture The Thinker, but with his hands covering his face in despair. An Israeli watchtower turns into a fairground ride with young Palestinian children swinging round it, and a large muriel of a kitten playing with a ball of metal completes the series.
Photo by banksy.co.uk
In a powerful video he recorded, Banksy also leaves a prominent message that says “If we wash our hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless we side with the powerful – we don’t remain neutral.”
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel have launched the publication of “No Safe Place” – the 1st report on the events of Operation Protective Edge, written by eight renowned international medical experts.
The report was written following a request by Physicians for Human Rights–Israel (PHR-IL) in order to determine the scope of destruction in body and spirit. It is the only report written by an independent international body granted a permit from Israeli authorities to enter the Gaza Strip during the war.
The report is based on 68 testimonies from people injured in the Gaza Strip (interviewed in Gaza and in hospitals in the West Bank, Israel, and Jordan), analysis of 370 photos of corpses, interviews with 9 Palestinian medical professionals, and review of dozens of medical files.
The delegation members conducted three visits in the Gaza Strip: one in the course of the fighting and two after it had ceased. The work of the delegation was coordinated by three Palestinian human rights organizations from the Gaza Strip, whose staff accompanied the delegation during their visit. Delegation members also met with three Israeli doctors who participated in providing medical care to soldiers and residents of the South of Israel in the course of the fighting.
Do you know what your local councillors, MP and MEPs think about the Israel/Palestine situation? Do you know the policies of the parties? The General Election on May 7th is an opportunity to ask candidates and parties about their policies on Palestinian human rights. You can write directly to them by clicking on the following link:-
The Balfour Project now has a series of transcripts and talks available from their last conference. These are available at:
“Britain should be more active in helping resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflict” (Held in Oxford on Thursday 30th October 2014)
From December 2–4, 2014, over 250 participants from Palestine and many other countries gathered in Bethlehem to commemorate the 5th anniversary of Sabeel-Kairos Palestine.
Our gathering acknowledged that many aims and goals of the Sabeel-Kairos Palestine document have not been achieved. These five years have brought a great deal of suffering in Palestine, in Israel, and throughout the Middle East. Israel’s oppressive policies and its continued occupation of Palestinian land contribute directly to this suffering. The work of Sabeel-Kairos Palestine and the movement it has inspired is not yet finished.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas signed the Rome statute governing the court and officially joined the ICC on Wednesday 31st December in a dramatic move that will open the way for Palestine to pursue Israel for war crimes if it choses to.
“They attack us and our land every day, to whom are we to complain? The security council let us down – where are we to go?” Abbas told a gathering of Palestinian leaders in remarks broadcast on official television.
“We want to refer to international institutions, and this is one we are referring to, and we’ll complain to these people,” he added, before signing the documents.
In response, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has ordered the withholding of Palestinian tax revenues, used mostly for supporting the Palestinian Authority and paying it’s civil servants. The move was condemned by both Palestinian and US officials, and the UN. The Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also denounced the move to Israeli ambassadors.
The Jordian-tabelled resolution calling for an end to Israeli occupation within 3 years was strategically blocked by the US and Israel who called on Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan to abstain from the crucial security council vote.
Sabeel-Kairos is the operating name of Friends of Sabeel UK (FOSUK) Ltd, Charity number 1116817, Company Number 5595112