In the midst of increased violence in Israel-Palestine, encourage your congregation to continue to pray fervently for justice and peace. Here are some resources to use:
More on the Current Violence
- Hebron, a city in the southern part of the West Bank where Christian Peacemaker Teams works, has been the site of much of the violence this past month, with 10 Palestinians killed. CPT’s “Occupation Captured” provides compelling photos documenting life under occupation in Hebron.
- Mennonite Central Committee and other Christian agencies working in Israel-Palestine issued a statement calling “on the international community to address the root causes of the conflict by redoubling its efforts to safeguard international humanitarian law and human rights.”
If you have not yet responded to our request to let us know your city/state/zip, congregation, and area conference, please do so by sending us an email with that information. This will help us to facilitate connections between MennoPIN members locally and also to organize better as we look ahead to the next Mennonite Church USA convention.
Fall MCC Palestine Update
Many of you have visited Israel-Palestine on learning tours hosted by Mennonite Central Committee. Here are a few highlights from their fall update:
- Over one year after the end of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, the situation in Gaza remains dire. A recent UN report warns that Gaza could become “unliveable” by 2020 without immediate and radical action, including the lifting of the blockade.
- The village of Susiya, which lies between an Israeli settlement and archeological site, was slated for demolition and bulldozers had arrived on the scene in early August. With outcry from the international community, the bulldozers have left for now and it seems the Israeli authorities are seeking to negotiate with the village. Unfortunately, while international attention was turned to Susiya, demolitions were carried out in many other communities in Israeli-controlled Area C.
A recent video was released under the hashtag #BlackPalestinianSolidarity that features more than 60 Black and Palestinian artists, writers, and activists highlighting the shared experiences of racism and oppression that both communities are confronting, holding up signs such as “Gaza Stands With Ferguson” and “When I see them, I see us.” Angela Davis explained:
“Mutual expressions of solidarity have helped to generate a vigorous political kinship linking black organizers, scholars, cultural workers and political prisoners in the U.S. with Palestinian activists, academics, political prisoners, and artists…That the Palestinian people have refused to surrender after almost seven decades of continuous struggle against Israeli settler colonialism is a great encouragement to black people in the U.S. to accelerate our ongoing struggles against racist state violence. These powerful images represent a journey from struggle against tyranny to a collective hope for a just future.”
This expression of solidarity reminds us that our work for justice in Palestine-Israel must also include work for justice at home, actively dismantling structures of oppression such as racism and poverty as well as militarism.
Announcement from Mennonite Church USA: Israel/Palestine Learning Experience, March 2016
Interesting in deeper understanding of the conflict in Israel and Palestine? In meeting with Palestinian pastors and church leaders? In visiting important sites in the Biblical story?
Consider participating in a “Come and See” mini-tour in conjunction with the Christ at the Checkpoint conference (March 3-6, 2016). The tour will involve three days of immersion in the realities of occupation in the West Bank. The conference that follows (March 7-10) is hosted by Bethlehem Bible College and will create space for Palestinian and American evangelicals to enter into honest conversation about the realities faced by the Palestinian church and the challenges of working for justice in the spirit of Jesus in this context.
After the conference you can choose to participate in a three day Holy Land tour and visit sites in the Biblical story in Bethlehem, Galilee and Jerusalem. The “Come and See” tour and conference will cost roughly $1000 plus airfare and the Holy Land Tour will be an additional $395 or $515 depending on lodging choices. Mennonite Church USA pastors and leaders who participate in the first tour and conference can apply for a $1000 scholarship.
Jonathan Brenneman (Lima Mennonite Church, Lima, OH)
Tom Harder (Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church, Wichita, KS)
Joy Lapp (Pleasant View Mennonite Church, Mt Pleasant, IA)
George Muedeking (Albuquerque Mennonite Church, Albuquerque, NM)
Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach (Peace Fellowship Church, Washington, DC)
Timothy Seidel (Community Mennonite Church, Lancaster, PA)