In This Issue
Kairos Easter Alert 2018
5 Killed and 300+ Wounded on Land Day
Ahed Tamimi is Sentenced
Learning Tours to Palestine
Kairos Easter Alert 2018
Kairos Palestine, a Palestinian Christian movement advocating for the end to the Israeli occupation and a just solution to the conflict, has recently issued its Easter Alert for 2018. A guiding textbook for Easter to Pentecost, Kairos Easter Alert 2018 offers theological and political reflection including Donald Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem and its effects, the injustices toward Palestinian children and Easter hope. To read Kairos Easter Alert 2018, click here.
During these difficult times for Palestinians and their allies who work to end the occupation, MennoPIN wishes you a joyous and hope-filled Easter.
5 Killed and 300+ Wounded in Gaza Land Day Protest
Since 1976 Palestinians have claimed Land Day at the end of March to voice their legal rights to reclaim land stolen from them in the 1948 Nakba (“the catastrophe”). This year Land Day is March 30 and the peaceful gathering will continue until May 14, Nakba Day. On March 30 thousands of Palestinians gathered nonviolently at the border of Gaza and Israel to protest. Heavily-armed Israeli forces responded by killing 5 Palestinians and wounding over 300 others. The fear is that hundreds more will be killed and thousands more wounded during the two weeks leading up to Nakba Day. Pray for peace as Palestinians nonviolently risk their lives in seeking justice.
Ahed Tamimi Sentenced to 8 Months in Plea Bargain
Ahed Tamimi, the teenage Palestinian girl who became an international symbol of Palestinian resistance, accepted a plea deal in which she will serve eight months in an Israeli military prison and pay a fine of 5,000 shekels (about 1,400 USD).
Her crime was slapping an Israeli soldier in her West Bank home town of Nabi Saleh after Israeli forces shot her cousin in the face with a rubber bullet. She was initially charged with twelve crimes that, if convicted, would have sent her to prison for many years. The plea bargain agreement reduced the charges to four, including assault and incitement. As she left her sentencing at Ofer military prison near Ramallah, Ahed shouted to reporters: “There is no justice under occupation!”
While Ahed’s trial and imprisonment has gained considerable global attention, hundreds of other Palestinian children have suffered similar fates. Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of the Middle East division of Human Rights Watch responded to Ahed’s sentencing by saying, “Plea bargains are the norm in Israel’s military justice system, which is characterized by prolonged pretrial detention, abuse of kids and sham trials. Hundreds of Palestinian children remain locked up with little attention to their cases.” If Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett had his way, Ahed would have been in prison the rest of her life. After viewing the video of Ahed slapping the soldier Bennett said that Ahed and her cousin deserved to “finish their lives in prison.”
During Ahed’s trial and sentencing, another Israeli court reduced the already short sentence of an Israeli soldier, who was filmed executing a prone Palestinian man in cold blood, to just nine months, only one month more than Ahed’s sentence. Ahed, who was credited with time-served, should be home in July 2018.
Learning Tours to Palestine
One of the best ways to understand the people of Palestine and their struggle for justice is to go there yourself. With knowledgeable leadership and guidance, you can see both Holy Land sites and meet and talk with Palestinians and Israelis who oppose the occupation and are working for justice for the Palestinian people. MennoPIN recommends the following conference and five tours taking place in the upcoming months. Go to Palestine and expand your knowledge of the Palestine-Israeli conflict and hear from those working on the ground for justice and peace in the Holy Land.
Christian Peacemaker Teams’ Nakba Day Delegation to Palestine. April 30-May 14. Deadline is April 8. Be part of this Christian Peacemaker Teams’ trip to Palestine to observe Nakba Day 2018, seventy years after Zionist forces drove out Palestinian inhabitants from their homes. CPT delegate members will gain perspective on how ongoing issues affect daily life and will experience the power of Palestinian and Israeli citizens overcoming major obstacles. Delegates will meet with Palestinian human rights representatives and peace workers and visit families whose homes and livelihoods are threatened by expanding Israeli settlements. For more information, click here.
Christ at the Checkpoint. May 28-June 1, 2018. Held at Bethlehem Bible College in Bethlehem, Palestine and led by a diversity of speakers. Christ at the Checkpoint conference provides a platform for different opinions to be shared, and this year’s speakers will bring diverse perspectives on how to keep Jesus at the center of our lives as it pertains to every aspect of life. The conference seeks to form people by the love of God, teachings of the Bible and a fearless life of discipleship amidst the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To find out more about Christ at the Checkpoint conference, click here.
“Come and See” Trip to Israel/Palestine. June 17-30, 2018. Leaders Kathy Bergen, Joy Lapp and Arnie Voigt. A deeply engaging alternative tour to the Holy Land. See the holy places – Jewish, Christian, and Muslim; Meet with Palestinian and Jewish activists and human rights groups; Learn about the impact of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian life and consider what is needed for a just peace. Beginning and ending in Jerusalem, the trip also includes time in Bethlehem, visiting a Bedouin village in the Negev, touring the site of a Palestinian village destroyed in 1948, traveling to Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee, meeting with the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron, visiting a refugee camp, and much more. For more information, click here or contact Joy Lapp: email@example.com; 720-201-3697.
“Come and See” Solidarity Tour of Palestine and Israel. September 2-15, 2018. Led by L. Michael Spath and Doug Thorpe. This tour will take you to Bethlehem (Nativity Church, Shepherds’ Fields and the Tent of Nations); Jerusalem (Holy Sepulchre, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Al Aqsa Mosque, Melkite Catholic Cathedral and more); Judean Desert (Jordan River, site of John’s baptisms, Qumran and the Dead Sea); Galilee (Capernaum, Tabgha, the Sea of Galilee, Magdala, Nazareth and the Mount of the Beatitudes); Ramallah (Muqata and Nelson Mandela Square) and Hebron (Old City and Tomb of the Patriarchs). For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sabeel Fall Witness Visit. October 30 – November 7, 2018. Led by Naim Ateek, co-founder of Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, East Jerusalem, Palestine. Worship with Palestinian Christians. Meet and reflect with Palestinian Christians and Muslims as well as Jewish Israelis and internationals who partner with Sabeel in nonviolent resistance against the violation of international and humanitarian law. Experience the realities of the Palestinian community living under Israeli Occupation: the Wall, settlements, check points, confiscated land and demolished homes, refugee camps and environmental degradation. Learn about the loss of civil and property rights of Arab Israeli citizens. For more information and to register, go here.
A Peacemaker’s Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. January 16-27, 2019. Led by Richard Blackburn, Executive Director of Lombard Mennonite Peace Center, the three-center pilgrimage will include Jerusalem (Mount of Olives, Mount Zion, the Old City, Yad Vashem, Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center); Bethlehem (Church of the Nativity, Shepherd’s Fields, Christian Peacemaker Teams in Hebron, Diyar Consortium, Wi’am Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center) and Galilee (Nazareth, Cana, Church of the Beatitudes and a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee). The Pilgrimage will also include visits to various peacemaking ministries led by Palestinian Christians working for peace. Teaching sessions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, biblical peacemaking and conflict transformation are central parts of the tour as well. For more information on the tour and how to register, click here.
Join Other MC USA Churches and Become HP-Free
MennoPIN encourages you to join Eugene Mennonite Church, Eugene, OR and Peace Mennonite Fellowship, Claremont, CA and become HP-Free. Reach out to your pastor, church council and congregation to sign the HP-Free Church pledge, committing to not purchase Hewlett Packard computers, printers, inks, and other products until HP stops profiting from occupation and human rights violations. For more on the HP-Free Church Campaign go here.
Christians who follow the Gregorian calendar will celebrate Easter this Sunday, marking the events of Christ’s crucifixion, death, and resurrection. There will be much rejoicing and excitement in Jerusalem and in the surrounding areas. There will be many processions through the Old City and up on the Mount of Olives, to remind us of the paths Jesus walked on these holy days. Lord God, we are filled with hope at the announcement of your Son’s resurrection at Easter. The celebrations of this day remind us that the victory has already been won, and that in the end good will triumph over evil. However, for Palestinians living here, it can be hard to see the light of the resurrection when every day they are surrounded by the darkness of the grave. Grant them fresh hope in their hearts and the strength to persevere in how they live for Your glory. Lord, in your mercy… Sabeel Wave of Prayer, March 29, 2018