MennoPIN Update: July 2018
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July 2018 Monthly Update

In This Issue
Ahed Tamimi Released from Prison
Israel Officially Becomes an Apartheid State
West Bank Palestinian Universities Under Attack
Gaza in the Limelight
MennoPIN is Helping MC USA Implement the Orlando Resolution
Presbyterian Church USA and Episcopal Church Vote to Support Palestine
Ocasio-Cortez Campaign Highlights Support of Gaza
Go HP-Free
Read More

Ahed Tamimi with her father, Bassem, and mother, Nariman, who also left prison on Sunday, in Nabi Saleh in the West Bank. (Photo Credit: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters)

Ahed Tamimi Released from Prison
On Sunday, July 29, 2018, Ahed Tamimi arrived home to a hero’s welcome in Nabi Saleh, West Bank. Along with her mother, Nariman, the 17-year-old Ahed was released after serving a full sentence for what an Israeli military court called “assault and incitement” charges after she slapped an Israeli soldier following the shooting of her cousin in the face by another Israeli military gunman.

Upon her exit from prison, Ahed defiantly shouted to those surrounding her: “I say resistance is continuing until the occupation is removed. All female prisoners in jail are strong and I thank everyone who stood by me while I was in prison and who stood by all women in prison.” She continued later in a more solemn tone, saying that she “knew a long time ago” I would be arrested for “choosing this path…Life in prison was very difficult. Anyone who chooses this path should prepare themselves to spend time in prison.”

Saleh Nigazi, Amnesty International’s Jerusalem chief, said in a statement. “Ahed Tamimi has been released, but only after serving an unjust sentence based on the ridiculous premise that she posed a threat to armed and heavily protected soldiers…a blatant attempt by Israeli authorities to intimidate those who dare to challenge the ongoing brutal repression by occupying forces…Ahed Tamimi’s release must not obscure the familiar and continuing story of Israel military using discriminatory policies to lock up Palestinian children.”

After the Knesset passed the Nation-State bill, Arab lawmakers tear up the bill in protest (Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi)

Israel Officially Becomes an Apartheid State
On July 19, 2018 Israel shed any pretense of being a democracy when the Israeli Knesset voted by a slim margin, 62-55, to make Israel the nation-state of the Jewish people that gives Jewish citizens the sole right to self-determination. The new law, among other things:

  • “authorizes a community composed of people having the same faith and nationality to maintain the exclusive character of that community”
  • “sees developing Jewish communities as a national value and will act to encourage, promote and establish them”
  • “would also permit Jewish religious law to be implemented in certain cases and remove Arabic as an official language”

In addition to the fervent objection of Arab-Israeli lawmakers, many Jewish members of the Knesset vehemently opposed passage of the law. Tamar Zandberg forcefully protested that “the basic law that advanced today is not a basic law on nationality but a basic law of racism. This is a law that was born in sin and advanced through arm-twisting among the extremist and nationalist elements in the coalition.” Another Knesset member, Dov Khenin, charged that the bill is “a model of undisguised racism, suited only to corrupt rulers who have lost all shame.”

Nearly 20% of Israel’s population are Palestinian and hold Israeli citizenship. The enacted law, which some have called “an Israeli Jim Crow” law, completely disenfranchises these Palestinians. The initiator and sponsor of the bill, Avi Dichter, left no doubt that Israel has become an apartheid state when, after the bill passed, he proudly stated: “We are passing this bill to make sure that no one has any doubt, or even any thoughts, about Israel being a state for all its citizens.”

An irony to this bill is that the majority of the global Jewish population do not live in Israel and never will. And they are not happy with Knesset’s new law. Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, indicated that there is much more unanimity than usual in the American Jewish community in opposition to this bill. Stay tuned to the MennoPIN Monthly Update for further developments.

West Bank Palestinian Universities Under Attack
Samia Khoury, one of the founders of Sabeel, writes: “As if the nationality law passed recently was not enough, now all the universities are facing this problem.” She was referring to an article in Haaretz entitled, “Destroying Palestinian Universities.”

The quality of education at West Bank academic institutions is being undermined by new Israeli rules on professors. Both foreign lecturers and researchers, as well as Palestinians who studied or taught abroad, are being expelled through bureaucratic maneuvers. More than half of foreign lecturers at these universities, many of whom have taught in Palestinian universities for many years, are having their requests for residency visa extensions denied because they have been “living in the area for more than five years.” A significant number of the lecturers being expelled are Palestinians who studied in the United States and Europe, some of whom were born in occupied territories and studied abroad. Other lecturers from the United States and Europe are being told they need to pack up their bags and go home. Because the presence of international researchers for lengthy periods of time is a criterion for ranking institutions of higher learning, West Bank Palestinian universities and their student population will suffer the consequences of more Israeli oppression.

Gaza in the Limelight
To get an excellent current overview of the situation in Gaza, read the July 2018 issue of This Week in Palestine. The issue highlights not only the overwhelmingly difficult challenges facing Gaza, but also vividly portrays the impressive resilience and determination of Gazans.

MennoPIN is Helping MC USA Implement the Orlando Resolution
In July 2017, the Mennonite Church USA passed the Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine Resolution. During this past year, MennoPIN has been actively helping with the implementation of the resolution by:

  • partnering with Palestinian and Israeli Peacemakers by supporting regional groups and conference Task Forces working locally
  • understanding the realities of the occupation by offering the Kairo Palestine Study Guide  and listing learning tours to the Holy Land
  • engaging Christian Zionism through gathering resources on the topic to be shared
  • advocating with the United States government through participation in MC USA delegations to the U.S. Capitol
  • avoiding economic support for the occupation while investing in peace and justice, supporting four MC USA congregations (so far) joining the HP-Free Churches campaign, participating in a consultation with Everence reviewing their human rights screen and developing a product boycott campaign
  • strengthening relationships with Muslim and Palestinian-American communities by offering scholarships for college students to attend the American Muslims for Palestine’s Palestine Advocacy Day in Washington, DC with four students from Goshen College attending
  • examining the legacy of antisemitism with members of the MennoPIN Steering Committee attending the Mennonites and the Holocaust conference
  • building relationships with Jewish communities by partnering with Jewish groups and individuals in the United States pursuing the call to social justice and peacemaking, and applauding MC USA creating the Mennonite Jewish Working Group’s pursuit of this much-needed work.

Presbyterian Church USA and Episcopal Church Vote for Support of Palestine
Both Presbyterian Church USA and the Episcopal Church passed a series of resolutions asserting the right of Palestinians for self-determination, opposing anti-BDS legislation and the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, condemning Israel’s violence against Gaza protestors and more. MennoPIN is grateful for these measures taken.

Ocasio-Cortez Campaign Highlights Support of Gaza
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stunned the political world when she defeated long-time congressman, Joe Crowley, in the Queens New York Democratic primary. Even more startling was her open condemnation of Israeli violence against Gazans during her campaign. Referring to the killing of 130 Gazans by Israeli forces, Ocasio-Cortez said: “No state or entity is absolved of mass shootings of protestors. There is no justification…The idea that we are not supposed to talk about people dying when they are engaging in political expression just really moved me.”

Support Palestinian Human Rights and Go HP-Free
Reach out to your pastor, church council and congregation to encourage your church to sign the HP Free Church pledge, committing to not buy HP 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.

Read More
This Week in Palestine
Why Palestine Matters
The Palestinian Portal Resource
HP-Free Church Campaign

Israel has endorsed the Nation-State Law that serves to define the nature of the state of Israel, disregarding human rights and democratic values. There are now more than sixty-five Israeli statutes which discriminate against the Palestinian citizens. Lord, we continue to pray for justice and freedom for all people in our troubled land. Help us to remember that when those who suffer injustice cry out to you, yours eyes are towards them and you ear hears them. You promise to be near the broken-hearted and you saved the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:13-16). Lord in your mercy…Sabeel Wave of Prayer 

Mennonite Palestine-Israel Network | | |

Steering Committee:
Tom Harder (Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church, Wichita, KS)
Joy Lapp (Pleasant View Mennonite Church, Mt Pleasant, IA)
Jonathan Kuttab (Palestinian lawyer and human rights activist)
Anita Rediger (Emmaus Road Mennonite Fellowship, Berne, IN)
Joe Roos (Peace Mennonite Fellowship, Claremont, CA)
Rod Stafford (Portland Mennonite Church, OR)

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