MennoPIN Update: December 2018
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December 2018 Monthly Update

In This Issue
A Christmas Message from Gaza
Another Teacher Fired for Supporting BDS
Is Google Maps Erasing Palestine?
Pitzer College Faculty Vote to Suspend Israel Program
World YWCA Stands in Solidarity with Palestine
Kumi Now!
Read More

A Christmas Message from Gaza
Christmas in Gaza (Credit: MEE/Mohammed Asad)

Writing from Gaza City, a woman makes a Christmas plea: “Please keep us in your prayers and we do appreciate your continued support to end the occupation – in order to end our captivity and agony – and to enable the Palestinians to achieve a Just Peace and self-determination, as we have been created in the image of God as well, and are struggling for our being and existence in our homeland. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth Peace, Good Will to All People.”

MennoPIN wishes you a blessed Christmas as, together with you, we continue seeking justice and peace in Palestine/Israel!

Another Teacher Fired for Supporting BDS

Bahia Amawi (Credit: Democracy Now)

Remember Esther Koontz, the Kansas Mennonite teacher who last year was denied state employment for not pledging to support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement? Koontz, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) won her case, and now ACLU is helping another teacher from Texas who was fired from her teaching position after declining to sign a pledge that she “will not boycott Israel during the term of the contract” and that she will not take action “intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or limit commercial relations with Israel.”

Bahia Amawi is an Arabic-speaking child language speech pathologist who has worked for the Pflugerville Independent School District in Austin, TX for nine years. When she was about to sign her new teaching contract, she noticed the inclusion of the pro-Israel oath and indicated that she could not sign the pledge. As a result, she lost her job. Amawi stated: “I have to set an example for my kids. We’ve got to stand up for justice and for rights and equal opportunity for everybody and for humane conditions…I have been in the States for over 30 years. I’m an American citizen.”

Texas is one of twenty-six states that have enacted laws preventing state agencies from contracting with individuals or companies who support and participate in the BDS movement, an international campaign started by Palestinians to put pressure on Israel to comply with international law and to respect the rights of people in Palestine.

Is Google Maps Erasing Palestine?

Where is Palestine?

Go ahead and try it. Ask Google Maps to give you directions by car from Hebron to Jerusalem. No routes are given, just highlighting where Hebron and Jerusalem are. Then ask for directions from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv and you will be given several possible routes, all highlighted clearly. On other designated routes, the roads given can be driven only by people with Israeli ID or foreign passports, not by Palestinians. Google Maps essentially ignores Israel’s segregated road system.

Now, back Google Maps out until you can see the countries named: Israel, Jordan, Syria, Egypt. The word “Palestine” is nowhere to be seen. For Google Maps, Palestine doesn’t exist. Never mind that in 2012, 138 of the 193-member states of the United Nations recognized the existence of the State of Palestine. Google Maps clearly disagrees.

Now, notice the designated capital of Israel on Google Maps—Jerusalem.

Google claims to be a company committed to human rights, but its mapping system advances the interests of the Israeli government and disregards those of Palestinians. Intentional or not, Google has erased Palestine from its maps.

Pitzer College Faculty Votes to Suspend Israel Program

The faculty of Pitzer College in Claremont, CA has voted to suspend their study abroad program with Israel. Daniel Segal, the anthropology and history professor who initiated the motion, raised the issue because Israel violates student rights with a 2017 law denying entry to students who support BDS. The motion calls for resumption of the program once Israel ends it restrictions based on “ancestry and/or political speech” and begins to grant visas for exchange to Palestinian universities “on a full and equal basis” to how they grant such visas for Israeli students. The measure, apparently the first of its kind at a university in the United States, will be voted on next semester by students and faculty.

If the new vote passes, hurdles still remain. The college’s president, Melvin Oliver, strongly condemned the initial vote. Whatever the end product, this is another important step forward in the growing U.S. movement in support of justice for Palestine.

World YWCA Stands in Solidarity with Palestine

On November 29, 2018, the annual international Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the global body of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), issued a statement in support of the people of Palestine. The statement reads, in part:

“As a global women’s rights organization that works to promote human rights for all, the World YWCA stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people…we support Palestine’s right to self determination as guaranteed in UN Resolutions 242 and 383. In addition, we affirm the role of women in peace building and conflict resolution at all levels.”

You can read the entire statement here.

Join a CPT Delegation to Palestine/Israel

Christian Peacemaker Teams has had a continuous presence in the West Bank since 1995. In 2019, you will have five opportunities to participate in one of CPT’s two-week long delegations. You will meet Palestinian and Israeli human rights peace workers in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, visit Palestinian families whose homes and livelihoods are threatened by expanding Israeli settlements, and travel to Al Khalil (Hebron) and At-Tuwani (Southern Hebron Hills) and experience first-hand PT’s work alongside Israeli and Palestinian partners. You will also challenge the structural violence of the Occupation through nonviolent public witness.

Find out more about delegation dates, costs and how to sign up, click here.

For other 2019 learning tour possibilities to Palestine/Israel, please visit the MennoPIN website here.

Kumi Now

The Sabeel Theological Education Center in East Jerusalem has created a bold new initiative to challenge the Israeli occupation of Palestine. In the face of overwhelming oppression and ineffective support from the international community, Sabeel “feels that giving up as a people on the margins is not an option.” Kumi Now (Rise Up) has just been launched and is inviting individuals, congregations, and local and international organizations to join the Kumi Now project to work as a united force for justice for Palestine.

Kumi Now is based on Mark 5:21-43 about two healing miracles, Jairus’ daughter and the woman with a hemorrhage. To Jairus’ daughter, Jesus says, Talitha Kumi, rise up! Just as the two were liberated from their suffering, so, too, says Sabeel, “We hear Jesus’ command to rise up in our own context…we say now is the time for action. This is why we are launching the Kumi Now initiative—a call to collectively rise up and act for liberation.”

MennoPIN is one of the Kumi Now partners and we encourage you and your congregation to become involved, too! To find out more about Kumi Now and how you can take action against the occupying forces, click here. To read their engaging Mark 5:21-43 Bible study, click here.

Read More
+972 Magazine
The Electronic Intifada
A Palestinian Theology of Liberation, Naim Ateek, Orbis Books, 2017
Why Palestine Matters
No Way to Treat a Child Campaign
HP-Free Church Campaign

PrayerDuring a period of several weeks from November 4th to the 27th, Christian Peacemaker Teams documented the escalation in violence conducted by the Israeli military against Palestinian schools and pupils in a portion of the H2 area in Al-Khalil/Hebron. This has included the firing of tear gas and sound grenades directly targeting Palestinian children, school compounds and civilians. “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ’Behold, thee virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, (which means, God with us).’” Lord Jesus, we are thankful for the Christian Peacemaker Teams and their work to monitor abuse, particularly the abuse of young children. We pray that they will be strengthened by your presence. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers. Sabeel Wave of Prayer

Mennonite Palestine-Israel Network | | | 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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