January 2019 Monthly Update

In This Issue
Gaza – 10 Years After the First Israeli War
MennoPIN Helps Push for S1 Defeat
Go to Palestine: Tours and Internships
Lenten Palestine Bible Study Resource
Kumi Now!
Read More
Prayer


Palestinian Women in Jebaliya, Gaza, in January 2009 following the Israeli Attack (Credit: Hatem Moussa/AP)
Gaza – 10 Years After the First Israeli War
Beginning on December 27, 2008 and lasting 22 days, Israel broke a fragile cease-fire and bombarded Gaza. The military assault was called Operation Cast Lead. Thirteen Israelis died, but the toll for Gaza was 1,417 deaths, including 313 children and more than 5,500 wounded. Hamas also fired rockets on Israeli locations, but Israel’s brutal and devastating attack was completely out of proportion. At the time, Israeli generals euphemistically referred to the recurring bombings as “mowing the lawn.”

Since then, Israel has waged war on Gaza in 2012, 2014 and 2018. The Great March of Return, the nonviolent protests staged by Gaza citizens and begun on March 31, 2018 is now in its 44th week. Hundreds have been killed and thousands wounded, including last Friday, January 25 when on young Palestinian and 22 others were wounded, 14 of whom were children.

Continue to pray for Gaza.

MennoPIN Helps Push for S1 Defeat
As the vote on Senate Bill S1 approached, MennoPIN joined 15 other denominational Palestine support groups in a letter to all 100 Senators, pleading for the defeat of the measure. Officially entitled, “Strengthening America’ Security in the Middle East Act of 2019,” one section of S1 is called, “Combatting BDS Act of 2019.” This anti-BDS section would allow U.S. states and localities to retaliate against companies or individuals supporting the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, a nonviolent effort, begun by Palestinians, to place international pressure on Israel to end the occupation and establish justice for all Palestinians.

The letter sent to Senators is entitled, “U.S. Faith Organizations Protect their Right to Boycott,” and reads in part: “We are members of faith communities in the United States whose congregations and denominations have adopted resolutions to boycott products made in Israeli settlements—built on occupied Palestinian lands in violation of international law and longstanding official U.S. policy…We are alarmed by attempts to pass legislation in the U.S. Congress that would provide legal protection for states that are penalizing participation in nonviolent, grassroots Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights…The anti-BDS legislation penalizes actions taken by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the United Methodist Church, the Mennonite Church USA…and other denominations.” Read the entire letter here.

According to Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach, Director of the Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office: “While there is more debate scheduled [January 30] on S. 1, there will not be votes until [January 31] (Thursday).”

If you have not called your Senator to express your opposition to S1, please do so right away!

Go to Palestine: Tours and Internships
MennoPIN strongly encourages trips to Palestine to see upfront the struggle Palestinians endure on a daily basis. Established justice tours usually last about two weeks and offer both visits to Holy Land sites as well as experiences with Palestinians and those who actively work for justice and freedom for the people of Palestine. Or you may want to plan a do-it-yourself tour. To find out more about tours, visit the MennoPIN website and click on the Tours to Palestine tab.

Another way to experience Palestine and contribute to justice in the region is to intern with a reputable organization doing work in Palestine. Two such groups, offering three-month internships, are Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) and Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine/Israel (EAPPI):

CPT – CPT Palestine, with a long history of solidarity with Palestinians and documenting human right abuses in Palestine, has an urgent need for reservists and interns. For more information, contact Mona el-Zuhairi at monazuhairi@cpt.org.

EAPPI – EAPPI-US provides protective presence to vulnerable communities in Palestine and monitors human rights abuses. For further information, see their website here.

Lenten Palestine Bible Study Resource
For an excellent Lenten resource for your church, study group or home, click 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

Prayer
The ‘Great March of Return’ continued for the 44th consecutive Friday since March last year. A young Palestinian, Ihab Atallah Hussein Abed, was fatally wounded and 22 others, including 14 children, were wounded by live fire from the Israelis military. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers. Sabeel Wave of Prayer

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