June 2019 Monthly Update

In This Issue
MennoPIN Launches “End the Gaza Siege” Campaign
Challenging Christian Zionism in Washington, DC
The Farce Known as Trump Heights
Support Palestinian Children’s Rights Now
Palestinian Voices
Go to Palestine: Tours
Read More
Prayer

MennoPIN Launches “End the Gaza Siege” Campaign


A father bathing his daughters in Gaza City (Credit: Wissam Nassar)
The current siege of Gaza has created severe restrictions on the availability of food, water, medical care, commerce and industry. A year after the March of Return, which resulted in hundreds of Palestinian deaths and tens of thousands of injuries, many peacemakers are feeling frustration and failure at our inability to focus attention on the condition of the people of Gaza. In response, MennoPIN is launching a new campaign among Mennonites to “End the Gaza Siege.”

The campaign will be launched at MennoCon19, the Mennonite USA convention in Kansas City, Missouri, July 2-6, 2019. The first step in the campaign is called the “Mennonite Twinning Initiative with Gaza.” This initiative will match Mennonite congregations with churches, mosques, hospitals, clinics and schools.

Please give prayerful consideration to your congregation becoming a “twinning” congregation with Gaza! To find out more about the initiative, the Gaza scandal, and guidelines for ethical relationships, visit the MennoPIN website and click on End the Gaza Siege tab at the top of the front page. Interested congregations can also send an email to mennopin@gmail.com with the Subject line “Twinning Initiative.”

Further steps in the “End the Gaza Siege” campaign will be forthcoming.

Challenging Christian Zionism in Washington, DC
One of the most powerful lobby groups for Israel in the United States is Christians United for Israel (CUFI), an avowedly Christian Zionist organization. Claiming 6,000,000 adherents, CUFI has become the largest organization in the U.S. driving support for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people. CUFI uses its leverage to ensure ongoing support for Israel’s colonization and military occupation of Palestine, including land seizures, imprisonment of children, peaceful protest massacres and much more. By its own admission, CUFI “led the charge to have the U.S. recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”

On July 7-8, 2019, CUFI is holding a conference at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. Speakers will include Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. On the final day, attendees will flood the halls of Congress, arguing for undying support of Israel and its oppression of the people of Palestine.

But they won’t be the only Christian voice in Washington, DC those days, and their message will be radically different. Led by the Christian organization, Friends of Sabeel North America, three other groups joined in solidarity to help sponsor the action: Jewish Voices for Peace; American Muslims for Palestine; and the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights. MennoPIN is among several organizations supporting the event.

On July 6-8, 2019, more than 150 Christians from across the country, including two people from the MennoPIN Steering Committee, will converge for the action entitled, “Rise Against Racism: Countering CUFI.” Through worship, panel discussions and engaging CUFI participants, another Christian voice relating to Israel/Palestine will be heard, one crying for justice, peace and freedom for the people of Palestine. To find out more about the action or how you can participate, click here.

The Farce Known as Trump Heights


Benjamin Netanyahu establishing Trump Heights in the Golan Heights (Credit: Jalaa Marey/AFP)

On a visit to Washington, DC earlier this spring, Benjamin Netanyahu gleefully rejoiced when President Donald Trump proclaimed U.S. recognition of the Golan Heights as part of Israeli territory. Trump’s support for the annexation of the territory in southwestern Syria, captured during Israel’s 1967 Six-Day-War, arguably helped Netanyahu during his election campaign.

Netanyahu returned the favor by naming a settlement-to-be after the president with great fanfare: Trump Heights. Critics have denounced the political stunt as an “obscene celebration.” Claiming the announcement as a “historic day,” Netanyahu later hinted that he might also annex the West Bank.

Historian and Middle East expert, Juan Cole, summed up the farce in his blog: “There isn’t any settlement there yet, just a sign, just as there isn’t any reality to Trump more generally, just an empty suit. Given that Trump is a narcissistic fraud, it is appropriate that his name be attached to the illegal Israeli theft of Syrian territory…Trump Heights is such a great name for a colony built on theft, since Trump’s whole life has been about being wealthy and powerful enough to escape the consequences of his crimes.”

Support Palestinian Children’s Rights Now
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) urges us to get busy and support Representative Betty McCollum (D-Minn) and her revised bill seeking to prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to support the military detention in any country, including Israel. The bill, labeled H.R. 2407, seeks to stop the systematic mistreatment and abuse of children, including torture, blindfolding and lack of access to legal counsel. MCC asks all of us to encourage our representatives to sign on as a co-sponsor.

Palestinian Voices


Rainwater harvesting pool in Jericho being filled with dirt by the Israeli military, 2015 (Credit: Al-Haq)

Kumi Now, an initiative of Sabeel Jerusalem, is an inclusive call for nonviolent action to achieve a just peace in Palestine. One chapter in their book involves Israel’s exploitation of natural resources in occupied Palestinian territory. The West Bank is rich in natural resources. A prominent part of Israel’s occupation is the control of water supplies, with abundant water given for the illegal Israeli settlements, but water deprivation for Palestinian communities. In fact, around 600,000 Israeli settlers consume six times as much water as the entire population of about 2.8 million in the West Bank.

Na’imah Mohammed Dabak lives in the West Bank village of Al-’Aqaba. His story is like many    Palestinian stories.

There is a water shortage in the village…The Israeli occupying authorities and the Israeli Water Company [Mekorot] have refused to install water pipelines…to supply the village with water…The trucks transport water to the village. The water is very expensive…This situation causes me great suffering and financial burden…I do my best not to waste a single drop of water. For example, I collect and use bathwater for irrigation…In light of the harsh economic conditions we experience in the village of Al-’Aqaba, I cannot afford the high price on a regular basis. Our income is too low. I store purchased water in a well near my home. We pump it to tanks on the roof using an electric pump, incurring further costs.

This discriminatory and inequitable allocation of water resources between Palestinians and Israelis has been described as “Water Apartheid.”

Go to Palestine: Tours

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.

Read More

Kumi Now. https://kuminow.com/
A Palestinian Theology of Liberation, Naim Ateek, Orbis Books, 2017
Why Palestine Matters http://new.israelpalestinemissionnetwork.org/70-study-resources-/publications/363-why-palestine-matters
No Way to Treat a Child Campaign http://nwttac.dci-palestine.org/palestinian_child_detention_bill
Mondeweiss https://mondoweiss.net/
The Electronic Intifada https://electronicintifada.net/
HP-Free Church Campaign https://www.fosna.org/free-your-church-hp

Prayer

The Friends of Sabeel North America, (FOSNA), are taking part in a joint action to counter Christian Zionism in Washington DC on the 7th and 8th of July. They aim to bring to light the influence of Christians United for Israel, (CUFI). This group has a membership of over 6 million in the US and it is the largest organization driving support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. Recently CUFI lobbied the US government to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, for unconstitutional anti-BDS legislation and promotes illegal settlement expansion. · Dear Lord, we pray for the work of FOSNA and for their deep concern for their brothers and sisters in Israel/Palestine. We pray for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.  Sabeel Wave or Prayer


Mennonite Palestine-Israel Network
mennopin@gmail.com | mennopin.org | facebook.com/mennopin | twitter.com/mennopin

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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