April 2019 MennoPIN Monthly Update

April 2019 Monthly Update

In This Issue
MennoPIN Live Interview on April 30 on Christian Zionism
“My Name is Palestine” – A New Song by Garth Hewitt
Sabeel Helps Create a New Film on Jerusalem
In Israeli Election, Palestine is the Big Loser
May 15 Nakba Day Actions
Palestinian Voices (A NEW FEATURE)
Go To Palestine (Tours)
Read More
Prayer

 

MennoPIN Live Interview on Christian Zionism

MennoPIN Steering Committee members, Jonathan Kuttab and Jonathan Nahar, will be interviewed live by Jewish Voices for Peace on Christian Zionism on Tuesday, April 30, at 5:00 pm PST and 8:00 pm EST. Register to listen in here.

 

“My Name is Palestine” – A New Song by Garth Hewitt

Painting by Suleiman Mansour

 

Garth Hewitt has been a singer, song writer and author for over 40 years. During tours, he has visited areas of poverty, conflict and disaster throughout the world. The struggle of the people of Palestine for justice and peace holds a special place in his heart. He recently traveled to Bethlehem and visited Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel which has a gallery of Palestinian artists. There he saw a powerful and haunting painting by the Palestinian artist, Suleiman Mansour (above). The painting moved him so much that he decided to write a song sparked by what he saw. He entitled the song, “My Name is Palestine” and you can listen to it here.

 

Sabeel Helps Create New Film on Jerusalem

Omar Haramy, Coordinator of Sabeel, stands in a ‘ghost town’ in occupied East Jerusalem, where Israeli walls and borders have created empty neighborhoods that once thrived (Credit: Al Jazeera)
The Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in East Jerusalem worked with Al Jazeera English to produce a two-part documentary film that sheds light on Jerusalem today and the realities on the ground. The series is entitled, “Jerusalem: Rock and a Hard Place.” The first part explores Israel, Trump and the Future of Jerusalem while the second part asks, Can Jews, Christians, Muslims Live Together?” The films offer an excellent and needed perspective on Jerusalem for today and for tomorrow. Each part is 48 minutes long and can be used in a variety of educational ways. You can find the two parts of the documentary here and here.
In Israeli Election, Palestine is the Big LoserThe winner (barely) of the April, 2019 snap election in Israel was Bibi (Benjamin Netanyahu), but the real loser wasn’t Benny Gantz (his opponent). The big loser was the people of Palestine. Netanyahu squeaked out a win with the help of his buddy, Donald Trump. As the election campaigning drew to a close, Trump announced his support for Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, which Netanyahu gleefully cheered. Indeed, Netanyahu intends to name a city in the Golan Heights after Donald Trump. It took only hours for Netanyahu to announce that if he won, he would annex key portions of the West Bank. Although Bibi and Benny garnered the same number of seats, only Netanyahu was able to form a governing coalition with extremist on the political right, and Palestinians will pay the price.It is certainly true, as Noam Chomsky pointedly stated on Democracy Now, that “if Benny Gantz had been elected instead of Netanyahu, the difference would not be very great…in terms of policy [toward Palestine]. But Diana Buttu, Palestinian-Canadian lawyer and civil rights activist, put it more bluntly, “In effect, it’s giving Netanyahu yet another green light to continue to do what he has done against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, against Palestinians in the West Bank, against Palestinian prisoners, against Palestinians everywhere. The fact that we haven’t seen an international response against Israel has, in effect…allowed Netanyahu to turn around and say, ‘This isn’t costing me anything.’”

The support of Palestinians by people of faith is needed now more than ever.

May 15 Nakba Day Actions

Kairos Palestine and Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) are organizing actions around the country in support of Palestine on May 15, Nakba Day, commemorating the time in 1948-1949 when 700,000 Palestinian refugees were forced from their homes and villages into exile so that the State of Israel could be established.

Kairos Palestine has issued a statement “declaring as unjust and illegal the occupation policies and practices of the State of Israel over seven decades.” Thousands of people from all over the world has signed the statement. If you would like to add your name, click here.

FOSNA is taking the petition one step further by organizing actions around the country at the Israel embassy in Washington, DC, and consulate offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Houston, Chicago, Boston, Miami and Atlanta. To join a vigil/action in those cities, click here for current information and updates as May 15 approaches.
Palestinian Voices (A NEW FEATURE)

Elaine and Zoughbi Zoughbi (center) surrounded by their children

 

 

 

 

 

 

With this issue of MennoPIN we are introducing a new regular feature – Palestinian Voices. Short of visiting Palestine yourself, reading the voices of Palestinian people is a vital way to go beyond political and theological analysis and statistics to the lives of real people and what they experience as Palestinians under military occupation.

This story comes from Zoughbi Zoughbi, founder and director of Wi’am, the Palestinian Conflict Transformation Center in Bethlehem.

We are still in shock about the inhumane treatment of my wife who has been married to me since 1990, having raised our four children together during those years. Last week she arrived very early to the airport in South Bend Indiana, in order to fly through Chicago then to Newark, and finally, to Tel Aviv. Her children and I couldn’t wait to greet her, to welcome, kiss, and hug her…Our hearts were beating rapidly as we watched to see when the airplane would arrive in Tel Aviv, so we could talk to her on the phone and hear her voice…After initially being thrilled that she landed safely and joyfully in Tel Aviv airport, we stayed rooted next to the telephone, knowing that sometimes the Israeli Authorities will want to check our connection, to ensure she is related to us. After nearly thirty years, we know they already have profiles on all our family members. Even though all the information they need is available to them, the call is a subtle way for them to add extra humiliation. This is done in spite of the fact that we have always been a peace-loving family trying to live faithfully in the Holy Land. We refuse to hate.

“…Although she is an American citizen, they openly claimed she was a criminal because she married a Palestinian…For 29 years the authorities played a game around letting her into the country or not. My wife once said that she was honored to be treated as a Palestinian refugee, to live among those of us without a safe place, without a secure future.

“…This is not just a personal story only, but a story of my people. We refuse to be discouraged and decimated by the constant hurt and humiliation. Our commitment will not be any other manner, but a way of non-violence and the pursuit of legal restitution. We reject violence. But we will not give up even as our oppressors orchestrate new ways to push us away, out of our homes…[A]s [Jesus’] followers, we will not allow their attempts to crucify us be the final word. Those in power should have learned their lesson nearly 2,000 years ago. Our Lord was not defeated by pain and humiliation, but he was resurrected, in spite of the humiliating trials of the Via Dolorosa and the pain of Golgotha.  They forget He has won the victory already, in any struggle against injustice.”

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 Palestinian people. Most tours also include visits to both Palestinian and Israeli activists who 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
Prayer – A Jewish Prayer for Peace
In the name of Elohim, the most merciful. May the Palestinian people receive the healing powers of our prayers. May they be granted safety, success, love, security, and hope. May they enjoy the fruits of freedom and equality that they—and all human beings—deserve. As Jews, we pray for their well-being. We remember that the Holy Land is a shared space and pray to see the day when Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, and all religions will live there together in peace. We hope for the day when Palestinian refugees may return. We pray that together with their Jewish neighbors they can rehabilitate their history and rebuild what could be the best place on Earth. A place of many cultures and true equality. We pray that Palestinians will be able to live lives free from violence and oppression. And we ask God to help us build bridges of peace with them. May we be the light that brings peace and hope to our Palestinian friends and to all the world. Amen. From ritualwell

March 2019 MennoPIN Monthly Update

March 2019 Monthly Update

In This Issue
Can Benny Beat Bibi? Does It Matter?
Trump’s Move to Recognize Israeli Annexation of the Golan Heights
Gaza: The Scathing UN Report
Gaza: The Great March of Return at 1 Year
Gaza: Is the Great March of Return a Turning Point?
Gaza: Rebuilding from the Ashes – A Gazan Woman’s TED Talk
Go to Palestine: Tours
Read More
Prayer

Can Benny Beat Bibi? Does It Matter?

Then-Chief of Staff Benny Gantz with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a graduation ceremony for navy officers in Haifa (Photo: Associated Press)

Shortly after Benjamin Netanyahu’s government fell apart late last fall, snap elections were called for April 9, 2019. Triggered by the attempt to extend the current law to conscript ultra-Orthodox men into the military, Netanyahu (also known as Bibi) could no longer hold his ruling coalition together. Can Netanyahu, who also faces a possible indictment for corruption, pull off another election, giving him a fifth term as Prime Minister?

In January 2019, Benny Gantz, the former head of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), declared himself a candidate to replace Netanyahu and he immediately surged ahead in the polls for Prime Minister. Before announcing his candidacy, Gantz spoke of solving the conflict with Palestine as the highest priority facing Israel: “Our number one interest is to find a solution…We have to find a way to live together…It is important to find a solution without compromising our security.”

Both Gantz and Netanyahu have begun forming the coalitions that will help them succeed in forming a new government. With ten days to go in the campaign, Gantz’ new party, named Kahol and Lavan (Blue and White), has fallen behind Netanyahu’s Likud party by 15%, likely due to the renewed bombing of Gaza and Trump’s declaration recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory. Blue and White is typically described as left-center and Likud, linking arms with smaller parties on the extreme right, is being described as far-right. Indeed, Netanyahu has fully embraced the fear-mongering tactics of his White House friend, Donald Trump, in his effort to defeat Gantz.

But can Benny beat Bibi? And, more importantly to those seeking freedom and justice for Palestinians, does it matter”? A victory by Bibi would likely make matters worse, possibly far worse, for Palestinians as those to his political right constantly pressure him for increased violence and oppression against the people of Palestine. But what would a victory by Benny mean for Palestine? Meretz, the left-wing Israeli party which strongly supports human rights for all Palestinian people, is backing Benny, and Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, has expressed a clear preference for Benny over Bibi.

Well-respected free-lance journalist, Jonathan Cook, is, however, far from convinced that Benny would be, in any significant way, helpful to Palestine. Recently writing in Counterpunch, Cook pointedly stated: “The reality of what Gantz stands for…is far from reassuring. [In 2014, he] led Israel into its longest and most savage military operation in living memory: 50 days in which the tiny coastal enclave of Gaza was bombarded relentlessly…Should he bring about Netanyahu’s downfall, Gantz, like his predecessor politician generals, will turn out to be a hollow peace-maker. He was trained to understand only strength, zero-sum strategies, conquest and destruction, not compassion or compromise.” Indeed, Gantz once bragged about “sending Gaza back to the Stone Age.”

What do Palestinian Christians think about the upcoming election. MennoPIN asked Sabeel Administrator, Omar Haramy, what he thought:

We as Palestinians are eager to gain back our rights and see an end to the military occupation, and we have faith that freedom is coming. How the occupation will end is not clear. History shows us that the oppressor does not set people free, a change in the attitude of the oppressor comes as a result to pressure, or the prospect that peace brings better rewards than war. Today, the Israeli government makes lots of money from the occupation, and the pressure from the Palestinians, or the international community, is minimal, there is no serious threat from Palestinians or Arabs. Our [Sabeel] Kumi initiative is aiming to change the rules of the game, create a road map for true peace, bring liberation and justice for all. Jesus did not analyze Rome and it’s politics but empowered the marginalized. We are followers of Christ, our savior.”

Read more here about Sabeel’s Kumi initiative and see how you and your congregation can make the Israeli government feel the pressure and seek peace, not war.

Trump’s Move to Recognize Israeli Annexation of Golan Heights


Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu display the signed proclamation on the Golan Heights (Photo: Euroean PressPhoto Agency)

“Historic,” “Historic,” “Historic,” the term exuberantly used over and over by Donald Trump, Mike Pence and Benjamin Netanyahu to describe the President’s tweet recognizing the annexation by Israel of the Golan Heights, a nearly 600 square mile section of southwestern Syria.

Israel seized the territory during the 1967 Six Days War and fourteen years later, in violation of international law, annexed the territory as its own. Not one single country, including the United States, recognized this land grab, calling it “null and void.” That is, until Trump declared, “After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability.”

As it did with Palestinian territories post-1967, after annexing the Golan Heights, Israel quickly occupied the territory with troops, established Jewish-only settlements and allowed Israeli businesses to operate.

While Netanyahu and Trump both claim that Israeli security is at stake, purportedly from Iran, the availability of natural resources to exploit may play a more significant role. The Golan Heights has abundant water resources and gives Israel full control over the Sea of Galilee, which borders the Golan Heights on its eastern shore. Of even more importance is oil, which would be much easier to extract if Israel has sovereignty over the land. Perhaps not coincidentally, Jared Kushner’s family has substantial investments in Genie, the U.S. energy company Israel is working with to explore the large reserves. Does Iraqi oil fields, Dick Cheney and Haliburton come to mind?

Will Trump’s next tweet support an annexation of the West Bank and Gaza – for security reasons, of course?

Gaza: The Scathing UN Report
On February 28, 2019, the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 Gaza protests issued its conclusion on Israeli attacks on Gazan citizens during the Great March of Return. Beginning on March 30, 2018, citizens of Gaza demonstrated nonviolently the right of return to their homelands and to end the siege of Gaza. Although the protests have continued every Friday since then, the inquiry only covers the violence through the end of 2018. The report documents 183 deaths and over 6,000 injuries to Palestinians caused by live fire from Israeli troops. Since January 1, 2019, those numbers have continued to rise.

Santiago Canton chaired the UN commission and Sara Hossain was a member. They appeared on Democracy Now shortly after the report was presented and summarized some of its findings. Canton stated: “The commission found reasonable grounds to believe that the Israeli security forces committed serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. These violations clearly warrant criminal investigation and prosecution, and we call on Israel to conduct meaningful investigations into these serious violations.”

Hossain added: “We are saying that [Israeli soldiers] have intentionally shot children, the have intentionally shot people with disabilities, they have intentionally shot journalists.

You can read the full report here.

Gaza: The Great March of Return at 1 Year


The Day it All Began – March 30, 2018 (Jack Guez / AFP / Getty)

The organizers of the Gaza Great March of Return have called for massive demonstrations throughout Palestine on March 30, 2019, the first anniversary of the nonviolent protest at the Gaza/Israeli border. During this first year, more than 225 people have been killed and tens of thousands injured by Israeli military snipers. Two Israeli soldiers have been killed and one other injured. The Great March of Return has called for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to be allowed to return to former homes now inside Israel and supported by international law.

The National Commission for the Great March of Return referred to the environmental event also held on March 30: “We call for our people to commemorate Earth Day and to provide the biggest support for the Great March of Return demonstrations.” They hope millions throughout Gaza and the West Bank will march with them that day. A supportive rally is being held in San Francisco as well.

Gaza: Is the Great March of Return a Turning Point?
As the Great March of Return nears the one-year mark, +972 online magazine interviewed Tareq Baconi, a young Palestinian scholar and activist, about his views on the Great March of Return and the nature of the Palestinian struggle. Here are a few of his comments:

On the Great March of Return. “The marches are a source of hope. They indicate that the politics of Hamas and Fatah have failed, that the American-led track of negotiations has also failed, but the Palestinian people remain steadfast and are still demanding their rights…The people are still holding on to their values.”

On the Great March as a Turning Point. “The Palestinian people are at a point of transition, shifting from demanding a state to demanding their rights. It’s a shift toward a civil rights movement, and Gaza is leading the way…The way the marches started in Gaza shines a light on a path forward and indicate a new development. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a source of hope.”

On Hamas’ Role in the Great March. “I believe, 100 percent, that Hamas intervenes in everything. On the one hand, these are protests based on the right of return, started by civil society, attended by hundreds of Gazans. They introduced a new politics and allowed us to glimpse into the future of the Palestine struggle…On the other hand, Hamas played a big role in providing resources, in allowing the movement to grow, and in bringing Israel to agree to concessions…I’d rather these protests had nothing to do with Hamas. At the same time, I’ve seen Hamas become a political force that can handle Israel in a way Fatah and the [Palestinian Authority] are not capable of.”

On the Future of Palestinian Resistance. “I believe that…the marches will continue. Even if they don’t continue on the same scale, there’s no political resolution on the horizon. I believe we’re going to see more popular movements and uprisings, not only in Gaza but all over, including in the diaspora.”

Gaza: Rebuilding from the Ashes – A Gazan Woman’s Ted Talk
A powerful 10-minute TED Talk by a Gazan woman on turning the ashes and rubble of war into bricks and solar powered lights, and Gazan women are leading the way. View the video here.

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 Palestinian people. Most tours also include visits to both Palestinian and Israeli activists who 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

Prayer
President Trump announced on Thursday, the 21st of March, that the US will declare the occupied Golan Heights to be Israeli territory. For the past fifty years previous US administrations have viewed the Golan Heights as occupied Syrian territory, in line with the United Nations Security Council resolutions. Lord, we pray that governments and lawmakers throughout the world will raise their voices in protest at this provocative move against international law. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer. Sabeel Wave or Prayer. https://sabeel.org/2019/03/26/sabeel-wave-of-prayer-63/


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

February 2019 MennoPIN Monthly Update

MennoPIN Update: February 2019
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MENNONITE PALESTINE ISRAEL NETWORK
February 2019 Monthly Update

In This Issue
The Ilhan Omar/AIPAC Controversy
Intersectionality: MennoPIN and Movement for Black Lives
Michelle Alexander: Palestine and Vietnam
Will Bibi Destroy Al Khan al-Ahmar Before Elections?
How Did Your Senator Vote on S1?
Gaza Update
Go to Palestine: Tours
Read More
Prayer

The Ilhan Omar/AIPAC Controversy

Ilhan Omar responds to criticism (Al Jazeera)

Israel, money and anti-Semitism. A recent series of exchanges on social media among public figures painfully surfaced all three.

A brief chronology might help.In early February Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) disciplined Rep. Steve King (R-IA) for outrageous white supremacy comments. But McCarthy also called on House Democratic leaders to discipline the two newly elected female Muslim members of Congress, Ohlan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), for their support of BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), claiming they are equal to King, “even more so.” After reading McCarthy’s challenge, prominent journalist, Glen Greenwald tweeted that McCarthy’s comparison of Omar and Tlaib to King was “obscene” and the threat to punish Omar and Tlaib was “stunning,” and an attack “on free speech rights of Americans.” Upon reading Greenwald’s tweet, Omar sent out her own tweet. In a somewhat indelicate manner, Omar stated that McCarthy’s support of Israel was “all about the Benjamins,” alluding to a song by that name and with “Benjamin” referring to the U.S. $100 bill with the face of Benjamin Franklin.

The bipartisan backlash was immediate and Omar quickly apologized for her insensitivity to anti-Semitic tropes, acknowledged that anti-Semitism was real, expressed gratitude to Jewish colleagues who are educating her to the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes, but reaffirmed her main point: “the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee], the NRA [National Rifle Association] or the fossil fuel industry. It’s gone on too long and we must be willing to address it.” While it is true that AIPAC is a nonprofit and therefore cannot lobby Congress or give money to congressional candidates, AIPAC, by its own admission, carries considerable influence in congressional circles.

Hopefully, the main takeaway from this controversy may be the beginning of a more even-handed approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within the halls of Congress. With Omar and Tlaib as the first Muslim women in Congress and open supporters of BDS, vocal support for Palestine will be ever present. And with the 2020 primaries approaching, there are signs that some of the Democratic candidates running for President will address Palestinian human rights, with Bernie Sanders the most prominent. Still, there is a long uphill road to climb.

Intersectionality: MennoPIN and Movement for Black Lives

 

M4BL Poster

The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) has issued a statement in solidarity with the people of Palestine and MennoPIN has signed on in support. The statement reads, in part:“The Movement for Black Lives stands with the Palestinian people and especially those in Gaza, that have been engaging in resistance at the Gaza border. As we watched the brutal attacks on these brave activists which continued during and after the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, we were painfully reminded of what happens when Black people, here in the U.S., decide to resist. We know that the United States government sends the same weapons to Tel Aviv as it sends to Ferguson, and hundreds of other cities across the country. We know that police officers in the United States learn the tactics of war from Israeli police forces, who come annually to train U.S. officers in methods of oppression, surveillance and murder. We understand that we are connected to the Palestinian people by our shared demand for recognition and justice and our long histories of displacement, discrimination and violence.”

That is what intersectionality is all about. If you want to sign on individually or as an organization, or to read the full statement, click here.

Michelle Alexander: Palestine and Vietnam
Another example of intersectionality: Michelle Alexander, the author of The New Jim Crow, wrote an article in the New York Times reminding everyone of the day Martin Luther King, Jr spoke at Riverside Church in New York City opposing the war in Vietnam. Some of his closest associates advised him not to, but he spoke about Vietnam anyway: “When the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of dreadful conflict…we must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.”

Alexander went on to write: “If we are to honor King’s message and not merely the man, we must condemn Israel’s actions: unrelenting violations of international law, continued occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, home demolitions and land confiscations. We must cry out at the treatment of Palestinians at checkpoints, the routine searches of their homes and restrictions on their movements, and the severely limited access to decent housing, schools, food, hospitals and water that many of them face.” To read the entire article, click here.

Will Bibi Destroy Al Khan al-Ahmar Before Elections?

Al Khan al-Ahmar in the Negev

 

 

There is speculation that Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu (also known as Bibi), will destroy the Bedouin village of Al Khan al-Ahmar before Israel’s snap elections on April 9 to boost his chances among voters. His recent indictment on corruption charges will not help him. But if he does okay the demolition of Al Khan al-Ahmar, he will also be destroying the livelihood of 32 families of nearly 200 people. Located in the Negev desert outside Jerusalem, Al Khan al-Ahmar’s inhabitants descend from the Jahalin tribe and are mostly sheep and goat herders. Within the village are 160 structures with many homes, a mosque, a clinic and a school for 175 students that serves the Bedouin population of 1,400 people in neighboring villages as well. Two Israeli settlements, Ma’ale Adumim and Kfar Adumim, were built around Al Khan al-Ahmar. The impetus for the village’s demolition is the desire to expand the two settlements, land grabbing at its worst. The Israeli government has given the people of Al Khan al-Ahmar the choice to move to either of two locations: next to a garbage dump or next to a sewer plant.

Al Khan al-Ahmar is not alone. About 225,000 Bedouin live in the Negev and are under constant threat of destruction by an Israeli government’s intention to build more settlements on Palestinian land. But the High Court of Israel’s order to demolish Al Khan al-Ahmar makes it the most vulnerable. Only time will tell if Bibi forces its destruction as he fights for a sixth term as Prime Minister.

How Did Your Senator Vote on S1?
On February 5, 2019, the Senate passed S1, the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act. 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, an international nonviolent campaign, begun by Palestinians, to place pressure on Israel to end the occupation and establish justice for all Palestinians.

Washington Memo, a blog of Mennonite Central Committee U.S., has made it possible to easily see how your senators voted on S1. The overall bill, including the anti-BDS section, passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 77-23. To see how your senators voted, yea or nay, click here.

Gaza Update
Ahmed Abu Artema is a Palestinian journalist who helped create the nonviolent Great March of Return in Gaza, which began on Friday, March 30, 2018 and continues to this day every Friday. The goal of the march is to end the 10-year-old Israeli siege of Gaza and allow Gazan refugees to return to their homes in other parts of Palestine and Israel. Israeli forces have killed well over 100 people and injured over 10,000 since the nonviolent protests began.

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is sponsoring a tour for Artema this spring to tell the story of the Great March of Return. To find out more about the tour schedule and venues, click here. If you are unable to hear Artema in person, you can live stream his presentation in the New York City tour stop on March 14, 2019 by going to the AFSC website.

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 Palestinian people. Most tours also include visits to both Palestinian and Israeli activists who 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

Prayer
On Friday evening, 22 February 2019, in excessive use of force against, mainly peaceful, protesters on the 48th Friday of the “Great March of Return” and “Breaking the Siege,” Israeli forces killed a 15-year-old Palestinian teenager and wounded 115 civilians, including 16 children, 10 women and a journalist, in the eastern Gaza Strip. The injury of 3 of the wounded civilians, including a 12-year-old boy, were reported as serious. Lord, we continue to pray for the safety of the Palestinian protesters and the commitment of many to non-violence. We pray that those who have injured may soon recover and that grieving families may find solace. Lord in your mercy…hear our prayersSabeel Wave or Prayer

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

January 2019 MennoPIN Monthly Update

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

December 2018 MennoPIN Monthly Update

MennoPIN Update: December 2018
View this email in your browser
MENNONITE PALESTINE ISRAEL NETWORK

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
Prayer

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
mennopin@gmail.com | mennopin.org | facebook.com/mennopin | twitter.com/mennopinSteering 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)

MennoPIN November 2018 Monthly Update

In This Issue
Kairos Palestine Christmas Alert
Is the U.S./Mexico Border Becoming Another Gaza?
Gaza on Fire
Airbnb Leaves West Bank Settlements
Trump Administration Threatens to Redefine Anti-Semitism
MCC Signs New Statement on Israel/Palestine
Careful What You Buy This Christmas!
Kumi Now!
Read More
Prayer

Kairos Palestine Christmas Alert

Kairos Palestine has just issued its Christmas Alert 2018. This year the Christmas Alert sheds light on the importance of restoring a new hope for Palestine, the Middle East and the world. The alert offers resources and reflections for each Sunday of Advent and inspires individuals and congregations to act to help make hope a reality in the lives of Palestinians.

Is the U.S./Mexico Border Becoming Another Gaza?

Maria Meza runs away from tear gas with her daughters at the U.S./Mexico border (Credit: The World News)

Fences and barbed wire. Tear gas and choking. Heavily armed border patrols and U.S. Army forces on one side of the fence. Desperate poverty and nonviolent presence of refugees on the other side, simply seeking a safer and better life. All very much like Gaza. Thankfully, no deaths so far, but President Trump has given the freedom to use lethal force.

On Sunday, November 25, 2018, as many of the refugees in the migrant caravan pushed to breach the border, U.S. forces, without warning, launched tear gas canisters on unexpecting refugees and would-be immigrants, including many children. The Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, of which the United States is a part, has banned the use of tear gas on the battle field, but the U.S. has consistently used tear gas on domestic populations to control crowds, like Ferguson, Missouri. Under both the Obama and Trump administrations, tear gas has been used on refugees at the U.S./Mexico border.

The aerosol chemical compound, containing 2-chlorobenzaldene malononitrile, causes nasal passages to run, eyes to uncontrollably water and breathing becomes short and painful with a burning sensation in the throat and nasal passages. It is especially dangerous for children who do not know to close their eyes and shut their mouths. As Robini Haar, a doctor with Physicians for Human Rights, explained about children and tear gas: “Most kids scream for their parents when they are in danger. That natural, reasonable reaction to pain is detrimental in this case.” She went on to say that tear gas has harmful effects on children in both the short-term and long-term.

One refugee, Maria Meza (pictured above with her three daughters) described their experience afterward (translated): “I grabbed my daughters and started running. At that moment, I thought I was going to die with them. We ran and we fell into the mud and struggled to get up amidst the gas…We never thought they were going to fire these bombs where there were children…It wasn’t right. They know we are human beings, the same as them. It wasn’t right that they did that to the children.”

Trump’s response to the tear gassing: “Well, I do say, why are they there? I mean, I have to start off—first of all, the tear gas was a very minor form of the tear gas itself. It’s very safe…But you really say, ‘Why is a parent running into an area where the tear gas is forming and it’s going to be formed, and they’re running up with a child.’”

Just a few days before the tear gas attack, a jury found Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz not guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of a 16-year-old boy, Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez in 2012, firing nearly a dozen bullets through a U.S./Mexico border fence. All but one of the bullets were in the boy’s back. It was Swartz’s second acquittal, the first time for murder. The boy’s crime: throwing a rock.

Gaza on Fire

 Israeli missiles bomb Gaza on November 12, 2018 (Credit: MennoPIN contact in Gaza)

On November 12-13, 2018 Gaza exploded for the third time in just a few years. After a botched incursion into Gaza by Israeli commandoes on the morning of November 12, Hamas (the governing authority in Gaza with both a social service and military component) begin exchanging missiles with Israel. Israel used aircraft fire, missiles and drones to bomb targets in Gaza while Hamas sent hundreds of missiles into southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. At least 12 Palestinians were killed and numerous people in Gaza and Ashkelon suffered wounds.

A MennoPIN contact within Gaza took the photo above on a cell phone and wrote this on November 12 amid falling Israeli bombs: “Israeli warplanes continue shelling areas in the Gaza Strip. The shelling lasted for many hours, targeting sites, houses and a news channel, and resulted in a number of martyrs and wounded. Explosions were heard all over the strip.” The next day, he wrote that “Israeli forces have completely destroyed six buildings in Gaza so far today,” including family homes, a television station and a hotel.

Fortunately, an earlier-planned, Egypt-brokered cease fire ended the hostilities by the end of the second day. The terms of the cease fire included expanding fishing rights to Gazans, provision of fuel, and money from Qatar to pay Hamas and many civil workers. While some have wondered if Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was turning a new leaf as a peacemaker, the truth probably lies elsewhere. By helping to keep Hamas in power in Gaza, Netanyahu keeps the two ruling factions in Palestine (the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza) divided, not just geographically, but also ideologically, lessening the ability of a united Palestine to apply effective pressure on his government. Amidst the power struggles, the people of Gaza continue to endure debilitating hardship after hardship.

Airbnb Leaves West Bank Settlements

 A photograph taken last year from the Palestinian West Bank village Turmus Ayya shows the Jewish settlement, Shilo, where Airbnb had listings (Credit: Jaafar Ashtiyeh/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

In a victory for the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement and those working for justice in Palestine, Airbnb agreed to pull its listings out of the illegal Israeli settlements in occupied areas in Palestine. But their boycott is selective and applies to the West Bank but excluded East Jerusalem. A similar company, Booking.com, has not deleted its West Bank listings.

Airbnb’s press release states in part: “U.S. law permits companies like Airbnb to engage in business in [occupied] territories. At the same time, many in the global community have stated that companies should not do business here because they believe companies should not profit on lands where people have been displaced…When we applied our decision-making framework, we concluded that we should remove listings in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.”

In response to Airbnb’s action,Israeli government officials and its supporters have responded with condemnation and threats. Minister of Strategic Affairs, Gilad Erdan denounced Airbnb’s withdrawal as a “racist political stance.” Minister of Tourism, Yariv Levin, termed the decision as “the most wretched of wretched capitulations to the boycott efforts.” The pro-Israeli NGO, Jewish Human Rights, called it “anti-Semitism pure and simple” and called for a boycott of Airbnb. BDS is working.

Trump Administration Threats to Redefine Anti-Semitism
Anti-Semitism is a serious problem in the United States. As defined by the Webster Dictionary, anti-Semitism involves: “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or radical group.” Hate and prejudice against Jewish people has no place in our society whether as individuals, in government or in institutions (educational, religious or economic). MennoPIN stands firmly opposed to any expressions of anti-Semitism.

But the Trump Administration wants to take the definition of anti-Semitism one dangerous step forward. Kenneth Marcus is the Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights. Marcus has proposed expanding the legal definition of anti-Semitism to equate criticism of the government of Israel with anti-Semitism. Entitled the “Anti-Semitism Awareness Act,” the proposed expanded definition has already produced a chilling effect on university campuses where, for example, a student or student group criticizing the demolition of Palestinian homes or killing of nonviolent Gaza protestors by Israel could be viewed as a violation of the act. Free speech on our campuses needs to be protected.

MCC Signs New Statement on Israel/Palestine
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is one of sixteen church-related organizations to sign a statement entitled, “Current U.S. Policy, Israel/Palestine, and the Churches.” The statement reads, in part:

“The current situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for most of the inhabitants is one of shattered hopes. Since President Trump took office in 2017, U.S. support for Israel over the concerns of Palestinians has become explicit instead of implied. As leaders of U.S.-based churches and Christian organizations with long ties and close connections with Palestinian Christians and churches, we are deeply concerned about these developments… As Christian churches and organizations in the United States, we strongly oppose this treatment of Palestinians. Most Palestinians have been peacefully protesting for 70 years in the hopes of gaining international recognition and their own state. We call on people of all faiths to stand up in support of human rights for both Palestinians and Israelis, including the right to self-determination.” To read the entire statement, click here.

Careful What You Buy This Christmas!

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
Fourteen Palestinians were injured by Israeli live ammunition during the 35th Friday of ‘The Great March of Return’ protests along the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip. Lord, we pray for all those who have been injured in Gaza. We pray that the international authorities would pay attention to their cries of anguish and would resolve to act to restore justice to the people of Gaza. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers. Sabeel Wave of Prayer

MennoPIN October 2018 Monthly Update

October 2018 Monthly Update

In This Issue
Kumi Now!
Christ at the Checkpoint USA
Gaza–A Laboratory to Boost Israel’s Military Industry Profits
Go HP-Free
Read More


Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh after massacre by white nationalist anti-Semite Robert Bowers (Brendan Smialowski, AFP/Getty Images)
MennoPIN stands in solidarity with the Jewish community in Pittsburgh and around the country at this time of great sorrow and tragedy. The hatred and violence of Antisemitism has no place in our society. May love and grace surround all affected by this unspeakable act of violence. MennoPIN is an inclusive and anti-racist network that steadfastly opposes Islamophobia, Antisemitism, all forms of racism and any other expressions of bigotry directed at any person or group.

 

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.

Christ at the Checkpoint USA
The first ever Christ at the Checkpoint USA conference saw a variety of speakers and attendants including supporters of MennoPIN.

Christ at the Checkpoint has been a biennial event put on by Bethlehem Bible College, encouraging Evangelical leaders to come to Bethlehem, and meet with Palestinian Christians to see firsthand the effects of their Christian Zionist theology. This year for the first time, the organizers teamed up with Oklahoma City based pastors led by Darrell Cates, to bring the experience to the United States.

Speakers included representatives of Bethlehem Bible College, Jack Sara, Munther Isaac and Grace Zoughbi; well-known Palestinian Christian leaders, Father Elias Chacour, Alex Awad, Sami Awad, Mubarak Awad, and MennoPIN steering committee member Jonathan Kuttab; Jewish leaders in peace and justice work, Rabbi Michael Davis, and Mark Braverman; prominent American and international Christians, Bishop Robert Hayes, Bob Roberts, Gary Burge, Stephen Sizer; Mae Cannon, and the heroic Palestinian Muslim from Gaza, Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish.

A unique aspect of Christ at the Checkpoint is to allow those with conflicting views to be heard at the conference. The organizers invited the most prominent voice in the “New Christian Zionism movement,” Gerald McDermott.

The conference’s many viewpoints still resulted in a clear portrail of the dire situation in the West Bank and the Gaza strip, the negative effects that colonial Christian theologies like Christian Zionism have had on the region, and the need for Christians to embody a theology of peace. To hear the sessions, or get more details about the conference, click here.

Gaza–A Laboratory to Boost Israel’s Military Industry Profits
Israeli Army Brigadier General Roei Elkabetz told a 2012 convention on border control in El Paso, TX, that “we have learned a lot from Gaza. It’s a great laboratory.” He was referring to Israel’s arms industry, the largest homeland security industry in the world.

Guy Keren is the CEO of iHLS, one of Israel’s leading homeland security firms. Speaking at a drone conference he helped organize, Keren explained how Gaza has become the ideal testing ground for new products all year round, giving Israel and iHLS a competitive advantage over other countries and their military industry. Keren said that “we are checking our systems live…because we are in a war situation all the time.”

According to the Electronic Intifada, “Gaza is widely perceived as a human Petri dish—to improve killing capacity and cultivate pacification methods.” The Danish military scholar, Leila Stockmarr, put it this way: “It is central to Israel’s cutting-edge military and policing capacities that new pieces of technology are developed and tested in a concrete situation of controlling populations, such as in the Gaza Strip.”

Since the Great Return March began on March 30, 2018, Israel’s military giants have tested the following weapons on nonviolent demonstrators:

  • Sea of Tears Drones—appropriately named for drones that drop tear gas on crowds
  • Shocko Drones—drones that unleash “skunk water”
  • Butterfly Bullets—among the deadliest bullets every used, they explode on impact

It is horrendous that a live, captive population of human beings are being used to test new and lethal military weapons to control populations and generate profits for the Israeli weapons industry. There is no doubt that the “deadly exchanges” of military practices between the United States and Israel have and will continue to benefit both country’s endless-war economies.

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
The Battle for Justice in Palestine, Ali Abunimah, Haymarket Books, 2014
A Palestinian Theology of Liberation, Naim Ateek, Orbis Books, 2017
Why Palestine Matters
No Way to Treat a Child Campaign
The Palestinian Portal Resource
HP-Free Church Campaign

Prayer
The “Great March of Return” passed its 31st Friday amid increasing violence from the Israeli forces and militants amongst the legitimate protestors. More than 230 people were injured and five killed, including 19-year-old Nassar Abu Tim. Lord of the suffering, we pray for a commitment to human rights by all sides and the protection of all lives. We pray for effective international intervention to ensure justice. We pray for humanitarian aid and rebuilding where destruction has occurred. We pray for peace and for justice in our homes and on our city streets. Wrap all and each of these people in your love. Let them hear: ‘Come to me you who suffer and are burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. Sabeel Wave of Prayer

MennoPIN September 2018 Monthly Update

MennoPIN Update: September 2018
View this email in your browser
MENNONITE PALESTINE ISRAEL NETWORK

September 2018 Monthly Update

In This Issue
Gaza – Activist Protest in Solidarity
Sabeel Confronts Sexual Harassment in Palestine
“Who Thinks Up These Things?” – Report on a Trip to Palestine
Three CPT Palestine Team Members Denied Entry to Israel
Go HP-Free
Read More
Prayer

 International Solidarity Protesters Support Gaza Demonstrators (Photo: Activestills.org)

 

Activist Protest in Solidarity with Gaza
+972 magazine reported that dozens of international activists protested in support of the Great Return March on the Israeli side of the Gaza border. Waving Palestinian flags and carrying posters, the activists, including Jews for Return and Coalition of Women for Peace, also held photos of Palestinians killed by Israeli snipers during the Great Return March.

Demonstrators in Gaza broke out in cheers at the sight of the activist supporters and their Palestinian flags. In a phone call from an activist on the Israeli side, one Gazan marcher said, “I would like to praise everyone who is protesting in solidarity with us. We are protesting for return, and against the siege that we have been living under for the past 12 years.” One of the activists stated that “We are standing here on two sides of the fence, both rejecting it.”

The Great Return March began on March 30, 2018 and is entering its seventh month. To read the entire report, click here.

Sabeel Confronts Sexual Harassment in Palestine
In the current issue of Cornerstone, Sabeel, the Palestinian Liberation Theology Center, is confronting the issue of sexual harassment in Palestine. Sabeel, in bringing #MeToo into the Palestine, believes justice is at stake: “We at Sabeel have chosen to address this critically important topic because we are a Palestinian Liberation Theology Center. This means that wherever there is injustice, we stand on the side of justice. Wherever people are oppressed, we stand for liberation. Whether we are talking about the occupation of Palestine, or the colonization of indigenous peoples, or the destructive forces of toxic masculinity in our homes, workplaces, and places of worship, we believe Christ our Liberator requires us to stand with him, for freedom.”

In the opening article, Sabeel probes the story of Jesus’ healing of the Gerasene demoniac: “While this passage does not deal with the issue of sexual harassment directly, we feel it has much to say about the way our society deals with demons—especially demons we’d rather not acknowledge.” To read the entire issue, click here.

Boys on the way to school stand under a sign on the wall: “A country is not only what it does. It is also what it tolerates.” Kurt Tucholsky (1933 Photo, Anita Rediger)

 

“Who Thinks Up These Things?”
Anita Rediger, a member of the MennoPIN Steering Committee, recently returned from a 15-day trip to Israel/Palestine. Her report witnesses the ever-increasing oppression and violence against the Palestinian people:

“I’m just home from a 15-day trip to Israel/Palestine led by FOSNA Board Co-Chairs, Michael Spath and Doug Thorpe. It was my second trip; I see even more clearly now the utterly comprehensive, systematic oppression of the Palestinian people. Now, I walk the lanes of our farm, seeking to reconnect with my rural Indiana community. The words of lament uttered by a traveling companion wash over me – “Who thinks up these things?”  “These things” which craft an intentional, finely-tuned, overarching plan to eradicate all traces of a people – past, present and future.

Let me share just a few of “these things”

  • It is illegal to teach and speak about the history of the Palestinian people, what Ilan Pappe describes as ‘memoricide.’
  • In Israeli schools, the word ‘Palestinian’ is not mentioned except in the context ‘in war with,’ the main narrative in the curricula is ‘fear.’   Saher Vardi, (9.8.18)
  • In a visit to the al Khan Al-ahmar Bedouin community, we learned of the Israeli Defense Force’s practice of planting explosives inside of cameras and cell-phones in the grazing areas. When the children tending the flocks find them, horrible injury results. (9.7.2018)
  • Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh showed us evidence of the poisons used to kill Palestinian livestock, grains laced with poisons scattered about the pastures and documentation of the use of bone shattering ammunition. (9.5.2018)
  • Gerard Horton & Salwa Duaibis of Military Court Watch provided graphic detail of what happens in the never-ending practice of night raids, the ‘softening up’ of children ages 12-17 by storming their homes at night, tying their hands with plastic straps, blindfolding them, throwing them on the metal floor of a military vehicle between/under the boots of soldiers, placing them in shipping containers for 10 hours, then facing interrogation and  judges – some of whom are settlers.
  • We learned of ‘The Expulsion Law’ (2016) which allows for the expulsion of Arab Knesset Members who make remarks or undertake actions that the majority claims incite to racism or support terror.
  • On July 19, 2018 – The Knesset passed an addition to the body of Israel’s Basic Law. The ‘Nation-State Law’ granting special status to persons of Jewish faith. Another law, the ‘Citizenship Law’ is for non-Jews, institutionalizing discrimination, legalizing apartheid.

As we left the country, we were confronted with the massive mural in Ben Guiron Airport proclaiming, ‘The Zionist movement established the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state…Israeli society is tasked with creating a true sense of connection among all of its ethnic, religious and cultural segments, based on respect, harmony, peace and equality.’

All of this right before our eyes – for all the world to see – supported by US policymakers and by many of my shared Christian faith. I ask you, ‘Who thinks up these things?’ and why? May we join the living stones of Palestine and Israel in crying out.”

Three CPT Palestine Team Members Denied Entry to Israel
Christian PeacemakerTeams (CPT) reports that three of its Palestine team members were blocked from entering Israel/Palestine. CPT places teams, at the invitation of local peacemaking communities, that are confronting situations of lethal conflict. These teams support and amplify the voices of local peacemakers who risk injury and death by waging nonviolent direct action to confront systems of violence and oppression. CPT has had a presence in Palestine for many years.

For the three CPTers it was clear at the beginning of their interrogations that the immigration officials knew of their work with CPT and for this reason they would be denied entry. Why? For being associated with an organization which works alongside of and is led by Palestinian nonviolent organizations and activists striving for a peaceful future.

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
The Battle for Justice in Palestine, Ali Abunimah, Haymarket Books, 2014
A Palestinian Theology of Liberation, Naim Ateek, Orbis Books, 2017
Why Palestine Matters
No Way to Treat a Child Campaign
The Palestinian Portal Resource
HP-Free Church Campaign

Prayer
The ‘Great March of Return’ continues with more Palestinians coming under life fire from Israeli military forces. It has also been reported that Palestinian fishermen are coming under pressure from frequent arrests and live fire from the Israeli Navy. This constant pressure on the livelihoods of these fisherman means that 95% of the fishing industry in Gaza now live below the poverty line. Lord, we continue to hold the protestors in our prayers; cast our net of protection over Gaza and its fisherman so that they may catch abundant fish without threat of arrest or injury. Lord in your mercy…Hear our prayers. Sabeel Wave of Prayer


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

MennoPIN Monthly Update – August 2018

MennoPIN Update: August 2018
View this email in your browser
MENNONITE PALESTINE ISRAEL NETWORK

August 2018 Monthly Update

In This Issue
The Growing Power of Palestinian Women
The Poem that Sent Dareen Tatour to Prison
Six al-Khalil Women Held in Administrative Detention
Gaza: The Great Return March Continues
Gaza: Medical Ship Hijacked by Israel
Gaza: An Action Alert from MCC
Israel Detains Jewish Activists Opposing Nation-State Law
Go HP-Free
Read More
Prayer

Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi after her release from prison on July 29 (Reuters/Mohamad Torokman)

The Growing Power of Palestinian Women
Although the 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi has gotten considerable international attention for her years of activism and eight months in prison, many other Palestinian women have also played a strong role in the resistance to the occupation but without broad recognition. In fact, the power of women in Palestine has never been stronger.

When the First Intifada ended with the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 by an all-male Palestine Liberation Organization team, women had almost no role in the struggle for Palestinian rights and were denied any engagement with the decision-making process. Instead, women began agitating for social, political, legal and economic rights within Palestine’s social structure, confronting an entrenched patriarchy and seeking equality with men. It has taken many years for women to rise to key roles in opposing the occupation and seeking justice for all Palestinians. They have now become a formidable force, mediating conflicts between competing Palestinian factions and providing leadership in the Great Return March. Here are just a few of those women:

  • Iktimal Hamad, 51, sits on the Supreme National Commission of the Great Return March, the only woman on the 15-member commission. Her personal agenda goes beyond the march to include ending the Israeli occupation and promoting equality for women in Gaza. Hamad insists that “women can play a prominent role in the liberation of Palestine because they are integral to the Palestinian community…Women will always be in the front lines of our national struggle.”
  • Samira Abdelalim, 41, lives in southern Gaza and serves as the Director of the Women’s Department at the General Federation of Trade Unions. Her intense desire to peacefully achieve the right to return to ancestral villages and towns is tempered with realism: “I know that the occupation will not end in one day, but by cumulative work.”
  • Siwar Alza’anen, 20, is an activist in the Palestinian Student Labor Front and has a deep desire for her and her family to return to their native village. By participating in the Great March of Return, Alza’anen wants “to send the message to the international community that we are suffering a lot, we are living under pressure, siege, pain, poverty.”
  • Reem Anbar, 28, resides in Gaza City and chooses a musical way to counter the violence of Israeli military forces. Since she was a young girl, Anbar has played the oud, a short-neck lute-type, pear-shaped stringed instrument similar to the mandolin. When Israeli bombs would be dropping near her home, she would pick up her oud where the notes and rhythms would overshadow, at least for a while, the chaos outside her windows. After the war ended, she played for traumatized children at the cultural center and, later, she joined other artists to compose musical plays and performances for children to overcome trauma and promote their inclusion in society.

The next two sections highlight more Palestinian women leaders.

The Poem that Sent Dareen Tatour to Prison

Dareen Tatour at the Nazareth Magistrates’ Court, July 31, 2018 (Rami Shllush)

On July 31, 2018, Dareen Tatour, a 36-year-old Palestinian poet from Reineh, near Nazareth, was sentenced to five months in an Israeli prison, for writing a poem, a poem that Israel found objectionable, claiming the poem intended to incite violence. Tatour insisted that her poem was nonviolent and “about the settlers who kill and burn Palestinians.” More than 150 international literary figures came to her defense, including Alice Walker and Naomi Klein, but to no avail. Here is Tatour’s poem, “Resist, My People,” translated by Tariq al Haydar.

Resist, My People
Resist, my people, resist them.
In Jerusalem, I dressed my wounds and breathed my sorrows
And carried the soul in my palm
For an Arab Palestine.
Never lower my flags
Until I evict them from my land.
I cast them aside for a coming time.
Resist, my people, resist them.
Resist the settler’s robbery
And follow the caravan of martyrs.
Shred the disgraceful constitution
Which imposed degradation and humiliation
And deterred us from restoring justice.
They burned blameless children;
As for Hadil, they sniped her in public,
Killed her in broad daylight.
Resist, my people, resist them.
Resist the colonialist’s onslaught.
Pay no mind to his agents among us
Who chain us with the peaceful illusion.
Do not fear doubtful tongues;
The truth in your heart is stronger,
As long as you resist in a land
That has lived through raids and victory.
So Ali called from his grave:
Resist, my rebellious people.
Write me as prose on the agarwood;
My remains have you as a response.
Resist, my people, resist them.
Resist, my people, resist them.

Six al-Khalil Women Held in Administrative Detention

A banner showing six women currently held in administrative detention (Christian Peacemaker Teams)

The Old Town section of Hebron, located in the southern part of the West Bank, was built in the thirteenth century and is known as al-Khalil. The Israeli military in Hebron is increasingly targeting local nonviolent activists and recently arrested six women in al-Khalil, holding them in administrative detention. Administrative detention is incarceration without trial or charge, alleging that a person plans to commit a future offense. It has no time limit and the evidence on which it is based is not disclosed. Israel employs this measure extensively and routinely, holding thousands of Palestinians for lengthy periods of time.

One of the women is a writer and another is a member of the al-Khalil municipality. Nearly 100 people regularly hold the above-pictured banner outside the detention center where they are held, calling for their release.

Gaza – The Great Return March Continues

Palestinian boy shot in Gaza by an Israeli military sniper on August 24, 2018 (Timeline Photos)

The Great Return March, begun on March 30, 2018 is now five months old and is continuing. On August 24, 2018, 5,000 people attended the demonstration protesting the Israeli blockade of Gaza, denying Gaza citizens the internationally-recognized right to return to their ancestral homes. As they have consistently done, Israeli military forces fired upon the peaceful demonstrators, injuring nearly 200 people, about 50 from live bullets. Since the beginning of the Great Return March, at least 155 Palestinians have been killed and over 17,000 injured, many with permanent disabilities.

Gaza – Medical Ship Hijacked by Israel
On July 29, 2018, the Al Awda (The Return), carrying 114 boxes of medical supplies to Gaza and sailing under a Norwegian flag, was traveling in international waters, 49 nautical miles from the Gaza City port, when it was intercepted, boarded and hijacked by Israeli military forces. The 22 people on board the Al Awda came from 16 countries and included human rights supporters, journalists and crew. All were taken captive and released several days later.

“It’s what pirates do,” exclaimed one of the human rights supporters aboard the Al Awda. Larry Commodore is a long-time indigenous rights activist and former elected chief of the Soowahlie native community near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He volunteered to be part of the Freedom Flotilla taking desperately needed medical supplies to Gaza because he feels a deep connection between the way his people were forced into refugee status and how that has happened with Palestinians.

Commodore was verbally assaulted, dragged off the ship and kicked, injuring his foot and bladder. In prison, his foot gash was stitched, but his bladder injury was ignored for four days. About their capture and arrest, Commodore said they prepared themselves well for nonviolent resistance, but he was not prepared for the brutality of Israel’s Navy personnel: “I was more angry than afraid. I had prepared myself pretty well for how I would react if something happened directly to me, but what I hadn’t prepared enough for was my reaction when my shipmates were being assaulted…I asked the [Israeli’s guarding us] ‘Why are you wearing masks, only criminals wear masks?’ They were really quite brutal.”

The badly needed medical supplies never made it to Gaza.

Gaza – An Action Alert from MCC
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) has issued a special alert: Support the People of Gaza – Take Action. The alert invites all of us to ask our Congressional representatives to call for a lasting ceasefire between Israel and Gaza and support for the people of Gaza. To read the entire alert, click here.

Israel Detains Jewish Activists Opposing Nation-State Law
In the past month, three Jewish activists have been detained for their opposition to the recently passed Nation-State Law. Each had openly expressed strong disagreement with the law’s definition of Israel as an entirely Jewish state, with no mention of the value of democracy or equal rights for Palestinians.

Peter Beinart, a writer, professor and political commentator, was on vacation, traveling from Greece to attend a family bat mitzvah, when he was detained by the Shin Bet, Israel’s security agency, when he arrived at Ben Gurion airport in Jerusalem. Israeli-born poet, Moriel Rothman-Zecher, also arrived at Ben Gurion airport with his wife and infant daughter, where he was warned that his involvement in nonviolent protests was a “slippery slope.” He wondered how he would explain the incident to his daughter when she was older: “Hey kid, on your first visit to Israel, you father was detained at the border because he thinks Palestinians are human beings deserving of equality.” One week later, Simone Zimmerman, a founder of IfNotNow, an organization of young American Jews fighting Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank, was detained at the Taba Border Crossing between Israel and Egypt.

Each of the three recognized that as disturbing as their detentions were, what they experienced was nothing compared to what Palestinians experience daily. After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly apologized for Beinart’s detention, Beinart responded: “Benjamin Netanyahu has half-apologized for my detention yesterday at Ben Gurion airport. I’ll accept when he apologizes to all Palestinians and Palestinian Americans who every day endure far worse.”

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
The Battle for Justice in Palestine, Ali Abunimah, Haymarket Books, 2014
A Palestinian Theology of Liberation, Naim Ateek, Orbis Books, 2017
Why Palestine Matters
No Way to Treat a Child Campaign
The Palestinian Portal Resource
HP-Free Church Campaign

Prayer


Defiantly waving the Palestinian flag highIn the wake of the protest over the Nation-State Law, which took place on the 14th of July in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, the Likud party has proposed a new bill. On Wednesday the 22nd of August, it outlined a bill which would prohibit the Palestinian flag, along with the flags of other “enemy nations,” from being raised in any demonstration where more than three people had gathered. The ban would carry a sentence of one years’ imprisonment for anyone who raised the forbidden flag…Lord, we continue to pray for the safeguarding of freedom of speech and the right of the people to resist injustice in Israel. We pray that those in positions of authority would be mindful of the rights of all their citizens and would work for the benefit of all the people living in Israel. Lord, in your mercy… Sabeel Wave of Prayer

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

MennoPIN Monthly Update: July 2018

MennoPIN Update: July 2018
View this email in your browser
MENNONITE PALESTINE ISRAEL NETWORK

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
Prayer

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

Prayer
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
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)