November 2019 MennoPIN Monthly Update

November 2019 Monthly Update

In This Issue
Kairos Palestine Christmas Alert
Pompeo’s Proclamation – Settlements are Legal
Gaza – Ever in Netanyahu’s Crosshairs
How an Israeli Air Force Pilot Became a Champion of BDS
Become a Twinning Congregation
Go to Palestine: Tours
Read More
Prayer

Kairos Palestine Christmas Alert
Kairos Palestine has just issued its Christmas Alert 2019 https://kairospalestine.ps/images/kairos-christmas-alert-2019.pdf. 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.
Pompeo’s Proclamation – Settlements are Legal
From Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama, every US president has expressed disapproval of Israel’s illegal settlements in Palestine. Their rebuke, however, was never more than a slap on the wrist.  As recently as 2016, while Secretary of State John Kerry blasted settlement expansion as the greatest threat to peace in Israel/Palestine, Obama pushed a bill through a willing Congress for $38 billion dollars in military aid to Israel over the next ten yearsOn November 18, 2019 Donald Trump’s Secretary of State, the Christian Zionist Mike Pompeo, singularly declared Israeli settlements as legal when, in fact, they are a flagrant violation of international law and at odds with the international community. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention is unambiguous: “The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into territory it occupies.”

Ali Abunimah, Palestinian-American journalist and editor of the online Electronic Intifada, contends that Pompeo has simply made explicit what has been implicit all along, that this new proclamation “is merely a shedding of the fiction that the U.S. has ever opposed Israel’s land-theft colonies. It changes nothing but makes clear to all that the U.S. and Israel are partners in crime.”

This is now the third time Trump has emboldened Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his ever-increasing aggression toward Palestine. First came the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem. Then, affirmation of Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights. And now opening the door for Israel’s unhindered and rapid expansion of settlements on Palestinian land.

Noura Erakat, Palestinian civil rights attorney, legal scholar and professor at Rutgers University, addressed the motivation behind Trump’s latest move in a recent interview on Democracy Now!: “The tragic part is that the U.S. administration is doing this in order to support Netanyahu in his own bid to consolidate power in Israel. Palestinians are pawns…to be moved around…What’s going on is a violation of human rights.”

Whether to strengthen Netanyahu’s hand or to placate Christian Zionists (or both), US policy now unequivocally affirms the rights of one country to occupy and establish permanent settlements on land in a neighboring country.

The losers, once again, are the people of Palestine. Will the international community stand by and allow Trump and Pompeo to rewrite international law? Will the churches remain silent?

Gaza – Ever in Netanyahu’s Crosshairs
The history of Gaza stretches back more than 4,000 years. Situated near the coast on a 200-foot hill and surrounded by a fertile plain with numerous wells, Gaza borders the desert between Syria and Egypt. In ancient times caravans and armies frequently passed near Gaza and it had periods of wealth and importance. It was also frequently besieged and destroyed by the likes of Sargon, the Philistines and Alexander the Great, among others. Setting Gaza in their crosshairs, they sometimes massacred and enslaved the entire population.Gaza’s appearance in the Old and New Testaments also extends back thousands of years. As early as Genesis 10:19, Gaza is described as on the border of Canaan, and it became part of Judah when the land was first divided into the twelve tribes. Many times Gaza is mentioned in the biblical histories of Israel, in Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. It was in Judges that Samson went to Gaza, visited a prostitute and met and married Delilah. After Delilah’s betrayal, he was captured, blinded and imprisoned in Gaza, “grinding at the mill.” (Judges 16:21). It was also in Gaza that Samson met his death. The prophets Jeremiah, Amos, Zephaniah and Zechariah all railed against the sins of Gaza and its conquerors. And after the first Pentecost, it was on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza that Philip met and baptized the eunuch from Ethiopia.

Today, as it has been for over a decade, Gaza again sits directly in the crosshairs, this time those of Israeli snipers, drones and bombers. Blockaded by Israel in every way, Gazans suffer, “grinding at the mill” of poverty. Entrapped by barb-wired fences, 2,000,000 people languish in an open-air prison. By 2020, next year, Gaza may literally become uninhabitable.

On November 12, 2019, Benjamin Netanyahu placed Gaza in his crosshairs again. This time he killed Islamic Jihad leader Baha Abu al-Ata in Gaza, along with his wife, Asmaa, four children and an adult neighbor. Following that, Netanyahu bombed the offices of the Islamic Jihad in Damascus. In retaliation, Islamic Jihad fired over 150 rockets into Israel, injuring dozens. Israel returned fire, killing 34 Palestinians, including 11 children, and wounding 111 others. Once again, violence begets violence begets violence.

Netanyahu is in deep political and personal trouble. For the first time in 10 years, he is unable to form a government and may lose his seat in power. He has also been indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, but he cannot face those charges while holding office. Many believe he initiated the assassination of Abu al-Ata and the subsequent bombing of Gaza as an attempt to rally the public to his side. Jonathan Cook, the Nazareth-based freelance journalist and critic of Israeli policy toward Palestine expressed what many inside and outside Israel fear, that “his instinct for political survival trumps the interests of stability in the regions.”

The word for Gaza means “strong.” Over millennia, the people of Gaza have shown strength and resilience in the face of overwhelming odds. Will they be able to do so once again?

How An Israeli Air Force Pilot Became a Champion of BDS

Yonatan Shapira (Credit – unknown)
Yonatan Shapira used to be a bomber pilot for the Israeli Air Force, but today he is a strong advocate for the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement. His powerful story is well worth the lengthy read.It’s 11 PM here in Oslo and I’m trying to write a few words about my support for the BDS movement. I’m looking for an interesting angle so that I don’t repeat what many other, better writers have already written. And then I recall that today is actually the Jewish New Year. I miss my family and friends in Israel, and I am so far from them in chilly Norway. It was exactly 16 years ago, on the eve of the Jewish New Year, September 2003, that I became a conscientious objector. We put our letter and declaration of refusal, with the signatures of 27 Israeli air force pilots, on the desk of the Air Force commander – a General and a mass murderer. These ranged from a Lt. General who almost became the air force commander to lower ranking pilots like me with the rank of captain. We felt brave and important and a bit scared. It’s not every day you find yourself accusing your commanders and leaders of sending you to commit war crimes. On the following day, the headlines in the Zionist media were “The Mutiny of the Pilots”.

Plenty of water has flowed in the Jordan River and Akerselva since then. A lot has changed, and not for the better. We thought we could shake up the system and fix it, but the massacres in Gaza have only intensified. One of the changes is that more and more bombings of the population of Gaza are carried out by drones. Why work hard to convince Israeli pilots to bomb an overcrowded ghetto of two million people, if the commander can just sit in the control room and push the button almost all by himself?

It’s midnight soon. I just received a Whatsapp message from 23-year-old Muhammad. He suffers from pain all over his body, and he’s trying to find a way to receive critical medical treatment to heal his wounds. He writes to me to ask if I have any ideas. I met Muhammad in 2011, eight years ago. He was 14 then, and was lying in a hospital bed, in critical condition after he and his 12-year-old cousin Ibrahim were hit by a missile fired from an Israeli drone. They were playing in the street next to their home in the Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza, Ibrahim lost both arms and incurred a gaping hole in his belly and lung. With the help of an Italian NGO, the two were transferred to an Israeli hospital. Ibrahim succumbed to his wounds a few days later. Ronnie and Renen, two Israeli activists came to visit Muhammad. His whole body was wrapped in bandages, and numerous skin grafts were required to fill the holes in his body. Muhammad asked the visitors why the Israeli army was firing at children playing in the street – why did they shoot Ibrahim and him – and he said he wanted to speak to an Israeli pilot and receive an answer. He wanted an Israeli pilot to come and see his wounds.

That’s when I got a phone call. I was told there was a severely wounded boy from Gaza who wanted to see me and speak to me. I was on my way to visit my cousins, but then I was told that because I had just taken part in the Gaza freedom flotilla, I’m not welcome. My cousin’s husband did not want me near his children. For people in such a brainwashed society the struggle for peace and justice could be like a Contagious disease and he didn’t want me to infect his kids. So when I got this call, I turned straight to the hospital to meet the wounded Palestinian boy, who did want to see me. Since that visit, the life of my family has been connected to Muhammad’s life. My mom took it upon herself to solicit support from anyone who can help and has fought tooth and nail so that Muhammad can undergo more and more of the surgeries required to save his life. In the 2014 Gaza massacre, commanded by General Benny Gantz, the Israeli military bombed Muhammad’s family home, and since he turned 18, he no longer receives the Israeli military permits to come from Gaza to treatment in Israeli hospitals.

A year ago, in some tortuous way, Muhammad managed to leave Gaza and receive a temporary visa to stay in Istanbul. The visa expires in two months, and he now faces the threat of detention or forcible return to Gaza. Muhammad is anxious to complete the required surgeries, so that he can return to a normal life, study and begin his adult life. And now, at midnight, I’m getting messages from him. He’s asking me if I have any ideas as to what can be done, how he can receive medical treatment, rather than go to prison. I’m reading his messages and my heart is broken. I wish all those obedient pilots and drone operators, and other indifferent people, would receive these messages every day from a wounded Palestinian boy, who is eager to have a normal life. I stay up all night, trying to come up with ideas how to help this young man. If only we could get him a permit to fly to anywhere in Europe and receive proper medical care. And Muhammad is just one in thousands upon thousands.

And how, how can this madness be stopped? What other choice do we have? What other way is there to fight? What else does the oppressed, weak, occupied, bombarded, shredded side have at its disposal? And we, whose eyes and ears are already open, we who long to help and long not to remain silent – what other choice do we have?

So, who among you still has doubts as to the necessity of the boycott movement? The non-violent BDS movement allows every person in the world to take part in a just struggle for freedom and equality. It’s time for you to join too. Among the supporters, you will find hundreds of thousands of Jews all across the world, among them more than 1,000 Israelis. I am just one of them.

And one small detail to cap this off: Some of the navigation and stabilization systems for these monstrous drones are being produced here in picturesque and peaceful Norway, at the Kongsberg plants. Polite Norwegian workers, who eat tacos on Fridays and wish for world peace, assemble them gently and skillfully. And this whole supply chain ends up in the hands of the Israeli military, or, to be precise, in the bodies of Muhammad and Ibrahim.

It doesn’t have to go on like this. It can be stopped. Are you going to join us or are you one of those who will keep silent?

As I almost finish writing these words, I read about a famous young Norwegian singer who wants to heal the world but is planning to sing to the prison guards of the Gaza Ghetto, when they come home for the weekend.

Dear Aurora, what should I say in order to help you open your heart and your eyes? I just watched a short recent interview with you. You seem to be a human being with a beautiful soul. They showed you recording different sounds and listening to the tiny little things we usually tend to miss.

Here is a sound you’re missing and what children in Gaza hear 24/7 – the constant buzz of Israeli/Norwegian predator drones.

Can you hear this buzzing? Can you hear the bombs? Can you hear their cries?

Please cancel your concert in Tel Aviv.

Let your music inspire love and hope in the hearts of those who struggle for freedom and equality. Singing to the ghetto prison guards will be something you will always regret.

Become a Gaza Twinning Congregation


A father bathing his daughters in Gaza City (Credit: Wissam Nassar)

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

The first step in the campaign is called the “Mennonite Twinning Initiative with Gaza.” This initiative will match Mennonite congregations with churches, mosques, hospitals, clinics and schools. Already, eight congregations have signed up and are on their way to being paired-up with Gaza!

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

Go to Palestine: Tours
MennoPIN strongly encourages trips to Palestine to see upfront the struggle Palestinians endure on a daily basis. Established justice tours usually last about two weeks and offer both visits to Holy Land sites as well as experiences with Palestinians and those who actively work for justice and freedom for the people of Palestine. Or you may want to plan a do-it-yourself tour. To find out more about tours, visit the MennoPIN website and click on the Tours to Palestine tab.
Read More
Prayer
On the 70th Great March of Return, 66 Palestinian civilians were injured due to the Israeli military’s continued use of excessive force against peaceful protests along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border. At least 20 children, 3 women and a volunteer paramedic were among those injured this Friday, August 16, 2019. Twenty-nine civilians were shot with live bullets; 2 of them were deemed in a critical medical condition. Each protest has its own theme with this one being titled “Palestinian Youth Friday” and involving activities such as speeches by political leaders and theatrical performances. Lord, we continue to pray for the right to protest peacefully in Gaza without the threat of injury or death by the use of live ammunition and dispersal methods by Israeli forces. We are grateful for those who continue to find new ways to protest in a creative and nonviolent way. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.  Sabeel Wave or Prayer

October 2019 MennoPIN Monthly Update

October 2019 Monthly Update

In This Issue
Become a Gaza Twinning Congregation
MennoPIN Can Use Your Help
Sabeel Jerusalem Hosting 1st International Conference
The Elections in Israel – Demonizing Palestinians
Take Action Now – Support H.Res. 496
Tours to Palestine
Read More
Prayer

Become a Gaza Twinning Congregation
A father bathing his daughters in Gaza City (Credit: Wissam Nassar)

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

The first step in the campaign is called the “Mennonite Twinning Initiative with Gaza.” This initiative will match Mennonite congregations with churches, mosques, hospitals, clinics and schools. Already, eight congregations have signed up and are on their way to being paired-up with Gaza!

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

MennoPIN Can Use Your Help

At the last MennoPIN Steering Committee meeting, we made the decision to focus our energies leading up to the MC USA 2021 Convention around two goals: (1) End the Gaza Siege and (2) Say NO to Christian Zionism. To effectively do both, we need volunteer help from you. Here is a brief description of each goal:

End the Gaza Siege – Through education and action, we hope to bring greater awareness to Mennonite congregations about the decade-long Israeli blockade that is devastating Gaza and its people and to inspire action toward freedom and justice there. The Gaza Twinning Initiative is the first step in that direction, but there is much more to do.

Say NO to Christian Zionism – One of the most potent forces in the United States today promoting unquestioning allegiance to Israeli policy toward Palestine is Christian Zionism. With the formation of this committee, we want to say NO to Christian Zionism. The most prominent group supporting Israel and the complete removal of Palestinians from their land is Christians United for Israel (CUFI), whose base of 5,000,000+ mostly evangelical members is by far the largest pro-Israel lobby in this country. We want to educate Mennonites about the dangers of Christian Zionism’s false theology and to develop actions to challenge and confront its goals.

If you have interest, energy and time to serve on one of these new committees, we would love to hear from you. Please write us at mennopin@gmail.com indicating your interest. Thank you for your prayerful consideration.

Sabeel Hosting 1st International Conference

Naim Ateek, Sabeel Co-Founder (left) and Omar Haramy, Coordinator of Sabeel are Conference Leaders (Credit: Joe Roos)

The Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, based in Jerusalem, will hold it’s first international gathering from December 2 to 7, 2019 in Bethlehem. The gathering will include organizations such as Kairos Palestine, Al-Liqa, Dar Al-Kalima and Bethlehem Bible College to demonstrate the wide variety of work being done within the Palestinian community. There will also be the opportunity to meet Muslim and Jewish brothers and sisters.

Omar Haramy, Sabeel’s Coordinator, says this about Sabeel’s hopes from this conference: “We want this gathering to be a time of fellowship, when our friends can update their knowledge of the situation, but more importantly, when they can explore new, effective and nonviolent ways to ‘kumi’ – rise up – so they can build on these new ideas when they return to their communities.”

For more information about the conference and how to register, please click here.

The Elections in Israel – Demonizing Palestinians
Counting election ballots in Jerusalem, September 17, 2019 (Credit – Olivier Fitousso)

In December 2018 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for snap elections after his ruling coalition began to fall apart. The resulting April 2019 elections pitted a coalition of religious and settler parties led by Netanyahu against his primary opponent, the Blue and White Party, headed by Benny Gantz and fellow generals who have led punishing military attacks against Palestinians for many years. That election came to a draw with both parties garnering 35 seats in the Knesset, Israel’s legislative branch. Because neither side could forge a ruling coalition, a new election was called for September 2019.

However, the ‘rerun’ election was also inclusive. This time Gantz gained 33 seats while Netanyahu’s total was 32. Whether either side can form a ruling coalition, whether they come together in some form of shared rule or whether an unprecedented third election will be called remains to be seen. But, as always, the people of Palestine are the big losers.

Jonathan Cook, a freelance journalist based in Nazareth who writes insightfully about the Israel-Palestine conflict, offers these comments on the September election:

  • The more Israeli Jewish society reaches stalemate, the more the country’s marginalized community of Palestinian citizens – a fifth of Israel’s population – finds itself dragged on to the political battlefield. Israel’s 1.8 million Palestinian citizens have now been thrust into the heart of a national conversation among Israel Jews about a supposed threat the minority poses to the country’s political life.”
  • There has always been the subtext of Jewish politicians’ discourse that Palestinian parties have no role to play in shaping the country’s politics…Netanyahu went further still in the most recent election. Desperate to win a far-right majority…the prime minister turned the threat posed by Palestinian voters to his own political fortunes…claiming that ‘the Arabs’ – including Palestinian citizens – ‘want to annihilate us all – women, children and men.’”
  • Netanyahu has introduced new levels of incitement against the Palestinian minority in Israel. But paradoxically, [if Netanyahu is forced from power], it may be his departure from Israeli politics that heralds a period of even greater demonization of the country’s Palestinian citizens.”
Take Action Now – Support H.Res 496
Rep. Ilhan Omar introduces her pro-BDS resolution, H.Res. 496

In July the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to pass H.Res. 246, known as “Opposing efforts to de-legitimize the State of Israel and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement Targeting Israel.” Although it was a non-binding resolution, it nonetheless put Congress on record as opposing BDS, a movement initiated by Palestinians as one nonviolent way to put pressure on Israel to end the occupation, allow the right of return for Palestinians and bring justice, freedom and equality for the people of Palestine. You can find out how your representative voted here. Although the text of the resolution does not mention Israel or Palestine, it has been interpreted as a response to the growing strength of the BDS movement.In response, Rep. Ilhan Omar has introduced a resolution, H.Res. 496, to “speak about the American values that support and believe in our ability to exercise our first amendment rights in regard to boycotting.” You can read the text of H.Res 496 here. The resolution has 18 co-sponsors but needs more. Please encourage your congressperson to co-sponsor and vote for the resolution.

Go to Palestine: Tours

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

Read More

Prayer

On the 70th Great March of Return, 66 Palestinian civilians were injured due to the Israeli military’s continued use of excessive force against peaceful protests along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border. At least 20 children, 3 women and a volunteer paramedic were among those injured this Friday, August 16, 2019. Twenty-nine civilians were shot with live bullets; 2 of them were deemed in a critical medical condition. Each protest has its own theme with this one being titled “Palestinian Youth Friday” and involving activities such as speeches by political leaders and theatrical performances. Lord, we continue to pray for the right to protest peacefully in Gaza without the threat of injury or death by the use of live ammunition and dispersal methods by Israeli forces. We are grateful for those who continue to find new ways to protest in a creative and nonviolent way. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.  Sabeel Wave or Prayer

 

August 2019 MennoPIN Monthly Update

August 2019 Monthly Update

In This Issue
When a Republican President Supported BDS
Is Kashmir the New West Bank?
Become a Gaza Twinning Congregation!
A New Short Film About Youth in Gaza
Support H.Res. 496
Tours to Palestine
A New MennoPIN Steering Committee
Read More
Prayer

When a Republican President Supported BDS


In 1948, Palestinians, forced from their homes by Zionist militia, become refugees.

The BDS movement would not begin until 2005, but President Dwight Eisenhower’s foreign policy toward Israel was, in part, shaped around principles central to BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions). Today, President Donald Trump, the Republican Party and most of the Democratic Party would have us believe that to be pro-BDS is to be anti-Israel and anti-Semitic. But Eisenhower would beg to differ.

Writing on August 22, 2019 on the American Conservative website (of all places!), Derek Leebaert detailed three instances in which the Eisenhower Administration censured the Israeli government for illegal aggression, violence and expansion against Israel’s Arab neighbors, including Palestine.

Leebaert described a 1953 massacre in the village of Qibya in the West Bank, a 1954 bombing of two US consulates in Egypt by a self-described Israeli “terror unit,” and a 1955 military assault against Syria. Following each attack, the Eisenhower administration reacted with censure resolutions at the United Nations (UN). Then, in February 1957, Eisenhower addressed the nation, declaring that he was ready to go beyond censure resolutions and threatened to push UN sanctions and to halt US private business dealings with Israel. Foreign Minister Golda Meir quickly back down.

Eisenhower used and threatened to use actions central to BDS today: sanctions and economic boycott. But today, supporters of BDS and congressional representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are roundly condemned by both parties as “anti-Semites” and “Israel-haters” who seek to destroy Israel. But a Republican president once used BDS tactics to help contain Israeli violence and injustice. And, it could happen today if Israeli lobbying dollars did not line so many congressional campaign pockets. “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby.”

Is Kashmir the New West Bank?

India’s authoritarian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, seems to be taking a page from another authoritarian right-wing Prime Minister’s book, Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. When Modi, a Hindu nationalist, was Chief Minister of the Indian state of Gujarat in 2002, he oversaw, and was considered complicit in, a Hindu nationalist massacre of Muslims there.

Kashmir has long been disputed territory between India and Pakistan. For many years both India and Pakistan have abided by an agreement (called Articles 370 and 35A in India) in which each country would control portions of Kashmir near their borders, but the bulk of the territory would be self-ruling.

Recently, Modi declared those Articles void, making Kashmir a “union territory” of India. In addition to increasing tensions between Pakistan and India, Modi’s move allows Indians from outside Kashmir to buy land in Kashmir and create settlements protected by tens of thousands of additional Indian troops, leaving Kashmir’s dominantly Muslim population (about 96%) disenfranchised and with far less power. Is Kashmir the new West Bank? Will Modi follow the Israeli model?  Only time will tell.

Become a Gaza Twinning Congregation!


A father bathing his daughters in Gaza City (Credit: Wissam Nassar)

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

The first step in the campaign is called the “Mennonite Twinning Initiative with Gaza.” This initiative will match Mennonite congregations with churches, mosques, hospitals, clinics and schools.

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

A New Short Film About Youth in Gaza
Seventy percent of the population of Gaza, about 1.4 million people, are under 30 years of age. Half of Gaza’s population, living in a virtual open-air prison, are children. View this short film to see some of the challenges these young people face and how they are Gaza’s best hope for the future.
Support H.Res 496


Rep. Ilhan Omar introduces her pro-BDS resolution, H.Res. 496

In July the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to pass H.Res. 246, known as “Opposing efforts to de-legitimize the State of Israel and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement Targeting Israel.” Although it was a non-binding resolution, it nonetheless put Congress on record as opposing BDS, a movement initiated by Palestinians as one nonviolent way to put pressure on Israel to end the occupation, allow the right of return for Palestinians and bring justice, freedom and equality for the people of Palestine. You can find out how your representative voted here. Although the text of the resolution does not mention Israel or Palestine, it has been interpreted as a response to the growing strength of the BDS movement.

In response, Rep. Ilhan Omar has introduced a resolution, H.Res. 496, to “speak about the American values that support and believe in our ability to exercise our first amendment rights in regard to boycotting.” You can read the text of H.Res 496 here. The resolution currently has only 15 co-sponsors. Please encourage your congressperson to co-sponsor and vote for the resolution.

Go to Palestine: Tours

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

A New MennoPIN Steering Committee

At the July 2019 MennoCon19 MC USA convention in Kansas City, a new steering committee was formed. Two of the founding MennoPIN members left the steering committee, leaving large shoes to fill. We expressed profound gratitude to Tom Harder and Joy Lapp. They both served MennoPIN with passion, dedication and skill for many years. They will be missed! Thank you, Tom and Joy!!

The new Steering Committee members are Anita Rediger, Bob Atchison (New), Joe Roos (Chair), Jonathan Kuttab, Jonathan Nahar, Lydia Brenneman (New) and Rod Stafford.

Please feel free to bring your ideas, hopes and concerns for MennoPIN by writing us at mennopin@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Read More

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

Prayer

On the 70th Great March of Return, 66 Palestinian civilians were injured due to the Israeli military’s continued use of excessive force against peaceful protests along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border. At least 20 children, 3 women and a volunteer paramedic were among those injured this Friday, August 16, 2019. Twenty-nine civilians were shot with live bullets; 2 of them were deemed in a critical medical condition. Each protest has its own theme with this one being titled “Palestinian Youth Friday” and involving activities such as speeches by political leaders and theatrical performances. Lord, we continue to pray for the right to protest peacefully in Gaza without the threat of injury or death by the use of live ammunition and dispersal methods by Israeli forces. We are grateful for those who continue to find new ways to protest in a creative and nonviolent way. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.  Sabeel Wave or Prayer

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

Steering Committee:
Anita Rediger (Emmaus Road Mennonite Fellowship, Berne, IN)
Bob Atchison (Manhattan [KS] Mennonite Church)
Joe Roos (Peace Mennonite Fellowship, Claremont, CA)
Jonathan Kuttab (Palestinian lawyer and human rights activist)
Jonathan Nahar
Lydia Brenneman
Rod Stafford (Portland Mennonite Church, OR)

June 2019 MennoPIN Monthly Update

June 2019 Monthly Update

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

MennoPIN Launches “End the Gaza Siege” Campaign


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Farce Known as Trump Heights


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

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

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

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

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

Palestinian Voices


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

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

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

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

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

Go to Palestine: Tours

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

Read More

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

Prayer

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


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

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

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.

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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
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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)