MennoPIN Monthly Update March 2018

MENNONITE PALESTINE ISRAEL NETWORK
March 2018 Monthly Update
In This Issue
Kairos Easter Alert 2018
5 Killed and 300+ Wounded on Land Day
Ahed Tamimi is Sentenced
Learning Tours to Palestine
Go HP-Free
Read More
Prayer
 
Kairos Easter Alert 2018
Kairos Palestine, a Palestinian Christian movement advocating for the end to the Israeli occupation and a just solution to the conflict, has recently issued its Easter Alert for 2018. A guiding textbook for Easter to Pentecost, Kairos Easter Alert 2018 offers theological and political reflection including Donald Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem and its effects, the injustices toward Palestinian children and Easter hope. To read Kairos Easter Alert 2018, click here.

During these difficult times for Palestinians and their allies who work to end the occupation, MennoPIN wishes you a joyous and hope-filled Easter.

5 Killed and 300+ Wounded in Gaza Land Day Protest
Since 1976 Palestinians have claimed Land Day at the end of March to voice their legal rights to reclaim land stolen from them in the 1948 Nakba (“the catastrophe”). This year Land Day is March 30 and the peaceful gathering will continue until May 14, Nakba Day. On March 30 thousands of Palestinians gathered nonviolently at the border of Gaza and Israel to protest. Heavily-armed Israeli forces responded by killing 5 Palestinians and wounding over 300 others. The fear is that hundreds more will be killed and thousands more wounded during the two weeks leading up to Nakba Day. Pray for peace as Palestinians nonviolently risk their lives in seeking justice.

Ahed Tamimi Sentenced to 8 Months in Plea Bargain

 
Ahed Tamimi, the teenage Palestinian girl who became an international symbol of Palestinian resistance, accepted a plea deal in which she will serve eight months in an Israeli military prison and pay a fine of 5,000 shekels (about 1,400 USD).

Her crime was slapping an Israeli soldier in her West Bank home town of Nabi Saleh after Israeli forces shot her cousin in the face with a rubber bullet. She was initially charged with twelve crimes that, if convicted, would have sent her to prison for many years. The plea bargain agreement reduced the charges to four, including assault and incitement. As she left her sentencing at Ofer military prison near Ramallah, Ahed shouted to reporters: “There is no justice under occupation!”

While Ahed’s trial and imprisonment has gained considerable global attention, hundreds of other Palestinian children have suffered similar fates. Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of the Middle East division of Human Rights Watch responded to Ahed’s sentencing by saying, “Plea bargains are the norm in Israel’s military justice system, which is characterized by prolonged pretrial detention, abuse of kids and sham trials. Hundreds of Palestinian children remain locked up with little attention to their cases.” If Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett had his way, Ahed would have been in prison the rest of her life. After viewing the video of Ahed slapping the soldier Bennett said that Ahed and her cousin deserved to “finish their lives in prison.”

During Ahed’s trial and sentencing, another Israeli court reduced the already short sentence of an Israeli soldier, who was filmed executing a prone Palestinian man in cold blood, to just nine months, only one month more than Ahed’s sentence. Ahed, who was credited with time-served, should be home in July 2018.

Learning Tours to Palestine
One of the best ways to understand the people of Palestine and their struggle for justice is to go there yourself. With knowledgeable leadership and guidance, you can see both Holy Land sites and meet and talk with Palestinians and Israelis who oppose the occupation and are working for justice for the Palestinian people. MennoPIN recommends the following conference and five tours taking place in the upcoming months. Go to Palestine and expand your knowledge of the Palestine-Israeli conflict and hear from those working on the ground for justice and peace in the Holy Land.

Christian Peacemaker Teams’ Nakba Day Delegation to Palestine. April 30-May 14. Deadline is April 8. Be part of this Christian Peacemaker Teams’ trip to Palestine to observe Nakba Day 2018, seventy years after Zionist forces drove out Palestinian inhabitants from their homes. CPT delegate members will gain perspective on how ongoing issues affect daily life and will experience the power of Palestinian and Israeli citizens overcoming major obstacles. Delegates will meet with Palestinian human rights representatives and peace workers and visit families whose homes and livelihoods are threatened by expanding Israeli settlements. For more information, click here.

Christ at the Checkpoint. May 28-June 1, 2018. Held at Bethlehem Bible College in Bethlehem, Palestine and led by a diversity of speakers. Christ at the Checkpoint conference provides a platform for different opinions to be shared, and this year’s speakers will bring diverse perspectives on how to keep Jesus at the center of our lives as it pertains to every aspect of life. The conference seeks to form people by the love of God, teachings of the Bible and a fearless life of discipleship amidst the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To find out more about Christ at the Checkpoint conference, click here.

“Come and See” Trip to Israel/Palestine.  June 17-30, 2018. Leaders Kathy Bergen, Joy Lapp and Arnie Voigt.  A deeply engaging alternative tour to the Holy Land. See the holy places – Jewish, Christian, and Muslim; Meet with Palestinian and Jewish activists and human rights groups; Learn about the impact of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian life and consider what is needed for a just peace. Beginning and ending in Jerusalem, the trip also includes time in Bethlehem, visiting a Bedouin village in the Negev, touring the site of a Palestinian village destroyed in 1948, traveling to Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee, meeting with the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron, visiting a refugee camp, and much more. For more information, click here or contact Joy Lapp: lappj@earthlink.net720-201-3697.

 “Come and See” Solidarity Tour of Palestine and Israel. September 2-15, 2018. Led by L. Michael Spath and Doug Thorpe. This tour will take you to Bethlehem (Nativity Church, Shepherds’ Fields and the Tent of Nations); Jerusalem (Holy Sepulchre, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Al Aqsa Mosque, Melkite Catholic Cathedral and more); Judean Desert (Jordan River, site of John’s baptisms, Qumran and the Dead Sea); Galilee (Capernaum, Tabgha, the Sea of Galilee, Magdala, Nazareth and the Mount of the Beatitudes); Ramallah (Muqata and Nelson Mandela Square) and Hebron (Old City and Tomb of the Patriarchs). For more information, contact lmichaelspath@gmail.com.

Sabeel Fall Witness Visit. October 30 – November 7, 2018. Led by Naim Ateek, co-founder of Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, East Jerusalem, Palestine. Worship with Palestinian Christians. Meet and reflect with Palestinian Christians and Muslims as well as Jewish Israelis and internationals who partner with Sabeel in nonviolent resistance against the violation of international and humanitarian law. Experience the realities of the Palestinian community living under Israeli Occupation: the Wall, settlements, check points, confiscated land and demolished homes, refugee camps and environmental degradation. Learn about the loss of civil and property rights of Arab Israeli citizens. For more information and to register, go here.

A Peacemaker’s Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. January 16-27, 2019. Led by Richard Blackburn, Executive Director of Lombard Mennonite Peace Center, the three-center pilgrimage will include Jerusalem (Mount of Olives, Mount Zion, the Old City, Yad Vashem, Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center); Bethlehem (Church of the Nativity, Shepherd’s Fields, Christian Peacemaker Teams in Hebron, Diyar Consortium, Wi’am Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center) and Galilee (Nazareth, Cana, Church of the Beatitudes and a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee). The Pilgrimage will also include visits to various peacemaking ministries led by Palestinian Christians working for peace. Teaching sessions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, biblical peacemaking and conflict transformation are central parts of the tour as well. For more information on the tour and how to register, click here.

Join Other MC USA Churches and Become HP-Free
MennoPIN encourages you to join Eugene Mennonite Church, Eugene, OR and Peace Mennonite Fellowship, Claremont, CA and become HP-Free. Reach out to your pastor, church council and congregation to sign the HP-Free Church pledge, committing to not purchase Hewlett Packard computers, printers, inks, and other products until HP stops profiting from occupation and human rights violations. For more on the HP-Free Church Campaign go here.

Read More
Kairos Easter Alert 2018
No Way to Treat a Child Campaign
The Palestinian Portal Resource
HP-Free Church Campaign

Prayer Poem
Christians who follow the Gregorian calendar will celebrate Easter this Sunday, marking the events of Christ’s crucifixion, death, and resurrection. There will be much rejoicing and excitement in Jerusalem and in the surrounding areas. There will be many processions through the Old City and up on the Mount of Olives, to remind us of the paths Jesus walked on these holy days. Lord God, we are filled with hope at the announcement of your Sons resurrection at Easter. The celebrations of this day remind us that the victory has already been won, and that in the end good will triumph over evil. However, for Palestinians living here, it can be hard to see the light of the resurrection when every day they are surrounded by the darkness of the grave. Grant them fresh hope in their hearts and the strength to persevere in how they live for Your glory. Lord, in your mercy
Sabeel Wave of Prayer, March 29, 2018

Palestine Advocacy Day Scholarships for Mennonite Students

MENNONITE PALESTINE ISRAEL NETWORK
PALESTINE ADVOCACY DAY SCHOLARSHIPS FOR MENNONITE STUDENTS

MennoPIN and Mennonite Church USA encourage Mennonite students to participate in Palestine Advocacy Day & Training 2018 in Washington, DC, March 16-19, 2018. If you go, we will cover your registration fee (including hotel for three nights, breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday and breakfast on Monday), and we will also reimburse you up to $100 for travel.

As young leaders and activists, you will learn the skills needed to lead campaigns in your communities, engage elected officials and advocate for the rights of Palestinians. The intensive training in political engagement and community mobilization will include a day of lobbying on Capitol Hill. For more information about the advocacy days and to register, click here.

When you register, you will not need to send any money if you use this code: jonathanscode. Then, upon your return, send your travel reimbursement request (up to $100) to mennopin@gmail.com.

We hope you will go and experience the power of organizing for justice and peace!

MennoPIN Monthly Update: February 2018

MENNONITE PALESTINE ISRAEL NETWORK
Esther Koontz
Esther Koontz Wins Early Court Case in Kansas
February 2018 Monthly Update

In This Issue
Esther Koontz Wins Early Court Decision
Ahed Tamimi Trial Begins Behind Closed Doors
BDS Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
MC USA Investment Consultation
Three Important New Reads in 2018
Join Other MC USA Churches to Become HP-Free
Read More
Prayer

Esther Koontz’ Case Wins Preliminary Injunction Against Kansas Law
On January 30, 2018, in a case testing First Amendment free-speech rights, Kansas Mennonite Esther Koontz and the American Civil Liberties Union won an early court decision in its law suit against Koontz who lost a contract with the State of Kansas because she would not sign a statement pledging not to participate in any Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) actions. U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Crabtree wrote the following in his decision: “This ruling should serve as a warning to government officials around the country that the First Amendment prohibits the government from suppressing participation in political boycotts.” Koontz’ refusal to sign was informed in part by the MC USA Orlando decision last summer to boycott consumer products that profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Ahed Tamimi’s Trail Begins Behind Closed Doors
Oren_Ahed_Trial-1                          Mohammed Tamimi

Ahed Tamimi arriving at her trial        Mohammed Tamimi after surgery

Seventeen-year-old Palestinian protestor, Ahed Tamimi, one of hundreds of Palestinian children imprisoned by Israel, began her trial at Ofer military prison near Jerusalem on January 15, 2018. She asked that the hearing be open to the public and the press, but the military judge refused and began the trial behind closed doors. The judge insisted that he was acting in the best interest of Ahed, but her attorney, Gaby Lasky, protested vehemently, saying the family wants an open trial: “The court decided what is best for the court, and not what is good for Ahed…We believe that this is an indictment solely created to deter Ahed and other Palestinian youth.” Ahed’s family was able to remain in the courtroom and her father, Bassem, was heard shouting out to Ahed: “Stay strong, stay strong.” Ahed is imprisoned because she slapped an Israeli soldier in the face on December 15, 2017, after another soldier shot her 15-year-old cousin, Mohammed, in the face with a rubber-coated steel pellet. Mohammed required surgery to remove part of his skull. Ahed’s trial will resume on March 11, 2018. She is being held in prison for the duration of the trial.

BDS Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize
The Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) movement was nominated on January 31, 2018, for the Nobel Peace Prize by a Norwegian Member of Parliament. In his formal announcement, Bjørnar Moxnes stated: “Awarding this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the BDS movement would be a powerful signal, emphasizing the international community’s commitment to support a just peace for the Palestinian people… the Israeli people and all people in the Middle East – and the world at large.” To sign the Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) BDS Nobel Peace Prize support letter, click here.

MennoPIN Participates in MC USA Investment Consultation on Israel/Palestine
In July 2017 at the Orlando MC USA convention, delegates adopted the “Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine” resolution, which included a commitment to “avoiding economic support for occupation.” On November 20, 2017, representatives from MC USA agencies and related organizations met for a consultation on investments in Israel/Palestine. You can read the report of that first consultation here.

Three Important Publications Just Out
MennoPIN wants to draw your attention to three new reads published in 2018:

  • Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations (by Ronen Bergman, Random House, January 30, 2018) – Bergman is a journalist based in Israel who probed the targeted killings of thousands of Palestinians by Israel Defense Forces.
  • Gaza: An Inquest into its Martyrdom (by Norman Finkelstein, University of California Press, January 9, 2018) – Finkelstein chronicles the humanitarian disaster in Gaza, including the eight devastating ‘operations” by Israel against Gaza’s largely defenseless population in which thousands have died and tens of thousands left homeless.
  • 50 Years of Occupation: Dispossession, Deprivation and De-Development(Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA), February 12, 2018) – AIDA, a coalition of 70 international NGO’s, including Mennonite Central Committee, combined to document the decades-long strangulation of Palestinian economic prospects and human rights.

Join Other MC USA Churches and Become HP-Free
MennoPIN encourages you to join Eugene Mennonite Church, Eugene, OR and Peace Mennonite Fellowship, Claremont, CA and become HP-Free. Reach out to your pastor, church council and congregation to sign the HP-Free Church pledge, committing to not purchase Hewlett Packard computers, printers, inks, and other products until HP stops profiting from occupation and human rights violations. For more on the HP-Free Church Campaign go here.

Read More
More on the BDS movement
The Palestinian Portal Resource
HP-Free Church Campaign
Rise and Kill First, Ronen Bergman (at your favorite bookstore)
Gaza: An Inquest into its Martyrdom (at your favorite bookstore)
50 Years of Occupation

Prayer
A new book by Ronen Bergman, the intelligence correspondent for the Israeli Yediot Aharonot newspaper, chronicles Israel’s ‘2,700’ assassination operations. In his book,Mr. Bergman raises moral and legal concerns provoked by state-sponsored killings.
Lord, we remember all the people who have been condemned to death by the Israeli government without a fair trial. We pray that the day will come that Israeli decision makers abandon the sword and are held accountable for their crimes. Lord in you mercy…hear our prayers. Sabeel Wave of Prayer – February 1, 2018

MennoPIN Monthly Update: January 2018

Ahed Tamimi at a non-violent protest march with other Palestinian women.

In This Issue
Ahed Tamimi: The New Face of Palestinian Resistance
Co-founder of Sabeel Challenges Trump
500 Christian Leaders Denounce Anti-BDS Legislation
Nassar Family/Tent of Nations Receive Peace Award
HP-Free Church Campaign
Read More
Prayer Poem

Ahed Tamimi: The New Face of Palestinian Resistance
Some even call her the Palestinian Joan of Arc, the 16-year-old who slapped Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldiers outside of her home in the village of Nabi Saleh after her 15-year-old cousin was shot in the face with a bullet. At 4 am the following morning, IDF soldiers broke into her home and arrested her along with her mother, father and cousin Nour. Later, an Israeli military judge ruled that Ahed, who had not been charged with a crime, must remain in custody during her trial.

The arrest and detention of Palestinian children like Ahed has become the norm as Israel continues to flout international law. Magdelena Mughrabi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa for Amnesty International, said of Ahed, her “outrageously excessive” ongoing detention and military court trial are “an example of the institutional discrimination typical of the treatment of Palestinian children who participate in activism against the Israeli occupation and shows how Israel is violating its international human rights obligations toward children.”

You can view short videos of Ahed in detention here and a five-minute video of an earlier interview with her here.

MennoPIN encourages you to join Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) and Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in taking action to support Ahed and all Palestinian children by supporting H.R. 4391, a bill introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn). See the web pages of FOSNA and MCC for further details on action you can take.

Co-Founder of Sabeel Challenges Trump on UNRWA Funding Cuts
In addition to moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, President Donald Trump has further crushed hopes for peace between Palestine and Israel by eliminating the US voluntary contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Created in 1949 to carry out direct relief for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA called for Palestinian refugees to return to their home after the being forced out by Israeli Zionist forces in the 1948 Nakba (catastrophe). Alternatively, refugees unable to return would be fairly compensated for their land. From the beginning of UNRWA, Israel has refused to allow refugees to return or give fair compensation. The US has supported Israel’s refusal to cooperate with UNRWA by vetoing every United Nations resolution for compliance.

Samia Khoury is a co-founder of Sabeel and lives in occupied East Jerusalem. After hearing about the cut in UNRWA funding, she wrote the following to the president: “Yes, Mr. Trump, I assure you it is our rights as Palestinians that we are demanding, and not your money. However, once again you seem to support the oppressors and punish the victims, not only by denying them their right of return, but by denying them their basic rights as well: health, education and relief services that are very much needed in the refugee camps where the situation has further deteriorated due to the ongoing occupation; an occupation that should have come to an end with the implementation of the Security Council Resolution 242 which was unanimously adopted on November 22, 1967, and based on the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.”

You can voice your opposition to the elimination of UNRWA funding and support of Palestinian human rights by calling the White House comment line at 202-456-1111.

500 Christian Leaders Denounce Anti-BDS Legislation
Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, in 2005 over 170 Palestinian unions, political parties, women’s organizations, professional associations and other civil society bodies called for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) as a form of nonviolent pressure on Israel to honor the humanity, dignity and human rights of Palestinian people. They invited support from allies around the world. Since then, BDS has become a global movement of opposition to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and oppression of its people.

In recent years the BDS movement has blossomed throughout the United States. As a result, pro-Israeli and Zionist forces have begun to push back with anti-BDS legislation on both the state and national level. In one attempt to stand with oppressed Palestinians and challenge the threat of our constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech, nearly 500 Christian leaders from across the nation have signed a petition opposing anti-BDS legislation. Add your support here.

Nassar Family and Tent of Nations Chosen for Peace Award
The United Methodist Church chose the Nassar family to receive one of its 2017 Peace Awards. The Tent of Nations lies on the Nassar’s 100-acre farm located southwest of Bethlehem in a highly disputed area of Palestine controlled by the Israeli Government. The family remains on their land and share their story of peace with guests from around the world. The family is not permitted to develop their farm for agricultural purposes, not allowed access to power, water, or sewer infrastructure, nor obtain permits for any new buildings. The family has instead come up with creative and sustainable alternatives. Each summer, children from local villages (Christian and Muslim) participate in a summer camp aimed at giving the children freedom and distraction from the surrounding politics, empowering the children with self-confidence so that they can be a part of a better future for Palestine. The family also established the Bent Al-Reef Women’s Centre to empower women with classes in English, computer, art, etc., and encourage them to play a role in shaping society. Find out more about the Tent of Nations.

Support Palestinian Human Rights and Go HP-Free
Reach out to your pastor, church council and congregation to encourage your church to sign the HP Free Church pledge, committing to not buy HP computers, printers, inks, and other products until HP stops profiting from the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine and human rights violations. For more information on how your church can become a HP-Free Church go here.

Read More
No Way to Treat a Child Campaign
More on the BDS movement
The Palestinian Portal Resource
The Tent of Nations
HP-Free Church Campaign

Prayer Poem
“When the song of the angels is stilled
When the Star in the sky is gone
When the angels and shepherds have found their way home
The work of Christmas has begun!”
(Howard Thurman)

MennoPIN Monthly Update: December 2017

The Alternativity by Bansky

Street artist Bansky has created new Christmas artwork on The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, Palestine. The familiar message now has a caveat: “Terms and Conditions Apply.” Meanwhile, two angels attempt to pry open the wall with bare hands and a crowbar.

From all of us at MennoPIN, Christmas blessings as we together seek unconditional Peace on Earth, tearing down the walls of hostility that divide the Holy Land today, seeking peace and justice for Palestine and Israel.

Advent Bulletin Insert from MennoPIN
The MennoPIN Action/Advocacy Subcommittee has created an Advent bulletin insert to encourage a faithful response to the recent passing of the MC USA resolution: Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine. You can find the bulletin insert on the MennoPIN website here.Update on BDS and Hewlett-Packard
Hewlett-Packard has spun off part of their company, effectively splitting the corporate giant in two. HP has been one of the main targets of the BDS movement because of its complicity in the security apparatus and infrastructure of Israel and its illegal occupation of Palestine. It is unclear which of the two companies is involved with the occupation. Until it is clear, the BDS movement continues to recommend the boycott of HP. BDS appears to be increasing its focus on the tourism sector, especially TripAdvisor and AirBnB. More on that in future updates.Update on the Esther Koontz lawsuit (ACLU vs. State of Kansas).
The ACLU is filing a lawsuit on behalf of Esther Koontz, the Kansas Mennonite who was denied employment in Kansas because she would not agree to abide by a Kansas law to not engage in boycotting companies complicit in the oppression of Palestinian people. In early proceedings of the lawsuit, the judge stated: “This law cannot possibly be constitutional.” Kansas state attorneys did not dispute the judges assertion, but promised to have a defense later. A similar case is being brought by the ACLU in Arizona.Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Central Committee Strategize Support to HR 4391
Jonathan Brenneman, MC USA Coordinator, Israel/Palestine Partners in Peacemaking and Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach, Director of the MCC US Washington Office are working on a strategy to form a Mennonite delegation to Capitol Hill that would focus on support of HR 4391, Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israel Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act. The bill would require the Secretary of State to certify that American funds do not support Israel’s military detention, interrogation, abuse or ill-treatment of Palestinian children.

US Embassy and Jerusalem
Jonathan Brenneman and Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach were interviewed in The Mennonite magazine online, TMail, to explain the likely devastating impact of the Trump administration’s decision to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Please read the informative interview here.

Resources
The Mennonite Interview on moving the US embassy to Jerusalem
Palestinian Portal on the embassy move
Palestinian Christian voices on moving of US Embassy to Jerusalem: SabeelThe Latin Patriarchate of JerusalemThe Middle East Council of Churches

Prayer
The U.S. vetoed a UN resolution seeking to reaffirm Jerusalem’s status as unresolved, after 14 UN Security Council members voted in favor of the resolution Monday, in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize it as Israel’s capital.
Lord, the Palestinian people are running out of options leaving only the “stones to cry out”. We give thanks for the brave countries of the world that refused to disrespect international law and challenge the unjust decisions of the United States Administration. We pray that the powerful give up on their useless efforts to maintain the Israeli military occupation. Lord in your mercy… Sabeel Wave of Prayer, December 21, 2017


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)

MennoPIN Update: November 2017

Please Consider a Financial Gift to MennoPIN
MennoPIN operates on a shoestring budget. We have no paid staff and the Steering Committee are all volunteers. We rarely ask for financial support, but today we ask you, our members, for some help.

There are two ways that MennoPIN incurs financial obligations. MC USA generously allows Jonathan Brenneman, their Coordinator, Israel/Palestine Partners in Peace, to give invaluable assistance to the ministry of MennoPIN and we, in return, provide modest financial support to MC USA. There are also times in which MennoPIN Steering Committee members are invited to an important consultation or to engage in networking, incurring some financial expense.

Thank you for any gift you can make to support the work of MennoPIN. You can make your check out to Pleasant View Mennonite Church with MennoPIN on the memo line. The address is Joy Lapp, c/o MennoPIN, 504 W Henry Street, Mount Pleasant, IA 52641. Your gift is tax-deductible. Thank you very much!

MennoPIN Joins Positive Development/Investment in Palestine Consultation
On November 20, the Everence community offered a valuable meeting opportunity for representatives of Mennonite-related organizations and agencies working and serving in Israel/Palestine. The gathering was the first of ongoing consultations mandated as part of the MC USA “Seeking Peace” resolution, Orlando 2017. Everence representatives discussed Everence’s mission, structure and funds, provided information regarding the evolution of military and human rights screens and the use of occupied assessment service. In addition to MennoPIN, agencies/organizations participating included: MC USA, Mennonite Mission Network, Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Education Agency, Christian Peacemaker Teams and the Peace and Justice Support Network. Mark Regier, Vice President of Stewardship Investment at Everence summarized the shared sense of those gathered: “The issue of positive economic development/investment in Palestine is both vitally important and incredibly complex.” Future consultations are planned.

Protect Palestinian Children’s Rights by Acting Now
For the first time ever in the U.S., legislation has been introduced to defend the rights of Palestinian children. The bill, introduced by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), would require the Secretary of State to ensure that no U.S. funds going to Israel are used to violate the human rights of children. Please ask you congressperson to support the bill, Promoting Human Rights by Ending Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act.

MC USA Signs on to Letter Opposing the Israel Anti-Boycott Act
Ervin Stutzman, Executive Director, Mennonite Church USA, joined sixteen other Christian leaders opposing the Israel Anti-Boycott Act in a strongly worded letter. MennoPIN and MCC both support the defeat of this bill. Ask your members of Congress to oppose the Israel Anti-Boycott Act.

Oppose the Nomination of Kenneth Marcus for Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights in the Department of Education.
Marcus has a long record of filing spurious discrimination claims with the Department of Education to suppress Palestine activism on campus. He also supports anti-BDS legislation. See the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights for further information on how you can oppose Marcus’ nomination.

Please Continue to Support Esther Koontz.
School teacher and Mennonite Esther Koontz has been denied employment by the State of Kansas because she refused to sign an oath that she would not engage “in a boycott of Israel [or territories controlled by Israel].” She is filing a law suit (with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union) against the State of Kansas for infringing upon her First Amendment rights. You can offer your words of support and encouragement to Esther by sending an email to SupportEsther@MennoniteUSA.org.

Read More
MCC Washington Memo for more information about opposing the Israel Anti-Boycott Act.
Good resources for congregational study groups on Christian Zionism
Christmas/Advent resource for congregations from Kairos Palestine

Prayer
Members of Congress have introduced a bill to prevent U.S. tax dollars from paying for human rights violations against Palestinian children during the course of military detention. Israel is the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes an estimated 500 to 700 children each year in military courts that lack fundamental fair trial rights and protections.
God of peace and justice, we are thankful for this intervention, and pray that reforms are implemented to end violence against our children. We pray for an end to this unethical Israeli occupation. Lord in your mercy…
Sabeel Wave of Prayer, November 23, 2017

Make Your Church HP-Free

MENNONITE PALESTINE ISRAEL NETWORK
Make Your Church an HP-Free Church

MennoPIN encourages all MC USA congregations to become HP-Free churches. Hewlett Packard is one of the largest contractors for the U.S. defense industry and provides registration and surveillance technologies for various types of repression of Palestinians by the Israeli occupation.

Last July MC USA passed a resolution entitled, “Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine: A Resolution for Mennonite Church USA,” to support justice and peace in Palestine and Israel. The resolution urges individuals and member churches to “avoid purchases and investments directly related to the military occupation of Palestinian territories.”

This short video will give you a better picture of all the ways Hewlett Packard knowingly and profitably participates in the oppression and military occupation of Palestine by Israel.

Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) offers further information about the activities of Hewlett Packard and ways to mobilize your church to become HP-Free here. You can sign up as a church or as an individual.
Make Your Church (and Yourself) HP-Free Today!

Support Esther Koontz

MENNONITE PALESTINE ISRAEL NETWORK
Support Esther KoontzJonathan Brenneman is Partners in Peacemaking coordinator for Mennonite Church USA and gives invaluable support to MennoPIN. In a recent post on the MC USA website, Jonathan wrote:

“’I am a member of the Mennonite Church.’ This is how Kansas schoolteacher Esther Koontz opens her explanation on why she has been denied employment by the state. She is filing a law suit against the state of Kansas because a new Kansas law, HB 2351, demands that she sign an oath that she would not engage ‘in a boycott of Israel [or in territories controlled by Israel.]’

“Esther asserts that this infringes on her First Amendment rights. This case may have broad implications, as 22 states have similar laws.

“In her statement Esther explains that she began engaging in product boycotts after hearing from members of her congregation who went on a Mennonite Church USA ‘Come and See’ Learning Tour. And when the Delegate Assembly passed the Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine resolution in July, her decision was confirmed.”

MC USA Executive Director, Ervin Stutzman also explains: “We support Esther Koontz, a member of a Mennonite Church USA congregation, as she lives out her peace witness inspired by the church’s tradition and teaching. We support her courageous witness for peace and justice for Palestinians and Israelis and oppose the state restricting her employment opportunities based solely on her sincere religious/political convictions.” 

Esther Koontz is the latest in a long line of Mennonite peace witnesses. May we support her, as she bears the cost for such a witness.

MennoPIN invites members across MC USA to join in support for Esther by sending her letters of encouragement. We encourage you to offer you words encouragement to Esther at SupportEsther@MennoniteUSA.org.

Thank you from the MennoPIN Steering Committee

Sabeel Wave of Prayer

Sabeel Wave of Prayer

We would like to highlight the Sabeel Wave of Prayer, updated weekly by the Sabeel Palestinian Christian organization. Reminding us that prayer is an essential part of peacemaking, these prayers address regional, timely concerns for Palestine-Israel from a Christ-centered perspective. The posts address regional, timely concerns for Palestine-Israel in a Christian perspective. Subscribe and join this community of prayer.

MennoPIN Update: October 2017

In This Issue

Mennonite Teacher Goes to Court in Kansas

MennoPIN Signs Letter Affirming Right to Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel

MennoPIN Joins Cross Denominational Palestine Israel Network Leadership Group

Urge Congress to Support the End of the Gaza Blockade

HP-Free Churches

Read More

Prayer

 

Mennonite Teacher Goes to Court in Kansas

Esther Koontz is a math and science teacher in the Kansas public schools and a member of First Mennonite Church in Hutchison, Kansas. After being chosen to train other math teachers in the state, Esther was asked to sign a document stating that she does not boycott Israel. Based upon her conscience and the MC USA “Seeking Peace in Israel-Palestine” resolution, passed just last July in Orlando, she declined to sign the document and was disinvited from her appointment as a math trainer. With Esther’s full cooperation, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a federal lawsuit challenging a Kansas law requiring anyone contracted by the state “to not engage in boycotting Israel.” Watch how this case develops.

 

MennoPIN Signs Letter Affirming the Legal Right to Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS)

Affirming a long-standing use of nonviolent boycotts, divestments and sanctions as an effective tool to bring about social change, many denominations and organizations have signed on to a letter opposing anti-BDS legislation. The letter reads, in part, “We call on all Americans to join us and the ACLU in defending our First Amendment right to freedom of speech and on our state representatives and members of Congress to reject anti-BDS legislation as an infringement on the rights of American citizens.” Please contact your state and national representatives, encouraging them to oppose this kind of legislation.

 

MennoPIN Joins Cross Denominational Palestine Israel Network Leadership Group

On September 28, 2017, Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) convened the first meeting of the “Cross Denominational Palestine Israel Network Leadership Group.” Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the BDS movement, offered insights into BDS and strongly emphasized that “BDS is not a punishment; instead, it is a step toward healing.” The gathering clearly articulated the goal of BDS to be a nonviolent resistance campaign in support of basic rights for the Palestinian people, all affirmed by the Geneva Convention, including: (1) the right to political self-determination; (2) the right to equality and (3) the right to return and reparations in contrast to the occupation, apartheid and refugee status. The gathering also stressed the importance of grassroots movements, strength from the intersectionality of human rights groups, the treatment of the State of Israel as a human rights offender and the amplification of Palestinian voices. Further resources are listed below.

 

Urge Congress to Support the End of the Gaza Blockade

The blockade of Gaza by Israel has created a time of dire humanitarian crisis for Palestinians in the Gaza strip. Shortages of food, electricity and other necessities promise to make Gaza uninhabitable by2020. The factional infighting between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas authorities in Gaza have also contributed to the crisis Gaza is facing. A recent reconciliation agreement between the two is an important first step towards change in Gaza and a needed move before blockade issues between Palestinian and Israeli can be addressed. Let’s nurture the seeds of hope that present themselves now. Please contact your members of Congress to tell them that the U.S. should offer full diplomatic and political support to this reconciliation process and should support an end to the Gaza blockade. For more information, see the link below.

 

HP-Free Churches

Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) has called for U.S. churches to join them in a boycott of Hewlett Packard (HP) products. As one of the largest contractors for the U.S. defense industry, HP provides the registration and surveillance technology necessary for certain measures of state repression in Israel and the United States. FOSNA offers information about the activities of HP and how to mobilize your church at their website. Your congregation can also sign a pledge to indicate solidarity with the boycott movement.

 

Read More

Esther Koontz and the State of Kansas

Judith Butler on attempts to label Palestinian human rights activism as anti-Semitic

Resource page for HP Free Church Campaign

End the Gaza Blockade

 

Prayer

Hamas and Fatah have signed a landmark reconciliation deal in Cairo in a key step towards ending the ten-year-long rift. The deal will see administrative control of the Gaza Strip handed to a Fatah-backed unity government.

Lord, we thank you for this latest move towards peace and reconciliation among the Palestinian people. We pray that a united Palestinian government will be a step forward to our liberation from the Israeli occupation. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer…

Sabeel Wave of Prayer, October 19, 2017