Posts made in September, 2015

Patriarch Fouad Twal on Christians in the Middle East

Posted on Sep 30, 2015

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal

And just like Jesus on the Mount of Olives, we pray, we weep, we suffer, and we wait.  –Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal speaking for Christians in the Middle East

(catholicsun.org and abouna.org) September 30, 2015 – Despite the desire for peace in Palestine, neither peace nor security has been won by the myriad of negotiations and wars of the past 70 years, Latin (Roman Catholic) Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal said.

Twal delivered a lecture on Tuesday, September 29 titled, “Middle East Christians’ Future: In Whose Hands” at Hesburgh Center Auditorium as part of the 2015-2016 Notre Dame Forum “Faith, Freedom and the Modern World: 50 Years After Vatican II.” The talk was hosted by the Center For Civil and Human Rights, and Twal was introduced by University President Fr. John Jenkins.

Twal, trained as a Christian diplomat, ministers in a part of the world where Christians feel oppressed, Jenkins said. Twal brings a message of peace, reconciliation and charity.

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Bethlehem: Mar Charbel Monastery set on fire

Posted on Sep 30, 2015

Bethlehem: Mar Charbel Monastery set on fire

Other forms of anti-Christian violence are especially feared by the Christian community of Bethlehem, which is experiencing a progressive Islamization of the city.

(Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem) September 30, 2015 – On September 26th, 2015, the monastery of Mar Charbel in Bethlehem has been ablaze, resulting in the burning of many rooms and damaging various parts of the building.

In the aftermath of the fire, the governor and the mayor of Bethlehem, the chief of police, the national security director and the head of Intelligence, went and inspect the monastery accompanied by Mgr William Shomali, and a number of priests from Bethlehem, Beit Jala, and Beit Sahour.

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US Jewish teacher in Jordan: Believing the impossible

Posted on Sep 30, 2015

Maddie Ulanow 2013 photo

Maddie Ulanow 2013 photo

We will need to stop the flow of our charitable dollars to the settlements. We will need to speak up when we hear Islamophobic rhetoric in our own communities. We will need to invest in organizations that promote sustainable democracy within Israel’s 1967 borders, not violence outside them.

by Maddie Ulanow

(Washington Jewish Week) September 25, 2015 – I write to you this high holiday season from Amman, Jordan, where I’m working at a UN school for Palestinian refugee girls as a Fulbright teacher. Living 45 miles from Jerusalem has never felt farther. These high holidays I’ve been enjoying apples and honey on my own, hiding my religion not to deceive the Jordanians who have so warmly welcomed me into their country, but for my safety from those who may not be as kind.

As such, I’ve been thinking a lot about exile and Jerusalem. The haftarah for the first day of Rosh Hashanah offers some words of comfort: in it, Jeremiah predicts the return of the Israelites from exile, and that they will be rewarded for their perseverance.

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King Abdullah proposes steps to counter extremism

Posted on Sep 29, 2015

King Abdullah of Jordan addresses the United Nations General Assembly

King Abdullah of Jordan addresses the United Nations General Assembly

Nothing can be more important and can have more impact in framing this respect and coexistence than Jerusalem.

(The Jordan Times, abouna.org) September 29, 2015 – King Abdullah on Monday, September 28, proposed seven steps to promote values of tolerance and coexistence in the face of extremism.

Meanwhile, he said nothing can be more important and can have more impact in regarding coexistence than Jerusalem.

In an address at the UN General Assembly’s 70th session, the King said these efforts must be implemented universally on all fronts, warning that hopes for a compassionate and peaceful world are threatened by “khawarej”, the outlaws of Islam that now “operate globally”.

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What Christians Don’t Know About Israel

Posted on Sep 29, 2015

Grace Halsell (1923-2000)

Grace Halsell (1923-2000)

I am not alone in suggesting that the churches in the United States represent the last major organized support for Palestinian rights. This imperative is due in part to our historic links to the Land of Christ and in part to the moral issues involved with having our tax dollars fund Israeli-government-approved violations of human rights.

By Grace Halsell

(INSTITUTE FOR HISTORICAL REVIEW) November 2008 – American Jews sympathetic to Israel dominate key positions in all areas of our government where decisions are made regarding the Middle East. This being the case, is there any hope of ever changing U.S. policy? American Presidents as well as most members of Congress support Israel — and they know why. U.S. Jews sympathetic to Israel donate lavishly to their campaign coffers.

The answer to achieving an even-handed Middle East policy might lie elsewhere — among those who support Israel but don’t really know why. This group is the vast majority of Americans. They are well-meaning, fair-minded Christians who feel bonded to Israel — and Zionism — often from atavistic feelings, in some cases dating from childhood.

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Why did UN erase 1,000 years of Palestinian heritage?

Posted on Sep 29, 2015

Video published on Sep 13, 2015

An initiative by De-Colonizer to demand the inclusion of the Palestinian village Bayt Jibrin in the description of UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Together with Noga Kadman and Gideon Sulimani, De-Colonizer addressed a letter to The Israel Nature and Parks Authority and The Israel National Commission for UNESCO demanding to change the UNESCO declaration file and the descriptive system on the site itself. Click here to read the full letter.

דה-קולונייזר יזם דרישה להוסיף לאתר מורשת עולמי מערות מרשה ובית גוברין את הכפר הפלסטיני בית ג׳ברין שכמעט נשכח בו לחלוטין. יחד עם נגה קדמן וגדעון סולימני הם פנו במכתב לרשות הטבע והגנים ולוועד הישראלי לאונסקו ודרשו לשנות את תיאור האתר בתיק ההכרזה של אונסקו וכן באתר עצמו לכלול תיאור מפורט של הכפר בית ג׳יברין שנמצא בתוכו. לקריאת המכתב המלא ראו באתר http://www.de-colonizer.org/ לשונית Activity תת-קטגוריה Research.

It’s the same tree, a little bit different now; it’s been more than 50 years after all. Nonetheless, it is the same tree.   –Merna Alazzeh’s grandmother upon seeing a fig tree where she played as a child during a 2011 visit to Beit Jibrin, her grandmother’s birthplace

by Sarah Irving

(Electronic Intifada) September 22, 2015 – Last year, the UN recognized an area of outstanding archaeological and architectural remains, located south of Jerusalem and Bethlehem but lying within the current State of Israel, as a world heritage site.

The documentation lists periods of Hebrew, Persian, Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine, early Islamic and Crusader remains as the key points in thousands of years of human culture to be found there.

The recognition stops then – almost a millennium ago.

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US Governmental and Diplomatic delegation visits Cremisan and Beir Onah

Posted on Sep 28, 2015

(Society of St. Yves) September 17, 2015 – On Thursday 09/17/2015 a US delegation of governmental envoys and diplomats visited the Cremisan valley and Beir Ona, in Beit Jala, to assess the situation and monitor the construction of the annexation wall in the region. The delegation included the special representative for faith-based initiatives to the US Department of State, Mr. Shaun Casey.

The delegation started its visit at the Salesian Sisters Convent in Cremisan, where the lawyers of St. Yves briefed the delegation on the latest legal developments in the case, including the recent petition filed by St. Yves in its capacity as representative of the Convent at the end of July, to which the Israeli army responded with rejection.

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Pope Francis: Walls do not solve problem, bring more hatred

Posted on Sep 28, 2015

Pope Francis speaks to journalists aboard the Papal plane - REUTERS

Pope Francis speaks to journalists aboard the Papal plane – REUTERS

(Vatican Radio) September 28, 2015 – During the flight that brought him back to Rome he spoke to journalists aboard the Papal plane, touching on many issues including his just concluded visit, the sex abuse scandal in the Church, the right to be a conscientious objector, a peace accord in Colombia, migration and the upcoming Synod on the Family. When asked about barriers being put up in Europe to stop the influx of migrants, the Pope had this to say about walls in general:

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Agreement reached for Christian schools in Israel

Posted on Sep 28, 2015

Christian schools : an agreement has been reached

(Agencia Fides and Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem) September 27, 2015 – The Office of Christian schools in the Holy Land and the Israeli Ministry of Education have finally reached an agreement. Today, after three weeks of strikes and mobilization, the 47 Christian schools operating in the State of Israel have finally opened their doors to 33 thousand students and their new school year lessons have begun. This is reported by official sources of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. (LPJ)

In recent weeks, Christian school students, together with their parents and teachers, had also organized demonstrations to denounce the massive cut of state contributions imposed in the last two years by the government of Israel. Last week, a number of proposals to break the deadlock had been submitted by the Israeli Ministry of Education to the Office of Christian schools, which accepted. The agreement provides the allocation of an initial contribution of 50 million shekels – equivalent to almost 11 million and 350 thousand euro – for the first quarter of the school year 2015-2016. Then a new negotiating body will be created, in charge of handling and resolving postponed issues. (GV)

Find below the official statement of the Secretary of Christians Schools:

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A Jordanian family presents testimony at the Philadelphia World Meeting of Families

Posted on Sep 27, 2015

Christian families currently living in our homeland are called to be like candles, shining against the darkness of destruction, wars, killings, and persecution.

(abouna.org) Philadelphia, September 27, 2015 – Pope Francis participated in a great gathering of families on Saturday, September 26, in Philadelphia, host city of the World Meeting of Families, for a vigil of prayer and a celebration of the family.

The event was punctuated by the testimony of six couples from various parts of the world representing various ages and conditions of family life.

Nidal Mousa Sweidan, his wife Nida, a Christian family from Jordan with their two daughters, Faten and Dema, who minister to people in serious poverty, religious persecution, immigration, and war, presented the following testimony:

“We have come here today representing the continent of Asia—Jordan is part of the Middle East that is in the western area of the continent. I am Nidal Mousa Sweidan and with me is Nida Joseph, my wife. Our two daughters, Faten and Dema, are also here, and we would like to share with you our experience as a Jordanian Christian family.

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