Posts made in October, 2015

Churches for Middle East Peace: Responding to the Ongoing Violence

Posted on Oct 31, 2015

Israeli border police check Palestinian’s identification cards at a checkpoint as they exit the Palestinian neighborhood of Issawiyeh in Jerusalem, October 22, 2015. (AP - Oded Bality)

Israeli border police check Palestinian’s identification cards at a checkpoint as they exit the Palestinian neighborhood of Issawiyeh in Jerusalem, October 22, 2015. (AP – Oded Bality)

(Churches for Middle East Peace) October 30, 2015 – Violence continued this week in Israel-Palestine with daily stabbing attacks and other violence by Palestinians against Israelis, followed by often lethal Israeli responses.  Many of the attacks were in the Hebron area. Rockets from Gaza into Israel were answered by Israeli air attacks.  Israel told New Zealand it did not want that county to introduce a resolution in the US Security Council calling for suspension of Israeli settlement construction and home demolitions in an effort to reduce violence and reignite negotiate negotiations with Palestinians. Prime Minister Netanyahu said on Monday while he does not want a binational state,“…we need to control all of the [Palestinian] territory for the foreseeable future.” He added, “I am asked if we will live forever by the sword – yes”.  The EU Foreign Minister said Tuesday that Netanyahu and Abbas need to demonstrate that their commitment to the two state solution “is real and not just fake” or “just an empty slogan”.  The White House said expressed opposition to the idea of taking away the Jerusalem residency rights of tens of thousands of Palestinians living  in East Jerusalem. The Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister was quoted saying she wants to see the Israeli flag flying over Temple Mount and that Jews should be allowed to pray there; Netanyahu asked her to clarify that these were her personal views, not policy.  Ma’ariv reported a planning commission next week will consider approving what is known as the Biden plan to build 1,600 housing units in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood in Jerusalem; announcement of this plan during a good will visit of Vice President Biden caused a diplomatic crisis in 2010.

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Iranian President Rouhani to visit Pope Francis in November

Posted on Oct 30, 2015

Apostolic nuncio to Iran presents credentials to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (file photo)

Apostolic nuncio to Iran presents credentials to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (file photo)

(abouna.org) October 30, 2015 – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is scheduled to visit Pope Francis in November. The Vatican announced earlier that the upcoming visit is the latest sign of relatively warm relations between the Holy See and Iran.

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Pilgrims that visit the Holy Land despite current events

Posted on Oct 30, 2015

Pilgrims that visit the Holy Land despite current events   (Photo: Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem)

Pilgrims that visit the Holy Land despite current events (Photo: Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem)

Mgr. Shomali encourages pilgrims to come: “Don’t be afraid; you will not encounter violence.”

by Thomas Charrière

(Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem) Ocotber 30, 2015 – Events in recent weeks might take a toll on the number of pilgrims coming to Jerusalem. Despite of that, few flights have been canceled, and pilgrims continue to roam the Holy Land.

They come from France, Spain, the United States, and Asia. They come for pilgrimage or as mere tourists, they roam the old city of Jerusalem in small groups or as families, following a tour guide and taking selfies in front of the Holy Sepulchre or the in the market. In spite of current events, they came more or less reassured.

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Is the Occupation Behind the Current Violence?

Posted on Oct 30, 2015

Alon Ben-Meir

Alon Ben-Meir

by Alon Ben-Meir, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Affairs, NYU

(Huffington Post) October 29, 2015 – The Netanyahu government has conveniently and consistently separated the occupation of the West Bank from the repeated eruption of violence, insisting that the Palestinians’ unrest is a result of incitement by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, when in fact he has been attempting to reduce the tension. Not once has any Israeli official suggested that nearly 50 years of occupation might have brought the Palestinians to a boiling point. Any incident could have ignited a new violent flare-up, and the conflict over the Temple Mount/Haram el-Sharif provided the spark that led to the current fire, regardless of whose side was at fault.

The most troubling issue is that successive Israeli governments remained blind and refused to connect much of the Palestinian violence to the occupation; what is worst is that the Israeli public has largely bought into the fallacy of this argument.

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‘Fear must be eclipsed by wisdom’ to end violence between Israelis and Palestinians – UN rights chief

Posted on Oct 30, 2015

High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein (right) and Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine, at a Special Meeting of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein (right) and Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine, at a Special Meeting of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

(United Nations) 28 October 2015 – At a special meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council today, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stressed that Israeli-Palestinian violence will draw “closer to a catastrophe” if not stopped immediately, while President Mahmoud Abbas called for creation of a “special protection” regime for the Palestinian people, amid roiling tensions in the region.

According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the latest wave of violence resulted in 58 Palestinian deaths, with 2100 wounded, and 11 Israeli deaths, with 127 wounded.

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Urging swift probe into ‘act of terror,’ UN special envoy condemns attack against Palestinian politician

Posted on Oct 30, 2015

Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

(United Nations) 25 October 2015 – Condemning today’s attack in Ramallah against a prominent Palestinian political figure, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov has called for a thorough investigation into the incident and has reiterated the call by top United Nations officials to reduce tensions in the region and avoid actions that would spark further violence.

“Earlier today I spoke to Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member and Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative party, and condemned today’s attack against him near his house in Ramallah,” said Mr. Mladenov in a statement issued by his Office, referring to the incident, which, according to media reports, was perpetrated by unknown assailants.

“Such attacks serve only those who are interested in harming the Palestinian social and political fabric,” the statement continued, adding the Special Coordinator’s call on the Palestinian authorities “to promptly investigate this act of terror and to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

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Religion and Violence relationship probed

Posted on Oct 30, 2015

Participants in the "Noah Celebration - All in the same boat".   (Photo: WCC/Peter Williams)

Participants in the “Noah Celebration – All in the same boat”. (Photo: WCC/Peter Williams)

(World Council of Churches) October 29, 2015 – The perplexing yet perennial association of religion and violence was probed this week in an event co-hosted by the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Journalists and Writers Foundation (JWF) and the Zurich-based Dialog-Institut.

The “Noah Celebration” commemorated the Day of Ashura, a traditional Muslim feast and celebration of humanity’s survival after the biblical flood.

Forty participants explored first the phenomenon of violence committed in the name of religion, then the occurrence of violence against religion or religious adherents.

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Book about the Magi to raise funds for Aid to the Church in Need

Posted on Oct 30, 2015

New book The Magi by Serena Fass

By Clare Creegan

(Aid to the Church in Need) UK, October 22, 2015 – The story of the Wise Men who came to visit the baby Jesus is brought to life in a new book being launched next month to raise funds for a charity helping suffering Christians in the lands of the Bible and beyond.

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PFIO launches “Think of Others” Campaign in Na’our

Posted on Oct 30, 2015

Photo: abouna.org

Photo: abouna.org

(abouna.org) Amman, October 29. 2015 – The Peace and Friendship International Organization (PFIO) has launched “Think of Others” Campaign from the Latin Patriarchate School in Na’our under the patronage of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media (CCSM).

The PFIO representative Turath Dababneh said that the “Think of Others… Jordan is the Country of Goodness” Campaign is part of an international campaign led by PFIO, which is available in all parts of the world. He added that it is marked in one of the schools of Jordan to disseminate the idea that peace can only be attained through instilling love as well as the values of sacrifice and charity in the hearts; and once these values are instilled in the young student generation, it will be similar to a tree that grows to bear fruit.

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Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald: Vatican II’s legacy of interfaith relations

Posted on Oct 30, 2015

  Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, former president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and former nuncio to Egypt and the Arab League (photo by Dr Jan Jans) - RV 28/10/2015 10:00

Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, former president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and former nuncio to Egypt and the Arab League (photo by Dr Jan Jans) – RV 28/10/2015 10:00

Speaking of the situation in Jerusalem where he lives now, Archbishop Fitzgerald said that ecumenically there has been progress but the political situation continues to prevent Christians, Muslims, and Jews from associating and working to ease tensions. Recalling Pope Francis’ visit to Jerusalem in May 2014 and his invitation to Palestinian President Abbas and Israeli President Perez to pray for peace with him in the Vatican, Fitzgerald says interreligious dialogue teaches us not to expect immediate fruits from our actions, so the Pope’s gesture “may produce its fruit in good time”.

(Vatican Radio) October 28, 2015 – The Catholic Church this week celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council declaration, Nostra Aetate, which radically changed the relationship with people of other faiths. Issued on October 28th 1965, the document for the first time urged Catholics to recognize the truth present in other religions and to work together for the benefit of all of humanity.

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