Posts made in May, 2017

Trump visits Holy Sepulcher and Western Wall in Holy Land

Posted on May 22, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump places a note in the Western Wall in Jerusalem on May 22. (CNS photo/Jonathan Ernst, Reuters)

U.S. President Donald Trump places a note in the Western Wall in Jerusalem on May 22. (CNS photo/Jonathan Ernst, Reuters)

Judith Sudilovsky – Catholic News Service

Following his official welcome to Jerusalem by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, U.S. President Donald Trump began his two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories with a private visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and Western Wall.

Details of the visits to the holy sites had been a carefully guarded secret until the last moment, but from early on May 22 the alleyways of the Old City were closed to both residents and tourists, and the main thoroughfares leading to the Old City were closed off to all traffic.

Under tight security and led by the traditional kawas honor guard announcing the way with the thumping of their ornamental staffs, the president made his way by foot through the Old City’s alleyways to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. He and first lady Melania Trump were welcomed at the entrance of the church courtyard by Greek Orthodox Patriarch Archbishop Theophilos III; Franciscan Father Francesco Patton, custos of the Holy Land; and Armenian Patriarch Nourhan Manougian. The president spoke briefly to the religious leaders and stopped at the entrance of the church for a group photograph after also speaking to a few other religious.

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“For I was in prison and you visited me not”

Posted on May 21, 2017


by James M. Wall

The full text of Matthew 25:42-43, condemns the sins of those who neither see, hear, nor care about those who suffer.

.  .  .  For I was hungry, and you gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and you visited me not. (KJV)

Do not think for a single moment that Jesus was referring solely to a “brief, but helpful visit” to a prisoner’s cell.

“Visit” in this context means attention must be paid and action must be taken.

With absolute power in its hands, and only scattered opposition from outside, Israel is especially hard on Gaza families.

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Samia Khoury: Enough Is Enough

Posted on May 20, 2017

Samia Khoury writes from Jerusalem [regarding the hunger strike, see also from the message from the Jewish Voice for Peace]:

Dear Friends:

How would you feel if your son or daughter went on a hunger strike demanding justice for more than a month, and nobody bothered to call you or check on you and your beloved one? The silence is so loud that our hearts bleed with those mothers who are gathering daily in various areas including the Red Cross offices in the Palestinian Territories. Yet there is no reaction or action from the Israeli authorities or the international community to respond to their demands for basic rights as political prisoners, in accordance to the Geneva Convention. So many of those political prisoners have been under administrative detention without any charge or trial.

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Nablus: “Samaritan Sunday” of the Greek-Orthodox people

Posted on May 19, 2017

The faithful recalled, together with Patriarch Theophilus III, the encounter of Jesus with the Samaritan woman, in the church that houses Jacob’s well.

Photina, from the Greek “bright”.
The Greek Orthodox tradition gives this name to the Samaritan woman, protagonist of the encounter with Jesus at Jacob’s well, narrated in John’s Gospel.

The episode was recalled at Nablus on Sunday, May 14, in the church that still houses that same well.

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Parliamentary Riffraff

Posted on May 19, 2017

by Uri Avnery

WHEN I first entered the Knesset, I was shocked by the low standard of its debates. Speeches were full of clichés, platitudes and party slogans, the intellectual content was almost nil.

That was 52 years ago. Among the members were David Ben-Gurion, Menachem Begin, Levi Eshkol and several others of their kind.

Today, looking back, that Knesset looks like an Olympus, compared to the present composition of that non-august body.

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1217-2017: 800 Years of Franciscan Presence in the Holy Land

Posted on May 18, 2017

This current year is highly significant for us. Precisely 800 years ago, during the Chapter of Pentecost celebrated at Saint Mary of the Angels, in the Portiuncula, Assisi, our Order opened up its vision to the missionary and universal dimension. In that occasion the Chapter decided to send friars in all the regions of the known world, as witnesses of fraternity and peace.

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WCC calls for prayer for just peace in the Holy Land

Posted on May 18, 2017

Olive tree from the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem ©L.Ranarison / WCC

World Council of Churches

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is calling on Christians worldwide to join in prayer for just peace in the Holy Land by taking part in a Pentecost prayer service on Monday 5 June 2017.

Tied directly to the churches’ celebrations of Pentecost, the service, entitled “Come, Spirit of Peace: A Global Day of Prayer for Just Peace in the Holy Land,” is meant to invoke the Holy Spirit to inspire further engagement by Christians everywhere in the quest for peace and justice in the conflictive arena of Israel and Palestine.

Arranged at the invitation of heads of churches in the Jerusalem area, the service will take place the day after Pentecost (Monday, 5 June 2017) at 11:00 a.m., Jerusalem time, in Jerusalem’s Upper Room (Cenacle) on Mount Zion. It will be followed by a session at the Dormition Abbey, where participants can share the various initiatives they are undertaking to build peace in the Holy Land.

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The hunger strike should be on the front page of every paper

Posted on May 17, 2017


May 16, 2017 – Page 1 of the NY Times? Nothing. International section? Still nothing. HuffPost? Not that I could find. And The Forward? Nothing.

It’s Day 30 of a 1,600 person hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners, and media is essentially silent.

The hunger strike should be on the fron page of every paper.

The NY Times, to be fair, did publish an op-ed by strike leader Marwan Barghouthi as the hunger strike began. But even then, they buckled to right-wing pressure and published a “correction” labeling him a terrorist.

So last week, we launched a Letter to the Editor campaign – and 1,000 JVP supporters like you wrote in to the Times asking for more and better coverage of this quite literally urgent story.

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Holy Qurobo at Mor Aphraim Church – Washington DC

Posted on May 17, 2017

His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at Mor Aphraim Church in Washington DC.

His Eminence Mor Dionysius John Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar for the Archdiocese of Eastern USA, assisted His Holiness in the Holy Qurobo.

In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the tribulations and persecutions that come on Christians in this world and how a Christian believer is in the world but not of this world.

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UNESCO Urges Israel to Ease Access for Humanitarian Organizations in Gaza Strip

Posted on May 17, 2017

UNESCO adopted a resolution which urges Israel to open and facilitate access to the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli tank drives next to Erez Border crossing between the Gaza strip and Southern Israel, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012.

An Israeli tank drives next to Erez Border crossing between the Gaza strip and Southern Israel, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) May 2, 2017  — The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Tuesday adopted a resolution which urges Israel to open and facilitate access to the Gaza Strip for humanitarian organizations.

“The Executive Board… deplores the continuous Israeli closure of the Gaza Strip, which harmfully affects the free and sustained movement of personnel, students and humanitarian relief items and requests Israel to immediately ease this closure,” the resolution read.

Earlier in the day, UNESCO’s executive committee passed a resolution on Israel, referred to as “the occupying power” in the document, which criticizes the nation’s activity in the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem. In particular, the resolution qualified Israel’s activity in East Jerusalem as illegal under international law and urged for the appointment of a permanent representative responsible for monitoring the fields of UNESCO’s competence.

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