"Al-Bushra"

Seeking truth and justice

Living with the electricity crisis in Gaza

Posted on Feb 16, 2019

Oct 24, 2018 | BY: Ghada Mansi

What’s it like to live with just 6 hours of electricity a day? I can tell you what it’s like because I live in Gaza. Six hours is the most we get because of the Israeli siege that cuts off fuel to keep the electricity plant running.

Now, I’m working for MECA, managing the “Gaza Lights” project to bring electricity to power lights, a phone charger and a fan for up to 12 hours to families who need it most.

The lack of electricity makes our lives very difficult. But it’s worse than that. It’s dangerous too.

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A study and research centre for emigrants from Bethlehem

Posted on Feb 15, 2019

A cultural rebirth for Star Street – one of the oldest streets in Bethlehem, UNESCO World Heritage since 2012: from the reconstruction and rehabilitation of several buildings, thanks to the Centre for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage and the Municipality of Bethlehem, to the opening of the Centre for Studies and Research for Emigrants Dar Al-Sabbagh, considered one of the most important historical buildings in the city.

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Young people of Bethlehem share their experiences during World Youth Day

Posted on Feb 15, 2019

World Youth Day brought together participants from 156 countries in Panama. Among the registered there were young people from the Holy Land… And more than two weeks after the great event, the experience of meeting the Pope and youth from all over the world continues to live within each of them.

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Engaging for Just and Participatory Societies – Belongingness in Judaism, Christianity and Islam

Posted on Feb 14, 2019

 

Image: World Council of Churches logo

World Council of Churches

The Ecumenical Institute at Château de Bossey invites applications for the Certificate in Advanced Studies – Interreligious Studies, 2019.

Intended for an international audience of young people (ages 20-35) interested and engaged in interreligious dialogue, religious leaders, students, lay persons and professionals with a suitable level of religious literacy and/or experience in the field of interreligious dialogue and engagement, especially among the three Abrahamic religions, the Ecumenical Institute’s Certificate of Advanced Studies in Interreligious Studies is accredited by the University of Geneva under the Swiss Higher Education Programme for Continuing Education.

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Anti-Zionism not so easily conflated with anti-Semitism

Posted on Feb 14, 2019

Commentary: With the identification of the Netanyahu government with Donald Trump, the new Democratic control of the House of Representatives, the openness of young U.S. Jews to the oppression of the Palestinians, the diminishing control of Congress and U.S. media by AIPAC and the older Jewish organizations, a new freedom to criticize Israeli policies without being restricted by the conflation process used so effectively to block criticisms, many U.S. Jews and friends of Israel are becoming freer to criticize the repression and oppression by the Israeli government of Palestinians without their criticism being conflated with rejection of all Israeli Jews, nor conflated with an attack on State of Israel, nor as an attack on all the Jews of the world. Nor is anti-Zionism so easily conflated with anti-Semitism. The obfuscation tactics of denial have become less effective and the obvious injustices by the Israeli government of half the population under its control from the ‘sea to the river” are becoming starkly visible.

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Two tales of a city: Jerusalem tour guided by a Palestinian and an Israeli

Posted on Feb 12, 2019

By Rami Ayyub and Stephen Farrell

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – On a Jerusalem plaza looking up at the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock, a crowd gathers in front of two guides, listening attentively, a common sight in a city packed with pilgrims and tourists visiting its religious landmarks.

What is unusual is that one of the guides is Palestinian, one is Israeli, and they are taking turns to give their perspectives on the city known to Jews as Yerushalayim and to Arabs as al-Quds.

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Palestine witness trips, internships, and more

Posted on Feb 12, 2019

We’re excited to share with you the following opportunities in Palestine. By witnessing the realities of Palestinians living under occupation and working alongside them, we can better strengthen our U.S.-based activism for Palestinian rights. 

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Reflections on BDS

Posted on Feb 12, 2019

Originally published in Tikkun

by Stephen Zunes

In 2005, Palestinian civil society—suffering under an increasingly repressive occupation, expanding colonization by Israeli settlers, a corrupt and inept Palestinian Authority, a growing challenge by Hamas and other hardline Islamists, and a doomed “peace process” facilitated by the principal diplomatic, financial, and military backer of their occupiers—coalesced to call for an international campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel.

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Updated: “I Once Was Blind. . . But Now I See”

Posted on Feb 11, 2019

The recent death of Albert Finney brings attention to his many appearances in film and television and on stage. Finney was 82 when he died February 7, 2019. One of his more memorable films was Amazing Grace. The Wall Writings posting from April 14, 2014, reprinted below, recalls Finney’s role as John Newton, author of the hymn, Amazing Grace. This 2014 posting links the evil of slavery to the still unresolved evil of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian people. 

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The Status Quo and Holy Places of Jerusalem

Posted on Feb 8, 2019

Those who arrive in the Holy Land and visit the Sanctuaries may initially be surprised – or even frightened – by the religious plurality and the different ways of expression of faith…

In the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem, different denominations share the same space and take turns at specific times to pray.

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Unpacking Pope Francis’ historic trip to Abu Dhabi

Posted on Feb 7, 2019

Colleen Dulle February 07, 2019

 

This week, Pope Francis visited Abu Dhabi to meet with religious leaders at the Global Inter-Religious Meeting on Human Fraternity, a conference aimed at combating religious extremism.

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Bishop Ayuso: ‘Abu Dhabi Document roadmap for interreligious dialogue’

Posted on Feb 7, 2019

Pope Francis’ historic visit to the United Arab Emirates is being widely seen as a milestone in interreligious dialogue.

 

Image: Photo takes during Pope Francis' visit to UAE (ANSA)

Photo takes during Pope Francis’ visit to UAE (ANSA)

By Linda Bordoni

Vatican News, 07 February 2019 – Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, told Vatican News that the Abu Dhabi document signed by the Pope and the Grand Imam of Al-Ahzar, is a precious roadmap for peace, and contains indications that must be spread throughout the world.

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Rabbis walk through Hebron in solidarity

Posted on Feb 7, 2019

07 February 2019, World Council of Churches – It was a bright and sunny morning when Rabbis for Human Rights organized a solidarity walk on Tuesday through the Israeli administered H2 area of Hebron, where growing tension has forced the World Council of Churches (WCC) to temporarily suspend its presence of ecumenical accompaniers.

A group of nine rabbis and three ecumenical accompaniers gathered at the Cave of the Patriarchs to embark on a peaceful manifestation of solidarity covering most of the H2 area.

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800 years later, a new commitment in the sign of peace

Posted on Feb 4, 2019

 Image: Pope Francis with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb  (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb (Vatican Media)

The significance of the gesture of Pope Francis and Grand Imam Ahmed el-Tayeb in the light of earlier pontificates: erroneous interpretations of religious texts and the weakening of spiritual values lead many people to extremism.

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Jewish and Palestinian Teens Reach for Understanding One More Time

Posted on Feb 3, 2019

A youth group brings together neighbors who know nothing about the other’s culture in hopes of changing future politics.

Image: What if your neighbor has never seen the ocean? Photographer: Raz Esther Kones

What if your neighbor has never seen the ocean? Photographer: Raz Esther Kones

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WCC pulls accompaniers from Hebron due to security concerns

Posted on Jan 31, 2019

The World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel has made the decision to remove Ecumenical Accompaniers from the Hebron area due to security concerns.

WCC’s accompaniment programme is among several non-governmental and peacemaking organizations that have reached a critical point this week as a result of alleged harassment by settlers and by Israeli soldiers.

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Wallwritings: Children and IDF are Israeli Occupation Pawns

Posted on Jan 25, 2019

by James M. Wall

There are times when one picture says it all.

This picture at right shows a terrified Palestinian child between two Israeli soldiers who, from my perspective, are ashamed of what they are doing.

Ponder that picture a few moments and then ask yourself, “Does Israel have a right to exist”?  It is the wrong question. It is actually a “trick question” intended to deceive.

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Intense Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Jerusalem

Posted on Jan 25, 2019

An eight-day journey through churches and holy places in Jerusalem to celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Greek Orthodox people began these days of ecumenical prayer in the chapel of Calvary, in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.

In front of the rock where Jesus was crucified, prayers rose to heaven as incense! Then they continued their journey in the Anglican Cathedral of St. George.

As in every church, the Word of God was proclaimed and commented on.

The theme of this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is “Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue”, so every day there was a thought on this subject.

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Maryknoll: 2018, a year of continued deterioration of Israeli/Palestinians relationships

Posted on Jan 22, 2019

2018 was a year of continued deterioration of Israeli/Palestinians relationships. These two peoples continue to live side by side in the same small piece of land as their numbers increase; these are the “on the ground” realities. Another reality is that the preferred Israeli solution to these deteriorating relationships is continued settlement expansion and increasing repression of the Palestinians.

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Close to the Christians. Visiting the HolyLand Coordination

Posted on Jan 18, 2019

18 January 2019 – The visit to the Christian communities in Northern Israel and the Northern Palestinian Territories helped the bishops who took part in the Holy Land Coordination to see “the great need” of promoting a fair peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

This year, the Coordination of the Holy Land, which includes bishops from North America, Europe and South Africa, visiting from 11th to 17th January, focused on challenges and opportunities for Christians in Israel. The bishops could visit Christian hospitals, schools and villages as well as meet the living stones.

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Video resource on plight of Palestinian children prompted by General Synod resolution, 3 Great Loves

Posted on Jan 17, 2019

United Church of Christ

January 03, 2019
Written by Barb Powell

In response to a 2017 General Synod resolution calling for an end to the human rights violations and violence surrounding Palestinian children living in the occupied West Bank, a new UCC video resource has been released to help church members better understand the issues and become advocates for justice.

“How Are the Children Now?” is a two-part video resource produced by the UCC Palestine Israel Network (UCCPIN) that is geared toward adult church school classes. Released in December, it is the culmination of a 7-month process to develop an educational resource to fulfill the Synod resolution’s mandate that local churches “learn about the plight of children in Palestine and the State of Israel” and foster continued community and interfaith partnerships to advocate for the rights of children.

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WCC responds to misleading report by NGO Monitor and its criticism of EAPPI

Posted on Jan 17, 2019

World Council of Churches, 14 January 2019 – The World Council of Churches (WCC) published an open letter to media in response to the new report released by the NGO Monitor criticizing the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).

The WCC was informed by media in advance of the publication of the report, which describes the EAPPI programme as “The World Council of Churches’ Training Camp for Anti-Israel Advocacy”. WCC offers the following comments:

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Youth of Jesus’ Homeland prepares to participate in World Youth Day in Panama

Posted on Jan 15, 2019

by Rula Shomali, Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

RAMALLAH – The Youth of Jesus’ Homeland concluded their preparatory meetings in the Holy Family Parish in Ramallah, on Friday, January 11, 2019, for the World Youth Days in Panama which will start on January 22 until February 6, 2019.

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Jerusalem’s Patriarchs and Heads of Churches condemn insulting images of Christian faith at Haifa Museum of Art

Posted on Jan 15, 2019

STATEMENT – We, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, strongly condemn the irresponsible and provocative images that were displayed at the Haifa Museum of Art which is under the patronage of the Haifa Municipality. The Haifa Museum of Art allowed an exhibition that aimed to criticize ‘consumerism’ within the Israeli society. The content of this exhibition includes insulting images of the most sacred figures and symbols of the Christian faith. This issue is unacceptable and should be denounced and undone immediately. The respect of religious symbols and figures, whether Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, should be preserved no matter what. 

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Newsletter to/from Palestinian Christians

Posted on Jan 13, 2019

by Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh

A cold front passed over Palestine and we are expecting another cold front Wednesday. Plants are growing but people are still in disarray and Gaza was bombed (again) using US taxpayer money (that part of the government was not shut down). Refugees and displaced people are in cold rainy dwellings.

We are moving forward with the museum development; it would be much easier in any other country, see our annual reports and plans here: https://www.palestinenature.org/about-us/ .

Two new blogs here reflects our
thoughts:

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Christians in Israel under the Microscope of the Department of Statistics

Posted on Jan 4, 2019

According to data published by the Central Department of Statistics in Israel, on the eve of Christmas 2018, around 175 000 Christians live in Israel. They constitute 2 % of the total population in Israel. In 2017 the average of Christian demographic growth reached 2.2 %, against 1.4 % in the previous year. The hike is attributed to the arrival of 597 immigrants from Ethiopia.

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WCC-EAPPI nurtures partnerships for just peace

Posted on Jan 3, 2019

The World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (WCC-EAPPI) works for just peace in the Holy Land. And as peace cannot be a one-sided process, efforts are made continuously to build partnerships along the full range of the spectrum.

“We believe the WCC-EAPPI has a role to play, not only as a protective presence, but as a bridge-builder,” reflects WCC-EAPPI international coordinator Rev. Dr Owe Boersma. “So each term, we make sure our ecumenical accompaniers (EAs) are given an opportunity not only to observe life under occupation in the Palestinian territories, but also to establish and nurture partnerships with other organizations working for justice and peace in the area.”

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Fr Alexi – a peacemaker in Syria

Posted on Jan 3, 2019

By Marianne Ejdersten*

21 December 2018 – WCC (World Council of Churches) News met with the Very Reverend Archimandrite Dr Alexi Chehadeh, who leads the Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development (DERD) for the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East (GOPA) in Damascus, Syria. He is an impressive role model and peacemaker in Syria.

We discussed the state of the crisis in Syria and the many challenges that aid workers face there. His organization, DERD, is the largest independent local NGO operating inside Syria. He shares his passion for finding ways to distribute aid to people of all faiths, despite the particularly vulnerable situation of Christians in a country where ISIS has a horrendous record of crucifying them.

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New Year Resolutions of a Palestinian Christian

Posted on Jan 1, 2019

We can also say that a people movement for justice, for human rights, and for the environment is growing around the world.

A letter from Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh:

This is the last weekly message of 2018, a year with good and bad points, but we here in the birthplace of Jesus remain optimistic about the future.

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Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and World Day of Peace: Political action and the Kingdom of God

Posted on Jan 1, 2019

Around us, we have witnessed tragedies that we never thought could happen in our age. But also, in our land, we continue to see a slow, continuous, and no less dangerous degradation and crumbling of ties at all levels of society, of political ties and social trust. Years of failed negotiations, peace plans announced and never realized, social initiatives started and never ended, and a stagnant economy. We could go on with the litany of unresolved problems. Moreover, the conflict has become part of our system of life and our way of thinking: in movements, in the organization of any initiative; in short, in everything we do.

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