"Al-Bushra"

Seeking truth and justice

Holy Christmas Days Are Not So Holy in Palestine

Posted on Dec 13, 2018

by Maria Khoury

It is very sad to have extreme violence during these most holy Christmas days but almost expected living under Israeli military occupation. All hell broke loose today in the West Bank following the killing of three settlers near Ramallah in a drive-by shooting where the attackers fled the scene. These killings made many settlers in our area literally go crazy, and they were damaging and attacking all Palestinian cars stuck at military checkpoints for hours on end. Israel immediately arrested sixty Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and anyway in the last few days has been in a intense raid spree in Ramallah.

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Maryknoll Middle East Notes: Building Walls

Posted on Dec 9, 2018

“Let us build walls” seems to be the motto of the present wall builders in Israel and they have succeeded in constructing two walls…not so much to keep the Palestinians out but to keep Israelis in! Their outer physical wall along with its new air and sea additions is restricting entry into the country; their inner wall of “orthodoxy” is alienating Jews of the US and world. The present government of Israel in its attempts to wall off and at the same time incorporate the Occupied Territories are immuring their own citizens in a walled prison of their own making.

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Pope Francis will visit Abu Dhabi in February to promote peace

Posted on Dec 6, 2018

Image: Pope Francis exchanges gifts with Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the United Arab Emirates armed forces, during a Sept. 15 private audience at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Clausio Peri, EPA)

Pope Francis exchanges gifts with Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the United Arab Emirates armed forces, during a Sept. 15 private audience at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Clausio Peri, EPA)

by Gerard O’Connell, America

Pope Francis will visit Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, from Feb. 3 to 5, to participate in an international interfaith meeting on “Human Fraternity,” the Vatican announced today.

In a surprise announcement, Greg Burke, the director of the Holy See’s press office, said Pope Francis is going at the invitation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi. The crown prince visited the pope at the Vatican in September 2016 and assured him that he was working for peace alongside Francis.

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Rev. Naim Ateek: Sabeel Christmas Message 2018

Posted on Dec 6, 2018

Sabeel, Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center“Do not be afraid, for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people…” (Luke 2:10)

Dear Friends,

As we look back on 2018, we see that it has been a very difficult year in Palestine. It has been another year in which refugees were denied rights, and another year of occupation in Gaza, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. There has been continued Jewish settler violence, home demolitions, arbitrary detention and arrests, deprivation of natural resources, and restriction of movement. While these are not new measures of occupation, the situation has been exacerbated by several political decisions. These include the ratification of the Nation State Law by the Israeli Parliament, the American decision to move their embassy to Jerusalem, and the defunding of UN operations designed to help Palestinian refugees.

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Pope Francis meets Mahmoud Abbas

Posted on Dec 4, 2018

Particular attention was reserved for the status of Jerusalem, underlining the importance of recognizing and preserving its identity and the universal value of the holy City for the three Abrahamic religions.

Image: Pope Francis meets Mahmoud Abbas

Pope Francis meets Mahmoud Abbas (ANSA)

Vatican News, Dec. 3, 2018  – Pope Francis on Monday met with the President of the State of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas in the Vatican. A statement released following the discussions described the meeting as cordial. During the talks, attention turned to the path of reconciliation among the Palestinian people, as well as the efforts to reactivate the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians.

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YWCA Statement on the International Day of Solidarity of the Palestinian People

Posted on Nov 29, 2018

Samia Khoury writes: “On this day, November 29, the international day of solidarity with the Palestinian people I take the opportunity of sending you the joint statement of the World YWCA and the YWCA of Palestine.”

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The Lasallian Brothers celebrate the Jubilee Year with the strength of their presence in the Holy Land

Posted on Nov 23, 2018

On the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the death of St. Jean-Baptiste De la Salle, a French priest and founder of the Lasallians, Pope Francis granted the congregation a Jubilee Year! The legacy of this saint; the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, has spread and is now present in more than 80 countries. The Lasallian Brothers administer it all: Men who consecrate themselves totally to God by making vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. They dedicate life to the mission of the human and Christian education of children and youth, especially the poorest of them. The Lasallian Brothers administer it all: Men who consecrate themselves totally to God by making vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. They dedicate life to the mission of the human and Christian education of children and youth, especially the poorest of them.

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“Holy Land: Knowledge in order to be able to love and serve”

Posted on Nov 23, 2018

It all began with Francis, who visited the Holy Land 800 years ago and desired, even personally, to care for the places where Jesus Christ had lived his earthly life. Since then he established the overseas Province, “The Custody”, which still operates today, working alongside the Friars Minor, cooperating with collaborators and volunteers and religious of other Congregations who cooperate in the Sanctuaries, Schools, Libraries, Museums and all other sectors of the mission that have developed over the years. In order for the service to be carried out successfully, it is necessary to get to know this centuries-old history! And for this reason, the Training Course for the Collaborators of the Custody of the Holy Land was promoted.

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Rosary Sisters celebrate Feast of their foundress Mary Alphonsine Ghattas in Jerusalem

Posted on Nov 22, 2018

‘Sultaneh’ (Mary Alphonsine Ghattas) was born in the Old City of Jerusalem, on October 4, 1838….

by Rula Shomali, Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

JERUSALEM – On Monday, November 19, 2018, the faithful gathered from all parts of Palestine to celebrate the Feast of Mary Alphonsine Ghattas, the foundress of the Rosary congregation in our Lady of the Rosary Church in Mamilla, Jerusalem.

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Iraqi refugees and parishioners of Jabal Amman paint Face of Jesus Icons

Posted on Nov 21, 2018

by Saher Kawas, Latin Patriachate of Jerusalem

JABAL AMMAN, Jordan – As part of the pastoral work of Jabal Amman Parish, Fr. Mario Cornioli organized a 4-day iconography course to introduce parishioners and Iraqi refugees to painting icons and the theology behind them.

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Maryknoll: Call on Congress to realign support for a just peace for Palestinians and Israelis

Posted on Nov 17, 2018

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Recent violence between Gaza and Israel is a tragic indicator of the need for a just and lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis. Sadly, however, U.S. policy is working against such an outcome.

In a November 14 ecumenical statement, 16 U.S. Christian leaders, including the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, outline developments in U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine since the beginning of the Trump Administration, noting their negative impact on Palestinians and the prospects for peace for Israel and Palestine. The statement was sent to all members of Congress and to the Trump administration.

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Maria Khoury: Remembering Arafat, Welcoming Advent

Posted on Nov 15, 2018

Dear Friends of Taybeh,

Wishing all of you a most blessed Holy Advent during this sacred time of year while preparing for the Birth of our Lord and Savior. I hope and pray you might think about future pilgrimage to the Birthplace of our Lord and include our most ancient Taybeh village.

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MECC general secretary said “reinforce wavering stability, and build steadfast and fair peace”

Posted on Nov 15, 2018

Image: World Council of Churches

World Council of Churches, 15 November 2018

The Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) participated in a Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies on “Inclusive Citizenship in the Middle East and North Africa.” The forum was held 14-15 November.

The forum, held in partnership with the Wilton Park Association, affiliated to the British Foreign Ministry and Adyan Foundation, brought together over 50 prominent Muslim, Christian and other religious scholars from the Middle East, along with a number of policy makers from 11 countries around the world.

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Birzeit University wins prestigious Yasser Arafat Achievement Award

Posted on Nov 12, 2018

Over a century, what began as a small girls’ school in Birzeit town has become the most prestigious Palestinian university, transforming Palestinian higher education through its impact on community awareness, culture and resistance. Birzeit University has been a thorn in the side of the occupation, insisting on playing its role of enlightenment and creating a multicultural Palestinian society on the campus grounds. (Birzeit University website)

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Birzeit University has won the prestigious Yasser Arafat Achievement Award for 2018 in a special ceremony, on Saturday, at the Ramallah Cultural Palace, in central occupied West Bank, commemorating the 14th anniversary of the death of the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.

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The road from T. E. Lawrence’s Damascus to Syria’s civil war

Posted on Nov 11, 2018

In a reign of terror that includes land theft, kidnappings, rape and torture, the ethnic cleansing of Syria’s Christians remains curiously ignored by the West’s political and media classes.

by Christopher Sandford November 10, 2018 | AMERICA, the Jesuit Review

Image T.E. Lawrence (spectator.co.uk)

T.E. Lawrence (spectator.co.uk)

“Arab horsemen from distant Hejaz today galloped in triumph through the streets of Damascus,” The London Guardian reported on Oct. 1, 1918. “As the sun was setting over the mosques and spires, Major T. E. Lawrence, the young British officer whose tactical guidance has ensured the success of the Arab revolt, drove through the lines in an armoured car. One Arab rider waved his head-dress and shouted, ‘Damascus salutes you.’”

It is a stirring account, although The Guardian also issued a salutary warning about the future administrative control of the region liberated as part of the Arab uprising against the Turks during the closing days of World War I.

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Global Catholic tech: Online Arabic catechetical program unites Middle East Catholics

Posted on Nov 9, 2018

By Courtney Grogan

Vatican City, Oct 21, 2018 / 01:00 pm (CNA).- A bishop from Lebanon shared at the 2018 Synod of Bishops how his online catechesis program in Arabic has helped him to unite young Catholics across the Middle East.

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Scrolls and biblical manuscripts on display at the Custody of the Holy Land

Posted on Nov 9, 2018

Nov. 7, 2018 – An exhibition on the Bible hosted by the Custody of the Holy Land, brings together almost 40 parchments, manuscripts and ancient books.

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Kafr Bar’am and the Christian tradition that is kept alive

Posted on Nov 9, 2018

We are in Upper Galilee, three kilometers from the border with Lebanon. The small village of Kafr Bar’am was the refuge of the Maronite Christians who arrived mainly from northern Lebanon seeking refuge. They left their country because of the wars, the difficult conditions of life and the persecutions suffered during the Ottoman rule. Initially, they were simple workers. Progressively, they bought land and managed to settle in the region.

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Curious facts about the Old City of Nazareth

Posted on Nov 9, 2018

Nov. 6, 2018 – Old City of Nazareth. Within walking distance of the Basilica of the Annunciation, we enter the Arab market and here we find a place rich in cultural heritage, opportunities to learn about the daily life of its inhabitants and so to dive into the history of Christianity.

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“The Jewish War”: an international symposium in Jerusalem

Posted on Nov 9, 2018

Nov. 5, 2018 – Gathering together the major experts from Canada, United States, Europe and Israel and the French biblical school of archaeology of Jerusalem, the École Biblique, creates an international congress on the topic of “Rethinking the Jewish War” (66-74 CE)

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Three ways Catholics can respond to anti-Jewish violence

Posted on Nov 5, 2018

Note: The following was published in AMERICA, the Jesuit Review. So far there are three comments by readers of AMERICA.

Image: A young man on Oct. 29 at a makeshift memorial outside the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. (CNS photo/Cathal McNaughton, Reuters)

A young man on Oct. 29 at a makeshift memorial outside the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. (CNS photo/Cathal McNaughton, Reuters)

by John J. Conley, S.J.

For us it is a family matter.

When I first heard of the massacre at the synagogue in Squirrel Hill, I contacted my sister-in-law. Patti is a Jewish woman originally from the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. For decades, her family lived several blocks from the Tree of Life Synagogue. They occasionally attended services there; other relatives and friends were congregants. We waited to hear the names of the victims announced by the police on Saturday night.

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The normalization dilemma

Posted on Nov 4, 2018

Yoav Peckby Yoav Peck, Director of the Sulha Peace Project | The Times of Israel

For 18 years, the Sulha Peace Project has brought together Palestinians from across the territories with Israelis from around the country, in order to hold people-to-people dialogue and solidarity-building. Of late, many of our Palestinian activists have endured harsh anti-normalization criticism from their friends and relatives, and some have been dragged into long, humiliating interrogations at the hands of Palestinian security. The director of a site where we held a recent gathering was harassed by the Palestinian Authority for renting us space.

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Rabbi Alissa Wise: How do we want future generations to live?

Posted on Nov 2, 2018

Image: Rabbi Alissa Wise, Deputy Director

Rabbi Alissa Wise, Deputy Director

What a searing week. I still can barely wrap my head around the shooting in Pittsburgh. And then this morning I woke up to the news that someone sprayed disgusting antisemitic slogans across a major synagogue in Brooklyn – a place my friends and I have met and prayed.

We are in a moment of profound moral reckoning as a community – as a society, even as a planet. We are being challenged to answer: how do we want the future generations to live?

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Israel/Palestine: Protecting Palestinian village

Posted on Nov 2, 2018

Israeli authorities postponed the demolition of the Bedouin village Khan-al-Ahmar as Palestinians striked along the West Bank.

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‘Return to Palestine’ tours once more!

Posted on Oct 28, 2018

In a comic and tragic way, Return to Palestine tells the story of American born Palestinian Jad who returns to his homeland. Here, he discovers Palestine is different from what is told on the news. The physical performance takes place at just a small part of the stage, which symbolises the restricted space of the Palestinian people. The play is based on true stories of life in Palestine, gathered through playback theatre during The Freedom Theatre’s Freedom Bus ride. It was originally produced in 2016, directed by Micaela Miranda.

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Church leaders in the Holy Land visit Khan El Ahmar community in solidarity, prayer

Posted on Oct 25, 2018

Image: Church leaders in the Holy Land visit Khan El Ahmar community in solidarity, prayer (Photo: Yusef Daher/WCC)

Church leaders in the Holy Land visit Khan El Ahmar community in solidarity, prayer (Photo: Yusef Daher/WCC)

World Council of Churches – On 22 October, church leaders in the Holy Land organized an ecumenical visit to the threatened Bedouin community of Khan El Ahmar. They shared Biblical prayers including references to the beatitudes from the sermon on the mount as a response to injustice, and as words of comfort to the people under threat of displacement.

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Wallwritings: Israel’s Uri Avnery Dies Too Soon at 94

Posted on Oct 25, 2018

Image: Avnery is fourth from left, standing next to Palestine President Yasir Arafat, greeting a crowd from a window in Arafat’s Ramallah, Palestine, compound (Jamal Aruri/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

Avnery is fourth from left, standing next to Palestine President Yasir Arafat, greeting a crowd from a window in Arafat’s Ramallah, Palestine, compound (Jamal Aruri/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

 

by James M. Wall

Uri Avnery died at age 94 on August 20, 2018, two weeks after a stroke sent him to a Tel Aviv hospital.

He died too soon. Israel, Palestine, and the world, still need his passionate voice and stern guidance. We also need his Jewish presence at events like the one shown above.

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Blessing of the new Christian Information Center

Posted on Oct 19, 2018

Christian Media CenterSince 1973 the Christian Information Center offers a steady service to pilgrims. On Monday, October 15, the blessing of the building in a whole new look, took place. Pilgrims, and also the many tourists who flock to Jerusalem will be able to enjoy the first stages of a multimedia exhibition by way of modern technology.

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Acts of vandalism at the cemetery of the Salesian Monastery of Beit Jamal

Posted on Oct 19, 2018

Christian Media CenterNew acts of vandalism against the local Christian community. 28 graves in the Salesian cemetery of the monastery of Beit Jamal have been destroyed, a few kilometers from Jerusalem.

An episode that takes place just 2 years after a similar act of vandalism, that hit the same cemetery and a year after the desecration of the church of the same monastery.

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Holy Land: Catholic Justice and Peace Commission condemn demolition of Khan al-Ahmar

Posted on Oct 19, 2018

Image: Catholic Justice and Peace Commission released statement on demolition of Khan al-Ahmar

People gather for evening prayer in Khan al Ahmar, October 2018. Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

The Justice and Peace Commission of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land has issued the following statement strongly condemning the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar.

“After a long period of legal struggle, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the Israeli Authorities are entitled to demolish the Bedouin village at Khan al-Ahmar and areas nearby and transfer the residents to an area near Jericho,” the statement reads. “Many of these people were already displaced after the 1948 War and are now, once again, being violently uprooted to make way for more illegal Israeli settlements.”

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