Posts made in August, 2016

To help desperate refugees, Mormons and Catholics join hands

Posted on Aug 31, 2016

Credit: thomas koch via

(Catholic News Service) Washington D.C., Aug 31, 2016 / 06:32 am – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has given $1.25 million in aid to Catholic refugee relief efforts.

“Together, as people of faith, we know that refugees desperately need our help – and this generosity allows us to serve many more,” said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration.

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Dicastery for human development, Pope himself will be in charge of migrants

Posted on Aug 31, 2016

A new social dicastery has been established and is to be headed by Cardinal Turkson. At the moment, Francis is taking charge himself of migration, thus underlining the importance of this emergency


by Andrea Tornielli, Vatican City, August 31, 2016

The new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development”, which merges a number of pontifical councils, was established today. For the moment, however, Francis has decided that he will be personally in charge of the department dedicated to migrants and refugees. His choice comes as a response to the current crisis in this field. It is a way to highlight the importance of this issue and to show the Pope’s personal commitment. The Bishop of Rome will only hold direct responsibility “ad tempus”, in other words, temporarily. Bergoglio will have two deputies who will answer directly to him. So, although the merger involves the current Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People – until today headed by Cardinal Antonio Maria Vegliò – becoming one of the sections of the new dicastery, its importance has been highlighted even more by today’s decision, which sees the Pope himself acting as its special ambassador.

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Israeli museum transfer sets ‘dangerous precedent’

Posted on Aug 31, 2016

A recent court ruling sanctioned the move of a rare archaeological library from East to West Jerusalem.

Artefacts from various historical periods were brought to the museum during the British Mandate [Ylenia Gostoli/Al Jazeera]

by Ylenia Gostoli

Occupied East Jerusalem – At the entrance to the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum, an old floor plan maps out the rooms that make up its collection.

Artifacts from various historical periods were brought here during the British Mandate, with the museum founded in 1930. The majority were unearthed during British excavations at the turn of the century in historic Palestine.

The museum was established with the philanthropic contributions of American oil magnate John D Rockefeller, whose name it later acquired. But the print on the museum’s floor plan features its original name: Palestine Archaeological Museum.

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Catholic and Shia Muslim leaders unite to condemn WMDs, terrorism

Posted on Aug 30, 2016

A nuclear bomb explosion at the Nevada Test Site, April 18, 1953. Photo courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration/Nevada Site Office.

(Catholic News Service) Rome, August 30, 2016 – Shia Muslim religious leaders from Iran and U.S. Catholic bishops say they have a common fight against weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and violent religious extremism.

“Christianity and Islam share a commitment to love and respect for the life, dignity, and welfare of all members of the human community,” they said in an Aug. 18 joint declaration. “Peaceful coexistence is built on equity and justice. We call upon all to work toward developing a culture of encounter, tolerance, dialogue, and peace that respects the religious traditions of others.”

The two delegations agreed that belief in one God unifies Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

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Twenty Four Hours In Ramallah

Posted on Aug 30, 2016

In the market in Ramallah, filled with fruit boxes from Israel (Photo by Becca Strober)

by Becca Strober Becca, an Israeli-American activist living and working in Tel Aviv

I went to Ramallah this weekend to visit a friend living there, and the experiences I had forced me to rethink oppression and how we interact with it, especially in terms of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

These 24 hours forced me to question my role within the conflict. Where do I fit in as an activist and potential ally? Can I be Israeli and accepted by Palestinian society? It is easy to believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is black and white, and this weekend reminded me of the often painful variety of colors that exist within it.

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ISRAEL/OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY: Escalation of the campaign of attacks against prominent Palestinian human rights organisations

Posted on Aug 29, 2016


(fidh) Geneva-Paris, August 22, 2016 – The credible death threats against a member of the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights evidence a serious escalation in the ongoing smearing, intimidation, and threats campaign against several prominent Palestinian human rights organisations. The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders urges the international community to ensure that a genuine investigation takes place.

On August 10, 2016, an Al Mezan [1]’s staff member received an email sent both to his personal and work email addresses, with the following death threat: “you deserve to see your loved ones suffer and die. but maybe you would be hurt before them…”. Six photos of the house where he resides were attached to this e-mail that follows two other threatening messages addressed to him on August 2 and 6.

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Conditions should come with $40B aid package to Israel

Posted on Aug 28, 2016


By Greg Slabodkin, August 4, 2016

Despite the billions of dollars in foreign assistance that Israel already receives annually from the United States, the Obama administration is reportedly close to providing the Jewish state with up to $40 billion in funding over 10 years, making it the biggest U.S. military aid package ever given to any country.

However, if American taxpayers are going to again foot the bill for financing the Israeli military, which continues to occupy 2.7 million Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, then conditions must be put on the deal to exact concessions from Israel. U.S. aid to the Jewish state should be tied to progress in the peace process and respect for Palestinian human rights.

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Honduras and Israel: A New Special Relationship

Posted on Aug 28, 2016

The security agreement, announced on August 20, would add to an existing collection of pacts cemented during Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández’s visit to Israel last year. | Photo: AFP

by Belén Fernández*

( 25 August 2016 –  Just as it serviced murderous regimes in Central America in the 1980s, Israel will now be exporting forms of repression to Honduras’ abusive government.

In the aftermath of the 2009 coup in Honduras, I had the opportunity to interview deposed President Manuel Zelaya, who, having been kindly escorted in his pajamas to Costa Rica by the Honduran military, had then resurfaced in Tegucigalpa and taken refuge in the embassy of Brazil. The interview took place via an intermediary inside the embassy, who conveyed my questions to Zelaya.

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2017 Int’l Year to End Israeli Occupation of Palestine?

Posted on Aug 27, 2016

Photo: Che Guevara visiting Gaza Strip during 1959. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

By J Nastranis

NEW YORK (IDN) – The UN General Assembly is coming under strong pressure to declare 2017 as the International Year to End Israeli Occupation of Palestine, particularly in the aftermath of the July 2016 report by the Middle East Quartet – comprising the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.

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Israel may finally be doing something to stop its most racist soccer fans

Posted on Aug 26, 2016

For more than a decade, La Familia has been a blight on Israeli soccer, a violently racist scourge that chants “death to Arabs” throughout matches and has pressured Beitar Jerusalem management — successfully, at least up to now — not to sign any Israeli-Arab players. But the arrests this summer could mean that the group’s power and infamy are finally waning.

Members of the right-wing Beitar Jerusalem supporters’ group La Familia have been proudly racist for years. (Abir Sultan/EPA)

by By Raphael Gellar, freelance journalist based in Tel Aviv who specializes in the connection between soccer and politics, 19 August 2016

TEL AVIV — The Israeli national soccer league begins its new season on Saturday. But one of the most significant developments of the upcoming year may have happened last month.

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