Posts made in August, 2016

Why Does Israel’s Football Team Play In Europe?

Posted on Aug 26, 2016

As Sepp Blatter tries to resolve Israel’s status in FIFA, we look at the country’s turbulent history in international football.

Israel’s side line up during the country’s only World Cup, in 1970

By Richard Williams, Sky News Online, 4 July 2016

For those unacquainted with the history of the Middle East, the idea of a country which borders Jordan and Egypt playing in European football competition may appear an odd one.

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Uri Avnery: Olympic Jews?

Posted on Aug 26, 2016

Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery

by Uri Avnery, Gush Shalom

THE SCENE at Ben-Gurion airport this week was rather astonishing.

More then a thousand young male fans came to welcome the two Israeli Judo fighters – one female, one male – who had won a bronze medal each at the Olympic games in Rio.

It was a very raucous welcome. The crowd went wild, shouted, pushed, raised fists.

Yet judo is not a very popular sport in Israel. Israeli sports enthusiasts pack the soccer stadiums, as well as the basketball courts. But in these two sports, Israel is far from winning any medals.

So Israeli crowds suddenly became judo fans (some called it “Jewdo”). People who did not go wild with enthusiasm were considered traitors. We did not hear anything about the judo champions who got the gold or silver medals. Were there any?

WE CAN only imagine what would have happened if the Israeli Olympic contingent had included Arab athletes. Arabs? In our contingent?

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Roots of religion and violence in the Middle East are explored in Ecumenical Review

Posted on Aug 25, 2016

151126 World Council of Churches logo18 August 2016

The latest edition of Ecumenical Review, the quarterly journal of the World Council of Churches (WCC), features a discussion of the roots of religion and violence in the Middle East.

Five presentations drawn from three WCC-sponsored conferences of recent years explore aspects of the religious concepts of “promised land,” the “theology of land” and how to go about “reading the Hebrew Bible in solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

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Christian Peacemaker Team: Partner with us to transform violence and oppression

Posted on Aug 24, 2016

Christian Peacemaker Teams Palestine is a faith-based organization that supports Palestinian-led, non-violent, grassroots resistance to the Israeli occupation and the unjust structures that uphold it. By collaborating with local Palestinian and Israeli peacemakers and educating people in our home communities we strive to help create a space for justice and peace.

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Elijah Interfaith Institute in Jerusalem offers a study on leadership in world religions

Posted on Aug 23, 2016

Elijah Interfaith institute in Jerusalem offers a study on leadership in world religions

JERUSALEM – The 2016 edition of the summer school of the Elijah Interfaith institute brought together over 25 students from 10 countries, Jews and Christians, to study the theme of leadership in world religions. On August 4th, Bishop William Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem, offered a lecture on Christian leadership in general and in particular the leadership of Pope Francis.

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Ben Ehrenreich’s New Palestine Book Explores Life on “Planet Hebron”

Posted on Aug 22, 2016

You need a good reason to write or read a book on Palestine these days. Not only is the field over-tilled, it has become boring. We all know the facts or imagine we do, however differently we interpret them. To justify a new book, you have to provide new facts or a new way of looking at old ones. Ehrenreich does both. Many of his facts are new to us, his intended Western readership, if not to the Palestinians and Israelis who live them.

by Charles Glass*

When I moved to Lebanon in 1972, a joke was doing the rounds about an Englishman, a Frenchman, and an Arab tasked to write books about elephants. The Englishman wrote How to Hunt Elephants, and the Frenchman came up with Recipes for Cooking Elephants à la Française. The Arab, meanwhile, produced 12 volumes titled The Elephant and the Palestine Problem. Since then, publishers have poured out thousands of tomes on Palestine and Israel, some bad, some good. Ben Ehrenreich’s The Way to Spring: Life and Death in Palestine is the latest, and it is excellent.

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Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns: Water can’t wait!

Posted on Aug 21, 2016

151210 Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Tell Congress to support equal water rights for Palestinians and Israelis

Organizations in the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy send out action alerts monthly, focusing on different issues so that members of Congress hear consistently that their constituents support a just and lasting resolution to the Palestinian and Israeli conflict.

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Water in the Village, or Is that No Water in the Village?

Posted on Aug 21, 2016

Taybeh sits on one of the highest hills overlooking the Dead Sea. It has 30,000 olive trees that need water. (Photo courtesy of the Taybeh Group Photo Archives)

By Maria Khoury

It is almost a miracle when you manage to make beer without a guarantee that you will have running water most days of the week. Since Amnesty International’s 2009 report on water shortage in Palestine, you may be aware of this issue and its effect on local farming. But the issue has far-reaching consequences that affect all kinds of sectors in our local economy. Let me give you an example: a premium high-quality boutique beer consists of 90 percent water that, most of the time, is scarce, especially along the higher elevations on the arid edge of the Jordan Valley.

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Thirst and narrative

Posted on Aug 21, 2016

The Ministry for Strategic Affairs has established an ten-member inter-ministerial team, charged with formulating an alternative narrative [that Israel is not a pariah state], and Israel will make every effort to get it accepted by the world. The ultimate goal is to instill this alternate narrative globally during the next ten years, until 2025. “For me, victory means a narrative change in the world’s perception of Israel. That the world will no longer equate Israel with Apartheid” she noted.

by Adam Keller, Co-founder of Gush Shalom Israeli peace movement

“Here at Fasayil, in the Jordan Valley, we get water twice a week,” explained our host, to the group of activists from Tel Aviv. “Twice a week the water is flowing through this little water pipe which you see here on the ground, a pipe with a 20 mm diameter. When the large container is full we distribute the water among all the families, it has to last for three days. And by the way, we are more fortunate compared to the Palestinian communities more north. To them, Israel does not give any water at all, and often the soldiers even confiscate the water which they buy for themselves. That is because the area where they live had been declared as a firing range, and the army says they are living there illegally. So far, they did not declare Fasayil a firing range. “

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Jesuit Document on the Middle East

Posted on Aug 20, 2016

jesuit logoIn a new document, Jesuits involved in the Middle East call on the international community to take on a “sense of responsibility” for conflicts in the region and to abandon “the Machiavellian behaviors, passive attitudes and ideological battles” that for too long have stood in the way of lasting peace. The text, “Middle East: Searching for the Word,” which was produced at the request of the superior general of the Society of Jesus, Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., highlights the plight of Christians, who are often persecuted because of their perceived identification with the West and existing regimes or because their faith. The authors note that while the Arab Spring of 2011 failed to translate into successful political and economic programs, Christians and all Arabs should see signs of hope in the widespread desire for a system of government “based on the values of modernity, democracy, human rights, social justice, and cultural openness.” In countries that lack democratic traditions, they say, there must be “education for citizenship,” which “requires genuine familiarity with human rights” and “respects cultural and religious plurality.”  The text follows:

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