Posts made in September, 2018

Palestinian Christians: Volunteers empower work on the ground

Posted on Sep 17, 2018

Professor Mazin Qumisiyeh writes in the Palestinian Christians newsletter.

The relentless attack on lives and livelihoods of the native Palestinians goes on. I am so glad that some of us try to counter all the negativity with some solid positive and empowering work on the ground. I am so proud of the team and volunteers at our Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability for their hard work and dedication.

This is a team that has grown significantly in the past few weeks. Partly this is due to donations from many individuals and also to our success in getting grant support (from National Geographic, Darwin Initiative, Rotary, British Council, City of Geneva, and many more). I continue to be mostly a volunteer (getting a small amount from part-time teaching and consulting).

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Summer newsletter 2018 of the Grand Magisterium of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher

Posted on Sep 17, 2018

Order of the Holy Sepulcher

The Summer newsletter of the Grand Magisterium of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher is now available. It addresses several meetings, participation and reflections starting with the historical meeting in Bari between His Holiness Pope Francis and the Patriarchs of the Oriental Churches. It also highlights the importance of the Eastern Christians’ testimony in the Holy Land, the different reflections from its members and the projects financed by the Order. Lastly, it covers the Order’s participation in the World Meeting of Families in Ireland.

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A ‘gentleman’s agreement’: How Oslo worked out as planned for Israel

Posted on Sep 17, 2018

PLO President Yasser Arafat offers his hand to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin after the signing of the Oslo Accords in Washington, DC. September 1993 (Reuters)

Twenty-five years on, analysts say Oslo didn’t fail: it offered Israel a formula to block the emergence of a Palestinian state

by Jonathan Cook

There will be no anniversary celebrations this week to mark the signing of the Oslo Accords in Washington 25 years ago. It is a silver jubilee for which there will be no street parties, no commemorative mugs, no specially minted coins.

Palestinians have all but ignored the landmark anniversary, while Israel’s commemoration has amounted to little more than a handful of doleful articles in the Israeli press about what went wrong.

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The Oslo Accords did not fail. The Oslo Accords were simply not implemented.

Posted on Sep 17, 2018

On the twenty-fifth anniversary of the historic handshake between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, one must remember and remind of the truth: The Oslo Accords did not fail. The Oslo Accords were simply not implemented. The non-implementation of the agreements had already cost thousands of lives and may cost many more lives.

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Christianity in Palestine: Misrepresentation and Dispossession

Posted on Sep 15, 2018

A voice from the past

Image: A view of the Old City of Jerusalem — with both the Haram a-Sharif and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre visible — from Dominus Flevit church on the Mount of Olives (Timothy Seidel)

A view of the Old City of Jerusalem — with both the Haram a-Sharif and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre visible — from Dominus Flevit church on the Mount of Olives (Timothy Seidel)

“You are a Christian?” a foreign tourist inquires with marked disbelief of a Palestinian tour guide in Bethlehem. “When did you convert?”

This response by foreigners, Christian or not, is unfortunately not uncommon in Palestine. Even in Bethlehem, the origin to which many trace the very roots of their Christian faith, this disbelief goes hand-in-hand with tourists’ visits to the Church of the Nativity — visits that seem to carry with them some image of a time long past with only archaeological or religious sites remaining with little consideration for the “living stones” that have continuously borne witness to this tradition for two millennia.

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Wallwritings: Trump and the Repackaging of the Oslo Accords

Posted on Sep 13, 2018

Image: Palestinian schoolgirls wait for buses in the shadow of the Israeli wall, inside the East Jerusalem Shua’fat refugee camp. Photograph: Jim Hollander/EPA

Palestinian schoolgirls wait for buses in the shadow of the Israeli wall, inside the East Jerusalem Shua’fat refugee camp. Photograph: Jim Hollander/EPA

by James M. Wall

We live in a world saturated by the manifestation of evil. Genesis tells the origin story. The story starts with Adam succumbing to the temptation of desire for the forbidden. The Creator surely knew the decision to allow freedom of will would produce evil. Every succeeding generation has had to live with the consequences of that decision.

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Fr. Iyad Twal: “the integration of the catechism book for Tawjihi is a historical achievement”

Posted on Sep 13, 2018

On August 9, 2018, the Palestinian Ministry of Education approved the integration of the Catechism book for the General Secondary Education Certificate Examination also known as Tawjihi. For this reason, the Media Office interviewed Fr. Iyad Twal, Director of the Latin Patriarchate Schools in Palestine and Israel, to talk about this important accomplishment.

Interview conducted by Rula Shomali

How did work start on developing a Catechism textbook for Tawjihi students? And how did you accomplish this goal?

In 1999, we started working to develop ecumenical Catechism textbooks for all grades, from the first to the 12th grades in order for the Christian and public schools in Jerusalem and the West Bank to adopt this in the curriculum. In 2012, an ecumenical committee, comprised of Tawjihi teachers from the different churches in the Holy Land, was formed for the purpose of paving the way towards submitting the request of integrating the Catechism textbook and examination to the Ministry of Education.

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Film “Tel Aviv on Fire” wins Interfilm award

Posted on Sep 13, 2018


World Council of Churches, 12 September 2018

At the 75th International Film Festival in Venice, Italy, the film “Tel Aviv on Fire” won an Interfilm award for promoting interreligious dialogue. The film, directed by Sameh Zoabi, is a comedy in which a Palestinian writer draws upon the skills and experiences of an Israeli checkpoint commander to enhance a TV series, “Tel Aviv on Fire.”

The film confronts the uneasy boundary between harsh reality and romantic illusions, and transforming identities, opening imaginative space for dialogue.

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Brother Dominique of Abu Gosh: “The secret of happiness is to be entirely given to God and to others without reserving anything”

Posted on Sep 12, 2018

On the occasion of his Golden Jubilee, Brother Dominique, an Olivetan Benedictine monk from the St. Mary of the Resurrection Monastery of the Abu Gosh, agreed to answer our questions. He traces with us this journey that led him from the Cathedral of Paris to the Crusader-era Abbey Church of Abu Gosh.

Interview by Cécile Klos, Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

Brother Dominique, fifty years ago, you made religious profession in a monastery located in the south-west of France. Can you tell us the stages of your life that today made you celebrate this jubilee in the Holy Land?

It is obvious that everything happened independently of my will. Born into a deeply Catholic home and committed to the service of the Church, my Christian formation was solid, healthy and balanced. Very early I received biblical training adapted to my age. It began in the elementary school and continued until I entered the novitiate and then as part of my monastic formation.

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As US closes Palestinian office, Catholics urge that Palestinian voices be heard in peace process

Posted on Sep 12, 2018

.- The U.S. State Department announced Monday it will close the Palestinian Liberation Organization office in Washington because it says Palestine has failed to take “steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.”

The Palestinian Liberation Organization, or PLO, is recognized by the United Nations as “the representative of the Palestinian people” and has diplomatic relationship with over 100 states, including the Holy See.

“I am reminded of the teachings of the great popes of our time who have pleaded that the voice of the Palestinian people be heard,” Father David Neuhaus, a Jerusalem-based priest, told CNA.

In 1948, Pope Pius XII wrote in an encyclical on Palestine, “Even before the armed conflict began … We manifested our lifelong solicitude for peace in Palestine, and, condemning any recourse to violence, We declared that peace could only be realized in truth and justice.”

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