Posts made in April, 2019

With continuous presence and just peace at heart

Posted on Apr 25, 2019

By Albin Hillert, Communications Director for the World Council of Churches

World Council of Churches, 25 April 2019 – “Lead us from despair to hope, from fear to love, and may peace be in our hearts,” said Rev. Gabrielle Zander from the Augusta Victoria Church in an opening word of prayer, as participants in the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (WCC-EAPPI) gathered in Saint Anne’s Basilica in Jerusalem in mid-April.

Since 2002, groups of Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) have been providing protective international presence to local communities, documenting human rights violations, and gathering eyewitness stories of life under occupation – stories that they can bring back to share in their home contexts.

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A former ambassador finds much to like in Pope Francis’ diplomatic instincts

Posted on Apr 24, 2019

by Victor Gaetan*

Ambassador Charles W. Freeman, Jr. is a legendary polyglot analyst of geopolitics with broad diplomatic experience, especially in China, the Middle East and Africa. He was President Richard Nixon’s principal translator for the epic 1972 meeting in Beijing with Mao Zedong and went on to serve in key government positions for decades. During the First Gulf War, he served as the ambassador to Saudi Arabia; two years later, he was appointed the assistant secretary of defense—evidence of the unusual respect both the diplomatic and military community have for him.

Mr. Freeman spoke about the dangers in the manner contemporary U.S. foreign policy is conducted, which in recent years seems more reliant on military intervention and regime change than diplomacy. Mr. Freeman refers specifically to his admiration for Jesuit principles, the provisional Vatican-Beijing agreement and Pope Francis’ engagement with moderate Islamic leaders. He even proposes a solution to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. 

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Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns: Take action for Gaza

Posted on Apr 19, 2019

Third Thursday Action Alert: Tell Congress to restore humanitarian aid for Palestinians, to work to end the blockade of Gaza, and to insist upon accountability of Israel for violence used against Palestinian civilians there

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.

For a year now, Palestinians in Gaza have been creatively and bravely protesting for their freedom by marching toward the border fence with Israel to demand an end to the blockade of Gaza and respect for their rights. In response, Israel has met unarmed civilians with live sniper-fire, killing over 200 and injuring tens of thousands, including paramedics, journalists, children, and people with disabilities. In total, 45 children have been killed.

When it convened in Geneva in March, the UN Human Rights Council condemned Israel’s “apparent intentional use of unlawful lethal and other excessive force” against protesters in Gaza. A commission of inquiry formed by the human rights council found that Israel’s use of lethal force against protesters warrants criminal investigation and prosecution and may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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Consecration of Archbishop Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem

Posted on Apr 16, 2019

Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch

On April 10, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at Mor Aphrem Cathderal in Amman – Jordan.

During the Qurobo, His Holiness consecrated Very Rev. Raban Gabriel Dahho as Archbishop, Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem, Jordan, and the Holy Lands.

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What does the Bible really say about modern Israel?

Posted on Apr 16, 2019

by Kathryn Krause Shihadah*

Christ-followers are eager to serve and obey God to the best of our ability and knowledge. When there are gaps in our understanding, it behooves us to “grow in wisdom.” For example, what does the Bible say about the Promised Land and God’s chosen people?

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Shoelaces on Seder plate or Easter dinner table–to remember the refugees & asylum seekers

Posted on Apr 15, 2019

We invite Jews doing a Passover Seder and Christians having a celebratory Easter dinner to consider adding shoelaces on our Seder Plate or Easter dinner table–to recall the fate of refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers.

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Maamoul: An Ancient Cookie That Ushers In Easter And Eid In The Middle East

Posted on Apr 13, 2019

Image: Maamoul, a shortbread cookie stuffed with date paste or chopped walnuts or pistachios and dusted with powdered sugar, is the perfect reward after a month of fasting during Ramadan and Lent. These cookies are waiting to be baked. Amy E. Robertson for NPR

Maamoul, a shortbread cookie stuffed with date paste or chopped walnuts or pistachios and dusted with powdered sugar, is the perfect reward after a month of fasting during Ramadan and Lent. These cookies are waiting to be baked. Amy E. Robertson for NPR

by Amy M. Robertson

Be it Easter or Eid, holidays in the Levantine region of the Middle East are incomplete without a shortbread cookie called maamoul. Stuffed with date paste or chopped walnuts or pistachios, and dusted with powdered sugar, these buttery cookies are the perfect reward after a month of fasting during Ramadan or Lent.

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A Franciscan March during the Lenten Period

Posted on Apr 12, 2019

On April 7, more than 170 young people from different places in the Holy Land responded to a Franciscan initiative for a meeting of young people during the Lenten period. Departing from the monastery of St. George, they crossed the narrow alleys of Wadi el Qult to reach Jericho.

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George Thaljiyeh: a history of success

Posted on Apr 12, 2019

GEORGE THALJIYEH Student, Holy Land School, Bethlehem “I am proud of my disability because it made me discover different talents, above all writing and poetry, as well as the desire to become a musician. I have a relatively good musical ear. The positive aspects of my disability outweigh the negative aspects of my whole life.”

George Thaljiyeh, despite losing his sight, sees with his heart. Thanks to his developed senses, he is able to write down what the eye cannot describe. Through his imagination, George is able to express what happens in his mind and the impressions he experiences in everyday life with his friends.

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Things about Gaza that Israel does not want you to know

Posted on Apr 11, 2019

by Sahar Qumsiyeh from her blog containing some reflections from the life of a Palestinian Latter-day-Saint

I am writing this in response to some comments I saw on Facebook from friends of mine about Gaza.

I grew up thinking that Palestinian lives don’t matter. The reason for my belief was that while growing up I saw many people in my town and my country get killed by Israeli soldiers (and they still do). These were teenagers mostly.  Nothing was done to punish the killers and nothing was said about it in the Israeli media. If something was said, it was a story that did not resemble reality. 

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