Posts made in March, 2020

From Bethlehem: We are grateful

Posted on Mar 14, 2020

Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh writes from Bethlehem.

We are grateful for all who have written letters of concern, prayed for us, or thought about us. We are working hard and we thank those of you who asked about us.

Here in Bethlehem (Palestine), it has been 6 days in lockdown because of the COVID-19 cases. But the birthplace of Jesus in 2020 provided a message of hope to all humanity. So far and thanks to amazing people cooperation, only 37 cases in Bethlehem and one in Tulkarem but thankfully all related to known sources (the Greek Delegation that visited Bethlehem and a worker from Tulkarem who worked in an Israeli area).

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A Report from East Jerusalem

Posted on Mar 14, 2020

Adam Keller sends the following report on activity in East Jerusalem:

In recent weeks, contacts have taken place between residents of the Issawiya neighborhood and the city municipality in the hope that many years of official harassment of the neighborhood will be replaced with positive processes that will enable a safer and fairer life for its inhabitants. However, the Jerusalem District Police has been sabotaging such contacts and aims to preserve the regime of terrorizing and brutalizing the residents.

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Coronavirus: Bethlehem is closed down.

Posted on Mar 14, 2020

The city of Bethlehem suffers a new “siege” as never before in its long history. The Coronavirus has changed the lives of its inhabitants, especially following the restrictions imposed by the Palestinian government.

The Basilica of the Nativity, the beating heart of the city that, until a few weeks ago, welcomed hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, is now almost empty. Few priests have celebrated Sunday Mass: they wanted to offer intentions and prayers to the Lord so that He could spare the inhabitants of Bethlehem and the whole world from the anxiety and anguish of the Coronavirus.

The first outbreak appeared in the nearby town of Beit Jala: some Palestinian workers from the Angel Hotel who had come into contact with a Greek group who had stayed in the same hotel were found positive for the virus.

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We Are a People with a Name

Posted on Mar 14, 2020

Samia Khoury

by Samia Khoury of East Jerusalem, March 14, 2020

On top of all the generous gifts that the President of the USA, Mr. Donald Trump, gave to Israel in his deal of the century, the USA is now referring to the Palestinians of Jerusalem as non-Israelis.

Not much different from the letter of November 2, 1917 which Lord Arthur Balfour, Foreign Secretary of Great Britain at the time, wrote to Mr. Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, assuring him that “His Majesty’s government views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

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Will humanity fail or rise to the challenge?

Posted on Mar 12, 2020

Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh writes from Beit Sahor in his Palestinian Christians newsletter:

Will humanity fail or rise to the challenge?

Obviously human beings are being tested: pandemics spreading around the world (and after coronavirus, there will be others much more deadly), the collapse of oil prices that led to financial market collapses, the climate change (we have really 7 or 8 years left to make drastic changes in lifestyle to avoid the irreversible damage), the technology gone rampant and killings and nature (5G, chemical and biological weapons), the accelerating risk of nuclear war, and much more. How we deal with this as individuals and communities is really existential. There are bad signs and good signs. Let us give some examples of both and then of areas where we could go either way).

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Israeli forces kill Palestinian minor in West Bank

Posted on Mar 12, 2020

The bishops encouraged their own countries’ governments to find political solutions to the conflicts in the Holy Land, including: “insisting upon the application of international law; following the Holy See’s lead in recognizing the State of Palestine, addressing the security concerns of Israel and the right of all to live in safety, rejecting political or economic support for settlements, and resolutely opposing acts of violence or abuses of human rights by any side.”

.- Mohammed Hamayal, a 15-year-old Palestinian boy, was shot and killed by Israeli troops Wednesday during a clash in the West Bank.

He was killed during a March 11 Palestinian protest of Israeli settlers near Beita, some 40 miles north of Jerusalem.

According to Israel, 500 Palestinians were rioting, setting tires on fire and throwing rocks at its security forces.

In response to the rock throwing, Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition, rubber bullets, and tear gas, a witness told the BBC.

Images: Palestinians mourn the death of Mohammed Hamayel, 15, during his funeral in Beita in the West Bank, March 11, 2020, after he was shot by Israeli forces. Credit: Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP via Getty Images.

Palestinians mourn the death of Mohammed Hamayel, 15, during his funeral in Beita in the West Bank, March 11, 2020, after he was shot by Israeli forces. Credit: Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP via Getty Images.

According to Palestinian officials, another 17 people were injured in the clash.

The Israeli army said that “we are aware of a report regarding a killed Palestinian and several injured. The incident will be reviewed.”

Israeli settlers have been trying to gain control of a hill in the Beita area, according to Palestinians.

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Make Syria ‘priority’ over ‘every other interest’ says Pope Francis

Posted on Mar 9, 2020

Image: Image of pilgrims holding a sign supporting those suffering in Idlib, Syria, during the Sunday Angelus, March 8, 2020. Credit: Vatican Media/YouTube

Image of pilgrims holding a sign supporting those suffering in Idlib, Syria, during the Sunday Angelus, March 8, 2020. Credit: Vatican Media/YouTube

Vatican City, Mar 8, 2020 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- Pope Francis issued a plea to the international community to halt the violence and mounting death toll in the Syrian civil war, now in its ninth year.

Speaking on Sunday during the recitation of the Angelus, the pope said that he had “great apprehension for the inhumane situation of these defenseless people, among whom so many are children whose lives are at risk.”

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Overcoming the odds: Five women, five stories of entrepreneurship and ingenuity. Gaza, 2020

Posted on Mar 9, 2020

In 2012, the United Nations predicted that unless Israel took significant measures to improve the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, the area would be unlivable by 2020.

Here we are, in 2020, and Gaza has been unfit for human residence for quite some time. It is governed by scarcity and despair. 65% of Gaza’s population is made up of young adults under the age of 24, who are living in an intolerable present, with no hope for a better future.

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Women’s day, reliable virus info, 42 knees etc.

Posted on Mar 8, 2020

Prof. Mazin Qumiseyh writes from Beit Sahour/Bethelehm

It is hard to come up with the right words on International Women’s Day. To my three sisters, my wife, my mom, to all Palestinain women, to all women, especially those in areas of conflict and under occupation, colonization, oppression we say: we must redouble our efforts for freedom and human rights. To the 43 women political prisoners in Israeli jails: we honor you.

Bethlehem is like a ghost town indeed after 19 tested positive for corona virus (contained in a hotel).
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How Franciscans in Syria are helping kids heal from war trauma

Posted on Mar 8, 2020

The Good Friday Collection to be taken in churches throughout the world April 10 will benefit Catholic holy sites and ministries in the Holy Land, as well as in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and other countries in the region.

Photo courtesy of the Franciscan Care Center in Aleppo.

Photo courtesy of the Franciscan Care Center in Aleppo.

By Courtney Mares

Aleppo, Syria, Mar 7, 2020 / 06:01 am (CNA).- As a wartime missionary priest in Aleppo, Fr. Firas Lufti witnessed the trauma endured by a generation of Syrian children who have spent the entirety of their lives in the uncertainty and tragedy of war.

“I saw with my eyes, and I touched the suffering of the children living in the ruins, not in a home, because everything is destroyed,” Fr. Lufti told CNA March 5.

The Franciscan sought to create a place of safety and healing for these kids, many of whom were suffering from anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress.

“We observed that the children, the Aleppian children, had many trauma, post-war. Lots of them lost parents, some of them had mutilation, losing hands or legs, and they are afraid of everything,” the priest said.

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