Seeking truth and justice

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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A noteworthy recognition of a noble mission: safeguarding holy sites in Jerusalem

Posted on Mar 7, 2020

UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay has praised His Majesty King Abdullah’s constructive role as the Custodian of Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.

During her recent visit to the Kingdom, the UNESCO chief also commended the King’s vision of Jerusalem as a unifying city of peace and harmony for the three monotheistic religions.

His Majesty King Abdullah, accompanied by HRH Crown Prince Hussein, met with Azoulay and discussed advancing cooperation between Jordan and UNESCO, especially in safeguarding cultural heritage.

UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay met with King Abdullah and Crown Prince Hussein

At the meeting, the King noted UNESCO’s important role in preserving endangered World Heritage Sites, especially the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls.

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Christian Palestinians reminded of Christian vocation in Jerusalem

Posted on Mar 6, 2020

Justice And Peace Commission

Assembly Of The Catholic Ordinaries

Of The Holy Land

Being a Christian Palestinian in Jerusalem in 2020


March 1, 2020

1. The uncertainty about the future of Jerusalem has recently deepened as a consequence of the initiatives sponsored by the United States of America and by Israel. These unilateral moves render any just peace even more difficult to imagine. Israel has proclaimed Jerusalem its eternal unified capital. However, the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as their capital. The international community wavers, giving contradictory signals after the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, resulting in the transfer of the US embassy to the city. Yet, the Holy See reiterates its position, claiming a special status for the Holy City, so that people of all religions can visit the city’s holy places and worship freely there without fear.

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Archbishop Pizzaballa: “We must not approach the Eucharist as a magic element. The union with Christ does not cancel our humanity”

Posted on Mar 6, 2020

By: Saher Kawas / LPJ – Published: March 05 Thu, 2020

JERUSALEM – As a result of the vast outbreak of the novel Coronavirus around the world, which also touched the Holy Land, and as a way to prevent the infection and spread of this virus, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, issued a letter of precautionary guidelines to be followed during the celebration of Holy Masses. A similar step was also taken in many Catholic dioceses worldwide in a bid to contain the spread of the virus. However, some criticism and certain accusations were made. The Media Office of the Latin Patriarchate would like, with the following interview with Archbishop Pizzaballa, to answer some inquiries that people may have and clear out some assumptions that they have made.

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Latin Patriarchate condemns Israeli settlers violations of its property in Tayasir

Posted on Mar 6, 2020

TAYASIR – On Friday, February 21, 2020, thousands of Israeli settlers entered with no permission and gathered on the land lot belonging to the Latin Patriarchate in Tayasir, near Tubas in northern West Bank, in clear violation of private property.

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The ancient books of the Custody of the Holy Land: a treasure that will soon be online

Posted on Mar 6, 2020

250,000 is the number of photographs that are needed not so much to remember the past with nostalgia, but rather to ensure a future for the books kept on these increasingly technological shelves: these are the more than a thousand ancient volumes that can be found in the General Library of the Custody of the Holy Land in Jerusalem.

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Latin Patriarchate extends Coronavirus precautions to entire Holy Land

Posted on Mar 6, 2020

To all the Faithful, Priests and Religious in Palestine

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Lord give you peace!

Only yesterday I had to communicate to our communities in the pastoral region of Bethlehem and Jericho some instructions following the decree of the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Unfortunately, due to this situation, late in the evening President Abou Mazen was forced to declare a state of emergency throughout the country.

In compliance with the decree, I inform you that the instructions issued yesterday (March 5, 2020) for the pastoral region of Bethlehem, are extended to the entire territory of Palestine.

I invite the communities throughout the diocese, in Jordan, Palestine, Israel and Cyprus to unite in solidarity prayer. We pray first and foremost for the victims of this virus among us, and all over the world. Let us also pray for all who have been indirectly affected, those losing their jobs, for the many families who, in an already difficult and precarious situation, are now facing even greater economic and social difficulties. During this time, let us remain united and supportive in prayer above all, and in all possible forms and means of mutual help and support.

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Coronavirus: the guidelines of the Latin Patriarchate for Bethlehem and Jericho

Posted on Mar 6, 2020

Emergency measures to counter the spread of the Coronavirus also reach the Holy Land.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health has decreed for the area of Bethlehem and Jericho the closure of schools and universities for 14 days, banned public events (including celebrations with crowds of people in churches and mosques) and closed access to hotels for tourist groups.

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Simply reflecting…on powers are doing to the soul of the human being

Posted on Mar 6, 2020

Samia KhourySamia Khoury writes from East Jerusalem

As we entered 2020, the general political scene looked very grim in all our region: Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Libya, and Palestine, especially after the announcement of the details of the “Deal of the Century.” For us Palestinians, both the president of the USA Donald Trump and the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu—who are running the show that continues to deprive us of our rights—are the calamities of the new year. But then out of the blue China “blessed” us and many parts of the world with the coronavirus.

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Palestinians declare state of emergency over coronavirus: prime minister

Posted on Mar 5, 2020

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared a 30-day state of emergency on Thursday after coronavirus cases were reported in the West Bank town of Bethlehem.

The decree was announced by Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh hours after officials closed Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, the traditional birthplaces of Jesus, and banned foreign tourists from West Bank hotels.

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Coronavirus in Bethlehem?

Posted on Mar 5, 2020

Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh writes in his “Palestinian Christians newsletter dated March 5, 2020

Dear colleagues

A group of Greek tourists checked into hotel here in Beit Jala then leaving behind four suspected cases among hotel workers (not confirmed yet). We have very few good ministers in the Palestinian authority but fortunately in this case we have the very capable minister Dr. May Kayali. May is a friend who I have known for many years and she was quick to issue the proper precautionary instructions. Schools and universities were shut down. Of course we are part of Bethlehem University but we cannot shut down the operation of the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability. For example there are animals and plants to take care of and also cultured cells in our clinical laboratory. Just yesterday we received an injured (broken shattered wing) long-eared owl for rehabilitation. We have fish, chickens, peacocks, hawk, hamsters and more. We also have many projects. After a fairly quick meeting of staff and volunteers (including existing International volunteers), we made the needed arrangements: some staff will work from their homes, volunteers continue to come here to take care of things, work and life go on. Our recommendation echoes health officials: do not panic, avoid certain area contacts, and most important wash hands frequently.

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To preserve memory and update the history of Redemption

Posted on Feb 28, 2020

February 26, 2020

Every day, the shrines of the Holy Land welcome pilgrims from all over the world.

Mystical places where the grace of Revelation is experienced.

The Custody of the Holy Land has the task of preserving more than 50 sanctuaries, located in the current borders of Israel, Palestine and Jordan.

From Mount Nebo, where Moses contemplated the Promised Land…

…to the sanctuaries of Jesus’ life, passion and death.

Jerusalem is considered the heart of the Holy Land.

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“Mediterranean, frontier of peace”

Posted on Feb 28, 2020

February 24, 2020

It already promises to be the first step on a path that cannot stop. The meeting dedicated to the “Mediterranean frontier of peace” brought together for three days 58 bishops and patriarchs of 20 countries to discuss the main challenges of the Mediterranean basin – peace, migration, dialogue -, challenges that must be faced together.

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An Open Letter to US Congress: Statement on Israel-Palestine “Peace Plan”

Posted on Feb 28, 2020

Churches for Middle East Peace, a network of organizations working for peace in Israel-Palestine of which MOGC is a member, released the following statement on February 25 on the Trump administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” plan for Israel-Palestine. The following article was published in the March-April 2020 issue of NewsNotes.

Dear Members of Congress:

As U.S.-based Christian communions and organizations, we are deeply committed to a peaceful and just end to the conflict in Israel-Palestine. We affirm the need for strong—but fair— U.S. leadership to help encourage a future in which Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side in peace and security with both peoples truly flourishing. It is in this spirit that we write to share our deep disappointment with the Trump Administration’s announced “Peace to Prosperity” proposal, which we believe will only further perpetuate violence, fear, and discord.

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The Religious of the Holy Land study the local Jewish world

Posted on Feb 28, 2020

February 26, 2020

What do you mean by the word “Jew”? And how do you talk about what happens in the Holy Land? Questions that seem simple in appearance, but whose answers can be very complex. It’s necessary to go back to school in some way and study the surrounding reality carefully: that’s what the Union of Religious of the Holy Land is doing, engaged in a training course on the articulated Christian, Jewish and Muslim local world.

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Ecumenical forum in Amman pushes for just peace in Palestine and Israel

Posted on Feb 27, 2020

World Council of Churches

26 February 2020

An ecumenical consultation being held in Amman, Jordan, 25-26 February is exploring “Just Peace in Palestine and Israel.”

Those gathered are discussing new developments and the current situation in Israel and Palestine, as well as ecumenical responses and initiatives. The Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) has been an important way to consult ecumenically and coordinate activities for just peace, and the structure and mandate will be revised.

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Historic Iraqi church to be rebuilt

Posted on Feb 24, 2020

Image: Isis training center in Christian church, Iraq. Credit: Lena Ha/Shutterstock

Isis training center in Christian church, Iraq. Credit: Lena Ha/Shutterstock

Mosul, Iraq, Feb 18, 2020 / 03:10 pm (CNA).- The rebuilding of a Syriac Catholic church in Mosul, Iraq, destroyed by ISIS will begin soon, the U.N.’s heritage agency (UNESCO) announced last week.

Al-Tahera church, in the old city of Mosul, was severely damaged after ISIS invaded the city in June of 2014.

Among numerous documented murders and other atrocities committed against Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities in the area, ISIS destroyed at least 28 significant religious sites in the city, one of which was the Al-Tahera church.

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Pope Francis on Middle East: War should never be considered normal

Posted on Feb 24, 2020

By Courtney Mares

Bari, Italy, Feb 23, 2020 / 07:00 am (CNA).- War is madness, Pope Francis told bishops gathered in the Italian city of Bari Sunday in a speech that warned against populist sentiments and condemned countries that sell weapons that fund wars in the Middle East.

“War can never be mistaken for normality or accepted as an inescapable way to regulate divergences and opposing interests. Never,” Pope Francis said Feb. 23 in Bari, Italy.

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The Government of Israel Has a Very Serious Antisemitism Problem

Posted on Feb 23, 2020

The government of Israel is engaged in what is perhaps the worst example of antisemitism in the world today, writes Miko Peled, and its aimed at its very own Orthodox Jewish community.

February 21st, 2020


Image:Ultra-Orthodox Jews block a main road during a protest against Israeli army conscription, in Jerusalem. Ariel Schalit | AP

Ultra-Orthodox Jews block a main road during a protest against Israeli army conscription, in Jerusalem. Ariel Schalit | AP

By Miko Peled*

Jerusalem, Palestine — As Zionist organizations around the world weaponize antisemitism and use it as a tool to bring down politicians and other public figures with whom they disagree, the state of Israel is engaged in what is perhaps the worst example of antisemitism in the world today.

A rebellion against the Almighty

According to Halakhah, strict Jewish law, the Jewish people have been in exile as a result of a heavenly decree for sinning against the Almighty. According to the Talmud, the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish law – exiled Jews took three vows they must observe while in exile:

  1. Not to rebel against the nations
  2. To avoid a mass return to the Holy Land
  3. To avoid any actions that will hasten the end of the exile
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Hero in Hanukkah attack declining $20K reward over Zionism

Posted on Feb 23, 2020

Associated PressFebruary 22, 2020, 5:21 PM PST

WEST NYACK, N.Y. (AP) — An Orthodox Jewish man credited as a hero for attacking a knife-wielding man who stabbed five people during a Hanukkah celebration north of New York City is refusing to take a $20,000 reward from established Jewish groups because he considers them Zionists, according to a rabbi who knows him.

Officials with the Jewish Federation and the Anti-Defamation League told The Journal News that they were caught off guard by Josef Gluck’s decision to turn down the reward, the newspaper reported Friday.

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Pope Francis urges bishops of the Mediterranean to promote peace and counteract populist hate speech

Posted on Feb 23, 2020

His reference to “inequitable solutions” appears to be his first public comment on the much-criticized proposal presented by President Donald Trump as a solution to the more than 70-year-old conflict.

by Gerard O’Connell, America’s Vatican correspondent, February 23, 2020

Seeking to promote peace in the region around the Mediterranean Sea, Pope Francis spoke out against those who conduct or foster armed conflict in the area, and against populist leaders who stir up fear and hate towards migrants and advocate the building of walls. He did so when he addressed a gathering of some 50 bishops from the 19 countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, in the southern Italian city of Bari on Sunday morning, Feb. 23.

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Amazon offers free delivery to illegal Israeli settlements, charges Palestinians

Posted on Feb 22, 2020

E-commerce giant says free shipping discount is also available to Palestinians if they select Israel as their country

By MEE staff, Published date: 14
February 2020 18:38 UTC

Amazon is offering free shipping to customers in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, while charging Palestinians fees of as much as $24 when they list the “Palestinian Territories” as their country.

The US retail giant said on Friday that the free shipping promotion was also available to Palestinians if they amended their addresses and selected Israel as their country.

According to an investigation by the Financial Times, Amazon has been running a free shipping promotion in Israel since November, when it first entered the Israeli market.

The offer also extends to settlements on occupied Palestinian land, which are deemed illegal under international law.

Meanwhile, customers who live in, and select “Palestinian Territories” as their address, are subject to shipping and handling fees upwards of $24, the FT found.

Amazon spokesperson Nick Caplin chalked up the discrepancy to a “logistical issue,” telling Middle East Eye that it was “not a sign of any other consideration”.

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Christ at the Checkpoint Conference, 5th to the 9th of June, 2020

Posted on Feb 22, 2020

Speakers | Christ at the Checkpoint 2020Hope and Resilience in a Broken World

Join is in the year 2020 in Bethlehem for the sixth international Christ at the Checkpoint conference. The theme will be Hope and Resilience in a Broken World. Join us as what we consider what it means to follow Christ in the shadow of walls and conflict, and how to be resilient in our Christian witness, keep hope alive, seek just peace and truth, and preach good news in the midst of a broken world.

We are a community of evangelical Christians who believe that following Jesus with integrity means that our lives are formed by our love for God, the teaching of the Bible and a fearless life of discipleship in the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We believe that one of the first hallmarks of discipleship is love for both our own community and for our enemies. We wish to find Jesus at the center of everything we do and to make his life our life. Which means finding courageous love for Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews alike.

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This Syrian Catholic priest was kidnapped and tortured by ISIS.

Posted on Feb 21, 2020

He still has hope in humanity.

by Stephanie Saldaña

Photo: Father Jacques MouradIt became clear that I would need to follow the Rev. Jacques Mourad around all day. To the kitchen, where he was preparing kebab with eggplants or demonstrating how to cut onions just so or washing dishes. To the chapel, where he was picking away wax collecting on candle holders. To the classrooms, where he was nodding his head as nuns from India attempted to recite the Mass in Arabic that he has spent months teaching them. To the door, which he was always leaning out of, calling to someone in the street.

There was nothing too small, or nothing small enough, to occupy Father Jacques, for he believed that God was captured best in simplicity. The woman called by name. The prayer in the chapel, where only two of us had gathered beneath the rising Iraqi sunlight. The coffee filled exactly to the correct level.

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Areej Masoud: How a Palestinian Christian deals with challenges on her identity

Posted on Feb 21, 2020

In a two-minute video Palestinian Christian Areej Masoud tells that she has learned to live both her Palestinian and Christian identity despite the challenges.

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Tell Congress to oppose the Trump administration’s “peace plan” for Israel/Palestine

Posted on Feb 21, 2020

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.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Trump administration has released its “plan” for the future of Palestine and Israel—a document that cannot truly be called a “peace plan.” In releasing this plan, the U.S. government has demonstrated support for Israeli control over all of Jerusalem, Israeli sovereignty over Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley, and the continued isolation of Gaza.

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