"Al-Bushra"

Seeking truth and justice

Take Action: Say No to Annexation of the West Bank

Posted on May 5, 2020

This action alert is from Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), a coalition of which the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns is a member.

Last week Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the decision to annex much of the West Bank was Israel’s to make. With the announcement of an emergency national unity government, bringing together Prime Minister Netanyahu and his former chief rival, Benny Gantz, Israel is likely to proceed with an annexation vote as early as July 1. Annexation would have a devastating impact on the ground for Palestinians – taking away any realistic opportunity for a Palestinian state and a just resolution to the conflict.

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Samia Khoury: The Corona Lockdown

Posted on May 5, 2020

Property cannot bring back life, but life can bring back material belongings.  –1948 refugee evicted from her home

Photograph: By Unknown author - Oren, Elhanan (1976): On the Road to the City: Operation Danny, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6852263

By Unknown author – Oren, Elhanan (1976): On the Road to the City: Operation Danny, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6852263

by Samia Khoury

As the discussion continues on easing the Lockdown that has paralyzed the whole world, I could not but reflect on a quotation by one of the Palestinian refugees the day she arrived in Birzeit in 1948. The Palestinians from Ramleh and Lydda were evicted by the Israeli army in the hot month of July 1948 and forced to walk for two days before they found refuge in Birzeit and Ramallah.

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Middle East Council of Churches stands with United Nations

Posted on May 4, 2020

Responding to an appeal by the UN Secretary General, the Middle East Council of Churches says that in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it stands by the United Nations through prayer and action, for the sake of human dignity and global peace.

By Vatican News

The Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) has welcomed “with deep gratitude” the invitation of the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, to religious leaders and world authorities to join forces against the Covid-19 emergency, especially during the Easter holidays and Ramadan. The invitation is contained in a message sent on 11 April, the Vigil of Easter, and follows Guterres’ call for a global ceasefire to give all the populations involved in conflict zones the chance to confront the contagion and survive its consequences.

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A day to remember… the inauguration of Our Lady of Lourdes grotto in Na’our

Posted on May 4, 2020

We want to foster local tourism so as to ameliorate the tourist sector particularly to Christian pilgrimage sites. -Fr. Rif’at Bader

By Munir Bayouk/ en.abouna.org

It is a day to be remembered all the time. May 2, 2020 marks the 5th anniversary of the inauguration of the first shrine in Jordan dedicated to the Virgin Mary, that bears the name of Our Lady of Lourdes at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Na’our township, south of Amman. This grotto has been added to several shrines and pilgrimage sites in Jordan.

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“My Name Is Palestine”

Posted on May 3, 2020

by Garth Hewitt (scroll down for song)

I was in Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem where there is a gallery for Palestinian artists, and saw a painting by the superb Palestinian artist Suleiman Mansour. I found the painting so powerful, I said that I would like to put together a song sparked off by this painting – I thought it could be a 12” vinyl single with the painting on the front cover. I told my good friend Wisam Salsaa, Manager of the Walled Off Hotel, and he phoned Suleiman for his permission, which was kindly given. I then wrote to various Palestinian friends showing them the painting, and asked them for their thoughts. Those thoughts I have reflected in the lyrics. It all came together as this song, My Name is Palestine.

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‘Christians and Muslims: Protecting Together the Places of Worship’

Posted on May 3, 2020

By Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader

A few days ago, the Ramadan message, which the Vatican issues regularly every year on behalf of the Catholic Church worldwide to the Muslim Brethren through the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, deals with a common topic between the followers of the two religions. This year’s message was titled,”Christians and Muslims: Protecting Together the Places of Worship”.

The message sent by president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot drew the attention that places of worship occupy an important place in Christianity and Islam. For both Christians and Muslims, churches and mosques are spaces reserved for prayer, personal and communitarian alike. They are constructed and furnished in a way that favors silence, reflection and meditation. They are spaces where one can go deep in oneself, so favoring for God-experience in silence.

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Arab doctor and an ultra-Orthodox Jew find common ground in a covid ward

Posted on May 3, 2020

JERUSALEM -When Jesse Michael Kramer was hospitalized with coronavirus, he realized as soon as the doctor in the spacesuit introduced himself that it would be a rare encounter.

Kramer is an Israeli ultra-Orthodox Jew; Fadi Kharouf is a Palestinian Muslim.

“Fadi, it’s an Arab name,” Kramer, 75, said as he recalled his time at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, once he was back home convalescing in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood he seldom leaves. “He was very good to me.”

Such unlikely meetings have become more commonplace after the pandemic struck with particular fury in Jerusalem’s most insular and religious Jewish enclaves, just a few miles – but cultural light-years – from the Arab neighborhoods where Kharouf and other Palestinian physicians and nurses live.

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Virus Outbreak Israel Sea of Galilee

Posted on May 2, 2020

Image: In this Saturday, April 25, 2020 photo, a dog swims in the water as trees stand where dry land was in the Sea of Galilee, locally known as Lake Kinneret. After an especially rainy winter, the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel is at its highest level in two decades, but the beaches and major Christian sites along its banks are empty as authorities imposed a full lockdown. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

In this Saturday, April 25, 2020 photo, a dog swims in the water as trees stand where dry land was in the Sea of Galilee, locally known as Lake Kinneret. After an especially rainy winter, the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel is at its highest level in two decades, but the beaches and major Christian sites along its banks are empty as authorities imposed a full lockdown. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

JERUSALEM (AP) — After an especially rainy winter, the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel is at its highest level in two decades, but the beaches and major Christian sites along its banks are empty.

Tourism usually peaks in April, when Christians flock to the holy sites during the Easter season and Israelis descend on the beaches and nearby national parks to enjoy the spring weather and see the wildflowers bloom.

This year, that coincided with a lockdown aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus. The borders have been closed and Israelis have been largely confined to their homes since mid-March.

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Muslim and Catholic leaders appeal for world day of prayer to end the coronavirus

Posted on May 2, 2020

Gerard O’Connell, America’s Vatican correspondent | May 02, 2020

The Vatican has today published an appeal from the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity to religious leaders and believers in God worldwide to hold “a day for fasting, prayers, and supplications” on May 14 to ask God to rescue the world from the coronavirus pandemic.

The committee draws attention to the “great danger” from Covid-19 “that threatens the lives of millions of people around the world” and says, “while we reaffirm the role of medicine and scientific research in fighting this pandemic, we should not forget to seek refuge in God, the All-Creator, as we face such severe crisis.”

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Photos of our home in Ain Karim

Posted on May 2, 2020

by Johnny Janini

Couples came from New York to Ain Karim under Israeli occupation. They took over our home and church and claim that they are theirs.

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Free Palestinan children detainees NOW

Posted on May 1, 2020

It’s horrific enough that Israel regularly imprisons and abuses Palestinian children. Under Covid-19 it’s an unconscionable nightmare – and a completely avoidable tragedy waiting to happen.

We’re teaming up with Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP) to call for the immediate release of all Palestinian child detainees.

With their cramped and often unsanitary conditions, Israeli prisons, jails, and detention centers are hotbeds for the spread of COVID-19. Israeli authorities MUST take immediate action to release all Palestinian child detainees.

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SAVE THE DATE: May 16 Nakba & Indigenous Struggles

Posted on May 1, 2020

We invite you to FOSNA’s Nakba Commemoration, “Commemorate by Resisting: The Nakba and Indigenous Struggles.” Please join us on May 16 at 9am Pacific, 12pm Eastern to hear stories from Palestinian and Native American resistance.

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Technology at the Service of the Academic Teaching of Sacred Scripture

Posted on May 1, 2020

April 28, 2020

The Studium Biblicum Franciscanum is a scientific institution for research and academic teaching of Sacred Scripture and archaeology of biblical countries.

It was conceived by the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land in 1901 and has been operating continuously since 1924.

But even the now centuries-old institution based at the Convent of the Flagellation had to introduce adaptations never imagined before.

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WCC questions posed to His Most Godly Beatitude Patriarch Theophilus III of Jerusalem

Posted on Apr 30, 2020

 

29 April 2020

His Beatitude the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III was interviewed by the World Council of Churches (WCC) director of communication Marianne Ejdersten. The interview follows below.

National, religious and ethnic borders are of no relevance to the COVID-19 virus.  As we watch its effect on the entire world, we are reminded of the interconnectedness of the entire human family.  In the next few weeks, Christians, Jews and  Muslims will participate in central aspects of their ritual calendars; normally a time for festive gatherings, all are struggling to find a way to celebrate given the precautions we must take to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities.  Christians, Jewish, and Muslim communities are responding to all the challenges of this unprecedented time:  fighting hate and bigotry that has emerged because of the pandemic, providing frontline services to those in need, maintaining community, and seeking creative alternatives for observing and celebrating in a world of social distancing and quarantine.

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Tied in a Single Garment of Destiny: Black Christian Reflections on Palestine

Posted on Apr 29, 2020

Save the date: Thursday, May 21, 2020

As people of African descent, our struggle against the racism, economic exploitation, and militarism of the United States, what Rev. Dr. King dubbed the “giant triplets,” ties us to the Palestinian people, as they face these giants as well, under Israeli occupation. And today those most harmed by the triple evils are disproportionately impacted by the giant of the COVID-19 public health crisis. It is more apparent than ever that Palestinians and Black Americans are tied in “a single garment of destiny,” what affects one directly affects the other indirectly.

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Middle East patriarchs spoke of faith, hope, during Easter homilies

Posted on Apr 29, 2020

By Catholic News Service

4.13.2020 4:25 PM ET

BEIRUT (CNS) — Catholic patriarchs of the Middle East, in Easter messages from churches barren of the faithful due to the coronavirus, lamented the scourge of the pandemic while evoking the hope of the Resurrection.

Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai, Maronite patriarch, acknowledged that the COVID-19 threat had deprived the faithful of celebrating Easter in churches. Still, he said, Jesus wants people to be “a bright light in the darkness.”

“We pray for the recovery of all those infected and the protection of all citizens, as well as those who care for those afflicted with the virus, such as doctors, nurses and family members,” he said appealing to the Lebanese people to stay quarantined in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

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East Jerusalem Catholic hospital gets coronavirus unit for Palestinians

Posted on Apr 29, 2020

By Judith Sudilovsky Catholic News Service

JERUSALEM (CNS), April 22, 2020 — When the Israeli Ministry of Health asked St. Joseph’s Hospital to set up a coronavirus unit, the hospital had it completed within a week.

Jamil Koussa, general director of the hospital, said normally it would take 20 days to prepare such an infectious disease unit, which requires special negative pressure pumps to clear the air of infectious germs, a special communication setup between the patients’ rooms and medical staff, and surveillance cameras. St. Joseph’s Hospital, run by the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition, closed all its departments except the maternity ward in order to set up the 28-bed coronavirus wing.

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Vatican donates ventilators to hospitals in Syria, sets up emergency fund

Posted on Apr 29, 2020

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In the name of Pope Francis, the Congregation for Eastern Churches said it is sending 10 ventilators to Syria and three to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Jerusalem to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

The donations were among the first items announced by the congregation as it launched an emergency fund in response to the pandemic.

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The Virus of Occupation: Israelis Have Taken To Spitting on Palestinians During Coronavirus

Posted on Apr 28, 2020

Spitting at someone is a universal insult. In Israel, however, spitting at Palestinians is an entirely different story.

Image Israeli soldiers wearing face masks and gloves against coronavirus stand in the streets in Jerusalem’s Old City, April 7, 2020. Ariel Schalit | AP

Israeli soldiers wearing face masks and gloves against coronavirus stand in the streets in Jerusalem’s Old City, April 7, 2020. Ariel Schalit | AP

Now that we know that the deadly coronavirus can be transmitted through saliva droplets, Israeli soldiers and illegal Jewish settlers are working extra hard to spit at as many Palestinians, their cars, doorknobs, and so on, as possible.

If this sounds to you too surreal and repugnant, then you might not be as familiar with the particular breed of Israeli colonialism as you may think you are.

In all fairness, Israelis have been spitting at Palestinians well before the World Health Organization (WHO) lectured us on the elusive nature of the COVID-19 disease and on the critical need to apply ‘social distancing’.

Indeed, if you Google the phrase ‘Israeli spitting’, you will be inundated with many interesting search results, the like of “Jerusalem Judge to Jews: Don’t Spit On Christians“, “Christians in Jerusalem want Jews to Stop Spitting on Them“, and the more recent, “Israel Settlers Spitting on Palestinian Cars Raises Concern over Attempt to Spread Coronavirus”.

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Palestinian-Israeli Cooperation to Combat COVID-19 Pandemic under Threat by New Push for West Bank Annexation, Special Coordinator Warns Security Council

Posted on Apr 27, 2020

23 April 2020

While Israelis and Palestinians are cooperating in unprecedented ways to combat the expanding COVID-19 pandemic, Israel must do more to safeguard the health of all people under its control, the senior United Nations official in the region told the Security Council in a 23 April videoconference meeting[*].

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Medical experts offer on-line support to Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem

Posted on Apr 27, 2020

Image: Holy Family Hospital, Bethlehem

Holy Family Hospital, Bethlehem

 

April 23, 2020 – As Covid-19 approaches, a hospital in Bethlehem is already on the brink of collapse, Michelle Bowe, Ambassador of the Order of Malta to Palestine has warned.

“Covid 19 has caused the total closure, geographic and economic isolation of the Bethlehem region. Families do not have enough money for food, not to mention medical treatment. At the Holy Family Hospital important medical equipment is lacking, which endangers the lives of our newborn babies, many of whom are born before 32 weeks. There is also a great lack of face masks and a problem of blood availability. We are on the brink of collapse,” she said.

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Prison Ministry Assistance provided on weekly basis in Jordan

Posted on Apr 27, 2020

 

Image: Prison Ministry Assistance provided on weekly basis in Jordan

 

JORDAN, April 23, 2020 – Once or two twice a week, a team from Caritas Jordan and members of the clergy visit approximately 200 Christian inmates, both local and foreign, in 13 prisons across Jordan, providing spiritual, financial, and legal assistance that would not be possible without the continuous generous support of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre.

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Jewish history explains why some ultra-Orthodox communities defy coronavirus restrictions

Posted on Apr 27, 2020

by Joyce Dalsheim, Associate Professor of Global Studies, University of North Carolina – Charlotte in The Conversation

Image: An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man is arrested by Israeli security forces for resisting efforts to shut down a synagogue in the Me’a She’arim neighborhood in Jerusalem, April 17, 2020. AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images

An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man is arrested by Israeli security forces for resisting efforts to shut down a synagogue in the Me’a She’arim neighborhood in Jerusalem, April 17, 2020. AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images

Most prominent rabbis around the world support government health regulations intended to curb the spread of coronavirus, even if it means closing places of study and worship. But some observant Jewish communities in the United States and Israel were slow to adopt social distancing.

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Jerusalem, the three religions together again against the Coronavirus

Posted on Apr 25, 2020

 

After the meeting organized a few weeks ago by the municipality of Jerusalem, the religious leaders of the Holy City found themselves praying together again.

At the King David Hotel, in the west of Jerusalem, the chiefs of rabbis of Israel arrive – Sephardic Yitzhak Yosef and Ashkenazite David Lau. They are the ones who compose the prayer asking for the end of the Coronavirus pandemic.

 

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April 22 Sacred Conversations #6 – “Love in the Time of Corona”

Posted on Apr 23, 2020

 

During this time of social distancing, one of the many ways we can stay connected in the coming days is by continuing our weekly spiritual practice in virtual form. This Virtual Meetinghouse will be open 24/7 while our social distancing measures are in effect as a way to help us care for, protect, encourage, help and love one another.

Presenting the sixth in a series of weekly conversations aimed at strengthening our spiritual connections during the coronavirus pandemic. Steve Jungkeit is joined this week by Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, director of the Palestine Museum of Natural History and director of the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability.

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Christian Groups That Resist Public-Health Guidelines Are Forgetting a Key Part of the Religion’s History

Posted on Apr 21, 2020

Matthew Gabriele | Time
April 20, 2020, 9:12 AM PDT

Because of its long history, Christianity has a tendency to produce contradicting reactions to any number of situations—and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. On one hand, some religious leaders have shown that they believe a Christian response to the global emergency involves steps such as making allowances for their congregants to practice their faith with socially distant private worship or drive-through confession; in March, Pope Francis hailed “the creativity of priests” in responding to this crisis. Meanwhile, others have made it clear that they see their Christian faith as a reason not to follow public-health guidelines.

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An Israeli Coalition Government Which Betrays Judaism

Posted on Apr 20, 2020

by Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun, chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, and rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue-Without-Walls in Berkeley, California.

 

Image: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz

Israeli newspapers are announcing the creation of a new Israeli government: Prime Minister Netanyahu and Kahol Lavan Chair Benny Gantz have agreed on a proposal that would allow Netanyahu to stay as prime minister for a year and a half and allow him to avoid the trial for his criminal acts.

Although Gantz presented himself as the moderate alternative to Netanyahu, in the final analysis his decision to not include Israeli Palestinian political parties into his potential coalition government left him with little grounds to refuse the deal offered by Netanyahu which seems to include an annexation (date yet to be determined) of a significant section of the West Bank (where Palestinians have hoped to build an independent Palestinian state living in peace with Israel).

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In Iraq, aid groups face lockdown constraints trying to help displaced

Posted on Apr 20, 2020

Image: Displaced women and children wearing protective masks wait in the medical center of a camp in Dahuk, Iraq, March 7, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. (CNS photo/Ari Jalal, Reuters)

Displaced women and children wearing protective masks wait in the medical center of a camp in Dahuk, Iraq, March 7, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. (CNS photo/Ari Jalal, Reuters)

AMMAN, Jordan (CNS) — A top Catholic humanitarian group expressed concern for the tens of thousands of Iraqis displaced inside their country and dependent on assistance, because access to them has become severely restricted due to COVID-19.

“The government in the northern Kurdish area of Iraq has been very careful and restrictive (with regard to measures to tackle coronavirus), more so than in central or southern Iraq,” said Hani El-Mahdi, Iraq country representative for the U.S. bishops’ Catholic Relief Services. El-Mahdi spoke to CNS by phone from the area’s capital, Irbil.

“But access to people is a challenge,” El-Mahdi said of the current situation as most of Iraq faces lockdown in a bid to stem the spread of COVID-19. Iraq has reported 1,434 cases of the coronavirus as of April 17, but some medical professionals claim the number could be higher.

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Wallwritings: Zionist Attacks Continue on Director Ken Loach

Posted on Apr 19, 2020

by James M. Wall

Israeli politics shine no light on the darkness of oppression.

Take the career 0f Ken Loach, a film director who exposes injustice on and off screen. He has long been a constant warrior against Zionist oppression.

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Bethlehem: a Bronze Age prehistoric cemetery was discovered

Posted on Apr 17, 2020

[Bronze Age: 3000 BC to 1200 BC]

On April 6, the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced the discovery of a prehistoric cemetery dating back to the Bronze Age in the Hindaza region near Bethlehem.

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