"Al-Bushra"

Seeking truth and justice

Commemorating the Nakba

Posted on May 15, 2020

by Ann Farr, Pax Christi International Board Member

nakba

Today – 15 May 2020 – Palestinians all over the world, commemorate the Nakba, or the Catastrophe. It is the day when the Israeli state was established, without any declared borders and Palestinians were dispossessed.

The human cost of this plan was, and still is, very high. More than 200,000 Palestinians were dispossessed of their properties between 1947 and 1948….  Over 400 Palestinian villages were completely depopulated or destroyed and 800,000 Palestinians became refugees.

Read More

What It’s Like to Celebrate Ramadan Under Coronavirus Lockdown in the West Bank

Posted on May 14, 2020

Salman lives in the West Bank with her husband, Steve Sosebee—founder of a medical relief NGO called the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund—and two children, aged two and 13. Salman spoke to TIME about what the holy month of Ramadan has been like under lockdown in the Palestinian territories.

Image: What It's Like to Celebrate Ramadan Under Coronavirus Lockdown in the West Bank

What It’s Like to Celebrate Ramadan Under Coronavirus Lockdown in the West Bank

by Zeena Salman told to Sanya Mansoor, TIME

We live in the Holy Land, in Ramallah, right next door to a mosque. The mosques are all closed now, although we hear the call to prayer throughout the day. But this time the words bellowing from the loudspeaker are different and it strikes me every single time I hear them. Instead of saying come to prayer in Arabic, they say pray in your homes. The call to prayer is something I’ve heard for my entire life and it’s so innate for Muslims. The first time I heard this new version I got goosebumps because I thought—wait, you can’t change that.

The Palestinian territories are already dealing with occupation by Israel, three generations worth of people living in refugee camps, and now we also have the coronavirus pandemic to consider.

Read More

Archbishop Hilarion Capucci: A Freedom Fighter for Palestine, Loved by Arab Christians and Muslims, A Retrospective

Posted on May 14, 2020

 

Archbishop Hilarion Capucci: A Freedom Fighter for Palestine, Loved by Arab Christians and Muslims, A Retrospective

By: John Mason/Arab America Contributing Writer *

While some dramas during the Ramadan season are racing to promote the idea of ​​normalization with Israel, the series “Hares Al-Quds”–Guardian of Jerusalem, traces the biography of the late Archbishop Hilarion Capucci, a Syrian Melkite Christian cleric, born in Aleppo. The series was written by Hassan Youssef and directed by Basil Al-Khatib, and stars actor Rashid Assaf who played the role of the bishop.

Capucci is a hero to Palestinians and other Arabs of both Christian and Islamic persuasions. For this and other reasons, Capucci is not popular among most Israelis. Although he passed away at age 94 in 2017, he remains famous to this day for his passionate support to the Palestinian and other causes. Capucci’s activities range from helping the U.S. to release American hostages in Iran to his arrest in Israel for allegedly transporting arms to Palestinians in Jerusalem.

Read More

CMEP Summit on June 22: Equal in God’s Eyes

Posted on May 13, 2020

Equal in God's Eyes. CMEP's Annual Advocacy Summit.

Churches for Middle East Peace – We are excited to announce our agenda for Equal in God’s Eyes: Human Rights and Dignity for All in Israel and Palestine. Panels will cover timely topics like COVID-19 and the Middle East and political engagement in Israel/Palestine in the year of an election. Although we are not able to gather together in Washington, DC, the day will still include an advocacy training session where our Senior Director of Advocacy and Government relations, Kyle Cristofalo will provide tips and tools that we can utilize for virtual advocacy. Our hope is that we will all communicate with our Congressional representatives in the days following the summit –either by phone or email–and the training session will give us the opportunity to make a plan for this communication in partnership with other attendees from our individual states or districts. Join us as we advocate for peace, justice, and equality!

Read More

Christian Peacemaker Team: School Semester Report August – December 2019

Posted on May 12, 2020

 

Because of the value that Palestinians place on education, along with the human right of access to education, CPT Palestine has an ongoing commitment to accompany students and teachers and document the human rights violations they face. Constant Israeli military patrols, checkpoints, and settlers in the Old City result in daily human rights violations. Members of CPT live in the community of al-Khalil (Hebron) to document these violations, standing in solidarity with Palestinian efforts to resist the occupation and claim their rights, dignity, and freedom.

Read More

Mourning Another Unnecessary Death

Posted on May 12, 2020

Gush Shalom, founded by Uri Avneri z’l, is an Israeli peace organization

Image: Staff Sergeant Amit Ben Yigal was sacrificed by the State of Israel on the altar of occupation, settlement expansion and annexation plans

Staff Sergeant Amit Ben Yigal was sacrificed by the State of Israel on the altar of occupation, settlement expansion and annexation plans

 

Gush Shalom mourns the unnecessary death of Staff Sergeant Amit Ben Yigal who fell in battle at the village of Ya’bad, where the State of Israel sent him to enforce occupation rule. Amit Ben Yigal joins a very long and painful line of young victims who were sacrificed by the State of Israel on the altar of a 53 years old occupation, on the altar of settlement expansion, on the altar of the annexation plans of the government which is to be inaugurated his week. Every minister and Knesset Member voting for annexation, for settlement expansion, for continued Israeli rule In the territory called in right-wing lingo “Judea and Samaria”, must know that this vote would doom more young people to shed their blood in vain. There is no other solution, no other way to end the bloodshed, but the end of the occupation, the removal of the Israeli Army from all territories occupied in 1967, and the signing of a peace agreement between the sovereign state of Israel and the sovereign state of Palestine.

Read More

Israel threatens to shut down new TV channel for preaching ‘gospel of Jesus’

Posted on May 11, 2020

If Americans Knew Blog

Image: Promotional image for the new Shelanu TV channel (overlay by If Americans Knew).

Promotional image for the new Shelanu TV channel (overlay by If Americans Knew).


Israel has a long history of actions against its Christian minority. Israeli forces have desecrated churches, rabbis have endorsed killing non-Jewish civilians (including children), New Testaments have been burned. While there are many Israelis who have opposed these actions and respect Christians, the fact is that discrimination against Christians is endemic in the Israeli system. Like Muslims, Christians have been persecuted by Israel ever since it was established in 1948…

By Alison Weir, executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel

On Wednesday morning one of the headlines on the Fox News homepage was: “Israel threatens to shut down new TV channel for preaching ‘gospel of Jesus.” This was the latest in a long line of anti-Christian actions by Israel.

Read More

Holy Land: Heads of Churches voice concern about Israel’s planned annexation of West Bank land

Posted on May 9, 2020

By: Patriarchs and Heads of the Holy Land Churches – Published: May 07 Thu, 2020

Photo: ©lpj.org

Photo: ©lpj.org

 

A Statement by the Patriarchs and Heads of the Holy Land Churches on
Israeli Unilateral Annexation Plans

(May 7, 2020)

As a result of the stagnation of the Peace Process in the Middle East between the Israelis and Palestinians, an array of plans for Israel to unilaterally annex West Bank land, backed mainly by right-wing factions, raises serious and catastrophic questions about the feasibility of any peaceful agreement to end the decades’ long conflict, one that continues to cost many innocent lives as part of a vicious cycle of human tragedy and injustice.

The Council of Patriarchs and Heads of the Holy Land Churches views such unilateral annexation plans with the utmost concern and calls upon the State of Israel to refrain from such unilateral moves, which would bring about the loss of any remaining hope for the success of the peace process.

Read More

A woman from Nazareth tells the story of her recovery from the Coronavirus

Posted on May 8, 2020

 

Watching Hadal Farraj in her home in Nazareth doesn’t even look like she’s been affected by the Coronavirus. Although the symptoms of the disease were clear she didn’t believe it herself before she received the test results: a real shock. Hadal underwent the test on Palm Sunday, as she had started to feel pain the week before.

Read More

Ramadan in the streets of Jerusalem

Posted on May 8, 2020

[Ramadan 2020 began on Thursday evening, 23rd April, 2020 (according to Saudi Arabia) and will end on Saturday, 23rd May, 2020. Eid al Fitr 2020 is expected to be celebrated on Sunday 24th May, 2020. This is the tentative date as the actual date of commencement of Ramadan 2020 is subject to the sighting of the moon.]

When the sun is still high in the streets of Jerusalem’s Muslim neighborhood, people shop for the evening. Just a stone’s throw from the Damascus Gate you can buy the essentials: vegetables, bread…just a few crescent moons and bright decorations indicate that, despite the Coronavirus, this is a time of celebration.

Read More

Palestinian boy braves surgery alone during coronavirus closure in Israel

Posted on May 7, 2020

 

Image: A doctor kisses the hand of Palestinian boy Hazma Ali Mohammed, 2, who was treated for congenital heart disease in a hospital in Israel and was separated for due months due to the coronavirus disease  (COVID-19) lockdown as he is carried by his mother upon their reunion at a checkpoint near Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. May 7, 2020 (Reuters/Mohamad Torokaman)

A doctor kisses the hand of Palestinian boy Hazma Ali Mohammed, 2, who was treated for congenital heart disease in a hospital in Israel and was separated for due months due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown as he is carried by his mother upon their reunion at a checkpoint near Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. May 7, 2020 (Reuters/Mohamad Torokaman)

HIZME CHECKPOINT, West Bank (Reuters) – Heart surgery is a trial for anyone, and especially for a young child. It was even harder for Hamza Ali Mohammad, as the two-year-old Palestinian had to undergo the procedure in Israel while his family was kept away by coronavirus closures.

He was reunited on Thursday with his mother, who whisked him into her arms after he arrived in a van, escorted by medical personnel, at a checkpoint on the boundary between Israel and the occupied West Bank.

With tears in her eyes she hugged him close and kissed his cheeks.

Read More

Masked and partitioned, worshippers return to Jerusalem’s Western Wall

Posted on May 7, 2020

Image: General view shows the plaza of the Western Wall, in Jerusalem

General view shows the plaza of the Western Wall, in Jerusalem

 

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Worshippers are returning to the Western Wall in Jerusalem as Judaism’s holiest prayer site gradually reopens under eased coronavirus precautions. But now they are themselves being walled-off.

Under revised rules, up to 300 visitors at a time are being allowed to access the Western Wall, a remnant of two ancient Jewish temples in Jerusalem’s Old City. They must wear masks.

Read More

Arab world binges on religious harmony

Posted on May 5, 2020

by the Monitor’s Editorial Board
Christian Science Monitor, May 5, 2020

Image: Bahrani actor Sooad Ali (L) and Kuwati actor Hayat Al Fahad in MCB's Arabic series "Um Haroun"

Bahrani actor Soaad Ali (L) and Kuwati actor Hayat Al Fahad in MCB’s Arabic series “Um Haroun”

The people of the Middle East are quite used to the many attempts over decades to reconcile Jews and Arabs. Yet nothing has been tried on such a mass scale as a drama series being shown on one of the Arab world’s most popular TV channels during this year’s month of Ramadan. Since the series began to air in April over the Saudi-backed MBC station, it has dominated viewership ratings at a time when Arab families gather around a television in the evening.

The drama “Um Haroun,” or “Mother of Aaron,” centers on a Jewish nurse living in an Arabian Gulf country in the 1940s. She and other Jews live peacefully in a village with Muslims and Christians as she lovingly brings health care to all. While the show has plenty of village intrigue, it depicts interreligious harmony before the 1948 creation of modern Israel and the later rise of intolerant Islamic groups such as Al Qaeda.

While the drama was filmed before the COVID-19 outbreak, its producers note its timely message: “Today, the world’s sentiment is no longer ‘us vs. them,’ but more ‘we are all in this together.’”

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

“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.

Read More

‘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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.”

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More