<![CDATA[United Network for Justice & Peace in Palestine & Israel - News Blog]]>Thu, 11 Jan 2018 19:13:19 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[NDP STATEMENT ON THE VOTE ON JERUSALEM AT THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY TODAY]]>Thu, 21 Dec 2017 22:58:54 GMThttp://unjppi.org/news-blog/ndp-statement-on-the-vote-on-jerusalem-at-the-un-general-assembly-todayDecember 21st, 2017 - 2:12pm
NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Hélène Laverdière made the following statement in reaction to Canada’s decision to abstain from the vote:

“New Democrats are deeply disappointed in the Trudeau government's decision to abstain from the vote at the UN General Assembly today.
President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is dangerous and misguided. His decision runs contrary to international law and numerous UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, and will undermine attempts for a peace process.

Today's shameful decision by Canada continues a disappointing pattern of votes at the UN by the Trudeau government. A few weeks ago, Canada voted against its own long-standing foreign policy by refusing to condemn illegal settlements. On Tuesday, Canada voted against a UN General Assembly resolution on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. In both votes, Canada was one of only seven countries, alongside the United States, Israel, Palau, Nauru, Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands, to vote against. All of our other allies, including European Union states, Australia, and Japan, voted in favour. How can Canada claim to champion a rules-based multilateral order when the Liberal government continues to refuse to uphold international law?

Canada's decision to abstain today, and its recent UN votes, are contrary to Canada's own stated foreign policy on Israel/Palestine. At a time when Canada should be standing up for international law and promoting human rights, Canada is isolating itself.  We urge the Trudeau government to uphold their own stated values, condemn illegal settlements, and finally stand up for the rights of the Palestinian people as well as the rights of Israelis. Canada has been silent on these issues for far too long.”
<![CDATA[Will Palestine be liquidated with Arab complicity? by Mazin Qumsiyeh]]>Wed, 22 Nov 2017 04:54:18 GMThttp://unjppi.org/news-blog/will-palestine-be-liquidated-with-arab-complicity-by-mazin-qumsiyehhttp://popular-resistance.blogspot.com/2017/11/will-palestine-be-liquidated-with-arab.html
November 21, 2017

The following blog was posted in Palestine Resistance, the blog by Mazin Qumsiyeh.  It is a thoughtful, and perhaps provocative assessment of the history of Arab complicity with the European and American colonizers from the late 1800's through to the 21st Century.  He also holds the PLO responsible. 

"Much of the developments after 1973 would not have happened had the PLO remained true to its principles. "
​He warns that "While such collusion with colonialism is common in all parts of the world, the collaborators fail to read history to understand the fate of all tools of colonialism. They will face the same fate as other collaborators. As tools of colonialism, they are discarded as soon as they fulfil their designated roles."

Curtis Marwood, Web Editor

Zionism is a colonial movement invented in the 19th century to transform a multi-religious Palestine to the apartheid “Jewish state of Israel”. It was to be “a rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization against barbarism” (Herzl in the Jews’ State). This colonial racist idea remained unchanged since founding of the “Jewish Colonization Association” in 1891 and the World Zionist Congress in 1897. Like all colonial movements, it focuses on the dual task of destroying native life and creating new exclusivist racist regimes and it gets support from empires and from complicity.
Britain put the Al-Saud family in charge of the area of Hijaz (which was to become the kleptocracy of “Saudi Arabia”). Abdul Aziz Al-Saud responded in 1915 to British requests by writing in his own hand: “I the Sultan Abdel Aziz Bin Abdel Alrahman Al-Faysal Al-Saud decide and acknowledge a thousand times to Sir Percy Cox the representative of Great Britain that I have no objection to give Palestine to the poor Jews or to others as seen [fit] by Britain that I would not go outside [disobey] its opinion until the hour of calling [end of the world].” The good relations at the expense of Palestinians by the Saud ruling family remained to this day with a brief period when Arab nationalism was strong and the Royal family suspended oil shipments to the US in the October 1973 war.
The PLO began its long process of “compromise” with colonizers in 1974. Israel then signed a “peace treaty” with Egypt in and had good working relations including cooperation in crimes against humanity in isolating and besieging the Gaza strip. There was a brief period when Morsi was elected President of Egypt when there was the potential of relieving the blockade but that soon ended when the military retook power in Egypt. Egypt is however trying to play a role in mediation between Hamas and Fatah now which could help end the blockade and may help reclaim a liberation struggle.
Israel has maintained efforts to break-up the (already fragmented) Arab world for example in developing proxy militias and aligning with extremist right wing Christian leaders in Lebanon in the 1970s and 1980s. Working through proxies or directly, Israel and its Arab stooges committed massacres such as at Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982. “Israel” maintained good relations with separatist movements in Northern Iraq and in South Sudan and helped arm the South Sudanese army. Israel’s relationship to Barazani and attempts to break-up Iraq is now well known. In the 1990s at the behest of the Israel lobby, Iraq was subjected to sanctions led by the US and Arab regimes that resulted in the death of one million Iraqis half of them children. At the same behest, the US attacked Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen (see http://qumsiyeh.org/connectingthedotsiraqpalestine/).
In 1986, King Hassan II of Morocco invited the Israeli Prime Minister for talks and following the Oslo disastrous accords, Morocco accelerated its economic ties and political contacts with Israel opening of bilateral liaison offices in 1994. As the late Edward Said showed eloquently that the Oslo Accords were a second Nakba for the Palestinian creating a Palestinian authority whose task was designated as protecting the occupiers from resistance and normalizing the occupation. After Arafat and Abbas signed these surrender treaties, Israel’s economy and its foreign recognition grew rapidly. The agreements also gave the occupying power the green light to grow its illegal activities in the occupied areas not turned over to the Palestinian authority (area C is the majority of the land).
Economic relations existed between Qatar and “Israel” between 1996 and 2000. In 2005, Saudi Arabia announced the end of its ban on Israeli goods and services. Diplomatic and other ties between Tunisia and Israel fluctuated between strong ones in the 1990s to weaker ones during 2000-2005 to pick up again until the Tunisian revolution. In 1919 King Faisal Al-Hussain (Hashemite leader) signed an agreement with Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann but one of his sons was later removed (by France) from power in Syria because of his opposition to Zionism. Israel signed a “peace treaty” with Jordan in 1994. However public sentiment in Jordan (among Jordanians of Palestinian or of Trans-Jordan heritage) remains strongly opposed to normalization efforts including in saddling Jordan with huge debts that serve Israeli interests (e.g. of the Red Sea-Dead Sea canal).
The CIA and the British intelligence services toppled the elected Mosaddaq government in Iran in 1953 to bring a more Israel friendly regime. This lasted until the Iranian revolution ended the Pahlavi criminal regime in 1979. Israel had good working and cooperation with Turkey from 1949 to 2011 when Israeli leaders engaged in a series of affronts and blunders including murdering Turkish citizens on the Mavi Marmara ship in International waters.
In 2015 Israel opened a diplomatic mission with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and has helped Saudi Arabia and the UAE launch the war on Yemen in order to control the strategic Bab Al Mandeb strait (Red Sea to Indian Ocean). Egypt has also agreed to give two of its Islands in the Strait of Tiran to Saudi Arabia on Israel’s behest.
The above is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of Zionist collusion with Arab leaders to destroy Palestine. Much remains hidden. Yet, understanding this history helps understand why rulers of “Saudi Arabia” and the UAE and others are colluding with Israel and the USA in a feverish attack on resistance forces in the Arab and Islamic world. While such collusion with colonialism is common in all parts of the world, the collaborators fail to read history to understand the fate of all tools of colonialism. They will face the same fate as other collaborators. As tools of colonialism, they are discarded as soon as they fulfil their designated roles.
Much of the developments after 1973 would not have happened had the PLO remained true to its principles. This is indeed a historic moment in our part of the world. Zionists feel emboldened like never before and intend on ending the Palestine question once and for all with collusion especially the key issue of refugees (would be forced to settle outside of Palestine). Developments in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, and the rest of our region need to be watched in the context of this struggle and with the centrality of the issue of Palestine since it is the reason for all this. It is a struggle between those who think they can guarantee their thrones and positions by dong Zionist bidding and those who challenge colonialism. The choice is between mayhem that will spare no one (including those who collaborate) or rejection of division and then unity to fight imperialism, colonialism, and Zionism. Palestine remains the litmus test, the Achille’s heel of imperialism, and the key to peace. Each of us should take a clear stand. I am optimistic because 12.7 million Palestinians and hundreds of millions of others who follow their conscience will not let Zionism (and its complicit Arab and American rulers) liquidate the most just cause in human history. It is wise of complicity leaders to rethink their positions if for nothing else than for their own interests since colonial powers use tools and discard them and are never true to their words to those that do not belong to their “tribe”. This is amply illustrated with history of Israel itself and its collaborators (e.g. in Lebanon in the 1980s). Now we need to all work together towards a peace with justice, the inevitable outcome.
<![CDATA[Interfaith Leaders Denied Entry to Israel for Supporting Palestinian Human Rights]]>Tue, 25 Jul 2017 04:42:12 GMThttp://unjppi.org/news-blog/interfaith-leaders-denied-entry-to-israel-for-supporting-palestinian-human-rightsBDS Ban: Jewish, Muslim & Christian Leaders Denied Entry to Israel for Supporting Palestinian Human Rights

Five leaders on an interfaith delegation to Israel/Palestine were refused permission to board their plane in the United States, in what appears to be an implementation of Israel’s travel ban on supporters of Palestinian rights and Boycott, Divestment Sanctions (BDS).

Rabbi Alissa Wise: “We were told at check-in that the airline has a letter from the Israeli government saying we are not allowed to fly to Israel. I wasn’t even able to get as far as checking my bag.”

WASHINGTON DC (July 24, 2017) – Five members of an interfaith delegation were prevented from boarding their flight to Israel because of their public criticism of the Israeli government’s policies towards Palestinians. The group of Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders were apparently singled out for their public support of the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) on the state of Israel. Upon arrival at the Lufthansa check-in counter at Dulles International Airport, an airline employee informed the group that the Israeli government had told the airline not to let them board.

The five people prohibited from flying are Rabbi Alissa Wise, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) deputy director, Philadelphia, PA; Alana Krivo-Kaufman, Brooklyn, NY and Noah Habeeb, Virginia, both also of JVP; Rick Ufford Chase, of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, Rockland County, NY; and Shakeel Syed, a national board member with American Muslims for Palestine, Los Angeles, CA.​
“Israel denied me the ability to travel there because of my work for justice for Palestinians, even though I’m Jewish and a rabbi,” said Rabbi Alissa Wise.  “I’m heartbroken and outraged. This is yet another demonstration that democracy and tolerance in Israel only extends to those who fall in line with its increasingly repressive policies against Palestinians.”

The Israeli Knesset (parliament) passed a bill in March banning entry to those who support boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel until Palestinians have full equal rights. Israel’s BDS ban includes those who have endorsed boycotts of products from Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian land in violation of international law and longstanding official U.S. policy. It is believed that this is the first time that the policy has been enforced before people even board their flight. It is also the first time that Israel has denied entry to Jews, including a rabbi, for their political positions. This new political litmus test for entry into the country is an extension of the longstanding practices of racial, religious and ethnic profiling of Palestinian, Arab and Muslim visitors to Israel.

“As a person of faith, Israel’s denial of my right to visit the Holy Land doesn’t dampen, but rather, emboldens my pursuit of justice and peace for Palestinians and long overdue freedom for Palestine,” said Shakeel Syed, a human rights activist & national Board Member, American Muslims for Palestine. “Despite that I had my boarding pass to Tel Aviv in hand, the Lufthansa representative informed me that they had a direct order from ‘Israeli immigration authorities’ to not allow us to board the plane. Furthermore, they refused to even show us the Israeli order.”

The BDS travel ban is part of a broader crackdown on support for these nonviolent tactics to hold Israel accountable to international law. The United States Congress is currently considering the draconian Israel Anti-Boycott Bill that would penalize people and companies that boycott business with Israel or Israeli settlements with penalties of up to 20 years in jail and $1 million in fines.

At a time of heightened violence in the region, when Palestinians are praying outside the Al-Aqsa compound and on the streets, protesting Israeli restrictions on worship there, a small group of faith leaders and activists have been barred from even witnessing and lending an interfaith voice for peace. Israel’s ban refuses the interfaith leaders entry to Israel and the Occupied Palestinians Territories, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem, under Israeli control.

“I am part of a Jewish, Muslim and Christian delegation of committed, nonviolent peacemakers whose plan is to meet with those in both Israel and Palestine who are working every day for a Just Peace in the Holy Lands,” Rick Ufford-Chase, Moderator of the 216th General Assembly, PC(USA) and member of the Activist Council of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship. “At this time when tension and violence are rising once again, the work we are doing to build trust and work for a viable peace is more important than ever, and I stand ready to go the moment the State of Israel gives us permission to fly.”

The other 18 participants on the Interfaith Network for Justice in Palestine (INJIP)* delegation arrived in Israel this morning, and were allowed to enter after several hours of detention and questioning that particularly focused on Muslim members of the delegation. The delegation plans to meet with dozens of faith-based organizations, grassroots activists and human rights groups in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Now the remaining delegates will continue this work, without five of their members, with the intention to learn, witness and co-resist Israeli occupation, displacement and siege with Palestinian and Israeli partners on the ground.

​Source: Jewish Voice for Peace
<![CDATA[UNJPPI and United Church Writes to LCBO and Minister of Health on Labelling of Wine Produced in West Bank as "Product of Israel"]]>Sat, 15 Jul 2017 06:08:40 GMThttp://unjppi.org/news-blog/united-church-writes-to-lcbo-and-minister-of-health-on-labelling-of-wineThe United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel and the United Church of Canada has written to the LCBO in support of its decision to follow the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's directive on the labelling and sale of wine produced in the West Bank.

After the reversal of the decision by CFIA, the United Church wrote another letter urging Minister of Health Jane Philpott responsible for CFIA to reconsider the reversal.

​Tom Woodley of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the middle East wrote an op-ed in HuffPost in which he challenged the reversal based on the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement.]]>
<![CDATA[The United Church respects the decision of the federal government to apologize to Omar Khadr.]]>Thu, 13 Jul 2017 20:25:49 GMThttp://unjppi.org/news-blog/the-united-church-respects-the-decision-of-the-federal-government-to-apologize-to-omar-khadrPublished on July 12, 2017

The United Church of Canada respects the decision of the federal government to apologize to Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen, for its role in his ordeal that began with his detention by the United States in Afghanistan.

Since 2008, the United Church has written to the federal government on several occasions regarding the miscarriage of justice in the treatment of Omar Khadr, who was 15 years old when he was detained and considered a child soldier under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Canada is a signatory. At that time, the church requested that an independent review of the Canadian government’s involvement in Khadr’s detention be implemented.
In a unanimous ruling in 2010, the Supreme Court found Khadr’s human rights were being violated at Guantanamo Bay:
“The deprivation of [Khadr’s] right to liberty and security of the person is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice,” the court ruled.
“The interrogation of a youth detained without access to counsel, to elicit statements about serious criminal charges while knowing that the youth had been subjected to sleep deprivation and while knowing that the fruits of the interrogations would be shared with the prosecutors, offends the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects.”
There is much brokenness in this story. However, as followers of Christ, we find our hope in the power of restorative justice to mend deep divisions between individuals, peoples, and nations.

​Source: http://www.united-church.ca/news/united-church-responds-khadr-apology

<![CDATA[Palestinian Christians call World Council of Churches and the ecumenical movement to 'costly solidarity' in this seemingly 'impossible moment"]]>Fri, 16 Jun 2017 20:52:00 GMThttp://unjppi.org/news-blog/palestinian-christians-call-world-council-of-churches-and-the-ecumenical-movement-to-costly-solidarity-in-this-seemingly-impossible-momentOpen letter from The National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine (NCCOP)
to the World Council of Churches and the ecumenical movement

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Cor. 4:8-9)"
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. (Isa. 1:17)
 As we meet this month in Bethlehem in occupied Palestine, we are still suffering from 100 years of injustice and oppression that were inflicted on the Palestinian people beginning with the unjust and unlawful Balfour declaration, intensified through the Nakba and the influx of refugees, followed by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Gaza and the fragmentation of our people and our land through policies of isolation and confiscation of land, and the building of Jewish-only settlements and the Apartheid Wall.

We are still suffering because of one political declaration from a Western Empire, based on a twisted theological premise. Even some churches and few Christian leaders supported the establishment of the colonial state in our land, and totally ignored – even dehumanized – the nation, our people that had already existed here for centuries and paid the price for atrocities committed in Europe.
Hundred years later with thousands of lives lost, towns and villages razed from the face of the earth – though not our memory –, millions of refugees, thousands of homes demolished and continued incarceration of prisoners, our Nakba goes on.
Hundred years later and there is still no justice in our land! Discrimination and inequality, military occupation and systematic oppression are the rule. Today, we stand in front of an impasse and we have reached a deadlock.
Despite all the promises, endless summits, UN resolutions, religious and lay leader’s callings – Palestinians are still yearning for their freedom and independence, and seeking justice and equality. Humanly speaking – we have reached the “moment of impossible”, as Emeritus Latin Patriarch Sabbah said recently.
Could it be that we have reached this “impossible moment” because things were built from the very beginning – a hundred years ago – on an unjust premise? Should we expect that such an unjust declaration will create anything but strife and destruction?
Today is also an opportunity to remember the Amman Call which was proclaimed ten years ago. We are thankful to those who stood with us back then in costly solidarity; those who stood for truth and justice. We are also concerned that ten years later the situation has been worsening on on the ground and still deteriorating. Like other initiatives advocating end of occupation, the Amman Call did not achieve its goals in building and achieving just peace and we must ask ourselves today – why?
We are also concerned by Israel’s systemic assault on Palestinian creative resistance, and on our partners worldwide who use this method to pressure Israel to end the occupation. Many new laws were issued in Israel and around the world to oppose this creative non-violent resistance unlawfully, and to stop all effort towards peace. Not only is this an attack on the freedom of conscience and speech but it is also an assault on our right and duty to resist evil with good. Israel is even now trying to prevent pilgrims from visiting Bethlehem – the city of Emmanuel!
While we are grateful for the ‘costly solidarity’ articulated in the Amman Call and exercised by many churches around the world, we are concerned that some churches have weakened their positions in the last ten years as a result of this manipulating pressure. Many still hide behind the cover of political neutrality, not wishing to offend their religious dialogue partners.
Finally, we meet in an environment of religious wars and persecution in our region. Religious extremism is on the rise, and religious minorities have paid a heavy and painful price. We thank you for your efforts towards the refugees and towards ending the conflicts in our region. We also thank you for your support of persecuted Christians in places like Iraq and Syria.

Our Call
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness (Justice), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me”. (Matthew 5:10-11)
As we stand in front of this “impossible moment”, it gives us no pleasure to say that “we told you so” eight years ago when we declared the moment as a Kairos moment! We stand facing the impossible, but we have not lost hope, since as followers of the Risen One, we are the people of hope. However, we need you and we need you now more than ever. We need your costly solidarity. We need brave women and men who are willing to stand in the forefront. This is no time for shallow diplomacy Christians. We urge you to hear our call and adopt the following:

  1. That you call things as they are: recognize Israel as an apartheid state in terms of international law and in agreement of what a person like Desmond Tutu said and as the UN ESCWA report said: “Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people”. We are disturbed by the fact that States and churches are dealing with Israel as if the situation were normal, ignoring the reality of occupation, discrimination and daily death in the land. Just as churches united to end apartheid in South Africa and whereby the WCC played a courageous and pivotal prophetic and leadership role, we expect you to do the same!
  2. That you unequivocally condemn the Balfour declaration as unjust, and that you demand from the UK that it asks forgiveness from the Palestinian people and compensates for the losses. We ask that churches and Christians to support the Palestinians in their request for justice. It was his infamous declaration, after all that laid the ground for the concept of an ethno-religious state – the very same thing our region is suffering today.
  3. That you take a clear and the strongest theological stand against any theology or Christian group that justifies the occupation and privileges one nation over the other based on ethnicity or a covenant. We ask that you adopt and live the theology suggested by Kairos Palestine and that you organize conferences to bring awareness towards this end.
  4. That you take a stand against religious extremism and against any attempt to create a religious state in our land or region. We ask that you support us in combating the foundations of extremism and that you seek our council when acting against religious extremism so that you do not jeopardize and harm our standing here.
  5. That you revisit and challenge your religious dialogue partners, and that you are willing to even withdraw from the partnership if needed – if the occupation and injustices in Palestine and Israel are not challenged.
  6. That you lead campaigns for church leaders and pilgrims to visit Bethlehem and other Palestinian cities on this side of the wall in cooperation with Palestinian tourist and pilgrimage agencies, in response to recent attempts by Israel. We ask that you publicly challenge any attempt by Israel or other Christians that discourage pilgrims from visiting Palestinian places.
  7. That you defend our right and duty to resist the occupation creatively and nonviolently. We ask that you speak in support of economic measures that pressure Israel to stop the occupation and go further to support sport, cultural and academic measures against Israel until it complies with international law and UN resolutions urging the ending of its occupation, Apartheid and discriminations, and accepts refugees to return to their home land and properties. This is our last peaceful resort. In response to Israel’s war on BDS, we ask that you intensify that measures. 
  8. That you create lobby groups in defense of Palestinian Christians. We ask that you publicly and legally challenge Christian organizations that discredit our work and legitimacy.
  9. We therefore propose as a matter of the greatest urgency that you create a strategic program within WCC similar to the Program “To Combat Racism” to lead efforts to lobby, advocate and develop active programs towards justice and peace in Palestine and Israel and work on maintaining the presence of the Palestinian Christians through supporting their organizations, church work and peaceful efforts.
As faithful witnesses, we acknowledge, affirm and continue the long standing prophetic tradition, especially the one started by the Amman Call and articulated in the Kairos Palestine document. We fully grasp the pressure church leaders are facing here and abroad not to speak the truth, and it is because of this that we are raising this call.
Things are beyond urgent. We are on the verge of a catastrophic collapse. The current status-quo is unsustainable. This could be our last chance to achieve a just peace. As a Palestinian Christian community, this could be our last opportunity to save the Christian presence in this land. Our only hope as Christians comes from the fact that in Jerusalem, the city of God, and our city, there is an empty tomb, and Jesus Christ who triumphed over death and sin, brought to us and to all humanity, new life.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Cor. 4:8-9)
12 June 2017  
Arab Catholic Scouts Group
Arab Orthodox Society – Jerusalem
Caritas- Jerusalem
Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees- Middle East Council of Churches
Greek Catholic Sayedat AlBishara Association
International Christian Committee
Laity Committee in the Holy Land
National Christian Association
Pontifical Mission Palestine
SABEEL – Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center
Seeds of Better life
Union of Arab Orthodox Club - Jerusalem
Young Men’s Christian Association –YMCA
Young Women’s Christian Association –YWCA
NECC office
Bethlehem (NCOB)Network of Christian Organizations in Bethlehem
The East Jerusalem YMCA /Beit Sahour Branch
The Arab Educational Institute,
Holy Land Trust, Bethlehem
Wi’am Center, Bethlehem
Saint Afram Assyrian Society,
Holy Land Christians Ecumenical Foundation, Bethlehem
Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI)
Arab Orthodox Club, Beit Sahour
Arab Orthodox Club, Beit Jala
Arab Orthodox Club, Bethlehem
The Arab Orthodox Charitable Society, Beit Sahour
Bethlehem Bible College
Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies
Alternative Tourism Group, ATG, Beit Sahour
Senior Citizen Charitable Society
Environmental educational Center, Beit Jala
Saint Vincent Charitable Society, Beit Jala
Shepherds' Children Society, Beit Sahour 


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<![CDATA[URGENT UPDATE: A hearing to appeal the demolition of Khan Al Ahmar is scheduled for March 30, 2017.]]>Thu, 30 Mar 2017 20:58:54 GMThttp://unjppi.org/news-blog/urgent-update-a-hearing-to-appeal-the-demolition-of-khan-al-ahmar-is-scheduled-for-march-30-2017The people of Khan Al Ahmar have lived as refugees for 50 years. Although the village is located 10 minutes from Jerusalem, its households have no running water and no electricity. Now Khan Al Ahmar, situated in an area earmarked for future expansion of the Israeli settlement Ma’ale Adumim, is targeted for demolition and its people for forcible transfer.

Read more on this site...

See also, United Church of Canada...
<![CDATA[WCC general secretary meets with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas]]>Sun, 26 Feb 2017 23:01:26 GMThttp://unjppi.org/news-blog/wcc-general-secretary-meets-with-palestinian-president-mahmoud-abbasOn 26 February, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas formally received the general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit for a meeting to discuss just peace in Palestine and Israel. Abbas is scheduled for a speech at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, in the beginning of the week.

The Palestinian president expressed to the WCC general secretary the importance of the activities of the WCC in the Holy Land in accompanying Christians and local churches. Abbas said he calls upon local and foreign churches to pay attention to the message of Palestinian Christians and to encourage all nonviolent acts to bring peace and justice to Palestine.
Our role is to give Christian witness to the world and work for justice and peace,” said Tveit as he described the WCC’s peace and reconciliation initiatives in the Middle East and beyond.

Tveit noted: We believe peace can be achieved only together with the other. We are called as a fellowship of churches to support the process of just peace.” He added “We believe and see that the local churches can and do play a role in promoting peace and justice on both sides of the conflict. It is important to strengthen the church and the Christian presence in the area, so that it can be a strong witness of peace.”

No people should be denied their rights and, certainly, no people should be denied their rights for generations. The unresolved conflict in Israel and Palestine is primarily about justice, and until the requirement of justice is met, peace cannot be established”, he added “as Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza nears the 50-year mark, generations have been suffering under this reality.”

Tveit said at the meeting “Israel since 1948 has been recognized by the UN as a state, and the WCC has since then done the same, continuing to uphold the decision to recognize two states. The WCC General Assembly in 1948 has stated that anti-Semitism is a sin against God.”

The WCC has supported the UN resolutions that claim that there should be an Israeli and Palestinian state and that both should be independent and legitimate.

Tveit concluded: We ought to insist on the duty to guarantee human rights and the need for peace and decent living conditions for all. This is the moral value of justice and peace that we all need to commit to. Both parties would be blessed by a lasting solution, and it would be an important contribution to world peace.”

Through the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI ), the WCC continues to provide, since 2002, a sense of peaceful security for children on their daily walk to school. Results of a wide-ranging evaluation of EAPPI were presented during 2016, and efforts to strengthen the peacemaking programme will continue through 2017 based on the evaluation’s findings.

Tveit also presented WCC’s plans for 2017, including a special consultation on advocacy strategies for just peace in Israel and Palestine in March in Geneva, Prayer initiatives for just peace in June and the World Week of Peace in Palestine and Israel on 17-24 September.

The World Council of Churches has also asked for a meeting with the President of Israel to discuss just peace in Israel and Palestine.
Related links:
Member churches in the Middle East
Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel
<![CDATA[15 Christian churches and organizations call for peace, justice, and equality in Israel and Palestine]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 22:15:10 GMThttp://unjppi.org/news-blog/15-christian-churches-and-organizations-call-for-peace-justice-and-equality-in-israel-and-palestineBy  MIDDLE EAST & EUROPE - GLOBAL MINISTRIES on February 15, 2017

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the United Church of Christ, and Global Ministries are among 15 Christian organizations that sent a briefing paper to all members of Congress and to the Trump Administration this morning, calling for U.S. policies that promote peace, justice, and equality between Israelis and Palestinians.

The paper states, “2017 marks 50 years since Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza and 24 years since the signing of the Oslo Accords. Over the last 50 years, but particularly since the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993, there have been significant changes on the ground in the occupied Palestinian territories that have a negative impact on efforts to achieve peace with justice.”

Citing changes including the amount of West Bank land now controlled by Israeli settlements, the increased number of settlers, and the demolition of Palestinians homes, the paper states, “These changes, among others, have caused analysts, scholars, diplomats, and politicians to assert that the window of opportunity for a viable two-state solution is closing or may have closed. As that reexamination is occurring, the underlying need for equality of rights remains.”

Dr. Peter Makari, executive for the Middle East and Europe of Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) said, “Israel/Palestine is an issue of high priority and urgency, that begs for honest and vigorous engagement. There is much our Congress and Administration can do to promote peace, justice, and equality with and for the people there, just as there are significant ways to undermine such efforts. In sending this paper to our elected officials, our hope is to ensure that members of Congress and the new Administration hear our voices and concerns as they take up this issue, which is urgent for Israelis and Palestinians, and has implications for our own country’s national security. We look forward to follow-up conversations with them as well.”

The signing organizations call for U.S policymakers to “make clear their commitment to ensuring fundamental human rights,” highlighting several approaches including “Urging Israeli and Palestinian leaders to uphold the values of peace, justice, and equal rights for all peoples; and urging both to refrain from actions that lead to violence while encouraging efforts to work for peace, justice, and reconciliation.”
Signatories to the briefing paper are the American Friends Service Committee; Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); Church of the Brethren, Office of Public Witness; Conference of Major Superiors of Men; Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Friends Committee on National Legislation; Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns; Mennonite Central Committee U.S.; National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA; Pax Christi International; Presbyterian Church (USA); Reformed Church in America; United Church of Christ; United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society.

(A related story is posted on UCC News.)

The full text is available as a pdf here, and is below:
Toward Peace, Justice, and Equality in Israel and Palestine

February 15, 2017
As U.S.-based Christian churches, agencies, and organizations, we urge Congress and the Administration to take actions which will enhance the prospects for peace, justice, and equality in Israel and Palestine, and refrain from actions that would harm those prospects.

2017 marks 50 years since Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza and 24 years since the signing of the Oslo Accords. Over the last 50 years, but particularly since the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993, there have been significant changes on the ground in the occupied Palestinian territories that have a negative impact on efforts to achieve peace with justice. Violations of human rights and international law have continued without consequence and are enabled further by Israeli legislative actions.

An example has been the continued and growing expansion of settlements, an approach long condemned by Republican and Democratic administrations alike as a violation of Israel’s obligations as an Occupying Power under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Settlement expansion forcibly takes property and resources from Palestinian landholders, many of whom have held legal title to their lands for generations.
  • Settlements now control 42% of all West Bank land, areas that are recognized by the international community, and international law, as Israeli-occupied Palestinian land.
  • Since 1993 the number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem) has increased from 110,900 to over 400,000, and the number of Israeli settlers in Jerusalem has more gone up from 146,800 to over 300,000.
  • More than 15,000 Palestinian homes have been destroyed since the signing of the Oslo Accords, often as a result of Israeli authorities refusing to grant permits to Palestinians for modifying or building structures on their own lands, then destroying any homes that are modified.

​These changes, among others, have caused analysts, scholars, diplomats, and politicians to assert that the window of opportunity for a viable two-state solution is closing or may have closed. As that reexamination is occurring, the underlying need for equality of rights remains.

The principle of equality is foundational to true democracies as well as to international law. It is necessary if a sustainable future is to be found for both Palestinians and Israelis. Regardless of the underlying political governance structures, equal rights and opportunities must be assured for all people in the region – not someday based on an idea of future negotiations, but as a fundamental human right today. Yet the present situation and trajectory neither reflect nor promote equality, as demonstrated by these facts, among others:
  • Freedom of movement for individuals of Palestinian descent is inhibited, based on discriminatory and separate criteria;
  • Trials for Palestinians in the West Bank take place in military courts, while trials for Israeli settlers take place in civilian courts;
  • two-tier system of laws, rules, and services operates for the Israeli and Palestinian populations in areas of the West Bank under Israeli control, providing preferential services, development, and benefits for Jewish settlers while imposing harsh conditions on Palestinians.
  • The parameters that determine political participation in Israel break down according to ethnic and geographic lines: in the West Bank, for example, Jews can vote while their Palestinian neighbors – regardless of whether they live in “Palestinian” Area A or in “Israeli” Area C – are not eligible to vote.

Neither Israelis, Palestinians, or those of us in the U.S. will ultimately benefit from structures and approaches that reinforce inequality and injustice. To address this untenable situation, U.S. policymakers should make clear their commitment to ensuring fundamental human rights by:
  • Urging the Israeli government to immediately take action to secure an end to the occupation and all discriminatory policies resulting from the occupation, including home demolitions and inequitable distribution of land and water resources;
  • Applying Leahy vetting processes and other mechanisms to all recipients of U.S. security assistance consistently;
  • Upholding and protecting the rights and abilities of human rights organizations and defenders to do their work, and including them as part of delegation visits to hear their perspectives;
  • Urging Israeli and Palestinian leaders to uphold the values of peace, justice, and equal rights for all peoples; and urging both to refrain from actions that lead to violence while encouraging efforts to work for peace, justice, and reconciliation;
  • Protecting the rights of U.S. citizens seeking to carry out nonviolent economic protests to challenge unjust policies.

Our perspectives on the situation in Israel and Palestine are based on decades, and in many cases centuries, of organizational engagement in the Middle East. We fervently pray for a just and peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to support policies that promote equality for all people in the region.
American Friends Service Committee
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Church of the Brethren, Office of Public Witness
Conference of Major Superiors of Men
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA
Pax Christi International
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Reformed Church in America
United Church of Christ
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
<![CDATA[Stunning results about Canadian opinions on Israel & Palestine]]>Tue, 21 Feb 2017 02:01:20 GMThttp://unjppi.org/news-blog/stunning-results-about-canadian-opinions-on-israel-palestineIndependent Jewish Voices shared the results of a survey on Canadian attitudes on Israel-Palestine that CJPME co-sponsored with Independent Jewish Voices Canada, Dimitri Lascaris, and Murray Dobbin.  Basically, the survey results show the following (click for chart view): For more details, read the report on the IJV website.]]>