Thursday, December 17, 2009

17/12/09 - English

December 27 marks the one year anniversary of the start of Israel’s massive campaign against Gaza that resulted in over 1400 deaths and the destruction of much of Gaza’s infrastructure. Today, Gaza remains under siege. It is our prayer that this inhumane captivity will be brought to an end. May we see increased nonviolent resistance to this oppression.

Last Friday, settlers set fire to the mosque in Yasuf, near Nablus. This, and other attacks, demonstrate the strong backlash among settlers to Israel’s discussions of enforcing a settlement freeze. We pray that all the people of Israel realize that a halt to settlement construction is a step forward toward a just peace.    

We give thanks for this past weekend’s launch of the Kairos, “Moment of Truth”, document in Bethlehem in which Palestinian Christians called on Christians around the globe to join them in working to end the Israeli occupation. Respondents from worldwide churches, as well as Jews and Muslims, expressed their support for the document. May this timely document move people of all faiths to work for justice and peace in Palestine and Israel and in their own countries as well.

For more information on the Kairos document, visit:

Sabeel is hosting its annual Christmas dinner in Jerusalem this Sunday. The event will bring various Christian communities together to celebrate Christ’s message of love. We pray that this will be a blessed time of fellowship and recommitment to our witness for a just peace.

This week we join with the World Council of Churches in praying for: Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo

Thursday, December 10, 2009

10/12/09 - English

The Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum of the World Council of Churches will hold its meetings in Bethlehem this weekend. In conjunction, on Friday Palestinian Christians will launch a document entitled “Moment of Truth” prepared by theologians and laypeople. The document clearly articulates the local Palestinians’, the international community’s, and the churches’ responsibilities to act in cooperation to end the unjust Israeli occupation.

This Tuesday, European Union foreign ministers met in Brussels to discuss a proposal to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state and of Israel. We are thankful for the EU’s recognition that the current situation in Jerusalem must change. We pray that a lasting peace built on justice will come to this city.

On Saturday, Sabeel young adults will visit the pediatric ward of Augusta Victoria Hospital on the Mt. of Olives to spend time with children from throughout Palestine who are fighting cancer and undergoing dialysis. This holiday season, we offer special thanks for the people and organizations that cross borders and deal with complex permit restrictions in order to offer comfort and healing to the sick.

Last week, Muslim Jerusalemites held special Friday prayers in Sheikh Jarrah to demonstrate their solidarity with the people of Sheikh Jarrah who are being forced from their homes by Israeli courts, the Jerusalem municipality, and Jewish settlers. Following prayers, Israeli peace activists held a march in front of the settlements. We pray that momentum for nonviolent resistance to the occupation will continue to grow, both in Palestine and Israel and around the world.

This week we join with the World Council of Churches in praying for: Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal

Thursday, December 3, 2009

3/12/09 - English

Young adults from across Holland have joined together to form the new Young Friends of Sabeel - Netherlands. The group seeks to connect young people interested in justice issues in Palestine and Israel by publishing a monthly newsletter. We give thanks for this initiative and pray for continued engagement of Dutch Christians and churches.

In recent months, the Israeli Ministry of the Interior has drastically tightened restrictions for internationals wishing to volunteer or work in Palestine and Israel. Many organizations (including Sabeel) feel the effects of this policy through higher staff turnover and additional resources spent dealing with the added bureaucracy. We give thanks for all who offer their time and talents in service and pray for an end to the hostility shown to them. God, in your grace, transform our world.

On Tuesday morning, a group of Israeli settlers, accompanied by armed military and police forces, occupied the home of Rifka al-Kurd in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. The settlers reportedly produced a court order giving them consent for the takeover. In compliance with another court order that prohibited their presence in the house, the al-Kurd family was not at home when the settlers arrived. May this injustice not go unnoticed.

Conflicts within Israel seem to be escalating. Tensions between the ultra-orthodox and secular Jews, standoffs between the military and settlers, and a soaring crime rate indicate a very frustrated and fractured society. We pray that voices of moderation and justice can prevail and that Israel will recognize “the things that make for peace.”

This week we join with the World Council of Churches in praying for: Liberia, Sierra Leone

Thursday, November 26, 2009

26/11/09 - English

Sunday marks the beginning of Advent. Throughout the month, Sabeel will be hosting ecumenical events for Palestinian Christians around the theme “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:9b). Although we come from many Christian traditions, we pray that we can find unity in our shared commitment to live according to the message brought by Christ’s birth.        

On Tuesday, Israeli airstrikes in Gaza killed two people, wounded four and leveled several buildings. The strikes were apparently in response to projectiles fired into the Negev Desert by unidentified Gazan militants. It is our prayer and our hope that justice and peace will bring an end to the cycle of violence that continues in Gaza.

Next week, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), a longtime partner of Sabeel, will mark 60 years of presence in Palestine and Israel. We thank God for MCC’s valuable collaboration and partnership with Sabeel and with dozens of other local organizations working in the areas of peacebuilding, education, relief, development and advocacy.

Eid al Adha, the largest feast in the Islamic calendar, begins on Friday. As Muslims around the world celebrate Abraham’s obedience to God, we pray that they will enjoy a blessed feast in the company of family and friends. We also pray that Muslims traveling to Jerusalem to pray in the coming week will be granted access to the al Aqsa Mosque.

This week we join with the World Council of Churches in praying for: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger

Thursday, November 19, 2009

19/11/09 - English

Sabeel-Nazareth is celebrating the 16th anniversary of Sabeel’s work in the Galilee by hosting a fundraising concert on Saturday, November 21. We thank God for Sabeel-Nazareth’s unique work as Arab-Israeli Christians witnessing for justice and peace. May Sabeel’s work in the Galilee, and throughout Israel, inspire many to work for understanding, respect of the other, and equality.   

On Friday, Palestinian clergy will meet in Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem, to help in planning for Sabeel’s clergy conference that will be held in February. This group of various church leaders will also brainstorm with Sabeel about strategies for interfaith encounters in the West Bank. We pray that this day will be fruitful with many ideas and much engagement.

In the past week in Jerusalem’s Old City, tensions between groups of young men have expanded to strain relations between portions of the Christian and Muslim Palestinian communities. We pray that peace will be restored and that this will serve as a reminder of the importance of healthy relations between neighbors of different faiths. We also pray that the incitement of internal disunity will not be used to prevent progress toward a just peace.

Palestinian officials are considering asking the United Nations Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state that is entirely independent from Israel. The new strategy stems from frustration with the lack of progress in negotiations. We pray that whatever decision the Security Council reaches will be based on international law and will bring justice and peace to Palestine and Israel.

This week we join with the World Council of Churches in praying for: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea