Currently, Jerusalem is filled with pilgrims from around the world participating in Holy Week activities. We pray that they will find their faith renewed and emboldened through these experiences. May they return home with a new appreciation for Christ’s radical message and for the hope that we find in the Resurrection.
Many Palestinian Christians living in the West Bank applied for permits to participate in Holy Week activities in Jerusalem. Last week it was announced that a small but significant number of permits were approved. Unfortunately, this week it was announced that a closure of the entire West Bank is in effect until April 18, the end of the Jewish Passover. We pray that the Christians of the West Bank will have a blessed Easter season in spite of this injustice. We also pray that all Palestinians will soon regain their freedom of movement and their access to Jerusalem.
We pray for the Hanoun and Al-Ghawi families of Sheikh Jarrah who continue to struggle with the Israeli High Court about their right to remain in their homes. In spite of original land deeds dating to the Ottoman Empire that establish their ownership, the Court threatens to evict the families and turn their homes over to settlers. We pray for comfort and strength for the Hanouns, the Al-Ghawis, and the hundreds of other families in East Jerusalem whose homes are slated for eviction or demolition.
This month, Sabeel’s longtime partner, the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) welcomes its 31st team of accompaniers to the region. Since its founding by the World Council of Churches in 2002, EAPPI has sent approximately 550 people from around the world to serve 3-month terms as human rights observers and to support local non-violent resistance to the Occupation. We thank God for this program and the important connections that it creates between this region and communities around the globe.