On Sunday, February 22, Um Kamel Al-Kurd’s tent in Sheikh Jarrah was demolished for a fifth time by Israeli police and military forces. The Al-Kurd tent has become a test case for 29 homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. These homes are under eviction orders and the community faces constant and increasing harassment from Israeli settlers. We give thanks for the persistence of Um Kamel in the face of the Israeli judicial system and pray that she will quickly have proper shelter against the cold February weather. We pray that justice and a true peace can be found in East Jerusalem.
We pray for the people of East Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood where 88 homes have received demolition orders. Israel is claiming the area is of historic and archaeological importance in order to justify its attempts at “relocating” nearly 1,500 Palestinians. We pray that news of this injustice will spark international and local outcry capable of stopping the bulldozers.
This week’s news of Washington’s resumption of dialogue with Damascus is a hopeful sign for the Middle East. We thank God that the United States has come to a new openness in its diplomatic relations. We pray that President Obama and Secretary Clinton and other US leaders will continue to engage frequently neglected voices in this region and will take American foreign policy in constructive directions.
We pray for comfort and safety for the scores of Palestinians rounded up in the West Bank by Israeli military forces. In Jayyous alone, 65 youth were arrested last Wednesday and a curfew was declared. Rarely are charges brought against such prisoners and they typically spend months and even years in “administrative detention” without access to a judicial system. The town of Jayyous organizes a weekly peaceful demonstration against the Separation Wall which cuts the villagers off from their fields. We pray that the recent arrests will not deter such nonviolent Palestinian resistance to the Israeli Occupation.