Thursday, February 26, 2009

26/2/09 - English

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. 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

19/2/09 - English

We pray for comfort and strength for the Al-Kurd family of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem as their case is taken to court. The Al-Kurds were illegally evicted from their home last October. Their home and 29 others in Sheikh Jarrah are under eviction orders as Israeli settlers are moving into their homes. We pray that the expanding settlement enterprise within East Jerusalem will end.

We pray for safe travels and a warm reception for Rev. Naim Ateek as he begins a book launch tour in the United States. His two-week trip will take him to Washington, D.C.; Boston; Detroit; Chicago; and Atlanta to promote his new book, “A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation.” We pray that through the launching of this book people can learn more about Palestine, Palestinian Christians, and the work of Sabeel.

We ask God to guide the current impasses in both the Israeli and Palestinian governments. The Israelis are facing a stalemate in the process of naming a prime minister and the Palestinians are attempting to soothe tensions between Fatah and Hamas. We pray that both nations can end their internal politicking so that negotiations for a just peace can continue uninterrupted.

We thank God for progress that is being made in the campaign to boycott and divest from companies that benefit from the Israeli Occupation. On February 12, Hampshire College became the first American college or university to divest from companies that enable the Occupation. Hampshire College was also the first college to divest from Apartheid South Africa. We pray that this is a harbinger of good news to come. 

Thursday, February 12, 2009

12/2/09 - English

As preparations begin for Sabeel’s International Young Adult Conference that will be held from July 22 to August 2, we pray that many young adults from around the world will be able to attend. We pray that their home communities will make it possible for them to visit Palestine and Israel. We also remember the conference planners as they try to put together a program that educates and equips the participants to work for a just peace.

We pray for the ecumenical group of clergy gathering this Friday in Bethlehem. May their time together help strengthen the ties between the different Palestinian Christian denominations and provide inspiration for communities living under occupation.

This week, we pray for the residents of Jerusalem who are finding it increasingly difficult to live in the city. In the past week there has been a surge of housing demolitions leading up to the Israeli election. Additionally, international peace, aid, and development workers have recently faced unprecedented difficulty in obtaining visas necessary to working in the region. We ask that God will ease the pressures that are being placed on both local and international families.

We pray for the victims of the wildfires in Australia. We pray for comfort for the families of the nearly 200 people who have died and for God’s mercies upon the 900 families who are now homeless. We ask that the fires be brought under control before more people are injured.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

5/2/09 - English

We pray for the upcoming Israeli election that will be held on February 10. We pray that Israelis will elect a leader with a vision for peace and a willingness to pursue justice. Though none of the candidates have yet demonstrated significant interest in the rights of Palestinians, we pray that God will move to consciously work for the welfare of the whole region.

We pray for the approximately 12 girls injured when the floor of their classroom collapsed on Sunday. The UN affiliated school is located in the Old City of Jerusalem. Israeli excavations and tunnels around the al-Aksa mosque threaten the stability of buildings in the area. We pray that no further injuries take place and that this unfortunate incident will draw attention to some of the dangers facing Palestinians in Jerusalem’s Old City. We also pray that the United Nations will step in to prevent further damage to the surrounding communities.

This week representatives of the World Council of Churches and the Christian Council of Norway will be visiting the area. We thank God for continued interest in the region by Christians from around the globe. We pray that these and other delegations will have the courage and wisdom to act as prophetic voices for change. 

Beginning this week, a photo exhibit produced by Friends of Sabeel, Canada, will be on display in Washington, D.C. at the Methodist Building on Capitol Hill. The exhibit, called “Our Story: A Photo Exhibit Commemorating 60 Years of Dispossession,” marks sixty years since the Palestinian Nakba. We pray that the display will inform many visitors and will encourage people to work towards a just peace.