Thursday, June 24, 2010

24/6/10 - English

The brutal siege on the Gaza Strip has been slightly eased as Israel has agreed to allow more goods into the area. However, imports are limited, exports remain forbidden, fisherman are still prevented from reaching the sea, and people are not allowed to travel freely. We pray that the latest Israeli action will not divert attention from the need for true justice throughout the region. May we remain bold in our calls for true peace and justice.

Authorities in Jerusalem are proceeding with a plan to raze 22 Palestinian homes in the Silwan neighborhood adjacent to the Old City. If the plan goes into effect, many families will be displaced and Israeli hotels and restaurants will be built over demolished Palestinian homes. We pray that local and international opposition will prevent its implementation.

Israel continues to revoke the residency rights of thousands of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem. While Israeli Jerusalemites may leave the country for as long as they wish and return with full rights and citizenship, Palestinians who leave for several years to study or work abroad are finding it increasingly difficult to return to the city of their birth. This “silent expulsion” threatens to drain Jerusalem of many professionals and academics. We pray that people around the world will speak out to end this indefensible injustice.

This week, the Methodist Church of Great Britain will consider and vote on a document that proposes the boycott of settlement goods, endorsement of the Kairos Document, theological investigation of Christian Zionism, and political lobbying to end the Israeli occupation. In response, a campaign of intimidation and distortion has been launched against the church. We pray that representatives at the conference will courageously speak and vote in the interest of justice.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

17/6/10 - English

In the wake of the flotilla disaster, pressure to lift the siege on Gaza continues to grow from all over the world. We pray that against all odds, the rising tide of international consciousness and the spirit of nonviolence will prevail, and the blockade of Gaza will finally be lifted.

Today Sabeel celebrates the inauguration of Friends of Sabeel France. Friends in France have been active in the pursuit of justice and peace for years already, but today they become a registered organization. We thank God for their service and pray many more in France will be inspired to seek peace and pursue it.  

This week, Sabeel will be convening a regional workshop in Bethlehem for Christian and Muslim clergy to brainstorm ways of fostering mutual respect and understanding between our faith communities. We pray this initiative will encourage the Palestinian community to work together for a just peace.   

Today the Sabeel Study Circle will meet with Mark Braverman, a Jewish-American clinical psychologist who now devotes himself to the cause of peace in historic Palestine. We give thanks for committed people like Mark and their courageous witness for truth and peace, and we pray for God's blessings on their work.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

10/6/10 - English

Following Israel’s attack on the Gaza aid flotilla, there are calls for an independent investigation into the events that transpired. Thus far, Israel refuses to participate in such an inquiry. We pray that any investigation will be independent and fair, rather than another tool of misinformation. “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

Sabeel board member, Jean Zaru, has been awarded the Anna Lindh Memorial Fund Prize. The committee recognized that, “During her entire life, Jean Zaru has chosen non-violence to resist the oppression under which she lives. Non-violence because it exposes and challenges the structural violence on all levels. Non-violence because it makes the oppressors realize that they, too, are victims of the violence they impart.” We thank God for Jean’s work and pray that others will be inspired to stand courageously and work lovingly for justice.

As summer vacations begin, more tourists are traveling to Israel and Palestine. May these groups be inspired to seek out the stories and the people that they do not normally encounter. We pray that they will have their eyes opened to the need for a just peace in this land.

In recent days, scores of important religious, political and civil society groups have spoken forcefully about the need to lift the siege on Gaza. People who are often quiet are silent no more. We pray that this momentum will build into a political force capable of toppling the siege and ending the Israeli military occupation in Palestine. May we all recognize our individual roles in the work of justice.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

3/6/10 - English

The Israeli attack on the Gaza Flotilla resulted in numerous deaths, dozens of injuries, and hundreds of arrests. Almighty God, comfort the bereaved, heal the injured, and grant freedom to the prisoners. We pray that you will strengthen each of us to do what is necessary to end the siege on Gaza. Help us to recognize and to fight the structures of oppression, wherever we may encounter them.

The Tent of Nations, a farm and peace center near Bethlehem, recently received 9 demolition orders for homes and sheds located on the property. Situated on land belonging to the Nassar family for 4 generations, the Tent of Nations is now surrounded on all sides by Israeli settlements. We pray that this latest attempt to displace Palestinians from their land will be unsuccessful. May the military occupation that enables such oppression swiftly come to an end.  

This week is the World Week of Prayer for Palestine Israel. In a time when solidarity and action are met by such extreme violence, prayer is especially important. May our prayers throughout the week prevent our frustrations from turning to bitterness, encourage us to love our enemies, and remind us of the hope found in Christ.