Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Other Jerusalem,

This is a helpful presentation concluding with a petition - all from The Other Jerusalem
Let’s stop this. Sign the petition. Palestinians in Jerusalem have lived under prolonged occupation, in unequal and discriminatory conditions, since Israel’s unilateral and illegal annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967.

For 51 years, intersecting discriminatory laws, policies, budgets and practices have impacted every aspect of their daily lives.

Palestinians in Jerusalem live with tenuous “permanent resident status,” under the constant risk of forcible transfer. Between 1967 and the end of 2016, Israel revoked the residency status of 14,595 Palestinians from East Jerusalem. Click this link to read the entire petition

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Walking in Jerusalem, Palestine Open Maps

Take a walk through Jerusalem 

 Adrainne and Ben Gray missionaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) share a video of their daily walking commute through the streets of Jerusalem. Ben and Adrainne were sent to Palestine by the ELCA to coordinate communications for the Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL). They say, "Our ministry is word, images, and service to a church and a community that has a story to tell; and indeed their story impacts the world." Learn more about Adrainne and Ben’s work on their blog.


Check out Palestine Open Maps

I am an admitted map nerd. I have spent a lot of time lately poring over the amazing maps offered by Palestine Open Maps, a platform that seeks to combine emerging technologies for mapping with immersive storytelling. On a current satellite map, I located the kibbutz where I worked as a volunteer in the 1970s and 1980s. By moving through the overlying maps from 1951 back to 1880, I easily located the villages that I was always told were "abandoned."

My Israeli host  mother told me their names; I want to say them here: Et Tina, Huraniya, Idhnibba, Mughallis, Tall as Safi, Qastina, and Masmiya al Kabira. These villages have been erased, with the exception of Masmiya, located on the old Tel Aviv to Ashkelon highway.

Moshe Dayan, writing in Ha’aretz in 1969, said, "Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You don't even know the names of these Arab villages, and I don't blame you, because these geography books no longer exist [...] Nahalal arose in the place of Mahlul, Gvat in the place of Jibta, Sarid in the place of Haneifa, and Kfar-Yehoshua in the place of Tel-Shaman. There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population."

The idea for this platform was inspired by a large collection of 1940s-era survey maps from the British Mandate of Palestine, recently digitized by the Israeli national library. These maps—all now in the public domain—cover the territory at scales of up to 1:20,000, offering a vivid snapshot of a human and natural geography almost unrecognizable on the ground today, with an unparalleled level of physical detail, including population centers, roads, topographic features and property boundaries. Check out Palestine Open Maps at this link.


Lutheran Peace Fellowship coordinator position 

Lutheran Peace Fellowship (LPF) is in the process of hiring a National Coordinator. The ideal coordinator has a passion to eliminate violence, inequality and militarism and a commitment to nonviolence. He or she will work with members to build awareness of peace issues, encourage member involvement, plan and lead peace education, advocacy, and outreach activities, develop resources, and nurture leadership.

For a full job description, see Lutheran Peace Fellowship position. Contact LPF directly at


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Thursday, May 24, 2018

REWIND returns to Sheikh Jarrah, LWF medical aid goes to Gaza, and Sabeel's Wave of Prayer

REWIND features My Neighborhood

I am a huge fan of the work of Just Vision. I frequently use their documentary films in my workshops. 

Earlier this year, Al Jazeera REWIND producers reached out to Just Vision with a request to include their 2012 Peabody award-winning documentary, "My Neighbourhood," in a new series showcasing the best and most timely documentaries they've aired in the past decade. The broadcast revisits the forced eviction of the El Kurd family in Sheikh Jarrah and includes an update about what's happened since the film was released. You can stream the segment on the Al Jazeera REWIND home page in the coming days. Both the broadcast and online video include an interview with Creative Director, Julia Bacha and an exclusive poetry reading with Sheikh Jarrah's own Mohammed El Kurd. View the 25-minute segment at this REWIND link

Mohammed El-Kurd of Sheikh Jarrah, My Neighborhood

Just vision writes, "The story, sadly, couldn't be more timely. In the midst of a new wave of evictions in Sheikh Jarrah and the Trump administration's reckless embassy move, it's ever more important that we grapple with the impact of  forced displacement and settlement expansion across Jerusalem, as well as honor the communities who continue to organize daily for their rights. If you've yet to see the film, this is a good opportunity. And if you have, we hope you appreciate these updates from Julia and Mohammed. Either way, please do share this with your networks and on your social media pages. View the 25-minute segment at this REWIND link


A team of doctors and nurses from the Lutheran World Federation’s Augusta Victoria Hospital, in Jerusalem, is in Gaza supporting medical teams tending to Palestinians wounded by Israeli forces earlier this week. (...) May 14 saw an escalation in violence and disproportionate use of force against demonstrators at the Gaza border. (...) more than 3000 people have been injured.

The team reported that the situation is extremely difficult. Injured are being brought to the hospitals, but there are insufficient staff, supplies and infrastructure to properly care for them. The WHO has asked for additional emergency doctors and nurses.

Gaza was already facing a crisis of medical personnel, medicine and supplies, having been under blockade for more than 10 years. For the full article from the Lutheran World Federation, go to this link


Sabeel's Wave of Prayer

A massacre occurred in Palestine on Monday, the 14th of May. Sixty one Palestinians were killed by the Israeli forces in one day, as reported by the Gaza Ministry of Health. Among those who died were eight children.

Over the period of two days of protest, 2771 Palestinians were injured by the Israeli forces, including 225 children and 86 women, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health. The people of Gaza have reached an unbearable level of hardship and despair, on top of which, came the moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem which coincided with the 70th anniversary of Al Nakba.

Please join people of faith around the world as we pray...

Lord, we confess that we feel overwhelmed with anger. We pray that your Spirit will work in our hearts to help us continue working for justice and to persevere in our efforts to call for peace and reconciliation. Dear God, we ask that you would grant your mercy and comfort to those grieving for their loved ones. Lord in your mercy…Hear our prayer.

Join in prayer with the full Wave of Prayer at this link.


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Thursday, May 17, 2018

An ACTION STEP and `Windows into Palestine'

Windows into Palestine - May 17-19

If you're in the Twin Cities area, don't miss Windows into Palestine - A Festival of Palestinian Art & Culture, starting today.

There's so much offered... exhibition of visual art by Palestinian artists, musical performances and workshops, film: shorts and feature length (discussions follow each film); Palestinian cuisine, including demonstrations and samples from renowned chefs; Authentic Spice & Craft Market.

The "Windows of Hope" Exhibition is an illuminating exhibit of paintings and photography, all from Palestine. From a people living under oppression in a holy, war-torn land, comes art that speaks of hope. The exhibition presents the reality of life on the ground for artists who paint and make photographs and tells the poignant story of their life in Palestine. It runs May 17 – June 24.

It's all at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1200 Marquette Ave, Minneapolis, Minn.

See the website for lots more info - click here

[Graphic above: Qasamat, by Mohammad Joulani, oil on canvas, 2010, Westminster Collection]


Take action! 

Tell Congress: 70 years of suffering is enough! Stop the lethal Israeli response to Gaza protests, hold Israel accountable, and support human rights for all.

Send a message with this easy sample letter - click here


WCC calls for just peace and an end to impunity in the Holy Land

World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit condemned use of excessive violence by Israeli forces against civilian protesters in Gaza during last week in which many have lost their lives or lost their loved ones. He expressed particular concern that some Christians are celebrating the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem as a gift from God, despite the disruptively provocative nature of this move.

See the full news release at this link - click here.


ELCA presiding bishop's pastoral message on situation in Gaza

The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton writes:
Like so many here in our country and around the world, I am appalled and saddened by yesterday's escalation of Israeli military action against protesters in Gaza. Many reports indicate that at least 60 Palestinians, including six children, have died and more than 2,000 have been injured as a result of Israel's disproportionate use of force. Our church will support a planned medical mission from The Lutheran World Federation's Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem to Gaza to assist the wounded.

I join Bishop Sani-Ibrahim Azar of our partner church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL), who today said:
We mourn with the families of the dead and dying and pray for the recovery of the injured. We believe that violent actions against the Palestinian civilians will hinder the potential for peace and reconciliation efforts between Israel and Palestine and will only lead to more violence and bloodshed. 

For the full statement from Bishop Eaton, click here.


Kairos Statement on Gaza and Jerusalem

On Monday, May 14th 2018, in Gaza, 60 people were killed and 2771 wounded among crowds walking unarmed towards their villages, from which they had been compelled to leave. They were killed in cold blood and posed no threat to anybody.

(...) We urge the international community to shoulder its responsibilities. We call upon it to exert every pressure, even sanctions if necessary, to force Israel to follow the path of peace and justice, to lift the oppression from the people of Gaza and all the Palestinian people, to prevent death in the Holy Land, abandon its apartheid practices, and comply with international law.

We call on churches in our Holy Land and throughout the world to be courageous and faithful to their mission, to assume their responsibilities towards the Holy Land and all those who live in it, to bring through their prayers awareness of what is going on in the Holy Land, and to take effective steps towards justice, equality and peace in this land where the roots of their faith lie.

Read the entire statement at the Kairos Palestine website - click here.


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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Short Walk Home - Long Walk to Freedom

It is being reported that the demonatrations at the Gaza border are related to the US Embassy moving to Jerusalem. Here's the real background:
Every year on March 30, Palestinians commemorate the events of Land Day, when the Israeli government killed six unarmed Palestinians who were protesting the state’s expropriation of land in Galilee.

On Land Day 2018, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip initiated the Great Return March, a recurring demonstration at the barrier between Gaza and Israel.

More than 40 Palestinians have been killed by Israel during these demonstrations. A majority of those were refugees, displaced from their homes during the 1948 Nakba - the expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians from territory which became Israel. This poster highlights their villages of origin. 

In contravention of international law, Israel has consistently refused to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in present-day Israel, because their presence there could challenge the state’s Jewish demographic majority. Quite simply, according to Israel, they are from the wrong ethnic group.

In fact, due to Israel’s devastating blockade, Palestinians in Gaza cannot even leave the densely populated coastal enclave, except in rare cases with Israeli permission.

Great Return March demonstrators are calling for Israel to allow Palestinian refugees to return to
their villages of origin, and to end the blockade. The demonstrations are slated to continue until May 15 - the day on which Palestinians commemorate the 1948 Nakba.

[Thanks to Visualizing Palestine for this graphic. Here's their website:]

Windows into Palestine - May 17-19

If you're in the Twin Cities area, don't miss Windows into Palestine - A Festival of Palestinian Art & Culture

There's so much offered... exhibition of visual art by Palestinian artists, musical performances and workshops, film: shorts and feature length (discussions follow each film); Palestinian cuisine, including demonstrations and samples from renowned chefs; Authentic Spice & Craft Market

Westminster Presbyterian Church
1200 Marquette Ave
Minneapolis, Minn.

See the website for more info - click here.  


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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Nakba tragedy 70 years on

Palestinians are commemorating the Nakba today, May 15th. This date reminds them of the catastrophe that began 70 years ago, in 1948, when 530 Palestinian villages and towns were destroyed and over 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly driven out of their homes. A whole generation of Palestinians has now been constrained to live out their lives as refugees.

• Lord we cry out for mercy even as we mourn the injustices suffered by the Palestinian people. We pray that you will keep hope alive in the hearts of those who suffer. So many living in occupied territories and abroad under very difficult circumstances need to come back home. We pray that Palestinians will persevere in their work for peace and that they will remain steadfast in the face of oppression. Lord in your mercy... Hear our prayer. (Sabeel's Wave of Prayer

Take Action

Palestinians have the right to protest without paying for it with their lives. Email your Members of Congress now to demand the US open an investigation into Israel’s unlawful killing of Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza. Take Action: Tell Congress to hold Israel accountable. 

Dozens killed by Israel While Protesting ... Gaza's Bloodiest Day Since 2014 War 

Speaking to Newsweek, USCPR Executive Director Yousef Munayyer condemns US complicity in and silence around Israel’s use of lethal and excessive force against Palestinians participating in the Great Return March.

“Once again, Israel has responded to protests in Gaza by using lethal sniper fire, killing scores of Palestinian protesters and wounding many, many more. Had any other country done this, it is hard to imagine Washington remaining quiet,” Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, a Washington, D.C.-based coalition of organizations that oppose Israel’s policies toward Palestinians, told Newsweek.

“Instead, as this is happening, the United States government is well represented in Jerusalem, where it is opening its embassy to Israel as the Israeli military sheds Palestinian blood in Gaza. This should only be seen as a rubber stamp of the killings and a total abdication of any responsibility to lead on issues of human rights,” Munayyer continued. Click here for the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights

Noura Erakat responds to CBS News on Gaza

"We have tried almost everything. And everything we do, we're told that it's our fault that we can't be free. That's the problem.

Why don't we start shifting the conversation and ask Israel doesn't want to recognize [Palestinians'] right to exist?'

Do yourself a favor and listen to Noura Erakat as she brilliantly responds to CBS News on Gaza and the U.S. embassy move.   Click this link for video


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Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center's 10th international conference is underway in Bethlehem under the theme: Jesus Christ - Liberator Then and Now. The event recognizes 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, the 1917 letter indicating the British government's favorable view toward "...the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people..." Publication of the Declaration had long lasting consequences and was a key moment leading to the Arab-Israeli conflict that remains unresolved today. 

Vera Baboun, mayor of the Bethlehem suggested amending the theme to "Jesus Christ - Liberator Then and Now and Ever!" She spoke at the Bethlehem Hotel on March 7.

Baboun said, "The legacy of Jesus Christ is a legacy of justice. He showed us that justice starts with just one individual who is a liberator." She said, "Now Jesus' city is walled, constrained and strangled. The nativity of peace is walled; peace itself is walled." Bethlehem's population is severely hemmed in by the separation barrier constructed by Israel in the occupied Palestinian lands.

"Bethlehem is all about the message," Baboun said, "and the messenger, who asks us to open our minds and hearts. Bethlehem is part and parcel of Palestine's context. We still have much work to do. Don't lose the message: our liberation is for love."

Nour Odeh, CEO of Connect Consulting, described Balfour's legacy, "... that denied the existence of a nation, of the Palestinian  people."

Odeh said, "We were the anonymous, the others living here, the tribes, the scattered people. As if we did not have an identity, when we did. We had a thriving society, cultural, economic, a life that we know about and that the world ignored or denied later out of political, convenience." 

"The world does not see our beautiful society with its colors and nuances; we are not just 'Arabs.'" Odeh said. Public discussion about our situation "is all about Israel and fulfilling Israel's aspirations," she said. 

"We want a conversation between equals, a reality set by equals on the ground of justice," Odeh said. 

Odeh pointed to "a connection among those who are united on the principle of our shared humanity... principles of respect and dignity and freedom and justice." She urged participants to avoid fragmenting Christians and Muslims, Gazans and Jerusalemites. These are all Palestinians, she said, "Don't play into fragmentation."

The Rev. Naim Ateek, founder of Sabeel, opened the conference with worship at the Roman Catholic Church of St. Catherine at the nativity site in Bethlehem. "You, our friends... have come anxiously to search for peace and wellbeing for the children of God who live in this land."

He said, "you have come to stand with us, your sisters and brothers in Palestine. We are here together to witness to peace that must be based on truth and justice."