Tuesday, February 23, 2010

CMEP urges us to help our friends make their voices heard: lift the closure of Gaza

From Churches for Middle East Peace...

Your Help is Needed!

Get your friends at church, coworkers, and any other friends of peace to make their voice heard!

So far, more than 1200 new and long time CMEP supporters have signed the petition to President Obama asking him to work on behalf of Gaza's civilians and end the humanitarian crisis by using ". . . America's unique relationship with Israel to persuade it to lift the closure of its border crossing with Gaza now."

Even more people are needed to demand an end to the blockade of Gaza.Print out a copy of the letter and a paper petition (links below) and gather signatures at church, work, committee meetings, on the street, or wherever else friends of peace are. Your efforts will strengthen our common voice and help Gazans.

If you have not done so yet, click here to take action yourself now! http://action.cmep.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=1818

Thank you for supporting CMEP and Holy Land peace!

Letter to President Obama: http://www.cmep.org/letters/2010_Letters/Gaza_Letter_Feb.pdf
Paper petition form: http://www.cmep.org/grassroots/gazapetitionfeb2010.pdf

Churches for Middle East Peace
Email: info@cmep.org
Phone: 202-543-1222
Web: http://www.cmep.org/

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To receive regular bulletins from Ann Hafften, go the the blog: A Texas Lutheran's Voice for Peace: http://www.blogspot.voicesforpeace.com/

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

KAIROS Palestine calls occupation a `sin against God and humanity'

KAIROS Palestine is formally titled, "A moment of truth - A word of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering." It is an ongoing effort that we can all be part of by adding our names.

“Today, we have reached a dead end in the tragedy of the Palestinian people,” wrote the authors of the Kairos Palestine Document. It was issued in December.

“The decision-makers content themselves with managing the crisis rather than committing themselves to the serious task of resolving it," the document says. "The problem is not just a political one. It is a policy in which human beings are destroyed, and this must be of concern to the church.”

The statement issued by Christian communities in the Holy Land declares the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories a “sin against God and humanity” and urges Christians everywhere to nonviolently intervene to end its injustices.

The National Catholic Reporter published a thorough article on the document, which has otherwise received very little media attention. Here's a link to the article:


There's a little mistake in the article's opening; it identifies 13 heads of Christian communities as authors of the document; actually these leaders have signed a letter of support that serves as a preamble to the full statement.

It is important to read and share this work. Find it at this link: http://www.kairospalestine.ps/sites/default/Documents/English.pdf

There is much good information at the KAIROS Palestine homepage: http://www.kairospalestine.ps/?q=node/1

That website offers the opportunity to add your own name to the list of signatories - look for the link to click and sign the "Moment of Truth" document.

I urge readers to share this info and the link to sign with others, especially church leaders.
The KAIROS Palestine statement is addressed to all the churches and Christians in the world, asking them to stand against injustice and apartheid, urging them to work for a just peace in the Holy Land and calling on them to revisit theologies that justify crimes perpetrated against the Palestinian people and the dispossession of the land.

Responses and resources are available at the ELCA Peace Not Walls website: http://www.elca.org/Our-Faith-In-Action/Justice/Peace-Not-Walls/Palestine-Kairos-Document-Initiative.aspx

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To receive regular bulletins from Ann Hafften, go the the blog: A Texas Lutheran's Voice for Peace: http://www.blogspot.voicesforpeace.com/

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ecumenical Accompaniers walk with the people of Palestine and Israel

"Accompaniers" have a unique opportunity to walk with the people living and struggling for peace in Palestine and Israel through the World Council of Churches' Ecumenical Accompaniement Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).

The EAPPI-US website has been updated, including information on how to participate and a new blog post from accompanier Muriel Schmid: http://www.eappi-us.org/

EAPPI seeks to support local and international efforts to end the Israeli occupation and bring a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a just peace, based on international law and relevant United Nations resolutions. Since the program was launched in 2002, volunteer accompaniers from more than 14 countries have taken part in EAPPI. Each accompanier serves a three-month term in an international team, placed in West Bank cities and villages or in Jerusalem.

Our current accompanier's blog, "Border Crossings," provides insight into the situation in Jerusalem where she is located with three other ecumenical accompaners or "EAs." Find the blog at this page: http://www.eappi-us.org/index.php?page=blogs

EAPPI accompanies Palestinians and Israelis in nonviolent actions and carries out advocacy efforts to end Israeli occupation of Palestine. Participants monitor and report violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. They offer protection through a nonviolent presence and stand in solidarity with the churches and all those struggling against the occupation.

As US Coordinator of EAPPI, I would be happy for provide information about how to become an accompanier, contact me at - info@eappi-us.org

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To receive regular bulletins from Ann Hafften, go the the blog: A Texas Lutheran's Voice for Peace: http://www.blogspot.voicesforpeace.com/

Monday, February 8, 2010

Barghouti speaks out on President Obama

Dr. Mustafa Barghouti was interviewed on the BBC World Service earlier today. The Palestinian democracy activist told the "World Today," in very gentle and gracious terms, how President Obama has disappointed the Palestinians. He speaks in this interview of the high hopes he had when US President Barak Obama took office. Listen at this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/news/2010/02/100208_mustafabarghouti.shtml

Barghouti launched the Palestinian National Initiative in 2002 in Ramallah, together with the late Dr. Haidar Abdul Shafi and Mr. Ibrahim Dakkak. The main objective of the Initiative is "the realization of Palestinian national rights and of a durable, just peace." It is sometimes referred to as a "third way" between Fatah and Hamas. Here is a link to the Initiative: http://www.almubadara.org/new/english.php

Barghouthi was nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize by Nobel Laureate Maired Maguire. She wrote, "I am inspired by the life and work of Dr. Barghouthi whose commitment to nonviolence, in his personal and public life, is truly in the Ghandian spirit." The BBC described him as "an advocate of non-violent opposition to to Israel." He polled 20 percent in the last Palestinian presidential election. Barghouthi is secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Here is a link to an op ed by Barghouthi, published in the New York Times in December 2009: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/17/opinion/17iht-edbarghouthi.html?_r=1

In 2004 a group of ELCA Global Mission board members and staff visited Dr. Barghouthi in his Ramallah office. My impression of Barghouthi was as a very clear, decisive and calm leader, passionate about Palestinian self-determiniation. I was grateful for all he gave us to think about.

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To receive regular bulletins from Ann Hafften, go the the blog: A Texas Lutheran's Voice for Peace: http://www.blogspot.voicesforpeace.com/

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sabeel Conferences scheduled in Seattle, Honolulu and San Anselmo, Calif.

Three Sabeel Conferences are scheduled in upcoming weeks in Seattle, Honolulu, and San Anselmo, Calif. These events are a top source of inspiration, updated information and new resources for advocacy efforts by churches and peace groups. Click the links to individual conferences to see the amazing array of fine speakers and experts.

Most information about the events are at the Friends of Sabeel - North America web site: http://www.fosna.org/

Some pertinent information and links:

Seattle Conference, Feb. 19-20, 2010
The United States, Israel and Palestine: What Does Justice Require of US?

The premiere event of Sabeel Puget Sound, a member of Friends of Sabeel--North America, working with and on behalf of Palestinian Christians for justice through nonviolence in the Holy Land.

Saint Mark’s Cathedral
1245 Tenth Avenue East
Seattle WA 98102

For information see the FOSNA web page

And for more details see the schedule:

Honolulu Conference
Feb. 26-27, 2010
What Does Justice Require of US? Peace with Justice in the Holy Land
A conference presented by Friends of Sabeel Hawai'i

Conference Goals: Educate others about the conflict in Palestine/Israel; Provide a venue for discussion and dialogue; Empower U.S. citizens to become effective advocates for a just and peaceful solution.

Cathedral of Saint Andrew
Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii
229 Queen Emma Square
Honolulu, HI 96813

For information see the FOSNA web page:

For more details see the event brochure:

Marin County/Bay Area Conference
A Time for Truth, A Time for Action: Palestine/Israel & the U.S. at the Crossroads
March 5 & 6, 2010

First Presbyterian Church of San Anselmo

For more information see the FOSNA web site:


More details are in the event brochure:


Sabeel is an international peace movement initiated by Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land who seek a just peace based on two states-Palestine and Israel-as defined by international law and existing United Nations resolutions. Sabeel promotes theological, moral, and legal principles for peace as outlined in the Jerusalem Sabeel Document [http://www.fosna.org/content/jerusalem-sabeel-document-principles-just-peace-palestine-israel].

Friends of Sabeel-North America (FOSNA) works in the U.S. and Canada to support the vision of Sabeel, cultivating the support of American churches through co-sponsored regional educational conferences, alternative pilgrimage, witness trips, and international gatherings in the Holy Land.

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To receive regular bulletins from Ann Hafften, go the the blog: A Texas Lutheran's Voice for Peace: http://www.blogspot.voicesforpeace.com/

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

ELCA Middle East Network report 1/26/2010

January 26, 2010

Join the ELCA Middle East Network for regular bulletins from ELCA Peace Not Walls: http://www.elca.org/Our-Faith-In-Action/Justice/Peace-Not-Walls.aspx

This Jan. 26 report is located here: http://ga6.org/elca_advocacy/notice-description.tcl?newsletter_id=28953794

Here are some highlights of the recent bulletin, but please go to the original note for the full content.

= ELCA staff comments on the Palestine Kairos statement, A moment of truth: A word of faith and hope from the heart of Palestinian suffering, are now posted here: http://www.elca.org/Our-Faith-In-Action/Justice/Peace-Not-Walls/Palestine-Kairos-Document-Initiative.aspx

= NILI Trip - New England Synod Bishop Margaret Payne represented Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson on a delegation to the Middle East organized by the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative (NILI). NILI is a group of many of the nation's most prominent Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders who collaboratively work to mobilize broad public support for active, fair and firm U.S. leadership in pursuit of Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace. Links to the news story and Bishop Payne's blog are at ELCA Peace Not Walls.

= Bethlehem University Student Completes Degree, Ceremony Held in Gaza - Bethlehem University Student Berlanty Azzam, who was deported by the Israeli military to Gaza in October, 2009, has finished her degree long-distance and celebrated her graduation at Holy Family Church in Gaza. Bethlehem University officials traveled to Gaza to mark the occasion and to show support for students awaiting permission from the Israeli military to attend Bethlehem University. Azzam’s case received support from around the world, including advocacy by Churches for Middle East Peace and the ELCA in a letter from Bishop Bruce Burnside, chair of the Conference Committee on Middle East Issues. For more, go to this link at Bethlehem University: http://www.bethlehem.edu/index.php

= ELCA member deported from Israel - Recently ELCA member Faith Rowold, who had been serving as a volunteer with our companion, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL), was deported by Israel. After unsuccessful efforts on her behalf, the ELCA and the ELCJHL have been told by the Israeli authorities that there is no further recourse for our two institutions. We sincerely regret that Rowold's volunteer work with the ELCJHL was not allowed to continue and are very grateful for her two years of faithful and excellent service to the church in the Holy Land.
In response to queries about how individuals can respond to this and similar cases, (suggestions are provided in the full bulletin): http://ga6.org/elca_advocacy/notice-description.tcl?newsletter_id=28953794

= New reports and statements
Thank Your Representative for Urging Improved Conditions for Gaza
Thank you for contacting your representative to urge support for two recent House letters on Gaza. The letter to President Obama ciirculated by Reps. Jim McDermott (WA) and Keith Ellison (MN) calling for urgent efforts to address the dire situation in Gaza, garnered 54 signatures: http://www.fcnl.org/issues/item.php?item_id=3800&issue_id=36.

More about this at the Middle East Network bulletin: http://ga6.org/elca_advocacy/notice-description.tcl?newsletter_id=28953794

Failing Gaza: No rebuilding, no recovery, no more excuses
A report one year after Operation Cast Lead
According to a group of non-governmental organizations working in the region, "The international community has betrayed the people of Gaza by failing to back their words with effective action to secure the ending of the Israeli blockade which is preventing reconstruction and recovery."

Health care in Gaza
Highlighting the impact of the blockade on Gaza on the health of Gaza's population and on health services, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator and the Association of International Development Agencies have called for an immediate opening of the crossings.

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To receive regular bulletins from Ann Hafften, go the the blog: A Texas Lutheran's Voice for Peace: http://www.blogspot.voicesforpeace.com/