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/

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