Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Join the International Prayer Vigil

Prayer Vigil
ELCA Peace Not Walls urges us to join the International Prayer Vigil. Please join the prayer vigil for the Christian communities in Palestine and Israel, for all those who are suffering in the Holy Land, for Palestinians and Israelis, and for peace in the Middle East and the world. Pray together as a family, as office/parish colleagues, or as a congregation, on the 24th of each month.

The ACT Palestine Forum has invited the world to pray for peace in the Holy Land on the 24th of every month until the occupation of Palestine ends, all violence ceases and there is a just negotiated peace. Gather a few people together at lunch time or join with area churches to host a prayer vigil together with an educational time after prayer.
Find much more info at this link.

Rick Steves
Intrepid travel writer Rick Steves is making his way through Palestine and Israel and blogging as he goes. Find his blog here. While Rick's first impressions often bear the signs of the pro-Israel influence that is so much a part of American culture, he has contacts and guides who are showing him for the first time the complexity of the Occupation. Rick is a wonderful teacher, and I look forward to his work when he's had time to digest and think about everything he is seeing in these days.

If you are not acquainted with Rick's Travel as a Political Act, I urge you to check it out. I am hopeful that Rick's time in Palestine and Israel will eventually lead to his interpretation of the reality there through the lens of travel as a political act.

In South Hebron, 'new rules' are rather like the 'old rules'
Security forces are targeting Israeli activists and Palestinian shepherds in new ways in the South Hebron hills. It’s as if they’d decided to circumvent the whole irksome apparatus of the courts and to resort instead to brute force. It’s much simpler, and maybe more effective, according to David Shulman professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a long-time activist in Ta’ayush, Arab-Jewish Partnership.
Read the article at 972magazine here.

Today we have the New Rules. In some respects they’re rather like the Old Rules. The aim and sole rationale remain the same: dispossession, expulsion, taking more land. The army has, it seems, given up on its favorite device of declaring Closed Military Zones, week after week; perhaps the outright illegality of this practice ended up causing them too many problems in court. Instead, the soldiers simply chase us — Palestinian shepherds, farmers, Israeli activists—physically away, pushing, shoving, threatening, beating. They also have decided they won’t allow us to document their crimes on film; as soon as we start filming, they rush at us and block our cameras with their cell phones. It’s as if they’d decided to circumvent the whole irksome apparatus of the courts and to resort instead to brute force. It’s much simpler, and maybe more effective.

At the same time, there’s been a wave of further annexations. The settlers are paving new roads, which become de facto boundaries, far beyond the settlements’ periphery. Plots of land that the Palestinian owners have worked for some years, or have reclaimed, often with our help, have been declared “in dispute” — which means that settlers have access to them, but the rightful owners don’t. All over South Hebron there are attempts from above and from below to roll back the gains we’ve made in recent years. Probably officers in the Civil Administration have been devising creative schemes. And there have been the usual, routine detentions, harassments, lethal threats, arrests — more, in fact much more, than before. Add to this a wave of pure nit-picking and pestering, for example by handing out tickets to activists, Israeli and Palestinian, for absurd traffic violations; several of our people have recently been fined large amounts for crossing the road while not on a marked pedestrian crossing. Remember we’re talking about the vast open spaces of a desert; the nearest pedestrian crossing is either in Jerusalem or Beersheva, 40 miles away. I myself witnessed the police administering just such a fine the last time I was in the area, some three weeks back.
Read the full article here.

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