Palestinian and international organizations in Jerusalem are facing increased pressure from the Israeli bank sector. The new bank restrictions greatly limit the work of the civil society in occupied East Jerusalem. On Thursday September 7th, 2017 Sabeel organized a meeting for non-governmental organizations to consult and coordinate ways to face these challenges. Patriarch Michel Sabbah opened the meeting by addressing the gathering with words of encouragement and support. Patriarch Sabbah also emphasized the importance of the work being done by the different organizations in the country and especially in East Jerusalem. Representatives of 35 local and international organizations were present at the meeting and shared their experiences and concerns. During the meeting honorable lawyers, human rights organizations and financial experts provided their feedback and proposed an action plan to move forward.
Since Friday July 14th, Palestinians have been expressing unity and solidarity in opposing Israel’s decisions to impose new security measures on worshippers entering Al-Aqsa mosque, changing the status quo, agreed upon for the site since 1967. On Thursday 27th, both Kairos Palestine and Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center led a delegation of Palestinian Church and community leaders to Al Aqsa mosque to protest together, as Palestinians, the Israeli occupation restrictions.
The delegation was greeted by our Muslim brothers and sisters with chants of Palestinian unity and hugs. The crowds refused to be silent, and the stones of the Jerusalem Churches and Mosques together cried out for justice and freedom.
On June 24th, Sabeel Jerusalem took a trip to the Golan Heights with a group of 50 people. We enjoyed the wide age range in our group – there were people in their 20s, people in their 80s, and every age in between! Our first stop was outside Ghajar, a small town by the Lebanese border can only be entered through a checkpoint. Then we went to several other small villages, including Banias, Majdal Shams, and Ein Kinya, where we had a prayer service at a small Maronite Church which is taken care of by the one Christian family there. We also went to an overlook to see the view across the border into Syria. Afterward, we ate a delicious lunch and went to a market to buy lots of cherries. It was a really lovely day.
Twenty-six young women and men from Ramallah, Aboud, Nablus, Beit Sahour, Beit Jala, Zababdeh, Tobas, Burqen, Jericho, and Jerusalem came to the Bible study facilitators’ meeting. It took place on June 26 -27, 2017 at the Mar Ephraim guest house in Taybeh. We’re grateful for these young adults who want to study the Bible with their communities.