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On Friday, the 3rd of August the Israeli navy diverted a Swedish-flagged ship carrying medical supplies for Gaza to the Israeli port of Ashdod. The twelve passengers on board, mostly from Sweden, but from other European countries as well, were held for ‘further inquiries’. This ship was part of a four vessel flotilla which left Denmark in May with the aim of breaking the blockade imposed on  Gaza by Israel. Israel limits Gaza’s fishing-boats to six nautical miles from the cost of Gaza.

  • Lord, the plight of the people of Gaza is grievous. Many live without work, with little food , fuel or medical supplies and we hear that many are becoming hopeless and desperate. We are thankful that around the world there are those who remember them and seek to bring them relief. Lord in your mercy…

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Rashida Tlaib won the Primary in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District on Tuesday the 7th of August. This victory brings her closer to becoming the first Palestinian-American woman to hold national office. She is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants and the eldest of fourteen children.

She says she was encouraged to embark on a political career by her former boss who is Jewish, Steve Tobocman.

  • Lord we are thankful for those who stand up and take responsibility for governing our countries, especially those who have been uprooted from their native land and have settled in another country. Lord, in your mercy….

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Dareen Tatour, the Palestinian poet, was convicted for posting a poem on social media on Tuesday, the 26th of July. Tatour, an Israeli citizen was sentenced by the Nazareth District Court after having served almost three years under house arrest. She has been banned from publishing her work and accessing the internet. Her lawyer, Gaby Lasky, expressed her regret that a country which believes in democracy should inflict a prison sentence on a poet and that this trial was intended to intimidate and silence Palestinians in Israel.

  • Lord, you have given us creative gifts and we are thankful for them. We pray for those who use their gifts to draw attention to injustice. Lord in your mercy…

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The UN’s special co-ordinator for the Middle East peace process, Nickolas Mladenov, has expressed his deep concern over the recent escalation of violence between Gaza and Israel.

On Wednesday, the 9th of August the Israeli military launched air attacks and artillery shelling on Gaza after 180 rockets were fired by Hamas from inside Gaza. At least three Palestinians were killed and six others were wounded in the air attack, while eleven Israelis were injured by the rockets from Gaza which landed in Sderot, Israel. This heavy exchange of fire comes as talks in Cairo to secure a ceasefire were making progress.

  • O Lord, our Shepherd and our Rock, we pray to you at this time of violence in and around Gaza. Please strengthen the resolve of those involved in the negotiations to bring about a just peace in the region and deliverance for all those who continue to suffer. Lord, in your mercy…

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On Saturday, the 4th of August at least 100,000 Israelis attended a Druze-led demonstration against the Nation-State law in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv. Further efforts have been made by Israeli-Arab leaders to express their opposition to the controversial law as they filed the fourth petition to the High Court of Justice against the law on Tuesday the 7th of August.

  • Lord, we pray that the pleas for justice and righteousness may be heard throughout Israel and around the world. Lord, in your mercy….

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On the 8th of August, Rev. Naim Ateek, Chair of the Board of Sabeel, issued a statement on the Israeli Nation-State law, which was passed by the Israeli Knesset on the 19th of July. He states, ‘For it’s supporters, the law reflects Israel as a strong state that defines its identity as Jewish. For those who oppose it, it validates Israel as an apartheid state.

  • Lord, we bring to you our fears over Israel’s Nation-State law. We ask for your guidance on how to express our non-violent opposition to any laws which seek to oppress people. Let us join with Rev Ateek as we pray the words of your prophet Micah: ‘He has told you O man what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?’ Micah 6:8. Lord, in your mercy…

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For more than four months Palestinians have continued to protest in the ‘Great March of Return’ rallies along  the border between Gaza and Israel. They are calling for their right to return to their homelands. On Friday, August 3rd a Palestinian man, Ahmed Yaghi, was shot and killed by the Israeli army. According to Palestinian health officials at least 220 others were wounded during the protests, among them Muaz al Siri, a teenager who died of his wounds early on Saturday morning.

  • Lord, we pray for the families of Ahmed and Muaz as they grieve over their loss. We continue to pray for the safety of the protestors and for them to continue to espouse non-violent means to achieve their demands. Lord, in your mercy…

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Last week, Sabeel held a one day retreat for the Nablus and Rafidia Bible study groups. The 26 young people taking part in the retreat visited the cities of Yafa, Lid and Ramleh.

 

  • Lord, we give thanks for the young people who continue to gather around your Word and whose hearts are open to your message. We continue to pray for all the Bible study groups and the facilitators who lead them. Lord, in your mercy…

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The Al Kamandjâti Association organized a choir festival from the 22nd of July to the 1st of August called ‘Singing for Jerusalem’ which was performed by international choirs, as well as singers and musicians from across Palestine. This has been followed by the Ramallah Orchestra Tour performing in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nablus and Ramallah from the 1st to the 5th of August. The choirs joined the orchestra to perform Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony for the first time it has ever been performed in Palestine. In this orchestra talented Palestinian students are given the opportunity to perform side-by-side with renowned musicians from Palestine, Europe and America.

 

  • We give thanks for the resilience of the Palestinian spirit as expressed in the performing arts . We pray especially for the work of the Al-Kamandjâti association and the opportunities it is providing to nurture young Palestinian musicians. Lord, in your mercy…