On the 70th Great March of Return, 66 Palestinian civilians were injured due to the Israeli military’s continued use of excessive force against peaceful protests along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border. At least 20 children, 3 women and a volunteer paramedic were among those injured this Friday, 16 August 2019. Twenty-nine civilians were shot with live bullets; 2 of them were deemed in a critical medical condition. Each protest has its own theme with this one being titled “Palestinian Youth Friday” and involving activities such as speeches by political leaders and theatrical performances.
- Lord, we continue to pray for the right to protest peacefully in Gaza without the threat of injury or death by the use of live ammunition and dispersal methods by Israeli forces. We are grateful for those who continue to find new ways to protest in a creative and nonviolent way. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
This week the Kumi Now initiative looks at the work of Churches for Middle East Peace, (CMEP). This is a coalition of 27 national church denominations and organisations from different church traditions. It focuses on promoting a lasting resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and particularly the ending of the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Conditions in Gaza are becoming untenable with 80% of Gazans dependent on food aid, a scarcity of potable water, power, and building materials and an infrastructure damaged beyond repair after three wars with Israel.
- Dear Lord, we thank you for the work of CMEP as they seek to influence people in the US to support moves to end the struggle between Palestine and Israel. We pray that more voices around the world will join with the CMEP to bring an end to the misery of the blockade of Gaza. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
US congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has decided against visiting her relatives in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, despite the Israeli Interior Minister granting her entry on humanitarian grounds whilst at the same time attaching a variety of conditions, including agreeing that she would say nothing critical of the Israeli government. Israel had initially barred Rashida Tlaib and fellow Democrat Ilhan Omar from visiting Israel and Palestine along with a group of congress people, due to their support for the BDS campaign.
- We thank you Lord for politicians with conviction who are willing to step forward and speak the truth about injustice, no matter at what personal cost. We pray that fear of reprisal will not quench their desire to exercise freedom of speech. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
On Wednesday, the 7th of August a demonstration was held in Ramallah in support of Palestinian prisoners being held without charge or trial in Israeli prisons. There are now 49 Palestinian prisoners who have gone on hunger strike in protest at administrative detention.
- Oh Lord, you are the light of the nations. We pray that you would lighten the darkness of those Palestinian prisoners who do not know why they have been imprisoned or for how long they may be incarcerated. We pray that your light would expose this inhumane treatment and that the occupying Israeli authorities would cease to treat their prisoners in this way. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
Kamal Boullata, a renowned Palestinian abstract painter died in Berlin last week. His work focused on his Palestinian identity and his state of exile. He was born in Jerusalem in 1942 and he grew up in the Old City. He was out of the country at an exhibition in Beirut in 1967, at the time of the Israeli occupation. He was never allowed to return to live in Jerusalem, except for one brief visit in 1984. After strenuous efforts his family secured permission for him to be buried in the Greek Orthodox cemetery on Mount Zion, next to his ancestors.
- Lord we thank you for the life and artistic gifts of the late Kamal Boullata and for the inspiration of the Old City of Jerusalem in his light and colourful paintings. We pray for the many Palestinians who, like Kamal, have lived their lives in exile from the homeland they love. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
A new documentary film about life for ordinary citizens in Gaza had its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. It is an Irish and Canadian co-production with the directors Gary Keane and Andrew McConnell. The film was made between 2014-18 and McConnell spent almost the whole of the 2014 conflict with Israel on the ground in Gaza filming.
- Lord, we thank you for artists prepared to put their own lives at risk to tell the stories of people who are suffering. We pray that this film about Gaza will move the hearts of those who watch it and inspire them to seek change and relief for those in the besieged enclave. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
Noura Erakat, a professor and human rights’ attorney has just published a new book entitled ‘Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine’. She brings a new approach to understanding the Palestinian struggle for freedom through the power and control of international law. She makes a plea for renewed action and attention to the question of Palestine and argues that within international law, change is still possible.
- Lord, we pray for people in positions of power and international lawmakers. We pray that they would hear the cries of those who suffer injustice and oppression. We pray that they would use their power responsibly to protect those in need. Lord in your mercy…hear our prayer.
- We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.