During the 71st Great March of Return, 149 civilians were injured as a result of the Israeli military’s continued use of excessive force against mainly peaceful protesters along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border; 66 children, 7 paramedics, including a female paramedic, were among those injured. This week’s protest marked a spike in the number of civilian injuries especially ones caused by live bullets and shrapnel; as well as targeting medical crews in an indication of the Israeli military’s escalated use of excessive force against protesters. An increase in the number of protesters came despite the protest organisers issuing instructions for civilians to maintain the peaceful nature of the protests and stay away from any areas open to soldiers and snipers and avoid friction in today’s protest.
- Lord of the suffering, we pray for a commitment to human rights by all sides and the protection of all lives. We pray for effective international intervention to ensure justice. We pray for humanitarian aid and rebuilding where destruction has occurred. We pray for peace and for justice in our homes and on our city streets. Wrap all and each of these your people in your love. Let them hear: “Come to me you who suffer and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Lord in your mercy…hear our prayer.
This week the Kumi Now initiative focuses on Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem. It offers training in the visual and performing arts, as well as Palestinian cultural heritage, design, and tourism related studies. In a town dominated by the Separation Wall, checkpoints and surrounding illegal settlements, the university has become a beacon of light and creativity for young Palestinians. The University was founded by the Christmas Lutheran Church and its doors are open to Christian and Muslim Palestinian students.
- Dear Lord Jesus, we thank you for the work of Dar al Kalima University in Bethlehem which aims to nourish the souls of young Palestinians trying to survive under occupation. We pray that many of them will become the creative leaders of their communities in the years to come. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
World Humanitarian Day was celebrated in Gaza City on Monday, the 19th of August. Jamie McGoldrick, UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator, honoured the work of female humanitarian workers such as Hanaa Rajesh Al Farajeen. Hanaa is a kindergarten manager working in a Bedouin community in Hebron. She has worked hard to enable women in her community to access educational, economic and health support through the work of the Bedouin Women’s Protection Committee.
- Lord, ‘Father of the fatherless and protector of widows’, we ask you to bless the work of those whose hearts are open to the orphans, widows, and others in need. We thank you for the thousands of female humanitarian workers who reach out to the poor, the needy, and the dispossessed. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
Avner Gvaryahu, Executive Director of the Israeli humanitarian group ‘Breaking the Silence’ was supposed to give the US Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar a tour of the city of Hebron, when they were still planning to visit the West Bank. In an MSNBC interview on August the 16th, the former Israeli paratrooper spoke about the tours he gives to show how the main market area of Hebron has now been emptied of Palestinian families in order to protect the large, illegal Israeli settlement which has recently grown there.
- Lord, we are thankful for Israelis who love their country but have the courage to speak out against the military occupation which causes such misery to millions of Palestinians. We pray that this illegal occupation would be fully exposed to the world and that it would be dismantled and brought to a peaceable end. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
On Sunday, the 18th of August Israeli police broke up the annual soccer tournament organised by nearly two hundred Palestinian families in East Jerusalem. The police had been authorised by the Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who claimed the event was sponsored by the Palestinian Authority. This claim was denied by the society who had organised the tournament.
- Lord, we pray for Palestinians living in East Jerusalem. At every turn they meet discouragement and hostility. We pray that they may persevere in their efforts to maintain their communities and to support one another. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
- We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Senegal. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.