28th November 2019
The Great March of Return was suspended again this week over fears that the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) would use extreme force against protestors. The UN agency responsible for humanitarian affairs (OCHA) noted in their recent report that half of vulnerable families living in rented accommodation in northern Gaza face eviction threats and legal action due to inability to pay rent due to the high percentage of unemployment caused by the blockade.
- Lord, we hold the people of Gaza in our prayers. May your spirit bring justice to the people on the margins who suffer at the hands of the powerful decision makers. Guide us Lord to continue to work to end the injustice and hold Israel responsible for the people they hold under siege. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
In this week’s Kumi Now initiative we look at the work of the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling, (WCLAC). This is a non-profit Palestinian organisation which seeks to achieve gender equality and to help defend the rights of women, particularly those who suffer violence. The main tool of violence towards Palestinian women is the night raids carried out by the Israeli army. WCLAC estimates that the Israeli army carries out 1,360 night raids every year. The raids often result in arrests, including the arrests of children. The number of night raids has directly increased with the escalation of illegal settlement construction in the Occupied Territories. WCLAC have submitted evidence to the UN detailing the severe trauma symptoms suffered by women and children affected by the raids.
- Lord, we thank you for the work of WCLAC and for their care in collecting evidence from the families who have been traumatised by the raids. We pray for an end to the terrifying night raids carried out by the Israeli army on Palestinian families. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
On Thursday, the 21st of November, the United Church of Christ issued a statement following the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s announcement that Israeli settlements built in the West Bank are no longer seen by the current US administration as ‘inconsistent with international law’. The UCC are clear that this announcement is in contravention to previous administrations and disregards the UN resolution 2334 (December 2016). The UCC has raised its voice in strong opposition to the recent US policy shifts in favour of the Israeli government. They state their opposition to the occupation and their commitment to ‘a just and lasting peace in Israel/ Palestine based on international law and human rights’.
- Lord, we thank you for the clear statement of support from the UCC to seek peace in the Holy Land on the basis of justice and righteousness. We pray that churches around the world would continue to speak out and hold the Israeli government to account for the way it continues to build illegal settlements on Palestinian land. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
Kairos Palestine is holding its Tenth Anniversary International Conference in Bethlehem on Friday, the 29th of November. The conference will be looking at political and theological changes, in Palestine and worldwide, over the past ten years. It will also be hearing from a panel of young Palestinians about their hopes for the future.
- Lord, we pray that those who attend the Kairos Conference will find a place of blessing and encouragement there. We pray that you will renew the strength of our Palestinian brothers and sisters and that ‘they shall run and not grow weary’ (Isaiah 40:3). Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
On Monday, the 18th of November George Ghazala, a Palestinian scout leader and basketball referee was abducted in a dawn raid by Israeli soldiers from his home in Ramallah. He has been taken to an unknown destination. The Palestinian Basketball Federation has condemned the abduction of one of its referees. They are also calling on international organisations to intervene and bring an end to the harassment being directed at Palestinian sportsmen and women.
- Lord, we bring George before you now and pray for your guidance and protection for him. This young man has taken part in activities organised by Sabeel and gives of his time to organise activities for others. We pray that this active and caring young man may know your strength and peace in whatever circumstances he now finds himself. We pray for his safety and for his release. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
The Dutch government stopped their annual payment to the Ministry of Justice of the Palestinian Authority, on Wednesday, the 20th of November. Their decision came after pressure had been brought to bear by pro-Israeli groups who accuse the PA of supporting terrorists. The PA give financial help to Palestinian families where the wage earners have been killed, injured, or imprisoned by Israel. There are currently five thousand Palestinians in Israeli prisons, most of them detained for activities against the occupation.
- Lord, you see poverty and the need of the families in Palestine with family members in prison. We pray that you would prompt others to provide for those who are destitute. We pray for an end to the occupation and for the inhumane treatment of the Palestinian people by the Israeli government. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
Mu’ath Amarneh is a Palestinian photojournalist and he was working in Surif near Hebron when he was shot in his left eye by Israeli border police, even though he was wearing a flak jacket with ‘Press’ clearly marked on it. The incident took place on Friday, the15th of November, when Israelis opened fire on a group of unarmed Palestinians who were protesting the confiscation of their land by settlers from the nearby Bat Ayin settlement. Other journalists have voiced their outrage at this deliberate shooting and demonstrations have taken place in Bethlehem, Ramallah, Nablus, and Gaza.
- Lord, we pray for Mu’ath’s recovery and for the second operation he has to undergo to retrieve metal from his eye. We pray that he may be able to continue his work despite being blinded in one eye and that the incident would be fully investigated by the Israeli border police. We thank you for the courage of Palestinian photojournalists who are prepared to risk their own lives to document injustices which occur daily under the occupation. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
- We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.