This week’s Kumi Now online gathering looked at the US support for Israel. The US is providing vast amounts of military and economic aid to Israel. Israel is using that aid to oppress Palestinians with impunity. Next week’s Kumi Now will look at the ‘ongoing Nakba’. For Palestinians Saturday, the 15th of May will be the day they commemorate the catastrophe of the Nakba when thousands of Palestinians were forced to flee their homes. Present-day Israeli policies sustain a coercive environment which gives many Palestinians no option but to leave their homes and communities.
· Lord, we pray for an end to the oppression and discriminatory policies forced on Palestinians by the Israeli authorities. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
The Methodist Church has sold its shares in the US-based company, Caterpillar, citing as one of the reasons: the use of its equipment to destroy people’s homes as part of the illegal occupation of the Palestinian Territories.
· Lord Jesus, we are encouraged when we hear that your body, the church, is taking a stand for justice and righteousness. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
For Muslims Ramadan, the month of fasting, comes to a close this coming week. During this month there have been opportunities for young people in Jerusalem to share iftar, the breaking of the fast meal, including one hosted at the Sabeel Centre. On Tuesday, the 27th of April, the Wujod Museum in the Old City held an iftar as part of a documentary project on Palestinian food. Muslims will celebrate Eid Al Fitr on Thursday, the 13th of May.
· Lord, we give thanks for our diverse communities and ask that we may learn to reach out to one another with trust and respect. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
Tensions continue to mount in Jerusalem, and throughout the West Bank and Gaza, amid growing anger over the planned eviction of Palestinians from Jerusalem homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers. On Saturday 8th May, footage showed buses of Palestinian Muslim worshippers from Israeli Arab cities being stopped by police on the main highway to Jerusalem. Word of the roadblock spread on social media, drawing hundreds of young men from nearby Arab villages and from Jerusalem. Dozens drove their cars the wrong way down the now-empty Jerusalem-bound lanes, picking up worshippers who had abandoned their own vehicles to start the uphill trek on foot.
· Lord, we give thanks to the resilience and creative nonviolent resistance of the Palestinian people. We continue to pray that people will not abandon the hope for justice and equality in this troubled land. May our faith in your continuous presence continue to comfort the hearts and souls who decide to walk in your path. Lord in your mercy… hear our prayers
Professor Mona Khoury-Kassabri has been appointed Vice President of Strategy and Diversity at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. This is the first time in the history of the Hebrew University that a member of the Arab community has been appointed to such a senior position.
· Lord, we thank you for Professor Khoury-Kassabri’s groundbreaking appointment. We pray that she may become a role model and will encourage students from the Arab community, as well as other ethnic minorities, to apply for further education. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
Israeli forces raided the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem for the second night on Tuesday, the 4th of May. Israeli soldiers sprayed skunk water and assaulted residents and protesters. There are thirty extended families made up of 550 Palestinians in the neighbourhood, who are under threat of forced displacement, to make way for illegal Israeli settlers.
· Lord, we pray that international governments will challenge Israeli attempts to expand illegal settlements in East Jerusalem by forcing Palestinians out of their homes. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
Palestinian journalist, Alaa al-Rimawi began a hunger strike after twelve Israeli soldiers raided his home in Ramallah on the 21st of April. They broke into his home in the middle of the night and arrested him in the presence of his wife and five children. He had been presenting a TV programme informing viewers about Palestinian election candidates. He has now been placed under administrative detention.
· Lord, we pray for Alaa al-Rimawi’s health as he suffers in his hunger strike and we pray for his release from administrative detention. We pray that the Israeli authorities will stop persecuting Palestinian journalists for carrying out their work. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
Today, on Ascension day, we celebrate with the Episcopal church in the Holy Land as Bishop Hosam Elias Naoum is installed as Archbishop in Jerusalem and the Middle East.
· We pray for Bishop Hosam as he is installed as Archbishop in Jerusalem and the Middle East, grant him a spirit of courage and right judgement, a spirit of knowledge, and a heart of love and justice. We pray also for Archbishop Emeritus Suheil Duwani as he enters retirement. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers.
· We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.