In 1982 on the 16th to the 18th of September a brutal massacre took place in the Sabra neighborhood, adjacent to the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut. For days the Israeli army had bombed the area and then looked on while the Lebanese Phalange militia carried out brutal killings. A UN commission carried out the following year concluded that Israel, as the occupying power, bore responsibility for the violence. However, the US and the international community granted impunity to Israel over the crime.
Lord, we bring the city of Beirut to you, where so much blood has been shed and so much suffering endured. We bring before you the Lebanese people ,as well as the millions of Palestinian refugees who are beginning to lose hope. Many will have lost family members in the massacre forty years ago. Many will be suffering from the economic meltdown in Lebanon. Some may have been caught up in the recent chemical explosion in the port. Some will be fearing an outbreak of the pandemic and many are facing cuts in the critical aid from donors. Lord, we pray that other nations will continue to provide support for Lebanon, even as they are struggling with the demands of their own people. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
On Thursday, the 17th of September, the Israeli authorities demolished the shelters of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Al Araqeeb in the Naqab desert near Beersheba. This is the 178th time the authorities have levelled the village, the last time being on the 27th of August. Each time this happens the twenty families living in the village rebuild their tents. They have deeds to this land and do not want to be relocated to government zoned townships. The 51 Palestinian Bedouin villages in the Naqab are not recognised by the Israeli authorities. The villagers hold Israeli nationality and pay taxes, just like other Israelis, but they are not accorded the same rights and have no power or water connections.
‘Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of the destitute,Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.’ (Prov.31:8-9) Lord, we pray for the Palestinian Bedouin villagers who see their homes bulldozed by the Israeli authorities, time after time. We pray that many people in Palestine, Israel and around the world will speak out for the rights of these destitute people to live undisturbed on their land, free from such relentless harassment. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
An Israeli court has issued a demolition order notice on Qaqaa Bin Amr Mosque in Silwan, East Jerusalem. The authorities claim that the mosque, which was built in 2012, does not have a building permit. Such permits are rarely issued to Palestinians by the Israeli authorities. Silwan has been particularly targeted for the demolition of Palestinian property by the Israeli authorities over the past six months, even during lockdown due to the pandemic. On average 65 Palestinian properties across the occupied Palestinian territory have been demolished each month, leaving many families homeless.
Oh Lord, it is hard for us to imagine how it would feel, particularly at this time of the worldwide pandemic, to watch our home bulldozed before our eyes. Lord we pray that this cruel practice of home demolitions by the Israeli authorities will cease. We continue to pray for a change of heart in the government of Israel to stop forcing Palestinians out of their homes, their businesses and their places of worship. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
Israel has imposed a second national lockdown to last three weeks after a recent surge of over 4000 confirmed COVID-19 cases every day. The lockdown will close all schools and only supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open. Schools have only just reopened for the start of the new academic year and this lockdown will bring major disruption.
Lord, we pray for all those in positions of authority in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory as they take decisions on how to manage the resurgence of the coronavirus throughout the land. We pray for the families trying to manage their work and their children’s education from home. We pray too for the protection of the care workers looking after those who are seriously affected by the virus. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
The US, Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain announced a deal to normalize diplomatic relations between Bahrain and Israel. Bahrain will join the UAE on the 15th of September to sign a peace treaty with Israel at the White House. Unfortunately, the normalization between the two countries disregards the root of the conflict in the Middle East, the suffering of the Palestinian people and their cry for a just peace.
Oh Lord Most High, we turn to you to find refuge in the face of worldly deception. We continue to live in your shelter and abide in your shadow. We trust in you Lord to be our refuge and fortress in the face of terror, pestilence and destruction. (Taken from Psalm 91:1-7) Lord in your mercy…hear our prayer.
The Palestinian Prisoner Society reported that two Palestinian prisoners, being held on administrative detention, suffered a marked deterioration in their physical condition on Wednesday, the 9th of September. Both prisoners are on hunger strike in protest at their incarceration. Maher al-Akhras from Jenin was recently transferred to an Israeli hospital after a hunger strike of 45 days. Abdul- Rahman Shuaibat from Bethlehem has deteriorated after being transferred to Eshel prison and is now refusing to take fluids.
Lord, we pray for the lives of Maher and Abdul–Rahman which now hang in the balance. We pray for their release from detention to enable them to recover their health. We pray that the Israeli authorities will cease to condemn Palestinian prisoners to unlimited imprisonment under administrative detention orders. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
Sabeel is holding Bible study meetings on Zoom for their Bible Study facilitators on Wednesdays each week.
Lord, we are so thankful for the virtual meetings we can hold online during this time of pandemic and particularly for the Zoom Bible Studies led by Sabeel. We pray that sharing the word of life will help the Bible Study facilitators to ‘shine as lights in the world’,(Phil 2:15), even through these dark and difficult times. Lord, in your mercy… hear our prayers.
The World Council of Churches and the Middle East Council of Churches are calling for a week of prayer for peace in Palestine and Israel during this third week of September. While both Councils recognize the extreme fragility of the situation in the Holy Land, they are asking people to show ‘creative solidarity’ as a sign of hope in the work to restore peace and justice to the land.
In the words of a prayer quoted from the World Week of Peace in Palestine and Israel: ‘Lord Jesus, open our eyes to see the pain of others who are struggling to survive, use our hands to help rebuild those whose lives have been torn apart because of conflict and war, use our voices to draw attention to acts of injustice inflicted upon the powerless by the powerful. Lord, in your mercy… hear our prayers.
The Jewish High Court of Justice is in dispute with the Israeli government over the stay order placed on the demolition of Khan Al-Ahmar, a Bedouin village near Jerusalem in the Occupied West Bank. The government cited the pandemic threat and diplomatic issues to request a six-month postponement. The court has granted a two-month delay to a hearing about the demolition. The Al-Jahhalin Bedouin live in 26 communities in the area. The Khan Al-Ahmar village is blocking the expansion of the nearby illegal Israeli settlement, Ma’ale Adumim ,which is home to more than 37,000 settlers.
Dear Lord, we pray for the Bedouin communities who are being forced away from their land. We pray that the village of Khan Al-Ahmar will not be demolished by bulldozers. We pray for an end to the destructive actions of the settlers and the Israeli authorities as they grab more and more land from the Palestinian people. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
On the 9th of September, the Jerusalem District Court ordered the eviction of the Palestinian family of Nasser Rajabi from their residential property of three apartments in the Batan Al-Hawa neighbourhood of Silwan in Occupied East Jerusalem. There are thirty family members living in these apartments who will soon be facing homelessness, along with eighty other residents in the area. In January the Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court ordered the family to leave their property following a lawsuit brought by the Ateret Cohanim Settler Association. The settlers claim the properties belong to the Benvenisti Trust which was set up in the nineteenth century to house Jews fleeing from the Yemen.
Lord, we pray for the dozens of Palestinian families threatened with eviction in East Jerusalem by Jewish settlers supported by the Israeli legal system. We pray that the legal system will stop sowing seeds of injustice by denying the rights of Palestinians to reclaim their properties, while granting historical claims to Jewish settlers. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.