The third Annual Conference on Gender Justice took place in Ramallah on Wednesday, the 7th of December. The conference is one of the many events over a period of sixteen days sponsored by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land.The various events seek to promote gender equality and to encourage women to lead and participate in decision-making processes.
Lord, we thank you for the conference and pray that women in Palestine may grow in confidence and dignity as they find their voices and engage more fully with their communities. Lord, in your mercy..
Friends of Sabeel North America are calling on Christian leaders across the United Staes to commit their congregation to Preach Palestine during Advent.
Lord, during this Advent season of reflection and repentance help us to pray for Palestinian people living under the Israeli occupation. We pray that they will, ‘experience the joy, justice and peace of Christ’s liberating reign, a very real light in the present darkness’. Lord, in your mercy..
As temperatures rise due to climate change Palestinians are experiencing more acute water shortages. The Israeli authorities now control more than 85% of water resources in the occupied West Bank. Palestinians are forced to buy water from Israel at high prices.
According to Amnesty International Palestinians living in the West Bank can only access 73 litres of water daily, which is less than the internationally recommended rate of 100 litres. This compares to 240 litres of water for the average Israeli citizen. While in Gaza residents have to draw from an over-exploited coastal aquifer which is now polluted.
Lord, we pray that the Israeli authorities will change their policies to steward your precious resource of water in an equitable way to bring life and health to all the residents of Palestine/Israel. Lord, in your mercy..
Last week the UN General Assembly approved a resolution to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, with a special event to be held on the 15th of May 2023.
The UN Envoy to the Middle East, Tor Wennesland, warned that tensions in both Israel and Palestine were, ‘reaching a boiling point’. This year is set to be the deadliest for Palestine in the West Bank since the UN first started recording deaths 2005.
Lord, we pray that the UN and other international human rights’ organisations will take urgent action to call a halt to the escalating violence and oppression inflicted on Palestinians by the Israeli occupation. Lord, in your mercy..
Issa Amro, a human rights’ activist from Hebron, organized a solidarity visit for Israeli activists to come and visit Palestinian families who have suffered attacks from Israeli settlers. During the visit one of the Israeli activists was attacked by an Israeli soldier. Issa was arrested for filming this attack, charged with obstructing the soldiers and sent away from his home in Hebron for a week of house arrest.
Lord, we pray for Issa Amro and his work to support his local community which is under constant harassment and threat from settlers and Israeli soldiers. We pray for the city of Hebron which has been transformed by the Israeli occupation into a battleground, dominated by a climate of fear and terror. Lord, in your mercy..
Next week Kumi Now will consider the right of return for Palestinians. The UN Resolution 194 was passed on the 11th of December, 1948. It stated, ‘refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.’ After seventy years Palestinians are still waiting on that earliest practicable date.
Lord, we pray for an end to the Israeli occupation. We pray for a shared future for the fulfilment of the Palestinian right of return and a just and peaceful co-existence with all the people living in the Holy Land. Lord, in your mercy..
On Wednesday, the 23rd of November Israeli forces demolished a recently built Palestinian primary school in the Masafer Yatta region of the South Hebron Hills. Residents in the area continue to face the threat of forced displacement as the Israeli army have designated their land as a military firing zone. Witnesses report that the Israeli army used sound bombs to scare the pupils and staff and to make them leave the building before demolishing it. It had only just been built with the help of European funding to enable twenty two children from four villages to attend without having to walk long distances to reach other schools.
•Merciful Lord, we cry out to you for the young children in Masafer Yatta who have just witnessed their new school demolished before their eyes. We pray for them now as they walk long distances in an unsafe area to attend school.
Friends of Sabeel Australia hosted Vera Baboun to give a talk on Bethlehem on Saturday, the 19th of November. Vera held office as the first female Mayor of Bethlehem from 2012-17. Friends of Sabeel France will hold a final Zoom event entitled, ‘Jerusalem and Archaeology’ by Father Jean-Jacques on Sunday, the 4th of December.
• Lord, we give thanks for the work of Sabeel in Jerusalem and among the Friends of Sabeel groups in many parts of the world. We ask for your guidance and support for all those working and praying for an end to the Israeli occupation. Lord, in your mercy..
Violent incidents in Israel this week have brought suffering on the same day to the families of two teenagers, one Israeli and the other Palestinian. Aryah Shechopek, a 15-year-old yeshiva student was killed by one of the bomb explosions carried out in Jerusalem early on Wednesday, the 23rd of November. While Ahmed Shehadeh was a sixteen-year-old Palestinian caught up in the clashes at Joseph’s tomb in Nablus. He was one of two Palestinians shot dead by Israeli soldiers while they were protecting a monthly pilgrimage of Orthodox Jewish worshippers to the shrine.
•Lord, we pray for the families and friends of Aryah and Ahmed as they grieve for the loss of their lives. We pray for an end to the vortex of violence in Israel which is swallowing up so many young lives, both Israeli and Palestinian.
During the Advent season Sabeel UK will be hosting a four-part Bible series on Sunday evenings. The series is entitled ‘Challenging Apartheid’ and well-known speakers have been invited to contribute their thoughts on various aspects of the Israeli regime.
•Lord, we pray that the study of your word will guide and inspire those who long to shine a light on the oppression suffered by Palestinians.