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This week the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land spoke out in strong condemnation of Israeli settler attacks which have taken place in the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem. In the most recent attack a large group of settlers entered the New Gate and started shouting and chanting while waving flags. They then started to throw around tables and chairs at local restaurants, terrorising tourists and shopkeepers. 

  • Lord, we pray that the authorities responsible for administering law and order in Jerusalem will prosecute any settlers who deliberately vandalise the city. We pray that believers of all faiths will continue to  have access to their holy sites and can visit their places of worship without fear of assault from radical groups.
    Lord, in your mercy…

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This month Ben Gvir, the National Security Minister, has ordered Israeli police to remove all Palestinian flags from public places. In response to this order an Israeli artist living in Tel Aviv drew himself in the colours of the Palestinian flag. Michael Rosanov then made his artwork into his Facebook profile picture and this has caught on with other disaffected Israelis. Last Saturday, 100,000 Israelis turned out in Tel Aviv to protest against the policies of the new right-wing Israeli government.

  • Lord, we pray that  Israelis will have the courage to speak out in protest over any  government policies they believe may be used to oppress anyone, no matter their ethnicity. 
    Lord, in your mercy…

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On Thursday, the 26th of January, Israeli forces informed Palestinian landowners in Khallet Ad-Dabi, one of the nineteen hamlets making up Masafer Yatta in the South Hebron hills, that they are about to uproot their saplings. The Dababseh family had planted a hundred fruit trees on the old site of the local school, which had been demolished  by the Israeli army two years previously.

  • Lord, we cry out to you for the inhabitants of Masafer Yatta who have suffered years of violence from the Israeli forces. Their livestock and storage have been damaged, their wells filled in, their homes and schools demolished and yet they still show courage and resilience. We pray that international governments and organisations will continue to support them in their attempts to live peaceably on their land.
    Lord, in your mercy …

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The Israeli government has just issued new guidelines which will make it even more difficult for foreigners to study or work in the occupied West Bank. These restrictions will further isolate Palestinians living in the West Bank from foreigners and from their own family members who do not hold West Bank ID. 

  • Lord, we pray that international organisations will challenge the Israeli government over their attempts to further repress and isolate Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank.
    Lord, in your mercy..

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This week the Forum of Palestinian Journalists, based in Gaza, has criticised the dismissal of the cartoonist, Mohammad Sabaaneh. They stated that his dismissal ‘reflects the Palestinian Authority’s strange insistence on suppressing freedom of opinion and expression’. Sabaaneh’s recent cartoon was critical of the Palestinian Authority’s apparent lack of response to the heightened level of Israeli violence.

  • Lord, we give thanks for the courage of people working in the media who use their freedom of expression to speak truth to power, even at great personal cost.
    Lord, in your mercy..

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The US government has raised concerns over the recent escalation in violence used by Israeli forces. Ten Palestinians were killed during the Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the early hours of Thursday morning. This was the deadliest attack by the Israeli forces in the occupied Palestinian territory for decades. Several rockets were fired into southern Israel from Gaza in response to the Jenin raid. Israel then hit back with three ground strikes in Gaza.

  • Lord, we pray for the international efforts to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians to de-escalate the levels of violence. We pray for an end to the relentless Israeli army attacks on Palestinian communities, leading to so many deaths and injuries.
    Lord, in your mercy..

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Next Tuesday Kumi Now will consider how the Israeli blockade of Gaza impacts those who need to travel within the Palestinian territory for medical treatment. Many patients are unable to attend medical appointments for chronic illnesses as they are denied permits by the Israeli authorities.

  • Merciful Lord, we pray for those suffering serious illnesses in Gaza, especially those who are denied travel permits. We pray for an end to the sixteen-year-old blockade of Gaza.

Lord, in your mercy…

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This is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and we look to the Words of Prayer of the World Council of Churches as we think of ‘the tears of the oppressed’ .

On Monday 23rd January, Sabeel, in cooperation with the catechetical office of the Latin Patriarchate, Jerusalem held a worship service for 10 Christian schools and almost 200 students. The service was held in the Melkite Church Jerusalem.

‘God of justice and grace, remove the scales from our eyes, so we can truly see the oppression around us.’ (Day 4) Lord, we ask for courage to stand up and advocate for all who are silenced as they seek justice and suffer oppression. May we especially remember the tears of the oppressed living in the Holy Land and be faithful in our prayers for them.
Lord, in your mercy..

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On Wednesday, the 18th of January, the Orthodox Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, Nourhan Manougian arrived in Bethlehem’s Manger Square at the head of a long procession. The procession, which starts in the Armenian Patriarchate of the Old City in Jerusalem, marks the celebration of Christmas and Epiphany for Armenian Christians.

Lord, we thank you that Orthodox and Armenian Christians have just been able to celebrate Christmas according to the Julian Calendar, while the Roman Catholics and other denominations celebrated Christmas on December 25th, following the Augustan Calendar.
Lord, in your mercy..

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The Israeli army shot two Palestinians during a heavy army raid in Jenin refugee camp in the early hours of Thursday, the19th of January. Jawad Bawaqneh, a 57-year-old father of six and local teacher, and Adham Jabareen, a young fighter in the Jenin Brigade were both shot and killed. A local journalist reported that Jawad was killed as he tried to bring Adham into his home to give him first aid treatment.

Lord, we pray for the families of Jawad and Adham as they grieve their loss. We pray for an end to the Israeli army raids that are causing so many injuries and deaths in Palestinian communities.
Lord, in your mercy..