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Palestinian prisoners serving sentences in Israeli jails for security-related offences are threatening to go on a hunger strike to protest measures enforced by the Israel Prison Service, seeking to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The prisoners object to searches conducted in their cells by prison guards without any protective gloves or face masks, as well as a ban on leaving cells and meeting their attorneys and family members, who the prison service fears might infect prisoners or guards with the virus if allowed into prisons.

  • Lord of all, be with all prisoners at this time as they worry about the high risk of contracting the Coronavirus from each other or prison guards. Be with all those who are unjustly held without trial or reason, may they gain solace from your continuing presence. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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Despite the restrictions on movement and gathering enforced against both Israelis and Palestinians, Israeli occupation forces continue to demolish homes, conduct night raids to arrest children and young men, and harass communities (especially the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Issawiya where the Israeli NGO B’Tselem notes that forces “invade the neighbourhood daily, even at night, and more so on weekends, for no apparent reason.” At the same time, illegal Israeli settlers uproot Olive trees and create new illegal outposts in the Jordan Valley.

  • God of the oppressed and the vulnerable, be with all those who are threatened not only by the ongoing pandemic but also by the harassment and unjust actions of the Israeli occupation forces and illegal settlers. Grant the courage and conviction to the international community so that they may stand up and take action against this ongoing injustice. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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Palestinians from the West Bank who work in Israel are being made to find accommodation for up to two months or are forced to give up their jobs and remain in the West Bank. During the current pandemic these workers are being forced to live between different and complicated Israeli and Palestinian regulations put in place to combat the virus.

  • O God, at this time of uncertainty and challenge, be with all those workers who are forced to follow two different sets of rules in order to earn money for their families. Be with those who must live away from their families to earn money and cast your protective and assuring presence over their families at this difficult time. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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The COVID-19 Coronavirus continues to spread around the world. There are now more than 250,000 confirmed cases with over 11,000 deaths worldwide. Life worldwide is becoming more and more restricted as governments attempt to slow the spread of the virus and allow medical staff time to respond to the unprecedented levels of people needing treatment.

  • Lord of healing, we pray that you strengthen everyone around the world as they attempt to find a new way to live in the face of the current pandemic. Grant your restoring grace to all those medical workers who are putting their own health and the health of their families at risk to treat those sickest among us. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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This week’s Kumi Now initiative focuses on the work of Aid Watch Palestine (AWP). This is an independent Palestinian organisation which seeks to stimulate and channel international aid effectively. It has recently helped farmers in Gaza to access aid after 29% of agricultural land in Gaza was destroyed by the 2014 Israeli bombardment.

  • Lord, we pray for the work of organisations like AWP, which seek to help those in need and to make good use of precious resources. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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Fourth Sunday in Lent – John 9:1-41

Lord Jesus Christ – you are the light of the world. We are poor, miserable, wretched and blind. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Come and speak order into chaos, and light into darkness of occupation in Palestine. Heal us that we may see. And seeing — may we see you Jesus, the Son of Man, and believe in you. And believing, may we worship you — honouring you as the one who restores the sight of the blind that our eyes may see the salvation of God.

Amen.

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Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Malki strongly criticized the labelling of Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem as “non-Israeli” and “Arab residents” in a US State Department report. The minister accused the United States of adopting the terms used by the right-wing government in Israel.

  • Lord, we pray that international law will triumph over those who seek to remove all rights and recognition of the Palestinian people, their culture, and history. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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On Thursday 12th March, Israeli occupation forces demolished a Palestinian-owned house in Freidis village, in the occupied West Bank, east of the city of Bethlehem, according to a local source. Forces raided the area and proceeded to demolish the one floor, 130-square-metre house, which belonged to Hazem Abu Muhaimid, under the pretext it was built without Israeli permission which isn’t required in the West Bank under Palestinian control.

  • Lord, we pray for all those who are forced to demolish their own homes or to have the Israeli government to demolish them in Palestine. We pray that this inhumane, unjust, and illegal policy will cease, and that Palestinians will be granted the right to build homes for their families. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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Palestine Olympic Committee (POC) President General Jibril Rajoub has praised the contribution of the organisation’s female staff. He gathered with the women who work at the POC to pay tribute to the impact that they make, saying “we honour the Palestinian women who have been able to impose their presence with their hard determination to serve their country and their cause…women are mothers and sisters that we cherish, and their pride and effort has made a prominent contribution to the sports system.”

  • Dear God, we thank you for women everywhere, and pray for their continued strength and determination. Lay your hand upon them and guide them in their constant struggle towards peace and justice, for themselves, their families, and their countries. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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On Wednesday 11th March, Palestinian teenager, Mohammed Hamayel, 15, was killed after being hit in the face by live ammunition fired by Israeli occupation forces during clashes in the village of Beita, south of the city of Nablus in the northern West Bank.

  • O Lord be with the family of Mohammed as they mourn their loss. Grant them grace and peace to grieve and remember this young man whose life was so cruelly cut short. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.