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There has been a dramatic increase in the number of Palestinians who have been displaced from their homes in the West Bank. The number is up by 70% in 2021 compared to the previous year, according to the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs. On Wednesday, the 14th of July, thirteen Bedouin families from Ras al Tin lost their homes and animal shelters when they were confiscated by the Israeli authorities. On the following day in Humsa Al Bqai’a in the northern Jordan Valley a family of eight were forced to leave their temporary shelter. They had been dispossessed of their home the previous week during a mass demolition carried out by the Israeli authorities after they declared the area a new military firing zone.

  • Lord, we pray for an end to the home demolition policy of the Israeli government. We pray that international lawmakers will put pressure on Israel to recognize the inhumanity and illegality of this policy.
    Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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Israeli authorities are refusing to grant the Palestinian water authorities the licenses they need to improve access to water for those living in Area C, which is subject to Israeli security control. There are severe water shortages for Palestinians living in this area, although illegal Israeli settlers living here experience no lack.

  • Lord, we pray for the Palestinian people who are experiencing water shortages in the high summer temperatures. How hard must it be for some Palestinian villagers to wait for weeks for a water tanker to deliver water, when they see Israeli settlers nearby filling up their swimming pools and watering their gardens? 
    Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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On Sunday, the 18th of July, Abdo, a forty-three-year old Palestinian from Shufa’at refugee camp in East Jerusalem was detained by the Israeli authorities for a traffic violation. On the evening of Wednesday, the 21st of July, his family were informed that he had died of a heart attack in his cell in the Al-Maskobiya detention centre. There have been many reports of torture and physical abuse suffered by Palestinian detainees under interrogation at this centre.

  • Lord, we join with Abdo’s family as they grieve his loss, praying especially for his pregnant wife and their four children. We pray that any abuse or brutality perpetrated on Abdo by the authorities will be thoroughly investigated and that any offender will be prosecuted.
    Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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Ben and Jerry’s Ice-cream announced on Monday, the 19th of July, that it will no longer sell ice-cream in the occupied Palestinian Territories, claiming the sales there as ‘inconsistent with our values’. The rebuke from an internationally recognized brand will bring into focus the illegality of Israel’s rapidly expanding settlements across the West Bank.

  • Lord, we pray that the announcement will encourage other companies to review whether their business sales in the occupied Palestinian Territories are making them complicit with the Israeli occupation and further violating the human rights of the Palestinians.
    Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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The chairman of the Palestinian Football Association, Jibril Rajoub, raised an objection to a friendly match being held in occupied East Jerusalem between FC Barcelona and the Israeli Bitar Jerusalem FC. He told FIFA that the match would be played in the Malha district of the Old City, which was the site of a pre-1948 Palestinian village. The Israeli owner of Bitar, Moshe Hogeg was not prepared to hold the match at any other venue and so the match has been cancelled.

  • Lord, we give thanks that there is a growing awareness among some international sports teams of how the Palestinians are struggling to survive living under the Israeli occupation.
    Lord, in your mercy …hear our prayer.

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Noura Erakat, an American human rights lawyer and academic and Samora Pinderhughes, a composer, have co-founded a campaign under the title of Liberation Studio. They are encouraging visual artists and musicians to raise funds for American Near East Refugee Aid, (Anera). They hope to raise funds for those Palestinian refugees recently affected by the conflict.

  • Lord, we give thanks for the way artists around the world are using their creative gifts to help vulnerable refugee communities in the occupied Palestinian Territories and Gaza.
    Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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Friends of Sabeel North America,(FOSNA) announced on Thursday, the 22nd of July that they have appointed Jonathan Kuttab as their new Executive Director. Jonathan is an eminent Palestinian human rights lawyer. He lives in Pennsylvania, but is also a resident of East Jerusalem where he maintains a law practice. He founded a number of human rights organizations, including Al Haq and Non-violence International. He has served on the board of Sabeel for many years. He is looking forward to working closely with Sabeel Jerusalem/Nazareth, as well as among Palestinian solidarity groups and churches in the US.

  • Lord, we give thanks for Jonathan Kuttab and his new role at FOSNA. We pray that you would give him your wisdom and understanding as he steps into his position and continues to follow his commitment to help establish a just peace in the Holy Land.
    Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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On Monday, the 19th of July, the United Church of Christ adopted the ‘Declaration on the Requirements for a Just Peace between Palestine and Israel’ by an overwhelming majority. The declaration comes in response to Kairos Palestine’s ‘Cry for Hope’ call to churches around the world. It critiques Israeli apartheid laws which discriminate against Palestinians, while clearly differentiating between criticism of Israel and antisemitism.

  • Lord Jesus, our good shepherd, guide your church along a path of righteousness for your name’s sake. Help us to continue to pray and work for justice and peace for all those experiencing racism and oppression in Palestine/Israel.
    Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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This week’s Kumi Now online gathering considered the Israeli policy of obstructing Palestinian family unification.

Next week’s Kumi Now reflects on the Israeli policy of collective punishment meted out to Palestinian communities and defended on security grounds. Punitive home demolitions, forcible transfers, night raids and the blockade of Gaza are just some of the tactics employed by the Israeli authorities. Studies have shown repeatedly that those who suffer the most under these punitive measures are Palestinian women and their children.

  • Lord, we pray that Israel would start to honor its international legal obligations and abandon collective punishment as a way to pressurize and oppress Palestinians.
    Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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Esther Bejarano died on Saturday, the 10th of July, at the age of 96 years. She was one of the last survivors of the Auschwitz women’s orchestra. After 1945 she went to live in Israel for over a decade, before returning to live in her native Germany. Both she and her husband actively supported the BDS movement. She stated that they found life in Israel had been difficult ‘because we did not agree with the terrible things that were done to the Palestinians’.

• Lord, we give thanks for the long life and witness of Esther Bejarano. We thank you that she was prepared to speak out about injustice and inhumanity wherever she encountered it.
Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.