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The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), issued a report on Wednesday the 8th of January, stating that the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) had committed 760 violations and crimes against Palestinian journalists in 2019. These crimes included 12 critical injuries with live ammunition, as well as injuries from rubber coated steel bullets, tear gas canisters, and stun grenades. Over recent years the Palestinian media have been under constant attack from IOF, the latest of which was the closure of the Palestine TV office in Jerusalem.

  • Dear Lord, we thank you for the courage and the work of Palestinian journalists as they seek to report on the oppression and injustice they witness under Israeli occupation. We pray that the right of freedom of expression and movement will be restored to Palestinian journalists. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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The Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem has recently delivered twelve home demolition notices to Palestinian residents in the city’s Al Isaweyah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem. The notices were served on the premise that the homes were built without permits. Palestinians are rarely granted building permits, especially in East Jerusalem.

  • Dear Lord, our hearts sink as we hear of even more Palestinian families forced to leave Jerusalem, many facing an uncertain future. We pray for an end to the policy of home demolition and forcible expropriation of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem and throughout the West Bank. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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In the next few weeks Sabeel will be holding local meetings to discuss and plan their activities for 2020. Members will be praying and contributing towards a strategic plan for 2021-25.

  • Dear Lord Jesus, we come to you in our weakness and dependence on you for guidance and wisdom. We pray that your Spirit will guide the prayers and plans of those seeking to do your will through Sabeel and in creating an overall plan of activities for the next few years. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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This week’s Kumi Now initiative focuses on the work of Machsom Watch, an Israeli women’s voluntary organisation. The word ‘machsom’ is Hebrew for ‘checkpoint’, referring to the Israeli force’s checkpoints which restrict the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank.

  • Dear Lord, we give thanks for the courage and convictions of the Israeli women who volunteer for work with Machsom Watch. We pray for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and for the oppressive policies which are blighting the lives of Palestinians and eating away at the moral fibre of Israeli society. Lord in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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On Tuesday, the 31st of December 2019, Jewish settlers hurled stones at Palestinian cars travelling between Nablus and Jenin. Twenty-five cars were attacked, and several passengers were injured by shattered glass from broken car windows.

  • Dear Lord, we pray for an end to the gratuitous violence from Jewish settlers against Palestinians going about their daily business. We pray that the authorities will put a stop to these acts of violence and prosecute the offenders. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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On the 31st of December Israel approved the export of strawberries from Gaza, in addition to tomatoes and aubergines. This decision comes as part of a package of measures to shore up a permanent ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

  • Lord, we pray for the farmers in Gaza who have allocated large areas for the production of a strawberry crop to be sold in Israel and internationally. We pray that they may find a secure market for their crop and bring much needed employment to the enclave. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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Palestinian human rights’ groups have reported that the Israeli authorities arrested 5,500 Palestinians in 2019. Among this number of detainees there were 889 children and 128 women. The groups estimate that 450 prisoners are currently held for long periods under administrative detention, without charge or trial. Their research shows that most detainees are subjected to coercion to elicit confessions during the interrogation period and that many endure assaults and torture.

  • Oh Lord, we turn to you and cry out for your help. We pray that you will ‘execute justice for the oppressed and set the prisoners free’, (Psalm 146:7). We pray that the Israeli authorities will abide by international law and cease to use torture on Palestinian prisoners and stop denying them fair trial on administrative detention orders. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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The Christmas holidays are coming to an end and Palestinian schoolchildren and students will be returning to their studies.

  • Lord, we pray for the students in Palestine as they take up their studies. We pray for those who face the daily ordeal of Israeli checkpoints and searches as they grow up under occupation. May they be strengthened in their determination to endure and to complete their studies despite the difficulties they face day-to-day. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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This week’s Kumi Now initiative focuses on the work of the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights in Gaza. Al Mezan was set up as an independent human rights’ organisation in Gaza in 1999. It works to help those affected by the Israeli restrictions on the movement of people in and out of Gaza, particularly those with serious health conditions. The Israeli authorities have increasingly denied patients access to life-saving treatments outside Gaza. After fifty years of occupation and over a decade of blockade, the healthcare system in Gaza has been stretched to breaking point.

  • Dear Lord, we thank you for the work of Al Mezan as they work to protect the human rights of those living in Gaza. We pray that the blockade of Gaza will come to an end and that patients needing to receive treatment in hospitals outside the enclave will be free to travel for that treatment. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.

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Thousands of Christian pilgrims flocked to Bethlehem to take part in the Christmas Eve celebrations in Manger Square and at the Church of the Nativity. The Palestinian Tourism Minister estimated that nearly 15,000 pilgrims stayed overnight in the hotels in Bethlehem.

  • Lord, we pray for the people of Bethlehem. We are encouraged that so many pilgrims are coming to visit the birthplace of Jesus. At the same time, we know that so many local Christians have been forced to leave their native town as conditions are so hard under the occupation. They face checkpoints, permits, a separation wall, economic hardship and intimidation. We pray for our brothers and sisters that they may keep their hope in God and other people, despite the pain and problems they face. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.