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On Monday, the 9th of November, the United Nations’ agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) had to tell their staff that they were unable to pay their salaries this month. The agency provides education, health and relief services to around 5.7 million refugees and it has been hit hard by the funding cuts from the US and other donors.

  • O, Lord, you are our stronghold in the time of trouble (Ps37:39). We bring before you this crisis at UNRWA and pray that even at this eleventh-hour international bodies will step forward with donations to save millions from slipping into poverty and want. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.

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Asma Mustafa, an English language teacher at the Halima Al Saadia School for Girls in northern Gaza, has won the award of Global Teacher of the year 2020 from the AKS Educational Award in India. Asma was prompted to enter the competition to increase world recognition of the high standards of education achieved in Palestine.

  • We thank you, Lord, for the vocation and dedication of educators like Asma who work hard to help their students learn effectively.  Such gifted teachers inspire their students to work hard and achieve good results, even in the face of poverty and deprivation. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.

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The Israeli authorities are ready to start excavation work in occupied East Jerusalem to prepare for the construction of a cable car to transport tourists to Jewish holy sites. This project, controversial with many Israelis as well as Palestinians and internationals, would alter the landscape of the historic Old City of Jerusalem and expand the Israeli presence in a Palestinian majority neighborhood. Several established Palestinian families have already been forced to leave the area by a settler group called Elad, which manages the ‘City of David’ archaeological park in Jerusalem.

  • Dear Lord, we continue to pray that the city of Jerusalem will remain a city shared peaceably by Israelis, Palestinians and people from many nations. We pray that attempts to erase the Palestinian presence in the city will be thwarted. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.

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Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, died of coronavirus at the age of 65 years on Tuesday, the 10th of November. He had been recovering from a lung transplant when he contracted the virus. A three-day period of mourning was held for him in the West Bank, in recognition of his efforts to negotiate a just peace for Palestinians over the period of many years.

  • Lord, we pray for the family and friends of Saeb Erekat who mourn his death. We pray that other negotiators will be raised up in the Palestinian community who will be inspired by his tenacity and will work tirelessly to bring an end to the occupation of the Palestinian Territories. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.

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This week’s Kumi Now Initiative focuses on the work of the Mennonite Palestine Israel Network (Menno PIN) which works to raise awareness of home demolitions in the occupied Palestinian Territories. In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic there was a spike in the numbers of Palestinian homes demolished by the Israeli authorities. In 2020 Israel has, so far, demolished 700 buildings and, as a result, 869 Palestinians have lost their homes in the West Bank – this includes what the UN noted was the “largest demolition of Palestinian homes in a decade” when the Bedouin village of Khirbet Humsa was demolished on 4th November, leaving 73 people including 41 children homeless.

  • Dear Lord, we pray that the Israeli government will put an end to this policy of mass demolition of Palestinian homes. May Israel, as an occupying power, remember its obligations under international law to protect civilians, refrain from the forcible transfer of population and respect private property. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.

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Farouk Jubran is a 74-year-old Palestinian resident of the Old City in East Jerusalem.

He is suffering from cancer and has been told that his health insurance has been withdrawn as he is thought to be living in the West Bank. The Israeli National Insurance Institute has told him that he is no longer eligible for an old age pension and he has to repay all previous payments.

  • Lord, we pray for Farouk as he faces old age, serious illness and lack of resources. We pray that the Israeli authorities will cease their attempts to withdraw Palestinian residency so they can claim sovereignty over the city of Jerusalem, which is a shared city under international law. Lord in your mercy… hear our prayers.

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Settlers from the illegal Kiryat Arbaa settlement near Hebron attacked Palestinian homes on Friday, the 30th of October. Israeli soldiers escorted the settlers. The soldiers tried to detain a seventeen-year-old Palestinian, Mohammed Aref Jaber. When his mother intervened to stop his arrest, both of them were severely assaulted by the soldiers.

  • Oh Lord, you are our hiding place and our shield. Our souls melt for sorrow (Ps 119:28),as we learn of these brutal assaults in the city of Hebron which suffers daily attacks from settlers. We pray for the recovery of Mohammed and his mother. We pray that Palestinians living in Hebron may be left to live in peace. Lord, in your mercy… hear our prayers.

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On Monday, the 2nd of November, the Israeli authorities detained eight Palestinians from different parts of the West Bank. Among those detained was Khitam Saafin, who presides over the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees. She was previously arrested in 2017 and held on a three-month administrative detention order.

  • Lord, we pray for the Palestinians who have recently been arrested, that they may not be detained in prison without charge or trial by the Israeli authorities. We pray that the Israeli authorities will use their powers to execute justice fairly towards Israelis and Palestinians alike and not to oppress. Lord, in your mercy… hear our prayers.

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The UN reported that all the property belonging to the Bedouin community of Khirbet Humsa in the Jordan Valley was razed to the ground by Israeli bulldozers on Wednesday, the 4th of November. The demolition left 73 people, including 41 children, as well as their livestock, homeless and exposed to the autumnal rainfall. This incident constitutes the largest forcible displacement in Israel for four years and has been condemned by a number of countries.

  • Dear Lord, we pray for the Bedouin community as they face persecution in Israel. We pray for an end to the cruel plunder of the homes of the poorest in the land by the Israeli authorities. Lord, in your mercy… hear our prayers.

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The Kumi Now Initiative focuses this week on the Palestinian grassroots organization ‘Stop the Wall’, which is calling for the dismantling of the Israeli separation wall. The separation wall has been constructed deep into the West Bank. More than 150 Palestinian communities own land located behind the wall which they find difficult to access.

  • Lord, we thank you for those who work to dismantle structures used to exclude and oppress others. We continue to pray for the restoration of peace and justice in Israel/Palestine and for an end to the segregation of the people living in the land. Lord, in your mercy… hear our prayers.