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The Israeli authorities have taken a further step in tightening the rules over foreigners living in the West Bank. Foreign spouses of Palestinians in the West Bank are already banned from receiving residency status. Now the Israeli Defense Ministry requires all foreigners to declare on their visa applications if they have a romantic attachment to anyone with a Palestinian ID. This regulation was later rescinded under pressure from the US administration.

•    Lord, we pray for the end of the use of permits to control and effectively disrupt and isolate the lives of Palestinians living in the West Bank. We cry out to you as we see Palestinian families separated and relationships threatened by harsh regulations.
Lord, in your mercy…

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On Sunday, the 18th of September, Sabeel France will host an event led by Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh who will speak about his work at the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability and the Palestine Museum of Natural History based at Bethlehem University. Register in advance for this meeting:

https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAoc-qgpjMsHteQKDr6ZxVYo7xg9oMal8QO

•    Lord, we thank you for all those working to inspire Palestinian communities by showing them sustainable ways of respecting and interacting with their environment, even under the difficulties brought about by the Israeli occupation.
Lord, in your mercy…

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Sabeel Australia will be hosting its fifth event this year with a celebration of Palestinian cookery and other aspects of Palestinian cultural heritage on Saturday, the 17th of September. Register in advance for this meeting:

https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcuceuvqDIvHdeCm6GqXDpdUSmKo0uH8Skz

•    Lord, we give thanks for the work of Sabeel Australia as they raise awareness in their country of the situation faced by those living in Palestine, Israel and the Middle East.
Lord in your mercy…

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Next week Kumi Now will commemorate the International Day of Peace on Wednesday, the 21st of September by focusing on the need for peace in Gaza. Israel implemented a blockade on Gaza to punish Hamas for the 2006 election victory. In reality it is the children and families in Gaza who have been punished, suffering from increasing levels of poverty and deprivation.

•    Lord, we pray for the lifting of the Israeli blockade of Gaza to enable the people there to rebuild their shattered economy.
Lord, in your mercy…

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More than 1.3 million Palestinian schoolchildren living in the occupied territories are at risk as they start back at school, according to the UN. Since the beginning of the year twenty children have been killed in the West Bank, while seventeen children died in Gaza during the Israeli offensive in July. Many schools are overcrowded and 6,400 children attend schools which have been targeted for demolition by the Israeli authorities.

  • Lord, we pray for the safety of Palestinian children as they return to school. So many of these children living under the Israeli occupation witness scenes of violence and experience intimidation as they travel to school. We pray for courage and perseverance for them as they continue with their studies. Lord, in your mercy…

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Sabeel, in partnership with Jussor from Nablus, are organising a special event on Friday, the 9th of September. The event will be an opportunity for the community of Nablus, including Samaritans, Muslims and Christians to come together to show their gratitude and respect for the devoted service of Father Ioustinos, who is recovering from a recent attack by Palestinian criminals who broke into the Greek Orthodox Jacob’s Well Church.

  • Lord, we pray that this special community event in Nablus will lift the spirits of Father Ioustinos. We pray that the incident will be thoroughly investigated by the Palestinian Authority and that the criminals will be held to account. Lord, in your mercy..

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The UN Human Rights’ Commissioner, Michelle Bachelot has deplored Israel’s refusal over the past two years to grant visas for  international staff to return to the UN Human Rights’ Office. She reminded the Israeli authorities of their obligations as a UN Member State to process UN visa applications as speedily as possible. She stated, ‘Israel’s treatment of our staff is part of a wider and worrying trend to block human rights’ access to the occupied Palestinian territory. This raises the question of what exactly the Israeli authorities are trying to hide.’

  • Lord, we lay before you our grave concerns over human rights’ violations by Israeli forces in the occupied Palestinian territory. We see more and more Palestinians being shot and killed by Israeli forces, at the same time as the work of local and international human rights’ organisations is being shut down and silenced by the Israeli authorities. Lord, in your mercy..

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Last week the Beersheba District Court ruled against the appeal for the early release of Ahmed Manasra on the grounds of his deteriorating mental health. He was arrested at the age of 13 years in horrifying circumstances, interrogated and sentenced to nine years in prison. Despite his diagnosis of schizophrenia he has recently been kept in solitary confinement for ten months.

  • Lord, we pray that international bodies, including the UN and the EU will continue to press the Israeli government to grant the immediate release of Ahmed Manasra on humanitarian grounds. Lord, in your mercy…

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Palestinian prisoner, Khalil Awawdeh, has ended a hunger strike which lasted more than 170 days, after the Israeli authorities agreed to his release in October. He is weak and frail and will have to remain in hospital until he has recovered some strength. He began his hunger strike after his arrest in December 2021 in protest at being held in Israel without charge or trial, on ‘administrative detention’. On this charge prisoners can be arrested on ‘secret evidence’ and cannot defend themselves in court. They are often held for renewable six-month periods that can lead to years of detention.

  • Lord, we pray that Khalil Awawdeh will recover strength after his hunger strike. We pray for  the other Palestinian prisoners being held in Israel on administrative detention, now 530 Palestinians, including women and children. Lord, in your mercy..

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Next week Kumi Now will focus on the West Bank city of Bethlehem and how the Israeli occupation has ravaged its economy. At the north end of Bethlehem lies Rachel’s Tomb, which is a site sacred to Christians, Muslims and Jews alike. However in 2002 Israel annexed the tomb, built high walls around it and prohibited Palestinians from visiting the site. Thriving Palestinian businesses in the area have now all closed down.

  • Lord, we pray for Palestinians living in Bethlehem and struggling to survive. They live in the shadow of the separation wall, their lives are dominated by military checkpoints and they look out over vast, illegal Israeli settlements on nearby hillsides. Lord, in your mercy..