We seek to keep you literally "updated" on movement in terms of truth and justice in the Middle East in general with a particular eye on Palestine. The links below will take you to various articles and websites that offer the perspective of leaders in the religious, NGO, and human rights communities. Additionally, Al-Bushra, ever vigilant, provides links to regular reporting as well as opinion pieces by journalists. The dates given here indicate when the link was posted; the most recent posting is at the top. Check the article itself for the date the information was released by the source.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mass in Jerusalem to call for Peace and the end of the war

BET HANINA- Friday 1st of August at 19:00 will be celebrated in St James Church in Bet Hanina a Holy Mass to pray for Gaza, Mosul and peace in the Middle East. 

Lord Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace

Solidarity with the pain that we are experiencing today in our land and country Palestine, especially Gaza, Mosul, and the Middle East as a whole, the Latin Parish of Jerusalem invites you to participate in the Holy Mass that will be lead by the Bishop William Shomali, calling for Peace and the End of War.
It will take place in St. James Church – Bet Hanina on Friday 1/8/2014 at 19:00. 

With Solidarity and Peace to all.

Invitation prière pour Gaza vendredi

Cardinal-President of Caritas Speaks Out on Gaza Crisis

Echoes Pope's Exhortation: 'Peacemaking Calls for Courage, Much More So Than Warfare'

ROME, July 31, 2014 (Zenit.org) - Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, who is the president of Caritas Internationalis and one of Pope Francis' cardinal-advisors, has released a statement on the Gaza crisis.

* * *

Since early July, almost two million Palestinians in Gaza and people in Israel have been caught up in a devastating war.

People have no safe place to hide when the bombs rain down on the densely-populated, small stretch land that is Gaza. They see their children slaughtered, their neighbourhoods razed to the ground and all hopes for a future of peace torn to shreds.

The battlefield is neighbourhoods full of children, women and men. It contains hospitals over-burdened with the injured and dead and schools which are being bombed even if they are meant to offer refuge.
As Caritas, we have called for a permanent ceasefire but this is just the first step on the road to a just peace based on inclusive negotiations across the region. 

The path towards reconciliation is long but it starts with ourselves.  Israel and Hamas, why do you keep pointing out the speck in the eye of your brother while missing the plank in your own eye? Instead, you should put down your arms and pick up a pair of binoculars so you can see that most of your victims are innocent people.

This is the third war in five years between Israel and militants in Gaza. In the intervening years, Palestinians in Gaza have lived a life where water is scarce, much of their food comes from humanitarian organisations and where the dignity of a job is beyond many people’s reach.

Caritas brings material and spiritual aid to the people of Gaza in their times of need and despair.
We call for the lifting of the blockade on Gaza to allow Gazans to protect their lives and livelihoods and so they can live a dignified life.

When he met the presidents of Israel and Palestine at the Vatican recently, Pope Francis said, “Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare. It calls for the courage to say yes to encounter and no to conflict: yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities; yes to respect for agreements and no to acts of provocation; yes to sincerity and no to duplicity.” 

As Caritas, we pray for peace in the Holy Land. We pray for the Palestinian and Israeli families who have lost their children, mothers and fathers and for those who have been killed.  Our prayers are with the children who live in terror and whose mental scars will run deep long after this war is over.

The Caritas confederation sends its love and solidarity to Caritas workers who are risking their lives every day in Gaza. These people work humbly and tirelessly in the service of Christ in the most difficult conditions imaginable. May God be with them every step of the way. We also pray for our colleagues at Caritas Jerusalem and the vital support that they’re giving to their staff on the ground at this time.

As we mark the anniversary of the First World War 100 years ago, we remember the words of the then Pope Benedict XV: “Force can repress the body, but it cannot repress the souls of men” and we pray that despite this terrible time of war and oppression, the souls of Palestinians and Israelis will remain free to believe in a future of justice and peace.

Yours in Christ,
Oscar Andrés Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga, S.D.B

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Iraq, Syria, Palestine: The Middle East Council of Churches calls upon the International Community

BEIRUT – The Middle East Council of Churches issued a statement condemning the wars and the violence in Irak, Siria and Palestine, with a special mention to the Christians of Irak.

The  Middle   East  Council   of Churches

Head Office
Beirut,  Lebanon·  POBox    11-5376
Tel: +961-1-353938/   +961-1-344896
Fax· +961-1-344894
E-mail:  secretary   general@mecc.org
Website:  www.mecc.org

The MECC general Secretary issued the following statement:

In the midst of the painful events that are swiping across Syria, Palestine and Iraq, and what the Christians in Mosul are experiencing in particular, the Middle East Council of Churches joins the patriarchs and heads of the Churches in the East in their Call to the international community  to take bold initiatives and stand against this fierce attack on the passive Christians of Iraq who remained steadfast in the land of their fathers and forefathers  where  Christianity  started,  and who  were the precursors  of culture  and civilisation.

Therefore,  the Council declares the following:

1- MECC condemns  all that the attempts  to displace the Christians and others out of Mosul city and its surroundings  in addition to the desecration of sacred places and the systematic attempts  to change the cultural and religious image of a city known  for its churches, monasteries that are open for dialogue and building the culture of love.

2- NIECC is in full solidarity with H.B. Patriarch Louis Sako and the prelates of all the Churches in Iraq. The Council endorses  the Statement-Call of his Beatitude whereby he draws the attention of the world leaders to the threats and hardships that the government  and  the  people  of  Iraq,  Christians  and  Muslims,  are  facing with  the attempts to change the image of Iraq as a cradle of civilisations.

3- MECC calls upon of human and spiritual communities, Christians and Muslims, to put pressure on their governments  and voice out their concerns about what is going on today in Iraq which if not stopped  immediately, it will result in human calamities and wars and will affect those who were behind these incidents or did not denounce them.

4- MECC  calls all believers  of all religions  and people  of good  will to pray God  to come for the rescue  of people  of Iraq  especially  the Christians  who  are deeply  suffering  as if they  are sheep  taken  to be  slaughtered   and  no  one  is there  to  advocate   for  their  right for justice, mercy  and life.

5-  MECC   reiterates   its  condemnation     of  the  tragic  events   occurnng    In  Syria  and Palestine  and  declares  that  we  can  not  stay silent  about  all that  threatens   the  life and safety  of  the  people.   It  is not  permitted   to violate  the  dignity  and  kill innocents   and children.  It  seems  as if in the  era of openness   and  globalisation,   we are going  back  to the prehistory  period  where  human  beings  were predators   and not  brothers.

Beirut, ]uly   21, 2014

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