Prophetic 2017 church actions and Focus on Gaza
Welcome Back to the Palestine Portal Newsletter

Braverman mug
Mark Braverman
Kairos USA
It's good to be back in touch with you after a hiatus of several months. It is now a week since the synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh, and this remains the first item in this newsletter. Why? Because what is happening in our news is all of a piece. I cannot separate the tragedy of 11 people cut down in their place of worship from the killing and maiming of Gazans gathered at the barbed wire in their  Great March of Return and the deaths of children from Israeli bombs in the Khan Yunis refugee camp, not from the desperation and courage of mothers and fathers in Honduras taking their up their children and fleeing for their lives, not from the faces of starving, dying Yemeni children looking back at me from the pages of the Sunday New York Times. As I work with colleagues in Palestine, in the U.S. and around the world, I am constantly reminded how important it is that we stay connected. This is the mission of Kairos USA --  to connect and resource our community of local, regional and national groups with the global community that has emerged in response to the Palestinian call. 
 
"Come and see!" urges the  Palestine Kairos document, reminding us that in standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people, we commit ourselves to the persistent struggle against tyranny and injustice everywhere. "Our hope remains strong," proclaim the authors, grounded in their faith that the oppression under which they live "distort[s] the divine image in the human beings living under both political and theological injustice." 
  
This newsletter, and the ones to follow as we approach the season of Advent, bring reports of gatherings and actions that express Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "inescapable network of mutuality."   The Presbyterian response to the synagogue killings makes the direct connection to the incitement and hate speech emanating from the White House (see the excellent analysis by Robert Herbst in Mondoweiss). The upcoming annual Kairos Conference in Bethlehem will emphasize the urgent need for a coordinated global strategy. Adam Horowitz of Mondoweiss drives this point home powerfully. Spend a virtual moment at the Tent of Nations peace farm near Bethlehem (eight thousand international pilgrims visit each year) where earlier this month the World Methodist Council bestowed its Peace Award on the Nassar Family. Read about the new program from Sabeel in Jerusalem to connect the hundreds of actions and programs around the world devoted to equality and dignity for all the peoples of historic Palestine.

Stay tuned for more news about what is happening here and in the global community.  In the next newsletter I'll report on the first ever Christ at the Checkpoint USA conference, which took place in Oklahoma City in mid-October. It was exciting, spirited, and challenging, and there will be links to the outstanding addresses and conversations that took place there.

Palestine Portal is a project of Kairos USA.  We  welcome your questions and feedback about how it can assist you in your work. Make sure that your organization is listed in  Mapping the Movement Subscribe to this newsletter if you have not already done so, and forward it on!
Presbyterian Mission Network statement on Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.

The Israel-Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has responded to the killing at a Shabbat service in Pittsburgh, "standing with all our Jewish brothers and sisters as they deal with this tragedy."  The statement cites "the witness of Tree of Life Synagogue to stand with and bring justice for refugees and immigrants."  The shooting "is an affront to all that is aligned with the intentions of the God who created us as one humanity, and calls upon us to demonstrate this truth with everything we are." 

The statement affirms that IPMN is "concerned about the nature of a public discourse in our society in which peoples of different faith narratives are unwittingly pitted against each other for political, ideological and self-serving reasons.  We believe that people of faith, meaning all faiths dedicated to serving and glorifying the God of creation, are well-equipped to see through such designs and to stand in solidarity against ungodly and destructive human schemes and purposes."

Read the full statement on the IPMN website.
International Kairos Conference,  December 6-7
Kairos Palestine and the Alternative Tourism Group invite you to the annual Kairos Conference to be held in Bethlehem on December 6-7. According to the organizers, "the main goal is to carefully understand the present challenges faced by the Palestinian community today, and to develop a joint global strategy for advocacy."  The conference has been held every year in Bethlehem since the launch of the Kairos Palestine Document in 2009.
 
The invitation reads: "This international conference will be bringing together different partners, supporters and members of the Kairos movement from all around the world.  We would appreciate your presence amongst us."
Nassar Family receives World Methodist Council Peace Award for Tent of Nations

 
 
Pictured here with his mother Miladi and Rev Kristen Brown  representing the Methodist Liaison Office in Jerusalem, Daoud Nassar received the World Methodist Council Peace Award on behalf of the Nassar family's Tent of Nations. The award was presented i n a ceremony at the Nassar Farm and Peace Village near Bethlehem "for their courage, creativity, and consistency in pursuing peace, justice, and reconciliation through the projects and programs of the Tent of Nations." In his powerful address, World Methodist Council General Secretary Rev Ivan Abraham stated: 
 
"Despite threats of the confiscation of your land and many legal battles you faced, your family has doggedly preserved for the last 102 years and faithfully cultivated the land. you are doing much more than planting olive groves; you are sowing seeds of hope!"   Citing the 2009 Kairos Palestine document, Rev Abraham stressed that "our faith demands that we stand within the prophetic tradition and follow the gospel imperative to seek justice and speak truth to power in love." Accepting the award, Daoud Nassar stepped up to his mother and placed the medallion around her shoulders.
United Methodist Kairos Response
Call to Action

United Methodist Kairos Response has issued a call to restore vital humanitarian aid to Palestine in the face of the Trump admistration's   announced cuts of over $200 million for projects in the West Bank and Gaza. " Using food, medical care, and children's education as political weapons is immoral," states UMKR.  

Read this comprehensive summary and call to action.

Jerusalem: What makes for Peace?
US Christian Leadership Summit meets in Houston


On October 11, 2018, faith leaders from across the U.S. gathered in Houston to advance the vision of an inclusive, diverse, and equitable Jerusalem. Stressing the "theological and ethical urgency" of the status of Jerusalem, leaders spoke out against the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and the "Israelization" of the city.  Christians must speak with a strong voice, they said, rather than to be "part of the problem" through silence or inaction.

Read the full statement issued by the four sponsoring organizations: Bright Stars of Bethlehem, National Council of Churches, Churches for Middle East Peace, and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference.
Sabeel Jerusalem Inaugurates Program to Highlight the International Solidarity Movement

 
Following months of collaboration with local Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals, Sabeel in Jerusalem is excited to introduce the Kumi (Rise Up!) project. Organizations taking part in this project include a diverse combination of Palestinian, Israeli, and international organizations, that together form the Palestinian international solidarity movement. They span from faith-based to secular organizations.
 
Each week following the initial launch date, the Kumi project will highlight a different organization working to raise awareness about specific issues in Israel-Palestine.
 
Sabeel invites individuals and organizations from around the world to join the Kumi project.  Read more and find out how to join at kuminow.com.

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