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Churches for Middle East Peace

CMEP Weekly Bulletin: Anti-apartheid Icon Archbishop Tutu Dies. Here is What He Said About Israel-Palestine

A look at a legacy, continued tensions over settlements, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

 Image: "What's being done to the Palestinians at checkpoints, for us, it’s the kind of thing we experienced in South Africa," Archbishop Desmond Tutu said in 2013. (AFP/file photo)

CMEP’s Bulletin is a weekly round-up of news from the Middle East and represents an array of perspectives on the issues we cover. CMEP does not necessarily agree with all the views expressed in the articles, and they do not speak on CMEP’s behalf.

UNRWA faces funding crisis

Image: "What's being done to the Palestinians at checkpoints, for us, it’s the kind of thing we experienced in South Africa," Archbishop Desmond Tutu said in 2013. (AFP/file photo)

Anti-apartheid icon Archbishop Tutu dies. Here is what he said about Israel-Palestine

Middle East Eye

“South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, died on Sunday (December 26) aged 90. A contemporary of Nelson Mandela, Tutu was known not just for his role in ending a dark chapter of racial discrimination in his country but also for speaking out against injustices around the world, including in the Middle East. South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa honoured this fight in a tribute to Tutu announcing the archbishop's death. ‘The passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is another chapter of bereavement in our nation's farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa,’ he said in a statement.”

Jerusalem okays settlements

Image: An engineer surveying land between the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Har Homa, pictured, and Givat Hamatos in 2012. (Abir Sultan/Flash90)

Jerusalem okays thousands of new homes in East Jerusalem
Times of Israel

“A Jerusalem municipal planning committee advances 1,465 housing units in East Jerusalem, in an area that left-wing groups say would make establishing a contiguous Palestinian capital in the city far more difficult. The new neighborhood is being planned for the land between the Jewish neighborhoods of Givat HaMatos and Har Homa, both of which were themselves controversial due to their location.”

Greek Orthodox statement

Image: Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theofilos III arrives at the Church of the Nativity for the Orthodox Christmas celebrations on 6 January. (AFP/File photo)

Greek Orthodox church leader says Israeli extremists threaten Palestinian Christians
Middle East Eye

“The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem has accused radical Israeli groups of threatening the presence of Christians in the holy city, in remarks that Israeli officials rejected as baseless. In a column in the Times of London on Saturday (January 9), His Beatitude, Theophilos III, said he believed the aim was to drive the Palestinian Christian community from Jerusalem's Old City, which has sites sacred to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Israel occupied East Jerusalem, including the Old City, along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip in a 1967 war. It annexed East Jerusalem after the war in a move that has not won international recognition. ‘Our presence in Jerusalem is under threat,’ the patriarch wrote in the article, published a day after the Greek Orthodox celebration of Christmas. ‘Our churches are threatened by Israeli radical fringe groups. At the hands of these Zionist extremists the Christian community in Jerusalem is suffering greatly,’ he said.”

What's Happening at CMEP

Public Statement: CMEP Public Statement on the Release of Coptic Christian Egyptian Activist Ramy Kamel: CMEP celebrates the January 8, 2022 release of Coptic Christian activist Ramy Kamel after he spent two years being held in pre-trial detention in Egypt. Kamel was arrested on November 23, 2019, and charged with spreading false information and involvement advocating for minority rights as a part of his leadership with the Maspero Youth Union.

Webinar Series: Join CMEP for a series of discussions on Gaza in February and March. This program will openly and honestly present the reality of the siege, the occupation, and political leadership as well as include ways participants can advocate with their elected officials to encourage U.S. policies that will help end the siege of Gaza and advance human rights and security for all. This series is co-organized by Churches for Middle East Peace, Arab American Institute, and American Friends of Combatants for Peace. Each 90-minute session will present on one of these four aspects of Gaza: History & Historical Significance, Politics, Culture, Economics.

Week of Prayer For Christian Unity: Reflections from the Middle East: Join Churches for Middle East Peace, the World Council of Churches, our board member organization the Franciscan Friars, and Christians around the world for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, January 18-25, 2022. The theme for 2022 is “We Saw the Star in the East, and We Came To Worship Him.” CMEP will be hosting a religious leader live from the Middle East each day from January 18-21 for a time of prayer and reflection at 10 am Eastern. Join us as we pray together in hope of Christian Unity.


Support CMEP

CMEP has repeatedly called for a peaceful resolution to conflicts in the Middle East. Please donate to help amplify this message.

Lebanese seek escape

Image: Lebanese would-be-migrant Bilal Moussa, 34, smokes a cigarette by the sea in Tripoli north of Beirut on December 9, 2021. (JOSEPH EID / AFP)

Lebanese seek escape from economic crisis via perilous sea smuggler trip to Europe
Times of Israel

“If he wasn’t making good money smuggling irregular migrants to the European Union by sea, Ibrahim himself might have joined the growing exodus from crisis-hit Lebanon. ‘If I didn’t work in this profession, I would have left, just like so many other people,’ said the 42-year-old trafficker, who asked to use a pseudonym when he spoke to AFP in the northern city of Tripoli. ‘Maybe I would have turned to someone to smuggle me out,’ he said, his face hidden by an anti-COVID surgical mask and a hoodie. Lebanon, in the throes of a brutal economic crisis, is no longer just a launchpad for Syrian refugees and other foreign migrants. Its own desperate citizens now also risk drowning in the Mediterranean in their quest for a better life."

release of Ramy Shaath

Image: Egyptian-Palestinian rights activist Ramy Shaath is seen in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters on January 8, 2022. (Free Ramy Shaath Campaign/Handout via Reuters)

Egypt frees activist Ramy Shaath after he renounces nationality, family says

“Egyptian authorities have freed Egyptian-Palestinian rights activist Ramy Shaath from more than 900 days of detention after forcing him to renounce his Egyptian nationality, his family said in a statement on Saturday (January 8). The statement said Shaath, who was a member of several secular political groups in Egypt and a co-founder of Egypt's pro-Palestinian BDS movement, was released on the evening of Jan. 6 and handed to a representative of the Palestinian Authority in Cairo before being flown to Jordan."

elderly man dies after Israeli police check

Image: People stand next to a poster of Palestinian American Omar Abdalmajeed As'ad, 80, in Jiljilya village in the West Bank on Jan. 12. (Mohamad Torokman/Reuters)

Elderly Palestinian American dies after being detained by Israeli soldiers in West Bank
Washington Post

“An 80-year-old Palestinian American man died Wednesday (January 12) after being detained by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, prompting U.S. officials to call for an investigation into the circumstances of his death. The victim, identified as Omar Abdalmajeed As’ad, was still wearing a plastic restraining zip tie on one wrist when he was found early Wednesday morning in a village outside of Ramallah, according to Palestinian officials. The Israeli military confirmed Wednesday that As’ad had been stopped during a security check of the area and detained after he ‘resisted a check.’ An spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces said that As’ad was held for only a short time and that he was alive when he was released."

CMEP's Bulletin is a weekly round-up of news from the Middle East and represents an array of perspectives on the issues we cover. CMEP does not necessarily agree with all the views expressed in the articles, and they do not speak on CMEP's behalf.

Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP)
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