Churches for Middle East Peace
gantz jordan valley

Gantz Vows to Annex Jordan Valley, 'Hopes Trump Releases Peace Plan Soon'
A look at continuing discussion of a peace plan, continued talks of annexation, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

Image: Gantz and Kahol Lavan member Moshe Ya'alon during a tour of the West Bank. (Elad Malka)

gantz jordan wall

Gantz vows to annex Jordan Valley, ‘hopes Trump releases peace plan soon'

“Benny Gantz, chairman of Kahol Lavan, said Tuesday (Jan. 21) that he would work to advance Israel's annexation of the Jordan Valley after Israel's March 2 election, adding he is expecting the publication of the Trump administration's Mideast peace plan. Speaking during a tour of the region, Gantz said ‘The Jordan Valley is Israel's eastern defensive barrier in any future conflict. Israeli governments that spoke of the possibility of returning the area [to Jordanian control] were making a grave strategic and security mistake, and we see this strip of land as an inseparable part of the State of Israel.’” 

Image: Gantz and Kahol Lavan member Moshe Ya'alon during a tour of the West Bank. (Elad Malka)

trump confirms visit

Trump confirms PM, Gantz to visit; rejects ‘speculative’ reports on peace plan
Times of Israel

“US President Donald Trump on Thursday (1/23) confirmed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz will visit the White House next week for talks on his yet to be released Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. On Twitter, Trump said he “looks forward to welcoming” the Israeli political rivals when they come to Washington on Tuesday. ‘Reports about details and timing of our closely-held peace plan are purely speculative,’ he added. Trump did not specify which reports he was referring to, but some Hebrew media outlets on Thursday suggested the plan could be published next week.”

Image: US President Donald Trump leaves for Doral, Florida, from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on January 23, 2020. (Eric Baradat/AFP)

bishops visiting holy land

Bishops visiting Holy Land ask for application of international law
Catholic News Agency

“Following a trip to the Holy Land, a group of bishops from the United States and Europe called on their countries’ governments to acknowledge the state of Palestine and to apply international law in Israel and the surrounding area in order to promote peace and justice. ‘We are inspired by their enduring resilience and faith in a worsening situation,’ the bishops said of those who live in the Holy Land in a Jan. 16 statement. The bishops added that the Catholic bishops of the Holy Land have ‘lamented the international community’s failure to help realize justice and peace here in the place of Christ’s birth. Our governments must do more to meet their responsibilities for upholding international law and protecting human dignity. In some cases they have become actively complicit in the evils of conflict and occupation.’” 

Image: Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the US Military Archdiocese says Mass at the Holy Family Latin Parish in Gaza with the Holy Land Coordination, Jan. 12, 2020. (Mazur/

What's Happening at CMEP

Final Days for Discounted Registration!

Join us in the Washington, D.C. area June 21-23, 2020. This year’s theme is Equal in God’s Eyes. Click FAQ to learn about discounted hotel options.


New P4P Blog Post:

Read the latest on our Prayers for Peace (P4P) blog. This week is the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and this week’s post focuses on that theme.

action alert

Action Alert: Tell Congress: Say No to War with Iran! 

The assassination of Major General Qasem Soleimani the military commander of Iran’s Quds Force by the U.S. on January 2, has significantly increased tensions with Iran, opening up the very real possibility of war.  A war with Iran would only further destabilize the region and lead to the deaths of countless people. Right now, your elected officials need to hear loudly and clearly that Congress must do everything in its power to prevent war with Iran. 



CMEP has repeatedly called for a peaceful resolution to the conflict with Iran. Please donate to help amplify this message.

court okays eviction

Court okays eviction of Palestinian family because land was once owned by Jews

“A Jewish settler organization won a lawsuit Sunday against a Palestinian family it has been trying to evict in East Jerusalem on grounds that the structure was built on land previously owned by Jews. The ruling could set a precedent for the eviction of additional 700 Palestinians living in the Baten al-Hawa enclave of Silwan. The Baten al-Hawa enclave had once been owned by a Jewish property trust (hekdesh), housing Yemenite Jews who arrived in Jerusalem in the late 19th century. In 1938, British authorities ordered the residents out of the neighborhood because of the danger posed by the Arab revolt against the British mandate. Their homes were razed and years later, Palestinian families built Baten al-Hawa on the land.” 

Image: Residents of Silwan to be evicted by settler organization Ateret Cohanim in East Jerusalem, 2018. (Emil Salman)

hamas saudi mediation

Reconciliation drive between Hamas, Saudis hits wall

“Mediation designed to reboot the connection between Saudi Arabia and Hamas has failed, with the former issuing conditions the latter rejects, according to anonymous sources cited by Arabi21 news. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman set the condition that before his kingdom reconciles witih Hamas, the movement must resolve its differences with the United States, Arabi21 reported Jan. 9. This implies that Hamas would have to recognize Israel and its right to exist, which Hamas rejects. Tension has prevailed in Saudi-Hamas ties since Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir demanded in 2017 that Qatar halt support for Hamas and other groups he characterized as extremists. The Saudi arrests last year of Hamas activists and sympathizers aggravated the situation. In April and May, Saudi Arabia arrested more than 60 Palestinians, Jordanians and Saudis on charges of sympathizing with Hamas and collecting donations for the movement. The Saudi campaign also involved freezing the assets of some of the detainees and supervising financial transactions."

Image: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a session of the Shura Council, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 20, 2019. (Bandar Algaloud/Saudi Royal Court/via Reuters)

diplomatic event

Everything you must know about the biggest diplomatic event in Israel’s history
Times of Israel

“It was meant to be a rather small summit, but it turned into the largest diplomatic event in the history of the State of Israel. When Israeli officials first started planning for the Fifth World Holocaust Forum to commemorate the 75th liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, they estimated that 10 or perhaps 15 world leaders or top dignitaries would attend, Harel Tubi, the director-general of the President’s Residence, recalled this week. ‘We thought that number would be a success. But now we’re happy to welcome more than 45 leaders to Jerusalem.’”

Image: Preparations under way at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on January 20, 2020, for a state dinner for world leaders attending the World Holocaust Forum events marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. (Alon Fargo)


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.

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