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CMEP Weekly Bulletin: Anger Grows in Turkey as Earthquake Death Toll Passes 20,000 and Rescue Hopes Dwindle

A look at natural disasters, bank protests, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

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.

Image: Collapsed buildings in the city of Van, Turkey on Thursday. Ozkan Bilgin (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Anger grows in Turkey as earthquake death toll passes 20,000 and rescue hopes dwindle

NBC News

“As the temperatures plunged, anger started to rise in Turkey over the government’s response to two massive earthquakes this week. On Thursday (February 9), the number of those killed by the tremors in Turkey and neighboring Syria passed 20,000. With their homes destroyed, thousands spent a freezing Wednesday (February 8) night amid the debris in the streets of Adiyaman, huddled around small fires and with little shelter. Electricity and water were nonexistent in the southern city.”

Image: A man walks along a road by Israel’s separation barrier between the occupied West Bank village of Nazlat Issa and the Arab-Israeli town of Baqa al-Gharbiya in northern Israel on February 1, 2020. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images)

The US’s empty commitment to a two-state solution


“It’s a particularly dangerous moment for Israel and Palestine. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in the Middle East last week (January 30) on a previously scheduled trip after 48 hours of violence: a terrorist attack in East Jerusalem killed seven Israelis and an Israeli raid on the refugee camp of Jenin killed nine Palestinians, culminating a month in which Palestinians experienced the highest level of killings at the hands of Israeli forces and Israeli settlers in more than a decade. The situation called for US leadership… Yet throughout the trip, Blinken’s comments felt retrograde, like they came from another era."

Image: (ABC News)

Lebanese banks close doors to customers to protest ruling

ABC News

“Lebanon's battered commercial banks on Tuesday  (February 7) closed their doors to customers in protest of a recent court ruling that forced one of the country's largest banks to pay out two of its depositors their trapped savings in cash. The Association of Banks in Lebanon, which lobbies for the banks, released a statement calling the action an ‘open-ended strike’ and criticized the court ruling, claiming it was detrimental to all depositors, because the banks cannot afford to pay out everyone else’s savings in full."

What's Happening at CMEP

Join Us This Month: On Sunday February 12, join Churches for Middle East Peace for an online discussion about the documentary “’Til Kingdom Come” at 3:00pm Eastern / noon Pacific. Learn about the political alliance between US Evangelical pastors and the state of Israel. Watch the film for free at your convenience; then join the Q&A Discussion on February 12 with an expert panel. Next, CMEP will be in Houston and Dallas February 16th and 17th with three esteemed Palestinian Christian leaders from Bethlehem. Join us in person in Texas by registering on our Events page. 


Limited time opportunity to support CMEP while you shop! Have you heard? The Amazon Smile program is ending at the end of February. Please click here and select Churches for Middle East Peace. Using this link you can support CMEP’s peacebuilding work and there are NO additional costs to you. OR you can help us fulfill our Amazon Wishlist for some of our basic office supplies, event materials, and tech needs.


Lent 2023: Realizing God's Perfect Peace. Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is pleased to present this Lenten devotional series entitled “Realizing God’s Perfect Peace,” which is available for purchase for you or your church group. This devotional book contains spiritual practices and reflections written by our staff for Ash Wednesday, each Sunday of Lent, and each day of Holy Week.


Support CMEP:

As we enter the Lenten season, please honor CMEP's work for peace and justice with a donation.


Image: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich attend a press conference at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on Jan. 25. (Ronen Zvulun/AFP via Getty Images)

U.S. tells Israel if Smotrich gets West Bank authority it's step toward annexation

"The Biden administration warned the Israeli government that it would consider any transfer of civilian authorities in the occupied West Bank to far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich as a step toward annexation, two Israeli and U.S. officials told me. Driving the news: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must decide in the coming weeks if and how to implement his government's coalition agreement that states Smotrich, a radical right-wing settler who supports annexation, should be given authority over two military units in charge of the civilian administration in the West Bank."

Image: A general view shows the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands August 27, 2018. (Reuters/Piroschka van de Wouw)

Armenia tells World Court Azerbaijan blockade is 'ethnic cleansing'

“Armenia told judges at the World Court on Monday that a blockade of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region by neighbouring Azerbaijan was designed to allow ‘ethnic cleansing’, a claim rejected by Baku. The Lachin corridor is the only route whereby Armenia can provide food, fuel and medicine supplies to Nagorno-Karabakh, a region internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but home to around 120,000 ethnic Armenians.”

Image: (Anadolu Agency)

Latin patriarch of Jerusalem condemns acts of hate against Christians

Anadolu Agency

“The Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, on Friday (February 3) condemned sabotage against Christian sites in occupied East Jerusalem. Pizzaballa said a Jewish American broke into the Church of the Flagellation on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem's Old City and vandalized a statue of Jesus. He also said the incident was the fifth in just a few weeks and last week a group of tourists was attacked by a Jewish group who turned the area into what looks like a battlefield.”

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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