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CMEP Weekly Bulletin: Israel Security Cabinet Approves Legalization of Nine New Settlements

A look at western opposition, inflation, 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: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives to a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on February 12, 2023. (Amit Shabi/Pool)

Israel security cabinet approves legalization of nine new settlements

Jerusalem Post

“In an exceptionally rare move, Israel’s security cabinet approved the transformation of ten illegal outposts into nine authorized West Bank settlements. The Civil Administration Higher Planning Committee will also convene ‘in the coming days to approve the construction of new residential units in existing communities in Judea and Samaria,’ the Prime Minister’s Office said. The Planing Committee is likely to approve 10,000 new settler housing units, said Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who is a member of the security cabinet."

Image: Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel's far-right new minister of national security in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new government, attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, 3 January 2023. (Atef Safadi/Pool via Reuters)

U.S., Canada, European powers oppose Israeli settlement authorization


“Foreign ministers of four European countries and Canada joined Washington on Tuesday (February 14) in opposing a decision by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to authorize nine Jewish settler outposts in the occupied West Bank. The foreign ministers of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the United States issued a joint statement voicing concern over the plans announced by Israel on Sunday. ‘We strongly oppose unilateral actions which will only serve to exacerbate tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and undermine efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution,’ they said.”

Image: A man holds a cat he rescued from a building as rescuers extract the bodies of victims from collapsed buildings in Antakya, Turkey, on Feb. 15, 2023, nine days after a 7.8-magnitude struck the country. (AFP)

Death Toll in Turkey and Syria from Earthquake Tops 41,000

VOA News

“The combined death toll in Turkey and Syria from last week’s powerful earthquake has now risen above 41,000, but a handful of people are still being rescued from the rubble… With much of the region's sanitation infrastructure damaged or rendered inoperable by the earthquakes, health authorities are facing a daunting task in trying to ensure that people now remain disease-free.”

What's Happening at CMEP

Non-Violent Peacebuilding: Join Westminster Presbyterian Church (Delaware) and Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) on March 19th for a conversation about non-violent peacebuilding and advocacy related to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. You will hear from Michael Feigenbaum and Ismail Assad from Combatants for Peace about how they were compelled to break cycles of violence in Israeli and Palestinian society and work for collective peace and justice. Kyle Cristafalo from Churches for Middle East Peace will speak about the role the American church plays in advocating for a just peace in Israel/Palestine.


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.


Save the Date! Join Churches for Middle East Peace for our first in person Advocacy Summit since 2019. On April 20 we will hear from keynote speakers and panelists from Israel/Palestine and the U.S. including Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac, and Rev. Dr. Jack Sara. Participants will have the opportunity to take the stories they have heard and advocate on behalf of human rights in Israel and Palestine with their Congressional offices on Friday, April 21. We hope you will consider joining us for fellowship, learning, and the chance to raise your voice on Capitol Hill this April. Registration is now open!


Support CMEP:

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


Image: A general view of the Israeli settlement Kokhav Yaakov in the occupied West Bank in 2017. (Abbas Momani/AFP via Getty Images)

U.S. weighs further steps against Israel's settlement expansion


“The Biden administration is discussing additional steps it can take in response to Israel's latest announcement on settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, U.S. officials told Axios. Why it matters: The Israeli Cabinet decision on Sunday (February 12) to legalize nine illegal outposts and approve the planning and building of close to 10,000 housing units in existing settlements in the occupied West Bank was the single biggest settlement announcement ever made.”

Image: Lebanese wait in a line outside a closed petrol station in Beirut's Hamra district on August 20, 2021. (Photo by Anwar Amro/AFP)

Lebanon currency slips to new low, has lost 95% of value since 2019

Times of Israel

“The Lebanese pound hits a record low against the dollar on the black market, as the country’s grinding political and economic crises show no signs of abating. The pound has lost more than 95 percent of its value against the greenback since the start of the economic crisis in 2019. On Wednesday (February 15), it was trading over 75,000 to the dollar, compared with 60,000 at the start of the month, according to websites monitoring the exchange rate.”

Image: A beggar sells tissues along the fence of the historic Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo on Jan. 16. (Khaled Desouki/AFP via Getty Images)

Egypt Needs Democracy to Fix Its Economy

Foreign Policy

“Amid an international crisis and with much of the world focused on Russia’s war in Ukraine, the international community does not want to see Egypt entering a dark tunnel. Any realistic plan to save the situation must begin with Sisi taking accountability for the current economic and political crisis. This might open the door for solutions outside the president’s limited vision for the economy, governance, and administrations—a vision that has consistently been criticized by many political analysts.”

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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