Churches for Middle East Peace

 First Batch of COVID Vaccines Arrives in Gaza After Israel Approves Transfer

A look at ongoing pandemic response issues, continuing tensions and conversations between countries, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

 Image: A Palestinian health worker holds swab samples collected to test for COVID-19 in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip earlier this month. (Said Khatib/AFP)

vaccines going to gaza

First batch of COVID vaccines arrives in Gaza after Israel approves transfer

“One thousand Russian-made Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines arrived in Gaza on Wednesday (February 17) from the Palestinian Authority after Israel approved the transfer. These are the first vaccines to arrive in the Strip. The vaccines were donated by Russia, and transferred with the approval of the Palestinian Authority. The vaccines traveled from the Beitunia border crossing in the West Bank to the Kerem Shalom border crossing into Gaza. Israel and the Palestinian Authority traded barbs over Israel's postponement of the transfer of 2,000 vaccines from the West Bank to Gaza on Monday (February 15).”

Image: A Palestinian health worker holds swab samples collected to test for COVID-19 in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip earlier this month. (Said Khatib/AFP)

anti settlement protests

Clashes in West Bank during anti-Israeli settlement protests

“The Palestinian Authority (PA) reported several clashes on Friday (February 12) at anti-settlement protests throughout the West Bank. Two Palestinians were injured by Israeli security forces gunfire in Beit Dajan east of Nablus. The forces responded to a protest against Israeli settlements, the PA-run WAFA News Agency reported. The Israeli military also dispersed a protest against settlement construction in Dayr Jarir northeast of the Palestinian capital, Ramallah.”

Image: A Palestinian protester shouts slogans and waves a national flag during a demonstration against the expansion of settlements near the village of Beit Dajan, east of Nablus, in the occupied West Bank, on February 12, 2021. (Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP via Getty Images)

Saudi activist released

Saudi release of prominent activist comes amid effort to rebrand for Biden era
Washington Post

“Saudi Arabia released Loujain al-Hathloul, one of the country's most prominent women's rights activists, from prison on Wednesday (February 10) in the clearest sign yet that the kingdom's leaders were taking steps to assuage President Biden's complaints about human rights violations. Hathloul, 31, has been among the most visible faces of an unrelenting Saudi crackdown on human rights advocates, dissidents and civil society activists. Her imprisonment, which lasted 1,001 days, and her allegations that she had been tortured, sparked an international outcry. Her release from prison comes at a time when Saudi Arabia faces increased skepticism, if not hostility, in Washington after the election of a new president and after the Democrats won control of the Senate.

Image: An undated picture on the Facebook page of Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul. (AFP/Getty Images)

What's Happening at CMEP

Webinar: Justice & Shalom Panel:

CMEP's Executive Director spoke on a panel at Seattle Pacific University on Feb 2 for their diversity lecture series on Justice and Shalom.


CMEP Journeys: Learn & Cook With Us!

Join CMEP as we talk to authors and learn about their work and books in our book conversations - including a children’s book! Or if learning to prepare a new dish excites you, join us as we learn to make Shakshuka with an Israeli and a Palestinian. Space is limited so be sure to register today! 

CMEP in the News:

Our Ambassador Warren Clark Fellow, Kevin Vollrath, writes about the ongoing home demolitions occurring in the West Bank and East Jerusalem despite the pandemic for Do Justice.


Volunteering with CMEP is a great way to support us. Contact for more information.

iraq rocket attack

1 Killed, 8 Wounded in Rocket Attack on U.S. Base in Iraq

“Rockets struck outside an airport near where U.S. forces are based in northern Iraq late Monday (February 15), killing one U.S.-led coalition contractor and wounding at least eight other people, Iraqi security and coalition officials said, sparking fears of new hostilities. At least three rockets hit areas between the civilian Irbil international airport in the semi-autonomous Kurdish-run region and the nearby base hosting U.S. troops at 9:30 p.m. No one immediately claimed responsibility.”

Image: Security forces take measures after two rockets landed inside the Erbil International Airport, which has a military base for US-led international coalition forces, the Counter-Terrorism Service in Erbil, Iraq on Feb. 15, 2021. (Yunus Keles–Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

us and russia to work for middle east peace

Russia and US interested in cooperation on Middle East peace process
Middle East Monitor

“Russia and the United States are interested in constructive cooperation to promote the peace process in the Middle East, the Foreign Ministry in Moscow said on Monday (February 15). This came after talks between the Ministry's Envoy for the Middle East, Vladimir Safronkov, and US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr. ‘The sides discussed prospects for cooperation between Moscow and Washington on the track of the Palestinian-Israeli settlement, including within the format of the Middle East Quartet of international mediators,’ reported TASS.”

Image: Russian Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vladimir Safronkov (C) speaks during the UN Security Council on 18 December 2017. (Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency)

EU and US to discuss iran nuclear deal

European powers, US to discuss bid to salvage Iran nuclear deal
Times of Israel

“Top diplomats from European powers and the United States will hold talks on Thursday to see how to revive the 2015 deal on Iran’s nuclear drive, days ahead of a deadline set by Tehran that could hinder the efforts by limiting inspections. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will host his German and British counterparts in Paris, with America’s new top diplomat Antony Blinken joining via videoconference, the French foreign ministry said Wednesday (February 17).”

Image: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, right, speaks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and French President Emmanuel Macron during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels, October 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys, Pool)


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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