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CMEP Weekly Bulletin: 73 Progressive US Jewish groups Sign Pledge to Shun Smotrich During Visit

A look at settler violence, pilot protest, 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: Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich at the Knesset in Jerusalem, February 15, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

73 progressive US Jewish groups sign pledge to shun Smotrich during visit

Times of Israel

“Seventy-three progressive Jewish organizations in the US sign a pledge not to host Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich in the latest petition ahead of the far-right Religious Zionism chairman’s visit to Washington next week to speak at an Israel Bonds conference…Signatories pledge ‘to shut the door to Smotrich in light of his virulently racist and homophobic stances and are encouraging the entire Jewish community to follow suit,’ according to a statement from organizers.”

Image: Settlers pray as cars and homes burn in the West Bank town of Huwara on February 26, 2023. (Screenshot/Twitter; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

‘We need burning villages’: Coalition lawmaker backs unprecedented settler rampage

Times of Israel

“On the morning after a deadly and unprecedented rampage by settlers who torched dozens of Palestinian vehicles as well as several homes in retaliation for a deadly Palestinian terror attack, a member of the coalition gave the rioters his complete backing, saying: ‘A closed, burnt Huwara — that’s what I want to see.’ There was a tense quiet in the Palestinian town of Huwara on Monday morning, with images posted to social media showing dozens of burnt vehicles and sooty buildings after what appeared to be the worst outburst of settler violence in decades.”

Image: Jenin is a frequent target for arrest raids by the Israeli military. (Getty Images)

Six Palestinians killed in Israeli army raid in Jenin


“Six Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli army raid in Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry has said. Israel's prime minister said one of the dead had been responsible for killing two Israeli brothers last month. Their killings, in Hawara further south, led Jewish settlers to rampage through the town in one of the worst such acts in years. The assault on Hawara drew condemnation from around the world. The raid on Tuesday afternoon (March 7) took place in a refugee camp which is a frequent target for Israeli operations against Palestinian militants.”


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.


Join Churches for Middle East Peace on March 22 for a conversation with Hassan El-Tayyab, Legislative Director for Middle East Policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation. This webinar will provide an overview of the best tools for engaging in virtual and in-person Congressional advocacy related to Israel/Palestine. It will also highlight relevant legislative advocacy priorities on Israel/Palestine and the broader Middle East.

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. Additionally, if you would like to follow along, CMEP is posting the series to the Prayers4Peace blog. 



Support CMEP:

Did you know CMEP prioritizes elevating the voices of women peacemakers? Please help us do so in celebration of International Women's Day with a generous donation.


Image: Israeli security forces examine a vehicle riddled with bullet holes, after an Israeli-American citizen was shot near Jericho in the occupied West Bank on February 27. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

US citizen killed in West Bank as Israeli-Palestinian tensions rise

“An Israeli-American citizen was killed in the occupied West Bank as tensions in the region continued to ratchet up after a weekend of violence. Elan Ganeles, 27, was shot dead on Monday evening in what Israel’s Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency service described as a ‘terror attack’ on a highway between Jericho and the Dead Sea…Ganeles was visiting Israel for a friend’s wedding and lived in the United States, friends of his told CNN on Tuesday. His synagogue in Connecticut said he would be buried in Israel on Wednesday (March 1).”

Image: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem March 5, 2023. Gil Cohen-Magen/Pool (Reuters)

Israeli mass protests against reforms block roads and airport

“Protesters in Israel have blocked roads and attempted to stop the prime minister flying out the country amid nationwide demonstrations against controversial judicial reforms… On Monday (March 6), in an unprecedented move, dozens of reserve fighter pilots in an elite Israeli Air Force squadron said they would not report for training. They later reversed course and agreed to attend and hold talks with their commanders.”

Image: A view of Aleppo International Airport in the aftermath of February's earthquakes. (Firas Makdesi/Reuters)

US fearful of pause in Syria aid delivery after airport attack


“The United States has said it would be concerned if there is a prolonged disruption to humanitarian aid deliveries in Syria after Aleppo International Airport was knocked out of service by an alleged Israeli air attack. The airport was being used to deliver aid to victims of last month’s earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey and Syria.”


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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