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CMEP Weekly Bulletin: Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem Decries Attack on Church of Gethsemane

A look at religious holidays, 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: A witness of the attack against the Church of Gethsemane in East Jerusalem. (AFP or licensors)

Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem decries attack on Church of Gethsemane

Vatican News

“On Sunday, 19 March, two radical Israeli men reportedly entered the Church of Gethsemane in East Jerusalem, where the Tomb of the Virgin Mary lies, and physically attacked a bishop and two priests who were taking part in a religious service, while attempting to deface items in the church. The two men were caught and held by the people present.”

Image: Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich (Gil Cohen-Magen, AP, AFP)

Israeli minister says there’s ‘no such thing as a Palestinian people,’ inviting US rebuke


“Israel’s far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich denied the existence of a Palestinian people or nationhood over the weekend (March 18/19), prompting a rebuke from the United States just weeks after calling for a Palestinian town to be 'erased.' Smotrich, a Jewish nationalist, argued that the idea of Palestinian nationhood was invented in the past century in response to the Zionist movement to found modern-day Israel. ‘There is no such thing as a Palestinian people,’ Smotrich said at a speech in Paris.”

Image: Palestinian volunteers clean the ground outside the Dome of Rock Mosque at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound ahead of the Muslims holy month of Ramadan, in Jerusalem's Old City, March 18, 2023. (AP)

Israel, Palestinians Aim to Curb Violence as Holiday Nears 

VOA News

“Israel and the Palestinians pledged Sunday (March 19) at a meeting in Egypt to take steps to lower tensions ahead of a sensitive holiday season — including a partial freeze on Israeli settlement activity and an agreement to work together to ‘curb and counter violence.’ But a Palestinian shooting attack that wounded two Israelis in the occupied West Bank underscored the tough work that lies ahead as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan approaches this week.”


What's Happening at CMEP

Register Now! 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!

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.

Non-Violent Peacebuilding: On March 19th, Westminster Presbyterian Church (Delaware) and Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) had a conversation about non-violent peacebuilding and advocacy related to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. 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 spoke about the role the American church plays in advocating for a just peace in Israel/Palestine.


Support CMEP:

Monthly sustaining donations are vital to our work. Please become a monthly donor by selecting that option in the donate link.


Image: Protesters outside the government headquarters in Beirut on March 22. (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images)

Lebanon Protesters Try to Storm Government Headquarters in Beirut


“Lebanese security forces Wednesday (March 22) fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters, mainly retired soldiers, who tried to break through the fence leading to the government headquarters in downtown Beirut."

Image: (© 2022 AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

Frontline escalation in Yemen war tests months-long calm


“A flare-up of fighting in Yemen's energy-rich Marib province is testing 10 months of relative calm, the longest stretch in an eight-year civil war, under a U.N.-brokered truce deal that lapsed in October but had largely held.”

Image: Palestinians in the West Bank cannot reach Abu Akleh’s home in Jerusalem as it is on the other side of Israel’s separation wall. (Eyad Jadallah/Shutterstock)

The killing of Shireen Abu Akleh: what one morning in the West Bank reveals about the occupation

The Guardian

“The face of Al Jazeera in Palestine, Abu Akleh was a journalist whose death resounded across the Arab world. Hours later, a bullet claimed the life of a schoolboy 60 miles away, Thaer Yazouri. This is the story of their last day.”


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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(202) 543-1222 | info@cmep.org

Please note our offices have changed locations to 110 Maryland Ave NE #505

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