I write this with the hopes that you and your families are together, safe, and healthy. Certainly, all of our lives have been impacted by social distancing, staying at home, limiting travel, and doing our best to slow the spread of the coronavirus. We will continue to keep those physically afflicted with the virus - especially those with compromised health and the elderly - in thought and prayer in the weeks and months ahead.
The effects of COVID-19 on the overall economy in the United States and around the world are just starting to be noticed and will only become more severe in the months ahead. We know those who are underresourced and the most vulnerable in society will be disproportionately impacted. With limited access to healthcare, minimal economic and social support systems, many in our communities are experiencing increased hardship and even economic disaster.
The church rises to the occasion in the midst of acute crises and has already begun to do so in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This is a good thing! While individual Christians and church communities respond to the immediate humanitarian needs during this pandemic, may we also be reminded that the needs in Palestine/Israel and throughout the Middle East continue to exist. In fact, for Palestinians living under occupation in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, forced quarantines and curfews have become a part of the daily reality that already included injustices like restricted mobility and checkpoints, home demolitions, and the regular presence of an occupying military.
And this does not begin to take into account the devastating hardships in Gaza, where potable water is already extremely limited, and basic medical care is hard to come by. For the nearly two million Gazans, not only do they not have adequate resources within Gaza, but because of the blockade, limited humanitarian access is granted, and individuals are not able to leave to seek healthcare elsewhere. In places like Gaza and other war-torn parts of the Middle East like Yemen and Syria, poverty and hardship will only be compounded by the virus.
These are the conditions in the Middle East at the heart of CMEP's work. Our advocacy focus on humanitarian and economic assistance is all the more critical when parts of the Middle East will be ravaged by COVID-19. We will continue to raise our voice and mobilize U.S. Christians in working toward human rights, justice, and peace for all people in the Middle East. In the weeks ahead, CMEP will be hosting conversations with Christians and peacebuilders in the Middle East, where we will have the opportunity to hear first hand about these realities and where we will learn how we can respond together to make a difference. We hope you will join us and continue to support our work. Now more than ever, we couldn't do this critical advocacy without you.
Please keep reading for upcoming digital opportunities to engage with CMEP.
Blessings in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon
P.S. Follow us on social media (@ChurchesforMEP) in order to learn about a special opportunity to give on Tuesday, March 31.
Faith and Activism. Freedom or Oppression. A Digital Pilgrimage to Peace (P2P) Event.
April 7, 2020 | 1:30 PM EST (US and Canada) | Register
Join Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, executive director of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) and speakers from Combatants for Peace as they host a dialogue about constructive conflict, peace, advocacy, and the reality of life in Israel and Palestine.
This conversation will take place during Holy Week and the night before Passover. We will include a discussion of how our religious contexts play a role in this work. We are also gathering during the continued uncertainties regarding COVID-19. The conversation will include ways in which this global pandemic is disproportionately impacting Palestinians already living under occupation.
Listen Now: Women Behind the Wall: The Intersection of COVID-19 and the Occupation
CMEP co-sponsored the latest episode of the Women Behind the Wall podcast titled: A Special Episode: The Intersection of COVID-19 and the Occupation.The producers share that the episode highlights, "the impact of the novel coronavirus in our context, and more specifically, on Palestinian women and men living under occupation." Take a listen to hear from everyday people affected by the virus.
You won't hear these stories anywhere else. Please listen at the podcast website or on iTunes, and share with your friends! #WomenBehindTheWall #coronavirus #COVID19
*CMEP does not necessarily agree with all the views expressed here, and those interviewed do not speak on CMEP’s behalf.
We have restructured our June summit into a digital conference. You can safely make plans to join us from the comfort of your own home.
Injustice and strife have created victims on all sides of the conflict in Israel and Palestine. From local communities to the Middle East as a whole, no group goes untouched. The conflict denies dignity and fundamental human rights for every individual living through the situation.
Join us online June 22, 2020 for our annual advocacy summit where we will work to remove the obstacles that prevent us from seeing both Israelis and Palestinians as human beings and deserving of human rights and help us move toward seeing everyone as equal in God’s eyes and the actions that follow out of that belief. CMEP embraces an impassioned call for justice and peace for all people of the Middle East.