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CMEP Weekly Bulletin: As Attacks on Christians Become More Frequent, a Crisis Looms for Israel

A look at US-Israel tensions, Lebanon’s economy, 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: Catholic schoolchildren walk down the Via Dolorosa, March 24, 2023. (Filippo De Grazia)

As attacks on Christians become more frequent, a crisis looms for Israel

Times of Israel

“The picture of safe coexistence painted by Israeli officials is starkly at odds with the experiences Jerusalem’s Christian leaders themselves describe. While they readily acknowledge that there is no organized or governmental effort against them, Christian clergy in the Old City tell of a deteriorating atmosphere of harassment, apathy from authorities, and a growing fear that incidents of spitting and vandalism could turn into something far darker.”

Image: Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

The Holy Land Unplugged: American Christian investment and responsible pilgrimage

Written by CMEP Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon for Do Justice.

“As I write this, I am en route to the Holy Land … A place that I hold deep in my heart and that is sacred to many believers around the world. The land is holy and has such rich history and theological significance. But the ‘holy land’ can not be understood apart from the contemporary geopolitics between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.” 

Image: Israelis protest against the government's planned judicial overhaul in Haifa, March 27, 2023. (Shir Torem/Flash90)

US lauds pause on judicial overhaul, blasts bills Netanyahu has been seeking to pass

Times of Israel

“The Biden administration welcomed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement on Monday (March 27) that his government would be temporarily halting its legislative effort to overhaul the judiciary and urged Israeli political leaders to pass a compromise that will safeguard Israel’s democratic foundations.”

What's Happening at CMEP

Join the largest Israeli-Palestinian peace event in history. On April 24, 2023, we will gather to call for peace, freedom, and human rights for all. The Joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony is hosted by Combatants for Peace and The Parents Circle–Families Forum, providing a unique opportunity for Israelis and Palestinians to grieve and heal together. We are proud that Churches for Middle East Peace is an official sponsor this year. By unifying our pain and longing for peace, we demonstrate to the world our power to co-create a safe and free future.

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!

Raising your Voice for Peace in Israel/Palestine: Best Practices for Advocacy On March 22, 2023, CMEP hosted a webinar in conversation with Hassan El-Tayyab, Legislative Director for Middle East Policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, who provided an overview of the best tools for engaging in virtual and in-person Congressional advocacy related to Israel/Palestine. He also highlighted relevant legislative advocacy priorities and new pathways forward in advocacy on Israel/Palestine and the broader Middle East. 


Public Statements

March 29, 2023: Churches for Middle East Peace Joins U.S. Christian Faith Leaders to Show Support for Christian Community in Jerusalem After Attack at Church of Gethsemane in East Jerusalem. CMEP Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon joined 28 other Christian faith leaders in a statement in support of the Christian community in the Holy Land.


Support CMEP:

During this Lenten season, please honor CMEP's work for peace and justice with a donation.


Press Release

March 30, 2023: Following a recent trip by our executive director to Israel/Palestine, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is more concerned than ever about the rapid erosion of democratic values in Israel and increased violence in the occupied Palestinian territories.


Image: Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep. Jamaal Bowman at the US Capitol. (Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA and Francis Chung/POLITICO via AP Images)

Jamaal Bowman and Bernie Sanders urge the Biden State Department to investigate Israeli use of US weapons
Jewish Currents

“Rep. Jamaal Bowman and Senator Bernie Sanders are leading an effort to urge President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to investigate whether Israel is using US weapons to commit human rights abuses against Palestinians, in violation of United States law…’”

Image: Israelis were banned from entering Homesh and the other evacuated settlements without permission. (SOPA Images)

Ban lifted on Israelis' return to evacuated West Bank settlements


“Israel's parliament has voted to allow Israeli citizens back into the sites of four settlements in the occupied West Bank which were evacuated at the time of the disengagement from Gaza in 2005. There has been international criticism of the bill, as the settlements were built on what the High Court of Justice ruled was private Palestinian land.”

Image: Deiri Fayyad, 26, says collecting plastics from bins is the only way he can feed and house his family. (Lee Durant/BBC)

Lebanon crisis: The Syrian refugees recycling to stay alive


“The 26-year-old from Raqqa is among about one million Syrians to have sought refuge in neighbouring Lebanon, 12 years on from the start of his country's brutal civil war. Lebanon, meanwhile, has been crippled by economic and political crises for nearly four years. Hundreds of thousands of Lebanese are now living in poverty, with many struggling to afford food and medicine.”


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)
110 Maryland Ave NE, Suite 505 | Washington, District of Columbia  20002
(202) 543-1222 | info@cmep.org

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

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