Churches for Middle East Peace
virus solidarity

As Coronavirus Crisis Looms, Israelis Launch Gaza Solidarity Campaign
A look at the continuing impact of the spreading virus, changes in Easter services globally, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

Image: Palestinian health workers spray disinfectant as a precaution against the new coronavirus, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on March 22, 2020. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

solidarity during virus

As coronavirus crisis looms, Israelis launch Gaza solidarity campaign
972 Mag

“The new coronavirus has reached Gaza, and it is terrifying to imagine the potential outcome of a mass spread of COVID-19 in the besieged Strip. This is true not only because of how deadly the virus can be in the absence of a vaccine, but also because of the specific conditions in Gaza. The enclave has an extremely high population density and a dilapidated infrastructure, the result of lethal and disproportionate military attacks that Israel carries out every few months — most recently only a few days ago. If countries with potent economies, advanced health systems, and strong social security networks struggle to cope with the pandemic, what will the effects be on Gaza? The mass infection and death toll we have witnessed in China, and that we are now seeing in Italy, Spain, and the United States, are but a taste of what may happen if the virus wreaks havoc across the world’s largest prison.” 

Image: Palestinian health workers spray disinfectant as a precaution against the new coronavirus, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on March 22, 2020. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

corona impact

Infected: The impact of the coronavirus on the Middle East and north Africa  
European Council on Foreign Relations

“The coronavirus has hit the Middle East and north Africa at a time when the region is already burdened with multiple problems, including a series of long-running conflicts, sectarian tension, economic crises, and widespread political unrest. In this survey, experts at the European Council on Foreign Relations analyse the Covid-19 pandemic’s current impact on, and likely implications for, the region.”

Image: workers disinfect Tehran subway wagons against coronavirus. (Zoheir Seidanloo)

gaza tailors PPE

Coronavirus revives Gaza's sewing sector as tailors turn out PPE

“Gaza clothing manufacturers have ventured into the production of personal protective equipment (PPE) amid the coronavirus outbreak in the region — and they're making the products for Israel. Tailors in Gaza are working with Israeli companies and factories started to export protective masks, coveralls, shoes, gloves and other clothing to Israel in early March. The garment sector used to be one of the most prosperous in the Gaza Strip, but business significantly deteriorated after Israel imposed a blockade in 2007 and prevented clothing exports from Gaza. Nearly 90% of the 928 facilities, which had employed about 35,000 workers, had to close, said Abdel Naser Awwad, director general of the Department of Industry at the Ministry of National Economy in Gaza.” 

Image: A Palestinian worker manufactures protective coveralls and masks amid the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, Gaza City, Gaza, March 31, 2020. (Sameh Rahmi/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

What's Happening at CMEP
activism podcast

#Activism Podcast: COVID19 & the Middle East:

Our social justice advocacy needs to move beyond the limits of likes, sharing, and click-rates. On Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon's new podcast, #Activism, learn what it means to be a Christian responding to the needs of the world. This week's episode focuses on the impact of COVID-19 on the Middle East.


Eastertide Meditations: A Zoom Series:

Join CMEP for a one or the full series of conversations with Christian leaders from across the Middle East. Learn how Christians in the Middle East are doing during this time and how you can help. Tuesdays, April 14-May 19, 11:30am EST, via Zoom.

peace plan webinar

New Webinar: Faith and Activism. Freedom or Oppression:

Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon and speakers from Combatants for Peace converse about constructive conflict, peace, advocacy, and the reality of life in Israel and Palestine.



CMEP wishes all a blessed Easter!

Thanks for your support! Churches for Middle East Peace is following guidelines related to the Covid19 Pandemic to allow our employees to work from home and to observe social distancing measures. As a result, we are temporarily updating our mailing address to receive donations. We appreciate your ongoing support. If you are planning to donate to CMEP via check, we encourage you to take advantage of online credit-card or E-check options at since our staff will be working from home for the foreseeable future, making it hard to process checks.

Please write your checks out to Churches for Middle East Peace and mail your checks to: 

Churches for Middle East Peace
PO Box 328
Cedarville, AR 72932

Vatican urges for easter opening

Claiming discrimination, Vatican urges Holy Sepulchre open for Easter broadcast
Times of Israel

“The Vatican’s official representative in the Holy Land on Tuesday appealed to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit for Easter services at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre be permitted, claiming that shuttering the Jerusalem site due to the coronavirus outbreak is discrimination against Christians when limited prayers are continuing at the Western Wall. A letter penned by Farid Jubran, the General Counsel at Custodia Terrae Sanctae, urged that the upcoming traditional Easter services be allowed, with just enough church representatives and camera crew present to enable a live broadcast of the event to millions of Christians around the world.” 

Image: A woman prays in front of the closed Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in the Old City of Jerusalem, March 25, 2020. (Mahmoud Illean/AP)

netanyahu and gantz agree holiday

Netanyahu, Gantz agree to press ahead with unity talks after holiday
Times of Israel

“Amid a breakdown in unity government talks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu telephoned Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz on Wednesday (April 8) afternoon, and the two wished each other a ‘Happy Passover!’ ‘The two spoke about the need for a national emergency government for the good of the nation at this time and agreed to continue discussions following the holiday period,’ according to a joint statement from their offices hours after the sides traded blame over the latest blowup in negotiations."

Image: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz at a memorial ceremony marking 24 years since the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, in the Knesset on November 10, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

annexation set for July

Annexation set for July after Likud, Blue and White complete deal

“Israeli annexation of all the West Bank settlements can move forward as early as July, according to a coalition agreement that was completed between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and Benny Gantz's Blue and White on Monday (April 6). The agreement's signing was postponed after Likud tried to walk back its compromises enabling Blue and White to control the Judicial selection committee. But even as Blue and White representatives left the Prime Minister's Office, they admitted that agreements had been reached on all remaining issues when Netanyahu and Gantz met at Netanyahu's Jerusalem residence on Monday and said they expected the signing to take place soon.”

Image: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plants a tree on the outskirts of Elazar in Gush Etzion on January 26, vowing not to uproot settlements in any peace deal. (Marc Israel Sellem)


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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