Churches for Middle East Peace
no more elections

Israelis Find Little to Love in Their New Government, Except No More Elections
A look at updates on a coalition government, continuing discussions of annexation, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

Image: Installing an election billboard in Tel Aviv, Israel, in February. While few are pleased with the coalition government, Israelis are in agreement on one thing — no more elections. (Dan Balilty for The New York Times)

no more elections

Israelis find little to love in their new government, except no more elections
New York Times

“At least there won’t be a fourth election. That slender reed was about the only thing that truly united Israelis on both sides of the polarized country’s political chasm on Tuesday as they began to absorb the details of a deal for a joint government struck by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his former challenger, Benny Gantz. Right-wingers felt betrayed by Mr. Netanyahu’s surrender of half the government to Mr. Gantz and his small band of centrists. Netanyahu haters felt betrayed by almost everything else about the pact, which keeps Mr. Netanyahu in office as prime minister. But not having to wait around for another noxious campaign? That, nearly everyone could get behind.” 

Image: Installing an election billboard in Tel Aviv, Israel, in February. While few are pleased with the coalition government, Israelis are in agreement on one thing — no more elections. (Dan Balilty for The New York Times)

relief funds lacking

Trump’s COVID-19 aid for Palestinians, Yemenis falls short of Congress’ directives

“The Donald Trump administration is touting a small amount of COVID-19 assistance for both Palestinians and Yemenis as part of a major increase in coronavirus aid for several Middle Eastern countries. There’s just one problem — the aid for Palestine and Yemen falls short of the funding Congress actually appropriated for fiscal year 2020. The State Department on Thursday announced $5 million in new coronavirus aid for the West Bank and Gaza as well as another $500,000 for Yemen as part of a $508 million emergency package. But that aid comprises only 7% of the Palestinian economic and humanitarian assistance and 1% of the Yemeni stabilization assistance that Congress has appropriated for fiscal year 2020.”

Image: A healthcare worker checks the body temperature of Palestinian workers returning from Israel, amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), outside the Israeli-controlled Meitar checkpoint, near Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank April 7, 2020. Picture taken April 7, 2020. (Reuters/Mussa Qawasma)

ramadan restrictions

Muslims prepare for restrained Ramadan clouded by coronavirus
Times of Israel

“Muslims in Israel and the Palestinian territories were preparing Thursday (April 23) to begin the holy month of Ramadan without visits to mosques or festive communal meals as the Islamic world struggle to balance the demands of religion with public safety in the wake of the spread of the coronavirus. On Wednesday (April 22), Israel’s government approved emergency measures placing nighttime curfews on Muslim-majority towns and in Ramallah, Palestinian Authority officials said mosques would remain shuttered and called on people to avoid getting together for the holiday.” 

Image: Palestinians shop in the Zawiya market ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in Gaza City, April 22, 2020. (AP/Khalil Hamra)

What's Happening at CMEP

Advocacy During COVID-19:

We know COVID-19 will have a disproportionate impact on those already marginalized, including Palestinians living under occupation. Congress and the Administration must act to ensure U.S. policy helps end the occupation.


Eastertide Meditations: A Zoom Series:

Join CMEP for 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 until May 19, 11:30am EST, via Zoom.


Webstream: Joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Ceremony:

CMEP is honored to co-sponsor the ceremony organized by Combatants for Peace and Parents Circle-Families Forum. Listen to some of the speakers for the Memorial on the #Activism podcast with CMEP’s Executive Director. Connect with CMEP staff virtually at the Ceremony (webstreamed at 1:30 pm EST on Monday, April 27) on our Facebook page.



Our work to protect the most vulnerable in the Holy Land continues during this time of crisis. Please support CMEP.

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.

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Settler leader: 'yes' to West Bank sovereignty, 'no' to Trump's peace plan

“The Israeli annexation of West Bank settlements is likely to move ahead in any scenario irrespective of what happens with US Donald Trump’s peace plan, Yesha Council head David Elhayani told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday (April 19). ‘I personally believe that the government of Israel has to take a decision with regard to its security and settlement interests in Judea and Samaria without any connection to the plan,’ Elhayani said.” 

Image: David Elhayani. (Fani Elimelech)


Abbas warns Israel, US against 'annexation'

“Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday warned the Israeli government and the US administration against plans to ‘annex’ any part of the West Bank. The coronavirus outbreak does not mean the Palestinians have forgotten about Israel’s intentions to apply sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea, he said via video conference during the weekly meeting of the PA cabinet in Ramallah."

Image: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a Security Council meeting at the United Nations in New York, U.S., February 11, 2020. (Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)


Pompeo: West Bank annexation ‘an Israeli decision'

“Israel will decide whether and when to annex parts of the West Bank, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a briefing on Wednesday. ‘As for the annexation of the West Bank, the Israelis ultimately make those decisions, so that’s an Israeli decision,’ he said. ‘We will work closely with them to share with them our views on this in a private setting,’ he added. Pompeo said he was glad there is now a ‘fully formed’ government in Israel. A new government has yet to be sworn in, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz signed a coalition agreement on Monday night.”

Image: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (Wikimedia Commons)


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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