Churches for Middle East Peace
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The Trump Administration Must Release All Approved Funds to Help Palestinians Fight the Coronavirus
A look at updates on continued response to the coronavirus, ongoing discussions of impending annexation, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

Image: A Palestinian man walks past a coronavirus-themed mural in Gaza City on April 28. (Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)

trump must release aid

The Trump administration must release all approved funds to help Palestinians fight the coronavirus
Washington Post

“As members of Congress who come from different backgrounds — a Jewish American from Queens and a Palestinian American from Detroit — and who hold different views on how to achieve peace and justice in the Middle East, we share a fundamental belief that the humanity, dignity, safety and rights of all people should be protected. Again and again, though, we see division and nationalism undermining the global response to the coronavirus pandemic. From withholding critical funding from the World Health Organization to failing to coordinate policies with our closest allies, the Trump administration has pursued counterproductive policies which make the world less safe. The Palestinian people are particularly vulnerable at this moment. In 2018, the Trump administration eliminated funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the international organization charged with addressing the humanitarian needs of Palestinian refugees. While covid-19 does not recognize borders, we must recognize that without aid and assistance, the Palestinian people will be greatly affected by this health crisis.” 

Image: A Palestinian man walks past a coronavirus-themed mural in Gaza City on April 28. (Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)

palestine restrictions easing

Palestinian workers allowed back into Israel as virus restrictions eased
Times of Israel

“In another sign that the coronavirus crisis is receding, the Defense Ministry reopened Israel’s economy to Palestinian workers on Sunday (May 3). Some 14,500 workers entered Israel from the West Bank Sunday morning, out of 39,000 total permits granted by Israeli authorities. The workers are returning to jobs frozen for over a month, after the West Bank and much of Israel’s economy went into lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus. The jobs are mainly in construction, agriculture and industrial plants.”

Image: Palestinian medical employees disinfect Palestinian workers who came back from working in Israel at the entrance to the West Bank village of Hussan, on March 29, 2020. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

western wall reopens

Western Wall reopens to worshipers after coronavirus restrictions relaxed
Times of Israel

“The Western Wall Plaza reopened to worshipers on Tuesday morning (May 5). The reopening comes after the government relaxed some of its coronavirus restrictions, including canceling the restriction on joining outdoor prayer services only within 500 meters from a person’s home. For the last few weeks, only 10 and then 19 worshipers could be at the Western Wall at any time, and only those who live in the Old City. The plaza in front of the Western Wall will be divided into as many prayer areas as possible in accordance with government social distancing regulations, The Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which operates the holy site, said in a statement.” 

Image: Worshipers at the Western Wall pray in enclosed areas meant for 10 people at a time in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus on March 15, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

What's Happening at CMEP

Join Us in June for a 1-day Online Summit!

 We have restructured our annual advocacy summit to be digital. Join us June 22nd for a digital summit. We are excited to have incredible speakers joining us and hope you will, too!


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.
Watch prior sessions here.


Action Alert: Tell Congress: Say No to Annexation:

We have just over two months to act before the likely annexation vote in the Knesset. Absent leadership from the Administration, Congress must send a decisive message that it will not support or stand by while Israel moves forward with annexation.



Mandatory IRA withdrawals are a great way to give to 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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munther oped

Opinion: Donald Trump Is complicit in a catastrophe for Christians

“While the world is busy fighting COVID-19, Israeli political parties have reached a government coalition agreement. Benjamin Netanyahu has succeeded in bringing annexation of occupied Palestinian territory to the table, setting a provisional timeframe: Less than two months from now. He can thank the Trump plan for the confidence to push annexation so hard and so fast.”

This opinion piece was written by a CMEP connection.

Image: Worshippers carry a cross into the Church of the Holy Sepulcher during the Good Friday procession in Jerusalem's Old City March 25, 2016. (Reuters)

us on annexation

West Bank annexations must come in context of Palestinian state, White House tells Israel

“The Trump administration has told Israel it won't support annexations in the West Bank unless Israel agrees to negotiate over a Palestinian state and fully endorses President Trump's Middle East peace plan, U.S. and Israeli officials tell me. Why it matters: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to move ahead with annexations, but the White House is urging him not to do so without accepting its broader package, which calls for a Palestinian state after several criteria are met. What they're saying: A senior U.S. official tells Axios that any Israeli annexations must come ‘in the context of an offer to the Palestinians to achieve statehood based upon specific terms, conditions, territorial dimensions and generous economic support.’"

Image: Netanyahu (L) at the unveiling of Trump's plan. (Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)


Lots of bark, some actual bite? How the world will react to West Bank annexation
Times of Israel

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning to annex all the settlements, the Jordan Valley and other significant parts of the West Bank, with the coalition agreement between his Likud party and Benny Gantz’s Blue and White allowing him to advance the issue in the next government as early as July 1. How would the international community react to this kind of Israeli annexation? There would certainly be plenty of opprobrium, ‘emergency meetings’ by the Security Council and the Arab League, and perhaps a few threats of unspecified ‘consequences.’ But no one knows for sure whether Netanyahu’s annexation — whose actual impact on the ground is hard to predict — would have concrete negative internationally driven repercussions for Israel.”

Image: European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell addresses a video press conference at the conclusion of a video conference of EU foreign affairs ministers in Brussels, April 22, 2020. (Olivier Hoslet, Pool Photo via AP)


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.

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