Churches for Middle East Peace
Abbas ends agreement

Palestinian Leader Abbas Aannounces End to Agreements with Israel and US
A look at updates on changes in government and agreements, ongoing discussions of annexation, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

Image: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz at the Knesset, May 17, 2020, after the new government was sworn in. (Alex Kolomoisky/POOL)

abbas ends agreement

Palestinian leader Abbas announces end to agreements with Israel and US
Middle East Eye

“Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Tuesday (May 19) an end to all agreements and understandings with Israel and the United States, including security agreements, as a result of Israel's intent to annex parts of the West Bank. Abbas said the Palestinian government was ‘absolved, as of today, of all the agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and of all the obligations based on these understandings and agreements, including the security ones’. Speaking after an emergency meeting of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, the 85-year-old leader said Israeli annexation of any parts of the occupied West Bank would ruin chances for a two-state solution.” 

Image: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (AFP)

new govt

After 508-day crisis, Israel’s new government finally sworn in by Knesset
Times of Israel

“Israel’s 35th government was sworn in at the Knesset on Sunday (May 17), bringing an end to a 508-day political deadlock during which lawmakers were unable to cobble together a coalition. The Knesset voted 73-46 in favor of the new government. Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in as prime minister and will head the government for the fifth term of his political career. Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz was sworn in as ‘alternate prime minister and future prime minister’ as well as minister of defense. Netanyahu promised from the podium to hand over the premiership to Gantz on November 17, 2021.”

Image: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz at the Knesset, May 17, 2020, after the new government was sworn in. (Alex Kolomoisky/POOL)

jordan israeli annexation issues

Annexation could be the final blow to the Israel-Jordan relationship
Foreign Policy

“On April 30, Jordan’s foreign ministry announced that Israeli farmers would no longer be allowed to work their fields in an enclave of southern Jordan, putting a discordant end to an arrangement long seen as a symbol of the peace agreement signed between the countries in 1994. According to that agreement, Israel returned to Jordan two small areas of land along their common border held by Israel since 1948. As a gesture of good will, Jordan granted Israel a 25-year lease on the land. On the 250-acre area at the confluence of the Yarmouk and Jordan rivers in the north, Israel developed the Island of Peace park, visited by tens of thousands of tourists each year. Jordan demanded that land in November 2019, agreeing to postpone the return of the other area farther south until now.” 

Image: Israeli soldiers gather at the checkpoint on the Israeli-Jordanian border near Moshav Tzofar in the Arava valley, south of the Dead Sea basin, on April 30. (Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images)

What's Happening at CMEP

Less than 1 Month to Equal in God’s Eyes!

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


Churches Against Annexation Webinar Series:

The first webinar will be on Thursday, June 4 from 11:00-12:00 pm Eastern and will feature Palestinian Christian leaders Rev. Munther Isaac, of Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, and Father Jamal Khader, the Director of the Latin Patriarchate Schools in Palestine.


40 Days to Stop Injustice: Join #ChurchesAgainst

CMEP is excited to announce the launch of our Churches Against Annexation campaign. With all signs pointing towards formal annexation of Area C in the West Bank beginning July 1, speak out against this injustice! We will offer webinars, action alerts, and other ways for you to engage.



We've had a great start to our $20k summer fundraising campaign. Join other CMEP supporters calling for justice now!

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Biden on annexation

Intel: Biden warns against West Bank annexation as Israel lobbies Trump for green light

“Former Vice President Joe Biden told campaign donors (May 19) that any Israeli annexation of the West Bank would ‘choke off any hope for peace,’ according to a transcript of the presumptive Democratic nominee’s remarks seen by Al-Monitor. ‘We also have to make clear I do not support annexation,’ the presumptive Democratic nominee said at a virtual fundraiser with Jewish Democrats. ‘Israel needs to stop the threats of annexation and stop settlement activity because it will choke off any hope of peace. Today neither [Israel’s] present government or the Palestinians want to take steps thanks to President Trump’s unilateralism.’”

Image: Democratic US presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the 11th Democratic candidates' debate of the 2020 US presidential campaign, March 15, 2020. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

Pompeo ICC

Pompeo says US will ‘exact consequences’ if International Criminal Court continues to investigate Israel

“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. will ‘exact consequences’ on the International Criminal Court if it ‘continues down its current course’ of attempting to ‘assert jurisdiction over Israel.’ Israel has for years been accused of committing war crimes in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Last month, ICC lead prosecutor Fatou Bensouda ruled that Palestine is a state and the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction involving its cases. A three-judge panel must now affirm Bensouda’s decision."

Image: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pauses while speaking at a news conference at the State Department, April 29, 2020. (Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

travel bloc reopening

Israel, five countries mull formation of quarantine-free travel bloc
Times of Israel

“As restrictions on international travel are steadily lifted amid a steady drop in the coronavirus infection rate, Israel is considering removing self-isolation requirements for travelers from five countries. The countries are Greece, Cyprus, the Seychelles, Georgia and Montenegro. The initiative was discussed at a meeting Tuesday attended by officials from the Health Ministry, Tourism Ministry and Airports Authority, the Kan public broadcaster reported. The plan, which has not yet received final approval, would have a pilot stage over the summer during which officials would carefully track the effects of an open-border policy from the five nations, all of which have a very low rate of infection for the virus causing the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Image: Tourists wearing face masks for fear of the coronavirus tours at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem on March 5, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)


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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