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CMEP Weekly Bulletin: 'They Were Shooting Directly at the Journalists': New Evidence Suggests Shireen Abu Akleh was Killed in Targeted Attack by Israeli Forces

A look at investigations, court decisions, 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: Palestinian journalist Mujahid al-Saadi, who was with Abu Akleh when she was killed, points to bullet marks on the tree in Jenin where she died. (CNN)

'They were shooting directly at the journalists': New evidence suggests Shireen Abu Akleh was killed in targeted attack by Israeli forces


“Several shots ring out in quick succession, cutting through a clear, blue spring morning in Jenin, in the West Bank. Crack, crack, crack, crack, crack, crack, crack. The cameraman filming the scene scrambles backwards to take cover behind a low concrete wall. Then a man cries out in Arabic: ‘Injured! Shireen, Shireen, oh man, Shireen! Ambulance!’ When the camera operator pans around the corner, Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh can be seen lying motionless, face down on the ground as another Palestinian reporter, Shatha Hanaysha, crouches down beside her, using a tree trunk for cover. Hanaysha reaches out and tries to rouse her as gunshots continue. There's no response. Both women are wearing helmets and blue protective vests marked ‘Press.’”


Image: A general view picture shows the Dome of the Rock, the Western Wall, and al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem's Old City on January 28, 2020. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

Israeli government and court at odds over Jewish prayer at flashpoint shrine

“Israel reaffirmed on Sunday (May 22) a long-standing arrangement with Muslim authorities that prevents Jewish prayer at a contested Jerusalem holy site, pushing back against a lower Israeli court that questioned the legality of police action against violators. Al Aqsa mosque compound, which Jews revere as a vestige of their two ancient temples, is a flashpoint of Israeli-Palestinian tensions. Under the decades-old ‘status quo’, Israel allows Jews to visit only if they refrain from religious rites.”


Image: Israelis wave national flags during a Jerusalem Day march, in Jerusalem, May 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Jerusalem Day ‘Flag March’ will limit attendance at Damascus Gate, Western Wall
Times of Israel

“The organizers of the nationalistic Jerusalem Day ‘Flag March’ said Tuesday (May 23) that attendance will be limited at certain points due to crowding concerns at the Western Wall, where the parade ends. This year’s annual parade will take place on Sunday (May 29). The ‘Flag March’ route is fraught, with opponents seeing its procession through the Old City’s Muslim Quarter as a provocation, and supporters seeing it as an expression of Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem.”

What's Happening at CMEP

Press Release: May 23, 2022: Churches for Middle East Peace’s Executive Director Participates in Religious Leader’s Peace Delegation to Ukraine: CMEP’s Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, joins fifteen global religious leaders in an emergency just peace mission to pray and stand in solidarity in Kyiv, Ukraine.

CMEP Travels: CMEP's Senior Director of Advocacy and Government Relations, Kyle Cristofalo, recently spent time with CEOSS - a CMEP partner - in Mokkatam, Egypt. CEOSS is an organization that reaches out to serve and enrich the lives of the youth in Mokattam. Learn more about the work of CEOSS here: https://ceoss-eg.org/.

PlayForPeace: Please join us in our first ever CMEP virtual fundraising event - we're embracing and continuing our spring theme of "Hope Grows: Seeds planted. Future promise." and asking our supporters to get outdoors and #PlayForPeace. You'll commit to doing something you enjoy outside: hiking, cycling, taking pictures of nature, visiting parks, etc. - and you'll ask your friends, family, and others to donate to CMEP in support of your Play for Peace goal. We'll share photos, thoughts, and prayers for peace on social media as we #PlayForPeace. Learn more, donate, and sign up for your own fundraiser.


Support CMEP

We could not continue to pursue our mission to Educate, Elevate, and Advocate for a just and holistic peace in Israel, Palestine, and the broader Middle East without your support. Consider supporting CMEP today.


Image: Israeli forces raze four water wells in Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron, on February 2, 2022. (CNN)

Palestinians vow to stay on West Bank land despite defeat in decades-old legal battle

“The leader of a Palestinian village council in the West Bank vowed Friday (May 20) to continue fighting eviction from land the Israeli military is claiming as a firing range, despite an Israeli Supreme Court decision against the Palestinians in a case that has been in court for more than two decades. ‘We will all resist and stay in our lands; we have no other place to go to,’ Masafer Yatta council leader Nidal Abu Younis told CNN on Friday. ‘Israel is seeking, through these attempts, to separate the villages in the Hebron Mountains from the northern Negev in the occupied lands, and break families' ties,’ Abu Younis said.”


Image: Former US ambassador to Israel David Friedman and former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo shoot a section of their new film in Jerusalem. (Caylan Crouch, TBN)

Mike Pompeo and David Friedman making Bible film on Route 60
Jerusalem Post

“On a normal day, cars travel down a highway that runs through the land of Abraham and Jesus. Former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and former ambassador to Israel David Friedman want to teach Christians and Jews about the places where Ruth wept and Jacob dreamed in an upcoming Trinity Broadcast Network documentary called Route 60: The biblical highway. ‘As you stand in some of these spots, you think back to the days when there were pilgrimages to Jerusalem, over a period of a thousand years,’ Friedman said as he sat in his Jerusalem apartment.”


Image: Vehicles are pictured at a heavily damaged road, the only travel route between Yemen's cities of Taiz and Aden, on 23 September 2020. (AFP)

Yemenis dream of peace and open roads as truce continues to hold
Middle East Eye

“Before war came to Yemen in late 2014, it would take Ahmed about ten minutes to drive from the centre of Taiz city to the nearby area of al-Hawban. By 2015, the main road out of the city was closed and the drive now took five hours through dangerous mountain passes. ‘I can see my house from Taiz city but I can’t reach it because the road is blocked and if I want to visit my family I travel for five hours through mountains,’ Ahmed, who preferred not to provide his full name, told Middle East Eye.”

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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