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CMEP Weekly Bulletin: Palestinian Flag Emerges as Flashpoint as Tensions Simmer Across Israel

A look at tensions, upcoming visits, 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: A man waves a Palestinian flag as Israelis mark Jerusalem Day outside the capital's Old City on May 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Palestinian flag emerges as flashpoint as tensions simmer across Israel

Times of Israel

“It’s not a bomb or a gun or a rocket. The latest threat identified by Israel is the Palestinian flag. Recent weeks have seen a furor by nationalists over the waving of the red, white, green and black flag by Palestinians across Israel. Yet the fracas over the flag tells a broader story about how much hopes for peace with the Palestinians have diminished and about the stature of the 20 percent of Israelis who identify as Arab or Palestinian.”


Image: The US flag flies outside the then US consulate building in Jerusalem in March 2019, which Joe Biden has promised to reopen. (Ariel Schalit/AP)

US Palestinian mission renamed and now reports directly to Washington
The Guardian

“The US diplomatic mission to the Palestinians in Jerusalem has been redesignated and will report directly to Washington ‘on substantive matters’, indicating an upgrade in ties before a planned visit by the US president, Joe Biden. What had been called the Palestinian Affairs Unit (PAU) was renamed the US Office of Palestinian Affairs (OPA) under the move. Before becoming the PAU, it had been the US consulate in Jerusalem and a focus of Palestinian statehood goals in the city. Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, outraged Palestinians – and delighted many Israelis – by formally closing the consulate and redesignating it as the PAU within the US embassy that was moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in 2018.”


Image: A Palestinian flag flies at the ruins of houses, destroyed by Israeli air strikes during Israeli-Palestinian fighting, in the Gaza Strip in May 2021. (CNN)

UN-mandated rights inquiry rebukes Israel for seeking 'complete control'

“An independent commission of inquiry set up by the UN Human Rights Council after the 2021 Gaza war said Israel must do more than end the occupation of land Palestinians want for a state, according to a report released on Tuesday (June 7). ‘Ending the occupation alone will not be sufficient,’ the report said, urging additional action to ensure the equal enjoyment of human rights. It cited evidence saying Israel has ‘no intention of ending the occupation’ and is pursuing ‘complete control’ over what it calls the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which was taken by Israel in a 1967 war.”

What's Happening at CMEP

Action Alert: On June 1, 2022, a bi-partisan Yemen War Powers Resolution (HJRes 87) was introduced by Reps. DeFazio, Jayapal, Mace, and Schiff, with 41 total cosponsors. Right now, over 21 million people in Yemen are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. Instead of continuing to support the Saudi-led coalition, the Biden Administration must advance policies that will help bring stability and meet the humanitarian needs of the Yemeni people.

If you are not able to take action and are registered to vote in the U.S., it is likely because your House member is already supporting this legislation. You can confirm whether your Representative is already a cosponsor by clicking here.

Upcoming Webinar Series: Join Churches for Middle East Peace, Embrace the Middle East, and author Colin Chapman as he presents material from his book Christian Zionism and the Restoration of Israel: how should we interpret the scriptures? This 4 part mini-course will run weekly from June 21 to July 12.

Upcoming Webinar: Join Churches for Middle East Peace on Thursday, June 23rd for the webinar: "Israel/Palestine and Apartheid: How Should the Church Respond?" We'll hear from guests Dr. Peter Makari, Hadar Suskin, and Dawood Hammoudeh on questions such as: "As church bodies gather this summer with the question of Israel/Palestine and Apartheid on the agenda, what is the role of U.S. Christians in the conversation? How are we to respond as Christians? As citizens of a government that provides $3.8 billion dollars a year to Israel in military aid?"

Public Statement: CMEP Dismayed by Israeli Court Ruling to Expropriate Greek Orthodox Church Property in Jerusalem
The Israeli Supreme Court on June 8 rejected a final appeal from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate to prevent the transfer of three buildings in the Old City of Jerusalem to the right-wing Israeli group Ateret Cohanim. CMEP opposes such unlawful incursions and stands with the Greek Orthodox Church as it defends its rights and the rights of Palestinian Christians.


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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: Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem (C), Atalla Hanna. (Muhesen Amren/Apaimages)

Archbishop Hanna: Palestinians should not expect anything positive from Biden's visit
Middle East Monitor

“Head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem Archbishop Atallah Hanna said yesterday (June 6) that Palestinians should not be optimistic about the upcoming visit of US President Joe Biden to the region as nothing positive will come of it. Archbishop Hanna explained that some are ‘overly optimistic’ about Biden's visit as if he is coming to solve all the ‘non-intractable problems in our region’, adding: ‘I say to those who are concerned, do not be optimistic about Biden's upcoming visit, so as not to get frustrated. Nothing will change in American policy toward our people, because the Zionist lobby rules America, even if presidents change and faces change.’”


Image: MK Idit Silman at the Knesset, on Monday, June 6, 2022. (Ohad Zwigenberg)

In Blow to Israel's Coalition, Vote on Divisive West Bank Bill Fails to Pass

“Israel's coalition failed to pass on Monday (June 6) a bill extending regulations that apply Israeli law to settlers in the West Bank, with 58 lawmakers voting against the legislation and 52 backing it. The bill was meant to extend ‘emergency’ regulations that have been in effect since 1967, and since then ratified every five years. The governing coalition can try to bring up the legislation for another vote until July 1, after which it will expire.”


Image: A baby receives care in the neonatal intensive care unit of the government hospital in Tripoli, Lebanon. (Arezou Rezvani/NPR)

Lebanon's hospitals are running out of medicine and staff in ongoing economic crisis

“Katya El Rahi is relieved her pregnancy is over. ‘I had a herniated disk, and the medication I needed was hard to find,'’ says the 27-year-old homemaker, who just delivered her baby and is recovering in the maternity ward of Tripoli's government hospital. ‘And when I did find it, it was super-expensive.’ Lying alongside her newborn, Suleiman, El Rahi says she and her husband won't be having more kids anytime soon — not until her country's economy stabilizes. Lebanon is in the grips of a devastating economic crisis. For years, the government and banking sector mismanaged and squandered the country's cash reserves until the financial system finally collapsed in 2019. That has triggered severe shortages of everything from food to fuel to medicines and has sent health care costs soaring, making it perilously difficult for people to get treated even for serious illnesses.”

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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