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CMEP Weekly Bulletin: Biden Visit Proves a Far Cry From Israel’s Fanciful Expectations

A look at unmet expectations, continuing calls for peace, 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: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, welcomes US President Joe Biden upon his arrival at Al-Salam palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, July 15, 2022. (Bandar Aljaloud/Saudi Royal Palace via AP)

Biden visit proves a far cry from Israel’s fanciful expectations

Times of Israel

“Joe Biden’s trip to the region is an ‘unprecedented opportunity to change dynamics in the Middle East,’ a senior Israeli official told reporters last Tuesday (July 12), a day before the US president landed at Ben Gurion Airport. The superlatives from Israeli leaders continued after Biden had touched down. Prime Minister Yair Lapid called the visit ‘historic,’ and President Isaac Herzog took it a rhetorical step further, likening Biden to the biblical Joseph ‘on a journey of peace from Israel to Saudi Arabia, from the Holy Land to the Hejaz.’ But the results of the trip were pedestrian, to say the least. And in some ways, the week should be a sobering wake-up call for Israel.”


Image: European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell speaks with the media as he arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, June 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

Top EU diplomat delaying key Israel meeting over Abu Akleh killing – official

Times of Israel

“European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell held up a key forum between Israel and the EU because of the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in May, a senior European official told The Times of Israel on Monday (July 22). The Association Council is a meeting that is meant to occur annually between Israel and the EU to cover matters of mutual concern. The last time the two sides met was in 2012, and, as foreign minister, Yair Lapid made it a goal to reconvene the forum.”


Image: Progressive US Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley piloted the letter calling for a congressional briefing on the blacklisting of Palestinian rights groups. (J Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

US lawmakers denounce blacklisting of Palestinian NGOs by Israel
Al Jazeera

“A group of United States legislators has urged the Biden administration to publicly reject Israel’s labelling of six Palestinian human rights organisations as ‘terrorist’ groups, in the latest international push against the Israeli decision. In a letter addressed to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines on Monday (July 18), 21 members of Congress – all Democrats – decried the absence of available evidence backing the Israeli allegations against the Palestinian organisations.”

What's Happening at CMEP

CMEP is hiring: We are seeking a part-time Finance Manager who will implement and contribute to CMEP's annual finance strategy - including payroll, bookkeeping, accounts payable and receivable, audit support, and other financial tasks. Preference for someone who can work from DC, but remote is possible, 10 hours a week with seasonal increases, and includes PTO benefits.

Action Alert: Contact Your Senators Now: Ask Them to Cosponsor the Yemen War Powers Resolution
The seven-year Saudi-led war and blockade in Yemen have resulted in what the United Nations has described as one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world. Congress must hold the Biden Administration and Saudi Arabia accountable and bring an immediate end to U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Accountability Matters: Advocate for Palestinian Children & Families: A virtual Advocacy Summit this August.
Join CMEP for a series of virtual events this August including a webinar, advocacy training, and virtual meetings with your elected officials. Accountability Matters will focus on the importance of Human Rights, specifically via the support of HR 2590: Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act introduced by Congresswoman Betty McCollum.

Public Statement: Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) Says Biden's Visit to Israel and Palestine a “Missed Opportunity”
CMEP laments that the visit of President Joe Biden to Israel and Palestine did little to advance the cause of peace. While affirming the U.S.-Israel relationship and the billions of dollars of U.S. assistance that go with it, the President said almost nothing about the abuses committed by Israel with that assistance against Palestinians.


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: Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III leads the "Washing of the Feet" ceremony on Easter Holy Week in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, April 21, 2022. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

Greek Orthodox Jerusalem Patriarch warns Biden of 'extremist Jewish' threat
Jerusalem Post

“Extremist Israeli forces are raising tensions in Jerusalem’s Old City, straining daily life and harming worshipers, warned Theophilos III of Jerusalem, the current patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, when he met with US President Joe Biden, Channel 12’s Yaron Avraham reported. In a letter to Biden, the patriarch wrote, ‘The main way to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is under serious threat from extremist Jewish forces who have targeted the Christian Quarter with the goal of altering the historic, demographic and geographic nature and validity of the site and terminate the Christian presence in the city.’ According to the report, the letter continues, ‘It is saddening that these groups are supported, in part, by right-wing figures in Israel’s political sphere. They are, together, trying to disrupt the longtime status quo in the city.’”


Image: People queue as a woman carries several loafs of bread at a bakery in Beirut, Lebanon, June 29, 2022. (Reuters/ Mohamed Azakir)

In Lebanon, government employees can’t afford the ride to work
Jerusalem Post

“The decline of the Lebanese economy has reached the point where public sector employees have declared an open-ended strike since the cost of commuting to work would be more than their salaries. ​​The Lebanese lira has lost more than 90% of its value, and the monthly minimum wage has dropped from the equivalent of $450 to $24 since 2019 as prices have soared as a consequence of several global and local events. ‘It would cost government employees more to come to work than to simply stay at home,’ Mario Keyrouz, a Lebanese financial analyst, told The Media Line.”


Image: U.N. Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg speaks to reporters upon his arrival at the Sanaa International Airport, in Sanaa, Yemen June 8, 2022. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah/File Photo)

U.N. presses Yemen warring parties for six-month truce extension

“The United Nations is pushing Yemen's warring parties to agree a six-month truce extension, two sources familiar with the talks said, which would be the longest in the seven-year-old conflict as international pressure grows on both sides to end the war. Peace efforts gained a boost after U.S. President Joe Biden visited Saudi Arabia last week, where he announced agreement with the Saudi leadership to ‘deepen and extend’ the ceasefire expiring on August 2. The war has pitted a coalition led by Riyadh against Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthis since 2015.”

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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