Churches for Middle East Peace
pandemic demolitions

Despite Pandemic, East Jerusalem on Track for Record Number of Home Demolitions
A look at continued international discussions on peace, continuing pandemic response, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

Image: A member of the Abu Sbeih family of East Jerusalem honors a Ramadan tradition by holding up a lantern in their living room, prior to the family home's demolition. (Iyad Abu Sbeih)

pandemic demolitions

Despite pandemic, East Jerusalem on track for record number of home demolitions
Times of Israel

“It was in early August, as a new wave of coronavirus infections swept Jerusalem, that Silwan resident Wael Tahan finally got the letter he had always feared: his family’s home of nearly 30 years was set to be demolished by Israeli authorities, who said that it had been built illegally. ‘We tried everything we could to make it legal. We did everything the municipality said, brought an engineer, worked with lawyers, we went to the courts,’ Tahan told The Times of Israel. On August 8, the bulldozers arrived and carried out their orders, rendering 25 members of Tahan’s extended family suddenly homeless. ‘We all lived together in this beautiful home of ours,’ Tahan said. ‘Now everything’s shattered, and everyone’s separated.’ Israeli authorities have significantly accelerated the number of home demolitions in East Jerusalem this year, despite the coronavirus pandemic and the accompanying economic crisis.” 

Image: A member of the Abu Sbeih family of East Jerusalem honors a Ramadan tradition by holding up a lantern in their living room, prior to the family home's demolition. (Iyad Abu Sbeih)

Gaza coronavirus lockdown

Gaza in lockdown to try to contain its first COVID-19 outbreak

“A lockdown took hold in Gaza on Tuesday (August 25) after confirmation of the first cases of COVID-19 in the general population of the Palestinian enclave, whose restricted borders have spared it from wide infection. Health authorities in the Hamas Islamist-run territory of two million people are concerned over the potentially disastrous combination of poverty, densely populated refugee camps and limited hospital facilities in dealing with an outbreak. A government spokesman said four cases of the coronavirus were confirmed in a single family in a refugee camp, the first in Gaza that did not involve people quarantined in border facilities after crossing into the coastal enclave from Egypt and Israel. Citing security concerns, both Egypt and Israel maintain tight restrictions at the Gaza frontier, leaving Gazans with little access to the outside world for years and hospitals often complaining of shortages in medical supplies.”

Image: Palestinians ride a horse-drawn cart at an almost empty street during a lockdown after Gaza reported its first cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the general population, in Gaza City August 25, 2020. (Reuters/Mohammed Salem)

Abbas and UK FM

Abbas slams ‘illusion of peace for peace’ in meeting with UK Foreign Minister
Times of Israel

“Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas criticized what he called ‘the illusion of peace for peace’ during a meeting with United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, according to the PA official WAFA news agency. ‘Peace will not be achieved by bypassing the Palestinians to normalize relations with Arab states. It will not be achieved in the form of the illusion of peace for peace. Rather, it will be done on the basis of international law and the Arab Peace Initiative, which say that a peace agreement is to be concluded with the Palestinians first,’ Abbas said. Abbas was alluding to statements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the recent agreement to normalize relations with the United Arab Emirates signaled a victory for his ‘peace for peace’ approach. Previous treaties with Arab states, Netanyahu has said, were based on exchanging ‘land for peace.’” 

Image: British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (right) meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, the West Bank, August 25, 2020. (WAFA)

What's Happening at CMEP

Action Alert: HR 8050: Israeli Annexation Non-Recognition Act:

On Friday, August 14, Rep. Betty McCollum (MN) introduced HR 8050, the Israeli Annexation Non-Recognition Act to prohibit the US’s recognition of Israel’s claim of sovereignty over the occupied West Bank. Show your support! Contact your representative today!


Intern with CMEP:

We invite college students of all ages to apply to our internship program. CMEP’s interns are able to work with multiple staff members and gain exposure to working in a non-profit in Washington, D.C.

churches against annexation

Join #ChurchesAgainst

CMEP is continuing to push the US government towards justice through our Churches Against Annexation campaign. With all signs pointing towards formal annexation of Area C in the West Bank beginning this month, speak out against injustice today! 



Supporting the Ambassador Warren Clark Fellowship (AWCF) is one of the many ways you can support CMEP's vision for justice and peace prevailing. Please consider making a donation today! 

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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trump pompeo

Pompeo triggers outrage with Republican convention address from Israel
Middle East Eye

“US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will address the Republican National Convention on Tuesday (August 25) in a pre-recorded message from Jerusalem in a move that has raised the ire of Democrats and sparked accusations of politicising American diplomacy. The State Department has said that no government resources will be used in Pompeo's speech… stressing that the secretary will be speaking in his personal capacity. But critics noted that Pompeo is in Israel on an official trip, during which he will use the symbolic skyline of the city of Jerusalem as a backdrop for a partisan speech. Former Obama administration official Wendy Sherman, who is a Democratic delegate, called Pompeo's decision ‘unprecedented’. ‘At a time when peace and security in the Middle East is so tough, Jerusalem should not be a prop for the RNC, and [Pompeo] should not be tarnishing the office of SecState. Unprecedented and wrong,’ she wrote on Twitter. J Street, a liberal Jewish-American group, called Pompeo's move ‘shameless’, saying that the top American diplomat is using Israel as ‘a political prop and a partisan football’.”

Image: The State Department has stressed that Pompeo is speaking in his personal capacity (Reuters/File photo)

knesset not dissolved

At 11th hour, Israeli Parliament staves off election with 120-day extension of budget deadline

“Two hours before a deadline on Israel's state budget that could have seen the Knesset dissolve, the Israeli parliament approved legislation that would extend it by 120 days, avoiding a fourth election cycle in less than two years. Ahead of the vote, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz said their parties would back it. Sixty-seven Knesset members voted in favor of the bill, and 37 opposed. If the bill, proposed by lawmaker Zvi Hauser, had not passed by midnight, the Knesset would have automatically dissolved."

Image: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz in the Knesset, August 24, 2020. (Yehonatan Samiya / Knesset Spokesperson)

US Arab summit

US organizing regional peace summit with multiple Arab countries — report
Times of Israel

“The United States is planning a regional peace summit with several Arab states that will likely be held in the next few weeks in one of the Gulf sheikdoms, an Israeli newspaper reported Tuesday (August 25). That reportedly is the purpose of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s current tour of the Middle East, which includes stops in several Arab countries rumored to be in line to follow the United Arab Emirates in normalizing ties with Israel. The summit was reported by the Israel Hayom daily, generally regarded as a mouthpiece for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The report cited an unnamed senior UAE diplomat who is involved in Pompeo’s talks with the various Arab states. The report said the Americans have already received a promise in principle from Bahrain, Oman, Morocco, Sudan, and Chad to send senior representatives to the summit.”

Image: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet in Jerusalem on August 24, 2020. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)


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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