Churches for Middle East Peace
Gantz to fly to Washington

Gantz to Fly to Washington to Meet with U.S. Defense Secretary, Pentagon Officials
A look at continuing discussions on annexation and peace solutions, the effects of aid funding, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

Image: Benny Gantz, alternate prime minister and defense minister, outside the city hall of Bnei Barak on September 6, 2020. (AFP)

Gantz to fly to Washington

Gantz to fly to Washington to meet with U.S. Defense Secretary, Pentagon officials

“Defense Minister Benny Gantz is to meet U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and other Pentagon officials in Washington on Tuesday, the Defense Ministry said Monday (September 21). Gantz is scheduled to fly out on Monday night and return home on Thursday. He will take a commercial flight and be joined by a few senior staffers, including his chief of staff, the military secretary, and the director of the Defense Ministry's bureau of political-military affairs. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been briefed on the trip, which will include meetings to discuss maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region, international policy vis-à-vis Iran and strategy for stopping its expansion and entrenchment in the Middle East, as well as defense cooperation and procurement between the two countries. While Gantz is abroad, lawmaker Michael Biton, who serves as minister for social and civil matters within the Defense Ministry, will act as defense minister.” 

Image: Benny Gantz, alternate prime minister and defense minister, outside the city hall of Bnei Barak on September 6, 2020. (AFP)

Yemeni child

UN slashes healthcare in Yemen due to lack of funding
Al Jazeera

“The United Nations said on Wednesday that critical aid was cut at 300 health centres across war-ravaged Yemen because of a lack of funding, with lifesaving food distribution also reduced. Between April and August, more than one-third of the UN’s important humanitarian programmes in Yemen was reduced or shut down entirely, the UN said, warning of further drastic cuts ‘in coming weeks unless additional funding is received’. Lise Grande, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, said only $1bn of the $3.2bn necessary had been received. ‘It’s an impossible situation,’ Grande said. ‘This is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, yet we don’t have the resources we need to save the people who are suffering and will die if we don’t help.’ Yemen has been in left in ruins by six years of war and tens of thousands of people – mostly civilians – have been killed.”

Image: A mother holds her child in Yemen. (News Agencies)

Saudi royal ties to Israel

Saudi royal family said divided over possible future ties with Israel
Times of Israel

“The Saudi Arabian royal family is reportedly split over possible future ties with Israel following landmark agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday (September 18). According to the report, King Salman bin Abdulaziz has come into conflict with his son, de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, with the latter said to be in favor of the move. The newspaper reported that the monarch remains committed to a boycott of Israel coupled with a strong stance in favor of the Palestinian demand for an independent state, while the crown prince is open to normalization with the Jewish state and the business opportunities it could bring as well as public coordination in the struggle against Iran.” 

Image: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, speaks to his father, King Salman, at a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Riyadh, December 9, 2018. (Saudi Press Agency via AP)

What's Happening at CMEP

Sign our #ChurchesAgainst Annexation Petition:

CMEP is continuing to push the US government towards justice through our Churches Against Annexation campaign. We invite you to join us in opposing annexation by adding your name to the public statement we are issuing as part of our Churches Against Annexation campaign! We currently have nearly 400 signatures. Help us reach our goal of 500 signatures by sharing with others!

in the news

CMEP in the News:

Our executive director participated at the In Defense of Christians (IDC) summit this week! We are grateful for the work of IDC and for our collective efforts on behalf of Christians in the Middle East. Learn more about IDC's work towards peace. 


New P4P Blog Post:

Read the latest on our Prayers for Peace (P4P) blog. P4P provides a way for Christians of diverse political and theological backgrounds to stand up for peace and unite in supplication to God with a special focus on prayers for the Holy Land. 



Our work in educating, elevating, and advocating for peace is only possible with your help! Please consider supporting CMEP through a Donor Advised Fund today!

hamas fatah delegation in istanbul

Hamas, Fatah delegations in Istanbul for another attempt at reconciliation talks
Times of Israel

“Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas are set to meet in in Istanbul, Turkey for direct talks aimed at ending the 15-year-long rift in Palestinian politics, Fatah said Monday (September 21). Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction is to be represented by a delegation led by Fatah Secretary General Jibril Rajoub and Central Committee member Rawhi Fattouh. The delegation arrived in Istanbul on Monday night to begin talks with representatives of the terror group Hamas, Fatah said in a statement on its Twitter page. The statement said talks would focus on ‘ending the division and applying the directives of the conference of Palestinian faction heads,’ referring to a recent joint meeting of senior Palestinian officials who convened in response to the United Arab Emirates’ decision to normalize ties with Israel.”

Image: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas chairs a joint meeting of the Palestinian leadership on August 18, 2020, following Israel's normalization agreement with the United Arab Emirates. (Wafa)

palestinian strategy

6 weeks after UAE’s normalization bombshell, Palestinians still have no strategy
Times of Israel

“It has been nearly a month and a half since the surprise announcement that the United Arab Emirates was establishing open ties with Israel. But analysts say the Palestinian Authority is still at a loss as to how to combat the wave of normalization sweeping the region. ‘There is no strategy right now — at least not in foreign policy,’ Jihad Harb, a Palestinian political analyst based in Nablus, told The Times of Israel. Palestinians have scrambled to respond, switching rhetoric fast enough to give close observers whiplash. Bitter denunciation of the UAE, including public burnings of pictures of UAE Crown Prince Mohammad bin Zayed, was suddenly put on hold after harsh criticism from powerful Gulf sponsors forced Abbas’s office to announce that it respected ‘the sovereign symbols’ of its fellow countries. After the Arab League smacked down a Palestinian-sponsored resolution to condemn the UAE for normalizing its relations with Israel, the PA said it was reviewing its membership in the pan-Arab body — before folding and saying it would remain inside after all."

Image: Palestinians in the West Bank city of Ramallah burn pictures of Emirati Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (top) and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, during a demonstration against the UAE-Israeli agreement to normalize diplomatic ties, August 15, 2020. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

Jordan 2 state solution

Jordan clings to two-state solution in wake of normalization deals

“Jordan has been watching moves to normalize ties between Gulf states and Israel with concern as the Arab consensus has crumbled around conditioning the recognition of Israel to its withdrawal from Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 and the creation of a Palestinian state. US President Donald Trump has stated that ‘seven or eight’ states may soon follow suit in normalizing ties with Israel. Jordan declined a White House invitation to attend the Sept. 15 ceremony in which the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed historic agreements recognizing Israel. Jordan has reacted to the latest developments by reiterating Amman's position on the Palestinian question. On Sept. 17, Prime Minister Omar Razzaz told a local radio station that there will be no lasting and comprehensive peace while Israel continues to take unilateral steps that undermine the Palestinian people’s legitimate right to an independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital. He added that Jordan wants to maintain a united Arab stance on this issue.”

Image: Demonstrators, mask-clad due to the COVID-19 pandemic, attend a protest against the United Arab Emirates' and Bahrain's decisions to normalize relations with Israel, in Gaza City, on Sept. 15, 2020. (Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images)


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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