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Churches for Middle East Peace

Israel-Palestine: Settler Attacks on Palestinians More Than Double in Two Years, Says Report

A look at settlement violence, women in ministry, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

Image: Hebrew graffiti in the village of Deir Estya, which translates as 'village of terrorists', in an apparent 'price tag' attack by Jewish settlers, 18 June 2019. (AFP)

village of Deir Estya

Image: Hebrew graffiti in the village of Deir Estya, which translates as 'village of terrorists', in an apparent 'price tag' attack by Jewish settlers, 18 June 2019. (AFP)

Israel-Palestine: Settler attacks on Palestinians more than double in two years, says report

Middle East Eye

“Israeli settler attacks on Palestinian villages and properties in the occupied West Bank have more than doubled in the first half of 2021, compared with the same statistics over the past two years, Haaretz reported on Sunday (October 3). The spike may be linked to a change in tactics from authorities following the death of teenage settler Ahuvia Sandak, who died in a car crash fleeing Israeli police, and the killing of 52-year-old mother Esther Horgan by Palestinians in December 2020. To avoid confrontation, Israeli authorities created what officials described as a ‘permissive atmosphere’, including allowing settlers to ‘let off steam’, according to the Israeli newspaper. In 2019, 363 settler attacks were reported, while in 2020, that number was 507.”

Sheikh Jarrah can breathe easier for a price

Image: Israeli policemen and IDF border police arresting Israeli protestors for waving Palestine flags in the weekly solidarity protest in Sheikh Jarrah, in September. (Matan Golan)

Palestinians of Sheikh Jarrah can breathe easier now – for a price

“For the past 12 years – with unprecedented consistency for the Israeli left – a few dozen or hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians have protested in a public park in East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood against plans to evict residents of the neighborhood in favor of Jews. Last week, as it does almost every week, the demonstration passed quietly – until a few protestors started waving small Palestinian flags. The police, as they do, violently attacked the protestors, snatched away the flags and arrested four people. The demonstration dispersed with rage and frustration in the face of the police's actions, which only reinforced the general rage and frustration due to the impossible situation of the neighborhood’s residents: The descendants of refugees could be evicted from their houses because the property was owned by Jews before the War of Independence in 1948, while their own property from the same period will remain in Jewish hands.”

Jewish men pray at Temple Mount

Image: Jewish men pray on the Temple Mount this week. (Jeremy Sharon)

Palestinians outraged over court ruling allowing Jewish prayer on Temple Mount

“Palestinians expressed outrage and warned of an escalation on Thursday after a court ruling on Wednesday implied support for allowing quiet prayer by Jewish visitors on the Temple Mount, the first such official recognition of the practice which has gone relatively undisturbed for the past year and a half. On Wednesday (October 6), the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court heard the appeal of Aryeh Lipo, a Jewish visitor to the Temple Mount who had been removed and distanced from the complex for 15 days after a police officer ordered him to stop praying during a visit on Yom Kippur.”

What's Happening at CMEP

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Prayers4Peace is Back: CMEP’s Prayers4Peace blog returned on October 13, with an article from CMEP’s Manager of Middle East Partnerships, Kevin Vollrath, entitled “Commemorating Martyrs in the Ancient Assyrian Church of the East in Iraq”. We will also be revisiting previous Prayers4Peace using the hashtag #P4Previsited, so keep an eye out on our blog and social media for those.


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rising above the stained glass ceiling

Image: From left: Shireen Hilal, Sally Azar, Najla Kassab, Rima Nasrallah, Grace Al-Zoughbi, Rola Sleiman. (Illustration by Raz Latif)

Women in the Middle East claim their place in the pulpit

This article was written by CMEP’s Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon.

“For years, women called to leadership in the church in the Middle East have faced a stained-glass ceiling of limitations imposed by the surrounding patriarchal culture and theological presuppositions about the role of women in the church. But while some interpretations of Paul’s instructions to the early church (such as Timothy 2:12) are used as a rationale for limiting the role of women, long-standing cultural traditions regarding women’s roles in religion and society have played a more prominent, and more difficult, role.”

Friedman center opening

Image: David Friedman. (Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

David Friedman launches ‘Friedman Center’ to advance peace made by Abraham Accords

“Seven months after leaving office, former US ambassador David Friedman has established a new institute with the aim of expanding and scaling the Abraham Accords he helped broker last year among Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, Kosovo and Morocco. Called ‘The Friedman Center for Peace through Strength,’ the nonprofit institution said that it will work from its offices in Florida and Jerusalem to build on existing accomplishments and advance peace and prosperity throughout the Middle East. The Friedman Center will hold its kickoff event on October 11 at the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem. The event – a gala dinner – will feature the world premiere of The Abraham Accords, a five-part documentary on the normalization deals, co-produced by Friedman and the TBN Network. The full documentary will air on TBN in the late fall."

Bishop Warda

Image: Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Bashar Warda stands in front of the Catholic University of Erbil, located in the Iraqi Kurdistan capital city's Ankawa district. (Courtesy of Bashar Warda)

Good news for Iraq’s Christians: More autonomy, less dhimmitude
Christianity Today

“This week, the Christian enclave of Ankawa in Erbil, the capital city of Iraqi Kurdistan, was designated by the autonomous region’s prime minister as an official district with administrative autonomy. Starting next week, Christians will directly elect their own mayor and be in charge of security, among other matters. Prime Minister Masrour Barzani called Ankawa a home for ‘religious and social coexistence, and a place for peace.’ Archbishop Bashar Warda, the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Erbil, called it an ‘important’ and ‘strategic’ decision."

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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(202) 543-1222 | info@cmep.org

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