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Churches for Middle East Peace

How Israel's Use of Skunk Water is Damaging Palestinian Health and Economy

A look at responses to designations, continuing developments on settlements, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

Image: An Israeli police van fires skunk water in Jerusalem, 24 October, 2021. (MEE/Aseel Jundi)

skunk water

Image: An Israeli police van fires skunk water in Jerusalem, 24 October, 2021. (MEE/Aseel Jundi)

How Israel's use of skunk water is damaging Palestinian health and economy

Middle East Eye

“Kamal Abu Qwaider is one of a number of businessmen who set up shop around the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, one of the oldest and most important heritage sites in the ancient city and a popular gathering place for residents. In the past the area was a key location for sellers hoping to attract locals and tourists to buy their wares. Recently, however, it has become more and more difficult for them to shift their products owing to the Israeli police's decision to use a noxious substance known as ‘skunk water’ to disperse gatherings by Palestinians. ‘I destroy commodities on a daily basis due to skunk water. Many other merchants, especially those selling food stuff, do the same,’ said Abu Qwaider, a trestle table peddler. Abu Qwaider’s plight isn’t limited to economic losses alone.”

Sheikh Jarrah residents reject court compromise

Image: Palestinian activist Muna al-Kurd stands with her neighbors at a press conference in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, Tuesday (November 2). (Ohad Zwigenberg)

Palestinian residents reject Israeli court's compromise on Sheikh Jarrah evictions

“A group of residents of the East Jerusalem Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood rejected a compromise on Tuesday (November 2) that had been proposed by Israel's Supreme Court. The plan would have allowed them to remain in their homes for at least 15 years, in exchange for recognizing the ownership interests of a settler group to which they would have paid nominal rent. Due to their rejection of the offer, the justices will have to reconsider the Palestinian residents' appeal of the original eviction order. The Palestinians lost their case before the magistrate and district courts and their appeal to the Supreme Court requires the high court to grant them permission for a second appeal.”

See the latest update from CMEP’s Manager of Middle East Partnerships, Kevin Vollrath here

Ireland Defense Minister on Israel

Image: Simon Coveney, Foreign Affairs and Defense Minister for Ireland. (Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

Israel hasn’t given us evidence linking NGOs to terror, Irish FM says

“Israel hasn’t shown Ireland or the European Union credible evidence to prove that there is substance behind its decision last week to designate six Palestinian nongovernmental groups as terror entities, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday (November 2). ‘We have asked for, as has the EU, the evidence basis for designating those NGOs,’ he explained as he sat with the paper in the Inbal Hotel, just before heading to meet with President Isaac Herzog. But ‘we have not gotten any credible evidence to link the NGOs to terrorism, certainly not that I have seen,’ said Coveney who has also served as his country’s defense minister since 2020.”

What's Happening at CMEP

Recent Webinar on NGOs Designations:

In late October 2021 the Israeli Defense Ministry designated six prominent Palestinian human rights groups as "terrorist organizations." Many of these human rights organizations work closely with the international community to develop Palestinian civil society, document human rights violations, and defend Palestinians in Israeli courts. Churches for Middle East Peace recently hosted a webinar to learn more about the challenges facing Palestinian human rights groups and the impact this decision will have on not only these six organizations, but Palestinian civil society as a whole.

Work with CMEP: We’re hiring a Director of Mobilization and Outreach to join the CMEP team in January and work out of our D.C. office. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about the position, please review the job description linked below.

CMEP Online Auction:

Join CMEP for our first-ever online auction (November 15th-19th). We'll have original art, gift baskets from cities across the country, a hand-made quilt, and food goodies. Check out our auction items and get more information on how the auction will work at the link below. Items will be shipped directly to winners in early December to arrive in time for the holiday season. Do some Christmas shopping or get gifts for your home!


Support CMEP

At CMEP, we take a dual narrative approach to fighting for peace and a just path forward. We hope you will join us by making a gift today.

Arab league talks

Image: Assistant Secretary General of the Arab League, Hossam Zaki, speaks at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon November 8, 2021. (Dalati Nohra/Handout via Reuters)

Arab League holds talks in Lebanon over Gulf row

“A senior Arab League official held talks in Lebanon on Monday (November 8) in a bid to ease a rift with Saudi Arabia over criticism of its role in the Yemen war, saying the crisis could have been defused if the minister who made the comments had resigned. Arab League Assistant Secretary-General Hossam Zaki met Lebanon's president, prime minister and parliament speaker during his visit. President Michel Aoun said he welcomed any Arab League initiative to restore ties with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has expelled the Lebanese ambassador, recalled its envoy to Beirut and banned imports from Lebanon in response to the comments by George Kordahi, who sided with the Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen during an interview broadcast two weeks ago and said Yemen was being subjected to foreign aggression.”

Trump on Israel and Congress

Image: Donald Trump at the White House during his presidency. (Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

Trump: Until recently Israel ‘literally owned Congress’ — and that was a good thing

“Former President Donald Trump told a conservative Jewish radio host that Israel until recently ‘literally owned Congress,’ a claim similar to those that have triggered accusations of antisemitism against other politicians. The comments came during Trump’s Oct. 29 interview with Seattle-based talk show host Ari Hoffman as Trump was reviewing his Middle East policies, including the Abraham Accords, the normalization agreements between Israel and four Arab countries, and his pullout from the Iran nuclear deal. Trump, as he discussed U.S. policy in the region, pivoted to what he believed was the ‘biggest change’ he had seen recently."

Egyptian FM says Abraham Accords good

Image: Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry attends a press conference in Paris on March 11. (Ludovic Marin/Reuters)

Egyptian FM: Abraham Accords good for peace

“Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with representatives of several Jewish organizations, including the Conference of Presidents, B’nai B’rith International, AJC, AIPAC, JINSA, ADL and JStreet. The Tuesday (Nov. 9) meeting, held during Shoukry’s current visit to Washington, ‘touched upon strong strategic ties with the US, as well as Egypt’s visions on the most important issues of the region,’ Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez said in a statement. ‘They also reviewed Egypt’s unceasing efforts on reviving the peace process to achieve just and comprehensive peace, and support the pillars of security and stability in the region,’ he said."

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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