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Churches for Middle East Peace

CMEP Weekly Bulletin: COVID Omicron: How are Middle Eastern countries responding to the variant?

A look at continuing COVID response, protests, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

Image: Palestinian schoolboys walk past flour outside an aid distribution centre run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. (Said Khatib/AFP/Getty)

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.

Omicron response in the Middle East

Image: People pass a mural of Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran. (Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA via Reuters)

COVID Omicron: How are Middle Eastern countries responding to the variant?


“Middle Eastern countries and media from Turkey to the Gulf have been focused on concerns about a new Covid variant called Omicron. The United Arab Emirates, which said on Saturday (November 25) that it had reached a milestone of 100% of the eligible population receiving the first vaccine dose, suspended entry of travelers from seven southern Africa countries due to concerns over the new Covid-19 variant. The National in the UAE reported that ‘The decision, which comes into effect on November 29, will affect passengers who have travelled through South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Botswana or Mozambique over the past 14 days.’”

Abraham Accords helping Israel

Image: Energy Minister Karin Elharrar signs a climate cooperation deal with Jordan in Dubai this week. (Courtesy)

Abraham Accords are helping Israel transform the Middle East

“John Kerry, the former US secretary of state currently serving as President Joe Biden’s special climate envoy, finally got to help hammer out and watch the signing of a Middle East agreement on Monday (November 22). It wasn’t, however, an Israeli-Palestinian accord, one that former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon said Kerry was ‘obsessive and messianic’ about brokering. Rather, it was the signing in Dubai of a tripartite energy-water accord between Israel, the United Arabs and Jordan.”

5 EU countries concerned at designations

Image: A girl stands in front of her home in Khan Younis Palestine refugee camp in Gaza. (UNRWA/Hussein Jaber)

Violations of Palestinian rights puts two-State solution at risk UN chief warns
UN News

“In a message to mark International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The UN chief warned that persistent violations of the rights of Palestinians, along with the expansion of Israeli settlements, risk eroding the prospect of a two-State solution. Despite being ‘encouraged’ by recent engagements between senior Israeli and Palestinian officials, the UN chief said that ‘containing the situation is not sufficient’. Mr. Guterres reiterated that the overall goal of two States living side-by-side in peace and security remains. This includes fulfilling the ‘legitimate national aspirations of both peoples, with borders based on the 1967 lines and Jerusalem as the capital of both States’.”

What's Happening at CMEP

Film Screening Online Event: Join CMEP for a screening of a short film about the life, ministry, and advocacy of His Beatitude Michel Sabbah followed by remarks from His Beatitude as well as a Question and Answer time with him. His Beatitude Michel Sabbah served as the Archbishop and Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem from 1987 to 2008, the first non-Italian to do so in over five centuries, and is an outspoken defender of Palestinian rights. Moderating the post-film discussion will be Kevin Clarke, Senior Editor for America Magazine joined by CMEP's executive director Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon. The film screening will take place virtually on December 7, 2021, at 11:00 am Eastern.

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.

2021 Annual Report:
Celebrate with Churches for Middle East Peace all that was accomplished this past year by reviewing our 2021 Annual Report. In this report, we highlight our work to educate, elevate, and advocate in pursuit of our vision to actively promote a comprehensive resolution to conflicts in the Middle East with a focus on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.


Support CMEP

At CMEP, a donation of $25 has a wide reaching impact on our education and peace efforts. As the year comes to an end, let's see what we can do working together - donate today!

Arab league talks

Image: Israeli soldiers guarding Jewish settlers block the way of a group of Palestinians in Hebron in the West Bank on Nov. 24. (Abed Al Hashlamoun/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

‘Hate crime’ attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinians spike in the West Bank
Washington Post

“Israeli settlers have dramatically increased their attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank over recent months, with violent incidents up about 150 percent in the past two years, according to data presented by the Israeli military at a defense ministry meeting this month. A United Nations agency has separately found that 115 Palestinians have been beaten or otherwise attacked by settlers since the start of the year, with four fatalities. More than 300 incidents of property destruction, including olive trees cut and burned during the autumn harvest, were documented over the same time period. The wave of beatings, arson, vandalism and rock-throwing — most taking place where Palestinian farms and groves are adjacent to Jewish settlements established on land captured by Israel in the 1967 war — has prompted some leaders of the Israel’s governing coalition to call for a crackdown on settler violence."

Jordanians protest energy deal

Image: Jordanians carry flags and placards as they demonstrate against the declaration of intent for water-for-energy deal signed by Israel, Jordan and the UAE, in Amman, Jordan. (Muath Freij/Reuters)

Jordanians protest against water-for-energy deal with Israel

“Several thousand Jordanians protested on Friday (November 26) against a water-for-energy deal with Israel and the United Emirates, calling on their government to scrap its peace agreement with Israel and saying any normalization was a humiliating submission. Police were deployed heavily around a downtown area of the capital Amman leading to the Husseini mosque where demonstrators marched after Friday prayers. ‘No to the agreement of shame,’ protesters chanted, some carrying banners such as ‘Normalization is Treason’ in a protest organized by a mix of opposition parties including Islamists and leftists as well as tribal groups and unions."

bipartisan push to block arms sales

Image: Sen. Rand Paul (R - KY). (The Hill)

Senators make bipartisan push to block $650M weapons sale to Saudis
The Hill

“Three senators on Thursday (November 18) made a bipartisan push aimed at blocking a proposed $650 million weapons sale to Saudi Arabia. Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced a joint resolution disapproving of the proposed arms sale to the Middle Eastern country, pointing to its role in Yemen’s civil war. The joint resolution seeks to block the sale of items and services including 280 air-to-air missiles, 596 LAU-128 Missile Rail Launchers, containers, support equipment, spare and repair parts and logistical support services.”

CMEP joined 45 organizations in a letter to Congress in support of a Joint Resolution (bipartisan in the Senate) to stop the sale of $650m in munition sales to Saudi Arabia. Read the statement here.

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)
110 Maryland Ave NE, Suite 311 | Washington, District of Columbia  20002
(202) 543-1222 | info@cmep.org

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