Churches for Middle East Peace

Knesset Advances Motion to Disband, Moving Toward 4th Elections in 2 Years

A look at another round of elections in Israel, ceasefires & boycotts, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

Image: Image: Blue and White leader Benny Gantz (left) is seen with his back to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the Knesset approves a preliminary reading of a bill to dissolve parliament, December 2, 2020. (Danny Shem-Tov / Knesset spokesperson's office)

knesset votes to dissolve

Knesset advances motion to disband, moving toward 4th elections in 2 years
Times of Israel

“The Knesset on Wednesday (December 2) passed a bill to dissolve, setting the stage for the fourth round of national elections in two years as Defense Minister Benny Gantz and his Blue and White party broke from the coalition and voted in favor of the measure. The bill passed with 61 MKs voting in favor and 54 against. Gantz’s support for the opposition bill will likely spell the end of his ill-fated power-sharing partnership with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, some six months after agreeing to join a unity government in order to deal with the coronavirus crisis."

Image: Blue and White leader Benny Gantz (left) is seen with his back to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the Knesset approves a preliminary reading of a bill to dissolve parliament, December 2, 2020. (Danny Shem-Tov / Knesset spokesperson's office)

gantz delays anti discrimination law

Gantz delays anti-discrimination law after majority of MKs oppose it
Times of Israel

“Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party pulled a bill aimed at making discrimination illegal before it was to be voted on Wednesday (December 2), after failing to garner the necessary support for the measure from fellow lawmakers. The proposal is part of a batch of bills opposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud that Blue and White has raised as the short-lived coalition appears poised to collapse. The measure had been scheduled to come up for a preliminary vote immediately ahead of a motion for the Knesset to disband, which passed on preliminary reading with Blue and White’s support, moving Israel closer to its fourth election in under two years.”

Image: Defense Minister Benny Gantz at the Knesset on December 1, 2020. (Alex Kolomoisky/Pool/Flash90)

Meeks Foreign Affairs

Who is Gregory Meeks, incoming US House foreign affairs leader?
Middle East Eye

“US Democrats elected moderate legislator Congressman Gregory Meeks to lead the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC), ending Joaquin Castro's progressive bid for the top spot on the crucial committee. Meeks will replace outgoing Congressman Eliot Engel - a staunchly pro-Israel veteran legislator who lost his primary to left-wing challenger Jamaal Bowman earlier this year. Castro had garnered support from progressive groups in his bid for the committee's gavel, vowing to push against ‘wars of choice’ and ensure greater representation for marginalised groups, including Palestinians. On Thursday (December 10), Meeks won the race within the Democratic caucus with ease - defeating Castro 148-78. He will be the first African American to lead the committee since its inception nearly two centuries ago.”

Image: Meeks has served in Congress since 1998. (AFP/File Photo)

What's Happening at CMEP
action alert

Action Alert: Tell Your Senators: Restore US Aid to UNRWA Now!

In 2018, the Trump administration announced its decision to cut all US aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). This agency helps administer critical services and resources such as health care, education, and emergency food assistance to Palestinian refugees throughout the Middle East. UNRWA’s work is even more important now as COVID-19 greatly exacerbates the difficult conditions that Palestinian refugees endure. Without US funding, UNRWA is unable to execute its important activities that serve millions of Palestinians.


Advent Devotions from CMEP:

This year, we were pleased to ask members of our Board of Directors to share their liturgical traditions around the Advent season and reflect on the importance of community and working across faith traditions. The devotions reflect a variety of communions and personal perspectives that support CMEP’s work toward peace and justice in the Middle East.


Upcoming Event: Online Film Salon with Voices from the Holy Land:

CMEP is cosponsoring an online screening of two short films and conversation with Voices from the Holy Land on Sunday, December 13 at 3:00 p.m. EST. You are asked to watch the two films, Detaining Dreams and Obaida, prior to the conversation. Both films focus on the treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention. Registration is required.



Have you had a chance to read this week's Advent Devotion from Rev. Dr. Nicolas Kazarian? Please consider donating today to support CMEP's peace & justice work this Advent giving season!

palestinian tax funds

Israel hands over $1 billion in Palestinian tax backlog in sign of warming ties

“Israel handed over a backlog of billions of shekels in tax money to the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday (December 9), both sides said, in another sign of warming ties between the sides after the U.S. presidential election victory of Joe Biden. The taxes, managed by Israel under interim peace accords from the 1990s and usually handed over monthly, make up more than half of the budget of the Palestinian Authority (PA), whose economy has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The 3.77 billion shekels ($1.14 billion) transfer is the first since June, when the Palestinians snubbed the handover due to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans, currently suspended, to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.”

Image: Palestinians wait to receive money via an ATM, outside a bank in Gaza City, December 2, 2020. (Reuters/Mohammed Salem)

biden yemen oped

(Op-ed) Biden must address Yemen on day one and move immediately to prevent future wars

“Going on six years of war and four years of President Trump’s complete disregard for the lives of millions of Yemenis caught in the crossfire, President-elect Joe Biden has promised a policy reset. He has repeatedly called for an end to U.S. participation and weapons in the brutal Yemen conflict. Biden underscored this in October when he said, ‘Under a Biden-Harris administration, we will reassess our relationship with the Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia], end US support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, and make sure America does not check its values at the door to sell arms or buy oil.’”

Image: Yemeni relatives visit graves of their relatives who were killed in the ongoing Yemeni civil war at a cemetery on November 6, 2020 in Sana'a, Yemen. (Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images)

armenian ceasefire

Armenians return to Nagorno-Karabakh after cease-fire
AP News

“Joyous scenes of smiles and hugs could be seen Tuesday (December 8) on the main square of Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, as ethnic Armenians returned to their homeland a week after a cease-fire between Armenia and Azerbaijan halted the fighting that had raged over the separatist region for more than six weeks. The Moscow-brokered truce called for territorial concessions in favor of Azerbaijan and left many Armenians bitter, but allowed those who fled from the violence to return to their homes. ‘I feel great because I’m coming back to my sons,’ said None Agasyan, whose two sons were injured during the fighting.”

Image: Ethnic Armenian refugees greet each other as they return to Stepanakert, the capital of the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. Russia's Defense Ministry reported that the peacekeepers accompanied about 1,200 people returning to Nagorno-Karabakh from Armenia since Saturday. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)


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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