Churches for Middle East Peace
netanyahu gantz

Netanyahu Offers Talks Over Unity Government. His Chief Rival Brushes Aside the Invitation

A look at election results in Israel, proposed sanctions on Iran, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) shakes hands with Benny Gantz (R), chairman of the Blue and White Israeli centrist political alliance at a memorial service for late Israeli president Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, Sept.19, 2019. (Abir Sultan/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

netanyahu gantz

Netanyahu offers talks over unity government. His chief rival brushes aside the invitation
Washington Post

"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, seeing his chances of an outright election victory slip away as final votes were counted, asked his chief rival on Thursday to come negotiate a possible power-sharing agreement. But Benny Gantz, head of the center-left Blue and White party, ignored the invitation for coalition talks. Buoyed by results that showed his party extending its lead in Tuesday’s election, Gantz said he was open to forming a unity government as long he was at the top of it. ‘We will listen carefully to anyone, but we will not surrender to any dictates, said Gantz, a former army chief of staff, in his first public address since election night. He said he remained committed to pursuing ‘a broad and liberal coalition headed by myself.’ Jilted, Netanyahu expressed dismay. ‘I was surprised and disappointed that at this time Benny Gantz still refuses to respond to my call to meet,’ he said in a tweet.” 

Image: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) shakes hands with Benny Gantz (R), chairman of the Blue and White Israeli centrist political alliance at a memorial service for late Israeli president Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, Sept.19, 2019. (Abir Sultan/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

greenblatt netanyahu

Greenblatt to Speak with Gantz and Netanyahu about ‘deal of the century’

“US mediator Jason Greenblatt is expected to arrive in Israel on Thursday and the Prime Minister’s Office said he will meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Greenblatt is also expected to talk to Blue and White head Benny Gantz during his visit. Netanyahu said in the last week of the election campaign that US President Donald Trump’s peace deal will be released within days of Tuesday’s election. The Jerusalem Post has learned, however, that there are voices within the administration saying that the plan will not be released until after a government is formed. The White House announced earlier this month that Greenblatt will be stepping down after the release of the plan. Last week, however, Greenblatt hinted at an event in New York that he may be staying on even after the launch."

Image: Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy, arriving in Jerusalem in March. (Reuters)

trump iran sanctions

Trump says he plans to 'substantially increase' sanctions on Iran

“President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he had directed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin ‘to substantially increase’ U.S. sanctions on Iran following an attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. The action, announced in a tweet, marks the administration’s first official, public response to the weekend drone strike Saturday on the Saudi kingdom’s Abqaiq plant and its Khurais oil field, which Trump has shown reluctance in recent days to blame squarely on Tehran.The president has also hesitated to launch a military strike against Iran for allegedly disrupting the international crude oil supply, despite threatening Sunday that the U.S. was ‘locked and loaded’.” 

Image: President Donald Trump. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

What's Happening at CMEP

Fall Pilgrimage to Peace (P2P) Tour:

The Fall P2P tour is still happening until September 25. Interested in attending an event in your area? This tour goes to locations near Detroit, MI; Denver, CO; Chicago, IL; Charlotte, NC; and Winston-Salem, NC.

Not in one of those cities? Listen to a P2P conversation here on WDET #DetroitToday.

peace day

World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel (WWPPI):

Tomorrow is International Day of Peace and each year during this week, churches, related organizations, congregations, and people of faith are encouraged to act in support for a just and sustainable peace for both Palestinians and Israelis. Our partner organization, World Council of Churches (WCC), has more information.

Public Statement: 

Church Leaders Share Vision for Peace in Israel/Palestine; Condemn Annexation: 22 Christian leaders, including CMEP's Executive Director, wrote to the President outlining their recommendations for US policies that would help bring about a just and lasting end to the conflict in Israel-Palestine. 



Our fall Pilgrimage to Peace tour is in full swing! Please donate to support this vital educational program of CMEP. 

pompeo iran

Pompeo in Saudi Arabia to Meet Crown Prince as Iran Tensions Spike

“The U.S. Secretary of State will meet with Saudi Arabia's crown prince in Jeddah on Wednesday to discuss the attack on Aramco installations and coordinate efforts against ‘Iranian aggression’, the U.S. Mission to the United Arab Emirates said. Mike Pompeo ‘will meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the recent attack on the Kingdom’s oil facilities and coordinate efforts to counter Iranian aggression in the region,’ a Twitter posting said. Pompeo will then travel to the UAE capital Abu Dhabi to meet with its crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, and discuss regional and bilateral issues, it said." 

Image: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announcing the Trump administration's plan to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guards a "foreign terrorist organization," April 8, 2019. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

vow no annex

Palestinians vow to 'hold on to our land' in wake of Netanyahu annexation pledge

“Palestinians tilling the fertile Jordan Valley said on Wednesday they have been rooted for generations to the West Bank land that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to annex, and they vowed never to give it up. ‘We tell Netanyahu, and whoever follows him, you will not break the Palestinians' will, you will never break our will, never, never,’ said Hassan Al-Abedi, a 55-year-old farmer who lives in the village of Jiftlik. ‘It's our parents' and grandparents' land. We will hold onto it no matter what it costs.’ Drawing condemnation from Palestinian and other Arab leaders, Netanyahu announced on Tuesday that he plans to ‘apply Israeli sovereignty’ to the Jordan Valley and adjacent northern Dead Sea if he prevails in what is shaping up as a tough battle for re-election.”

Image: A Palestinian woman collects green beans at a field in the Bedouin village of Al-Maleh in Jordan Valley in the West Bank, March 11, 2019. (Raneen Sawafta/Reuters)


Dr Saïd Ailabouni: God is on the side of rejected, oppressed, occupied
The World Council of Churches

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is one of CMEP’s partner organizations. 

“Born in Nazareth, Galilee, Rev. Dr Saïd Ailabouni moved to the US at the age of 19 to become a physician. But he was so angry at God that he went to study theology instead, becoming a Lutheran pastor. Now he is leading the Middle East & Europe desk of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Since leaving his hometown 50 years ago, he visits his Palestinian family regularly. As the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel approaches, Ailabouni agreed to share some of his lifetime observations with the World Council of Churches."

Image: Rev. Dr Saïd Ailabouni, director for Europe, Middle East & North Africa region at the Global Mission Unit of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. (Ivars Kupcis/WCC)


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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