FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C. - March 25, 2022
Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) Condemns the Murder of Four Israelis in Beersheba
Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) condemns the murder of four Israelis in Beersheba by an Israeli citizen of Bedouin ethnicity, who had previously been affiliated with ISIS. On March 22, 2022, 34-year-old Mohammad Ghaleb Abu al-Qian, previously imprisoned in 2016 for affiliation in ISIS and released in 2019, killed two women and two men near a shopping center. Abu al-Qian injured two others before being killed by a bus driver he attacked. Abu al-Qian and all his victims were civilians.
Murder is wrong, and violence is not the way to peace nor to advance any cause. No matter who are the attackers. No matter who are the victims. CMEP’s Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, says, “We condemn the horrific actions of Abu al-Qian. Our prayers for health and healing are with those who were injured and our deepest sympathies to the families who lost loved ones. We remain committed to work and support Middle East partners who elevate methods of nonviolence in efforts toward justice and peace.”
Beersheba is the capital of the Negev region at the extreme southern end of Israel. The Negev is home to both Jewish Israelis and Bedouins. Bedouins in the Negev often live in areas with limited resources and economic opportunities. Many Bedouin villages lack state recognition by the government of Israel, resulting in the denial of basic services including sanitation and clean water services.
While violence in the Negev has become more prevalent of late, both the attacker’s family and hometown village of Hura condemned the violence and pledged to work to restore peace. This is our commitment at Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) as we continue to focus on our advocacy priorities of holistic peacebuilding, economic and humanitarian assistance, and human rights for all in the region.
Formed in 1984, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is a coalition of 30 national church communions and organizations, including Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Evangelical traditions that works to encourage US policies that actively promote a comprehensive resolution to conflicts in the Middle East with a focus on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. CMEP works to mobilize US Christians to embrace a holistic perspective and to be advocates of equality, human rights, security, and justice for Israelis, Palestinians, and all people of the Middle East.