Monday, March 23, 2015

Worrisome news arises about Israel

The world is taking note of abuses committed against the Palestinians.

By Rev. Darrell Mitchell

Janet Lahr Lewis works for the Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. She has worked in Israel and Palestine for the past 20 years, dealing with peace and justice issues and has sponsored Holy Land tours to churches interested in learning more about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I was on one tour in 2008. Janet Lahr Lewis is touring the USA and speaking in Churches. She sent me an email in which I share some of her concerns taking place in the Middle East:

Palestinians collect their belongings from under the rubble of a residential tower, which witnesses said was destroyed by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on 24 August. (UN Photo/Shareef Sarhan)
(1) Greek Orthodox Archbishop Atallah Hanna from the West Bank expressed his denouncement of those “who insult religions saying Christianity and Christians condemn offending Islam.” He relates his statement to the Palestinian context.

(2) In Europe, a group of 63 influential Members of the European Parliament have called on the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini and have called for tougher measures to suspend the European-Israel Association Agreement, the main treaty between the European Union and Israel.

(3) In news that is disconcerting, the United Nations reports that “virtually none” of the $5.4 billion pledged by the international community for post-war Gaza has reached the territory. It has caused the United Nations Relief and Works Agency to suspend all reconstruction efforts. It is tragic disregard for human life that when people are desperate: “The international community cannot provide the bare minimum — for example, a repaired home in the winter — let alone lifting of the blockade, access to markets or freedom of movement.”

(4) In what is positive news for Palestinians and their supporters, “many leading backers of the International Criminal Court will ignore Israel’s call for them to cut funding in response to an inquiry into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories.” The main contributors have clearly stated that they have no intention to change policy. Prosecutors incurred Israel’s wrath this month when they said they would examine any crimes that may have occurred since June in Palestinian territories, opening a path to possible charges against Israelis or Palestinians.

(5) South Africa has taken a very significant step forward in their solidarity towards Palestine, which includes boycotting Israel.

Darrell Mitchell is a minister in the United Methodist Church.

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