"Al-Bushra"

Seeking truth and justice

Uri Avnery: How Did It Start?

Posted on Feb 17, 2017

The past cannot be changed. But perhaps, perhaps, we can learn from it and draw some conclusions.

by Uri Avnery, Gush Shalom February 17, 2017

SO HOW THE HELL did it all start?

Last week I tried to describe the 1948 war, starting from the shooting at a Jewish bus on the morrow of the UN partition resolution. Some readers dispute the timing. They insist that the war started on May 15, on the morrow of the founding of the State of Israel, when the armies of the neighboring Arab states entered the country.

I have seen this many times. Every serious debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict raises the question: “When did it start?” Each side has its own date, proving that the other side started it.

Read More

Living with and Loving the Neighbour – Peacebuilding in Judaism, Christianity and Islam

Posted on Feb 16, 2017

Participants in an interfaith community workshop at the Ecumenical Institute in 2014. © Peter Williams/WCC

151126 World Council of Churches logo

World Council of Churches | February 16, 2017

Intended for an international audience of young people (ages 20-35) interested and engaged in interreligious dialogue, religious leaders, students, lay persons and professionals with a suitable level of religious literacy and/or experience in the field of interreligious dialogue and engagement, especially among the three Abrahamic religions, the Ecumenical Institute’s Certificate of Advanced Studies in Interreligious Studies is accredited by the University of Geneva under the Swiss Higher Education Programme for Continuing Education.

The course encompasses a study period of 6 weeks (3 weeks distance learning, 3 weeks residential). The residential period includes lectures, courses, workshops and study visits to places of interreligious interest.

Read More

Pope to Middle East Pilgrims: ‘Let Us Become Channels of Hope’

Posted on Feb 15, 2017

or20170201094036_000666

Deborah Castellano Lubov | Zenit | 15 February, 2017

“I give a warm welcome to the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, in particular those from the Middle East!”, said Pope Francis during the General Audience of Feb. 15, 2017.

This morning’s General Audience was held at 9:30 in Paul VI Hall, where the Holy Father Francis met with groups of pilgrims and faithful from Italy and from all over the world.

Read More

Lutheran and Catholic joint-commun prayer in Amman

Posted on Feb 15, 2017

Lutheran and Catholic joint-commun prayer in Amman

AMMAN – In celebration of years of cooperation and dialogue already nurtured in the Holy Land, church leaders from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) and the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (LPJ) made a visual commitment to unity and shared service to its community in the Middle East. The service was co-hosted at The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Amman, Jordan on Sunday, February 12, 2017 and another service is scheduled at St. Catherine Church in Bethlehem on Saturday.

Click for PDF from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL)

Read More

FREEDOM MARCH, “LAND DAY”, PALESTINE – 2017

Posted on Feb 14, 2017

Dr. Frank Romano, University of Paris, writes:

FREEDOM MARCH, “LAND DAY”, PALESTINE – 2017

You are invited to participate in the Freedom March on Thursday, March 30, 2017. It is to commemorate the “Land Day”, 2017. The group will meet at 12:30 pm ——— – At the Qalandia Mosque, in the West Bank, in Palestine, then walk towards the Qalandia checkpoint.

This is the Palestinian land, they will not leave, they will remain attached to this sacred land of Palestine. We will continue our resistance to the occupation! We will continue Palestinian existence until freedom and independence, until the end of the Israeli occupation, until the establishment of a just and lasting peace …

Read More

In the name of fourteen 11 year olds: Fr. David Neuhaus’ open letter to the Israeli Minister of the Interior

Posted on Feb 14, 2017

In the name of fourteen 11 year olds: Fr. David Neuhaus’ open letter to the Israeli Minister of the Interior

ISRAEL – Fr. David Neuhaus SJ, Patriarchal Vicar for the Hebrew Speaking Catholics and Coordinator for the Pastoral Care of Migrants, sent an appeal to the Minister of Interior on behalf of 14 eleven-year old Filipino children. These children were born in Israel to migrant workers are deemed ineligible for residency and are facing immediate deportation together with their families. The appeal recalls how the Philippines welcomed and saved over 1,300 Jews who fled from Europe in the 1930s to this small Asian country.

Dear Mr. Aryeh Deri,

It is not my habit to introduce politicians to one another. However, in this case, I believe it is essential that you, the Honorable Interior Minister of the State of Israel, get to know the late President of the Philippines, Mr. Manuel Quezon. To be perfectly honest, I had hardly heard of Quezon before I was invited to the premier screening of a new, full-length documentary, detailing the involvement of Quezon in the saving of 1302 Jews fleeing Nazi Germany before and during the Shoah.

Read More

Premier of new film on Filipino effort to save Jews

Posted on Feb 14, 2017

A new film, “Open Door,” was shown for the first time in Israel on Wednesday, January 25, 2017, at the Cinematheque in Tel Aviv. Father David Neuhaus, Latin Patriarchal Vicar attended the event.
filipno open doorThe Philippine Embassy in Israel and the American Jewish Committee hosted together the premier of the new film, entitled “An Open Door, Holocaust Haven the Philippines”. The film, directed by Filipino award winning director, Noel Izon, tells the untold story of how Filipino President Quezon and Jewish organizations created a haven in the Philippines for over 1300 Jewish refugees, fleeing the Shoah, during the Second World War.

The moving documentary is based upon the testimonies of the last remaining Jewish survivors, members of the Quezon family and others, who recount the generosity of President Manuel L. Quezon, who sought to welcome many more Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Europe. The event of the premier also marked sixty years of Israel-Filipino diplomatic relations.

Read More

Cardinal Woelki in Tabgha : “In a time of growing nationalism, we need reconciliation”

Posted on Feb 14, 2017

Cardinal Woelki in Tabgha : “In a time of growing nationalism, we need reconciliation”

by Saher Kawas | Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

TABGHA – On Sunday, February 12, 2017, His Eminence Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki, Archbishop of Cologne, presided over a Mass in the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish in Tabgha, to celebrate the restoration of the Church Atrium that was destroyed by arson perpetrated by Jewish extremists on June 18, 2015.

In his homily, Cardinal Woelki affirmed that “in a time of growing nationalism, we need reconciliation and a life derived from the Gospel”. He added “powerful people all over the world today fuel nationalist ideas more than ever before, giving them a religious framework. In this way, they foster demarcation and, in particular, lead young people to hatred and violence.”

Read More

Uri Avnery: That’s How It Happened

Posted on Feb 14, 2017

by Uri Avnery, Gush Shalom February 11, 2017

AFTER MY last article, in which I mentioned that the Arabs started the 1948 war after the partition resolution of the UN, I received several furious messages.

The writers, who (I suppose) were born after the events, accuse the Zionists of starting the war in order to expel the Arab population.

Since I took part in the events – I was 24 years old at the time – I feel that it is my duty to describe what really happened, as truthfully as possible. (I have written two books about it, one during the war and one immediately after.)

TO DESCRIBE the atmosphere in the country just before the war, let me recount one of the great moments of my life.

Read More

‘Church Denounces Anti-Semitism in All Its Forms,’ Pope Tells Anti-Defamation League

Posted on Feb 10, 2017

‘I reaffirm that the Catholic Church feels particularly obliged to do all that is possible with our Jewish friends to repel anti-Semitic tendencies’ (Full Text)

CTV Screenshot – Pope in Assisi during Ecumenical Prayer Gathering

by Deborah Castellano Lubov | Zenit | February 9, 2017

The Church denounces Anti-Semitism in all its forms, noting it is “completely contrary to Christian principles and every vision worthy of the human person.”

Pope Francis stressed this to a delegation from the Anti-Defamation League, an organization which has maintained relations with the Holy See since the Second Vatican Council, which he received this morning in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.

Read More

San Diego’s Jewish Community Resist Executive Order, Declaring “We Were Refugees Too”

Posted on Feb 9, 2017

Tonight, we have been reminded that hope is and must be a defiant triumph over pessimism and fear. From our liberation from bondage, we have spent much of our time wandering from country to country. We wandered because people didn’t accept us, we wandered because we were different…and because they just didn’t like us because we were Jews. Substitute Jews with ‘refugee,’ with ‘immigrant,’ with ‘Muslim.’ Our Judaism didn’t only get us chased…Our Judaism got us rejected on our very shores. But the Prophet Isaiah insisted that in times of crisis we must cry aloud, we shall not be silent. We shall make ourselves into a shofar and be the clarion call for every value that we uphold…We the people must form the more perfect union…May our actions tonight make a difference, may they inspire us to further become the clarion call to welcome the stranger, protect the refugee and to never stand idly by in the face of injustice.

Read More

Pope Francis releases emotionally inspiring video that will hit Americans hard

Posted on Feb 9, 2017

Pray with me for all those who are afflicted, especially the poor, refugees, and marginalized, may find welcome and comfort in our communities. Pope Francis

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) – Feb. 6, 2017 – The 120-second video features Pope Francis’ narration as scenes of society ignoring people in need are displayed.

Read More

Israeli peace camp should use language Trump understands: Private property

Posted on Feb 9, 2017

Israeli policemen remove a pro-settlement activist during an operation by Israeli forces to evict settlers from the illegal outpost of Amona, West Bank, Feb. 1, 2017. (photo by REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

by Akiva Eldar | Ruti Sinai, Translator | Al Monitor | February 7, 2017

The White House’s recent contention that the existing Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are not an impediment to peace should, it would seem, allay the concerns of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he licks his wounds after the forcible evacuation of Israeli settlers Feb. 1-2 from the illegal West Bank outpost of Amona. After all, that is exactly what Netanyahu has been insisting for years about the settlements. Now, finally, there is a White House occupant after his own heart — a real estate mogul who doesn’t understand how a construction project can be a bad thing.

Like Netanyahu, President Donald Trump is apparently not bothered by the reality that some 2.5 million Muslims have been living for 50 years under a discriminatory occupation.

Read More

Why king’s visit to Washington was essential for Jordan

Posted on Feb 9, 2017

US Defense Secretary James Mattis (L) welcomes Jordanian King Abdullah II to the Pentagon, Jan. 30, 2017. (photo by REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

Local media praised the king’s diplomatic breakthrough and one commentator, Fahd al-Khitan, wrote Feb. 2 in al-Ghad that Abdullah had fought a diplomatic battle in the US capital on behalf of all Arabs. He also noted that the Jordanian monarch had met the US president even before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had done so. A number of Amman dailies pointed to a Feb. 2 New York Times article in which the authors credited Abdullah for a shift in Trump’s policy on the construction of new Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories.

Read More

The Franciscans keep their doors open to all in Damascus

Posted on Feb 9, 2017

The war keeps pilgrims out of Syria and the chapel of St. Paul’s Memorial in Damascus remains deserted.

By Andrea Avveduto | terrasanta.net

“Syria has always been a mosaic of cultures and we will not allow war to destroy that,” affirmed the Franciscans of the Custody in Damascus who help the poorest people any way that they can.

In the Franciscan church near Bab Touma (The Door of Thomas) in Damascus, the dome still bears the signs of recent bombings. Br. Bahjat Karakach, the superior of the convent, miraculously escaped the explosion that damaged the sanctuary. The parish center where Br. Antoine Louxa lives along with him is the first stop on our trip to Syria.

Read More

Bishop Shomali: the “legalization” of illegal Israeli settlements is against the virtues of justice, which comes from God

Posted on Feb 9, 2017

Bishop William Shomali nominated as Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan

Jerusalem – The law the Israeli Parliament passed yesterday which “regulates” even retroactively houses and Israeli settlements built illegally on Palestinian territory illegally occupied by the army of Israel, “makes the solution two peoples-two states almost impossible. It offends justice, the virtue which comes from God and consists in giving God and neighbor what they are due”.

Read More

The Latin Patriarchate condemns new Israeli law legalizing the expropriation of Palestinian lands

Posted on Feb 9, 2017

Construction of the separation wall in the Bethlehem area – April 2016. © Archives of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

The Knesset passed a new law on Monday night, February 6, 2017, allowing the Israeli State to appropriate private Palestinian lands on which Israelis have built settlement homes without authorization in the Palestinian Territories.

Read More

Don’t move US embassy to Jerusalem, bishops ask Secretary of State

Posted on Feb 9, 2017

Credit: John Theodor / Shutterstock.

Washington D.C., Feb 7, 2017 / 06:23 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Israeli-Palestinian conflict requires wise U.S. engagement to build a better future for both peoples, and this future could be endangered by an embassy relocation, the U.S. Catholic bishops told the new Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.

Read More

Prophetic, Not Partisan: Why We Need Courageous Preaching about Politics

Posted on Feb 9, 2017

Jesus in the Gospels is anything but silent on these questions, and those who follow him cannot be silent either.

(CNS photo)

The Editors | America the Jesuit Review | February 8, 2017

Strange times for politics make for strange times for preaching. In just one week at the end of January, people in the United States and elsewhere participated in large and sometimes spontaneous demonstrations for the defense of human life, for recognition of women’s rights and for justice for refugees and immigrants. At the same time, in addition to the Senate’s consideration of President Donald J. Trump’s cabinet nominees, commentators discussed revisiting what constitutes torture during the interrogation of terror suspects, the beginnings of a process of dismantling the Affordable Care Act and the abandonment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, to pick just a few examples.

Read More

The Jewish owners of the Libira Brewpub face a hate campaign

Posted on Feb 9, 2017

Beer made by Palestinian Christians in Birzeit and Taybeh is available at the tavern

The Jewish owners of the Libira Brewpub, located in downtown Haifa, faced an online hate campaign after it stocked alcohol from a Palestinian brewery in the West Bank. Libira Brewery

by Jack Moore | Newseek | Feb. 8, 2017

In the downtown area of the coastal Israeli city of Haifa, a few steps from the Mediterranean, sits the Libira Brewpub. Taking its lead from Europe’s rising number of craft beer establishments, the non-kosher gastropub is one of the most popular drinking spots in the city. Founded in 2007 by Jewish expats—Erik Salarov, a 44-year-old from Tajikistan, and Leonid Lipkin, a 56-year-old from Ukraine—it attracts customers from their twenties into their nineties; a sign that the craft-beer trend is gaining ground in the Middle East. But in a region dogged by stark political, religious and ethnic divisions, this microbrewery has fallen foul of some Israelis.

In December last year, Libira became the target of an online hate campaign which threatened to drive away customers. The reason: It served the product of a Palestinian, West Bank-based brewery.

Read More

Donald Trump is getting strong rebukes from both religious and political leaders in Great Britain

Posted on Feb 8, 2017

The Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow, pictured here at the Palace of Westminster in June 2014, says he strongly opposes letting U.S. President Donald Trump address Parliament during a state visit to the U.K. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool, File)

David Stewart, S.J.* | America the Jesuit Review | February 8, 2017

Significant public figures in church and state have spoken out in recent days in the United Kingdom as the ramifications of President Donald J. Trump’s dramatic first weeks in office continue to provoke the national conversation here. The leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster, expressed critical views on BBC radio, while a former archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. George Carey, went public with a completely different slant, asking Great Britain to give the Trump administration more time. Then, in a highly controversial move, the Speaker of the House of Commons declared that he would oppose any effort to invite Mr. Trump to address both Houses of Parliament during his state visit that is proposed for later this year.

Cardinal Nichols used an interview on the respected Sunday evening “Westminster Hour” radio program to condemn the “false notion” that Christianity and Islam are in conflict. The cardinal was speaking of the so-called travel ban applied to seven predominantly Muslim countries in an interview recorded before a federal judge’s ruling suspended the ban.

Read More

Vatican official: The bishops ‘are speaking clearly’ on refugees

Posted on Feb 7, 2017

Dva, a Syrian Refugee. Credit: Elena Dorfman via Flickr.

Profile photoBy Hannah Brockhaus | Catholic News Agency | February 6, 2017

In the wake of President Donald Trump’s recent policy on refugees, U.S. Catholics should stay close to their bishops, who are providing a clear, correct and unified response to the issue, a Vatican official said.

Jesuit Fr. Michael Czerny is secretary of the new Vatican Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, which includes an office for refugees and migrants, currently headed by the Pope himself.

Fr. Czerny told CNA that right now, the U.S. bishops are doing a good job responding to the policy. “I think the key is for Catholics to stay close to their bishops. Dialogue and unity are the two keys to a moment like this,” he said.

“And the bishops are speaking clearly, they’re speaking loudly, they’re speaking with a great deal of unity. Those who are concerned should listen to them, and also should reach out to help them.”

Read More

Christian Peacemaker Team: A Method to Madness

Posted on Feb 7, 2017

The Occupation of the Palestinian Territories has been in existence for the past fifty years. There are numerous daily reminders to a Palestinian how this Occupation has wreaked havoc on their lives and the lives of their children. Few Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza are old enough to know what it is to walk freely without Id checks, without fear of being detained, arrested, having ones home broken into by soldiers and/or settlers, or just being able to move freely in their own town, let alone travel easily out of town.

The checkpoint is one of the most egregious obstacles in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and is a constant reminder to the Palestinian of their lack of ability to navigate through the town freely without having to pass through a metal detector at least once or twice a day on their way to work, school, shopping or just to visit a friend; always having to produce their ID often with bag checks, being detained at the whim of the Israeli Border Police often for long periods, causing teachers, children and adults to be late for school and work.

Read More

Jordan: Our Lady of Peace Center’s Department of Splints and Orthotics

Posted on Feb 7, 2017

 

JORDAN – Our Lady of Peace Center OLOPC is owned by the Latin Patriarchate Amman – Jordan institute that provides free services to people with a variety of disabilities such as, intellectual disability, impaired mobility, hearing impairment, bipolar and down syndrome. The center also plays a major role in raising awareness in society in regards to people with disabilities and how to cooperate with them.

The idea of establishing the Department of Splints and Orthotics in Our Lady of Peace Center, jointly with the Italian Cooperation University (ICU) funded by the Italian Development Agency, aims to strengthen the response of the Jordanian health system that got affected because of the rising numbers of refugees who flocked from Syria, mainly focusing on providing services in orthotics and bone deformities.

Read More

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns: Middle East Notes, February 2, 2017

Posted on Feb 5, 2017

151210 Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Commentary

The executive orders of the initial days of the Trump administration are causing a mixture of fear, concern and uncertainty for many of the leaders and people of the US, Israel, the Moslem nations and most of the world. It is as if a great river has suddenly changed its course, depth and banks causing the river boats to slow or stop, and the people of the towns along the river bank to be concerned about their future and even survival. The Israeli right wing is elated and is challenging Netanyahu’s leadership (which is too moderate in their opinion) even while he is facing corruption accusations. The TV, radio and print media of both Israel and the U.S. that expresses disapproval of and “fact checks” its elected leaders is experiencing increasing criticism by these same leaders in what has become a contest between observable realities, “facts of the ground” and “post truth” and “alternate reality.”

Read More

Iraqis’ experiences recall ‘what it means to live as a Christian’

Posted on Feb 5, 2017

They [ISIS] had come to destroy us, wipe us out in that specific area where we continue to speak the language that Jesus spoke, Aramaic. The very same area that Saint Thomas evangelized from AD 42 to 49. One of the most ancient parts of our Church. –Father Karam Shamasha

Soldiers survey damaged inflicted by Islamic State forces on Al Tamera Syriac Catholic church in the city of Bakhdida, Iraq, near Mosul. Photo courtesy of Fr. Roni Momika.

By Hannah Brockhaus | Catholic News Agency | February 1, 2017

Rome, Italy, Feb 1, 2017 / 06:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- An Iraqi priest who was forced to flee his village when the Islamic State seized the area in 2014 said the hardship and persecution Christians in Iraq have experienced has taught them what it really means to fully live out their faith.

“What we have witnessed is a message for us, so we may reconsider what the objectives of being Christian should be, what it means to live as a Christian to the fullest, not through empty words, and not as something that can be carried away by the wind,” Fr. Karam Shamasha told CNA.

Read More

Bethlehem University’s Board of Regents meets in Rome

Posted on Feb 5, 2017

In a land divided by conflicts, where the horizon remains uncertain, Bethlehem University has fostered a deeper dialogue between Christians and Muslims and rekindled the hope for a better future among young Palestinians. Bethlehem University has been and continues to be an oasis of peace.

Bethlehem University’s Board of Regents meets in Rome

by Cécile Klos | Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

ROME / BETHLEHEM – The International Board of Regents of the University of Bethlehem met at the Generalate of the Christian Brothers de La Salle in Rome last month to evaluate the quality of teaching and educational development of the institution.

This assembly, the highest of the University, meet twice a year with the participation of the 22 founding members and benefactors from different countries. Once again, discussions and decisions focused on improving the standards and quality of education and to foster the development of a university that can take pride in its achievements.

Read More

Christians of Mosul thank Jordan on their way to the airport

Posted on Feb 5, 2017

…true Islam was revealed in Jordan as Muslim delegations visited housing centers in Jordan’s cities and villages to express solidarity and to convey a helping hand.

 

By Fr. Rifat Bader | abouna.org

Two years ago, Jordan welcomed them with open arms. Now, they pack their luggage leaving for far off countries after they have obtained “visas” that entitle them not only to leave Jordan but rather to leave the entire Middle East. They are the Christians of Mosul whose presence with us provided several lessons and produced streams of tears.

They arrived in Jordan after having been forcibly displaced as a result of political violence or rather religious violence and persecution. It is hard to believe that the 21st century replicates events that took first in the early centuries with regards to the brutal persecution of the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. They have been uprooted from the Nineveh Plain, namely from Mosul and nearby towns and villages, after having lived there for hundreds of years.

Read More

Uri Avnery: Respect the Green Line!

Posted on Feb 3, 2017

The settlers, of course, are only too happy to get the assistance of BDS in erasing the Green Line.

gush shalom

by Uri Avnery, Gush Shalom
THE MOST incisive analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict I have ever read was written by the Jewish-Polish-British historian Isaac Deutscher. It consists of a single image.

A man lives on the upper floor of a building, which catches fire. To save his life, he jumps out of a window and lands on a passerby in the street below. The victim is grievously injured, and between the two starts an intractable conflict.

Of course, no metaphor is completely perfect. The Zionists did not choose Palestine by chance, the choice was based on our religion. The founder of the movement, Theodor Herzl, initially preferred Argentina.

Read More

Jesuits in London join the demonstrations against Trump’s policies on refugees

Posted on Feb 2, 2017

Demonstrators protest against U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban on refugees and people from seven mainly-Muslim countries, in London on Jan. 30. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

 

David Stewart, S.J.* | America the Jesuit Review | February 2, 2017

Protesters choked the streets of London around the evening rush hour on Jan. 30 as a series of emergency marches converged. Demonstrators were objecting to the government’s invitation to the new U.S. president to conduct a state visit to the United Kingdom. An impressive array of groups and individuals came together on short notice, joined by many city workers, normally a phlegmatic set but moved in sufficient numbers to make this an inspiring protest. A group coordinated by the Jesuit Refugee Service here in Britain also joined the large protest outside Downing Street.

Read More