Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter in Palestine—Stories from the West Bank and Gaza

The Electronic Intifada compiles news stories from Palestine. Here are a four of the stories from the West Bank and Gaza in this Easter week. These are all in the Nablus area, in the middle of the West Bank, in an area where Israeli settlers are increasing their numbers and Israel is closing roads to "protect" them. (read this on the Electronic Intifada):

Israeli Forces Shoot Tear Gas into Houses in Awarta Village

On the 20th of April, five Israeli jeeps entered the village of Awarta. The Israeli forces broke into four houses and shot several tear gas and stun grenades inside the houses, leaving several families with no other alternative than to sleep elsewhere until the tear gas clouds dispersed, which could take weeks.

The Israeli soldiers beat several people and broke furniture during this event. A 26-year-old Palestinian was violently arrested and detained for two hours with no reason given.

Two days later, Israeli soldiers once again entered houses in Awarta and shot several tear gas more

Khan-al-Luban: Israeli Army Attack Read the whole story

From an ISM volunteer at the scene….At 6:45pm an Israeli army jeep pulled in front of a building across the street from the family house, then backed out of the driveway and drove along the road towards the back of the house. We all went into the center area and shut the doors, but went outside to photograph what they were doing as the three Israeli soldiers got out of the jeep and started coming over the fence and onto the roof. We climbed to the roof area where they had come onto the property. They asked one of the human rights volunteers to show her passport but she refused.

Jimmy stayed inside because he thought they might be looking for him. One of the young sons talked to the soldiers on the roof and the army called for back up.

After the soldiers began shouting at the mother and her child, Jimmy came out to the roof area, no longer able to stay hidden. He told the soldiers that they were on his family’s property and that they should stop yelling at his mother and younger brothers.

The soldiers became belligerent and hit him with their hands. They then attempted to handcuff Jimmy, and dragged him partway across the roof; by that time the cuffs were fully on. At that point they knocked him down and hit him on the head with the back of a rifle. Jimmy was unconscious from that time on and appeared to convulse slightly. They continued to beat him after he collapsed. [He was later taken to hospital in Nablus] Read more

Settlers Set Fire to Palestinian Chicken Farm
On Friday 18th April, during the night in the village of Madama, settlers from a nearby illegal settlement entered a Palestinian farm and sat fire to a newly built chicken house. The damage totaled $12,500 for the 3,500 chickens and their food, as well as $100,000 for the building itself. The Palestinian owner of the chicken house sold his car and some of his land in order to buy this costly farm, it is now completely destroyed.

The farmer described the day this incident occurred, stating how he finished his work and went home, passing two Israeli military jeeps on the road. When he returned to the farm at 4am on Friday, he found his chicken farm burnt to the ground, all 3,500 chicks dead. The fire was started near a window of the farm, most likely started with gasoline. More…

"A Message of Peace" from the Village of Qaryut Met with Violence from the Israeli Army
The people of Qaryut began weekly demonstrations three weeks ago, due to the Israeli military’s decision to close the main road near to the village.

Yesterday, the 18th April, approximately 300 from the village, of which 100 were children, decided to come to the hill to pray rather than to march. Israeli soldiers arrived immediately, with one soldier yelling: “Go back home!” A resident of Qaryut responded; “Insh’allah [If God wills it], this is our home.”

The prayer began despite the provocative military presence on the hill, during the prayers Israeli soldiers surrounded the gathering, one solider removed a Palestinian flag from its place in the ground.

As prayers finished, one of the villagers declared to the army that it was their intention to leave the area, repeating over and over that they brought “a message of peace”.

However, within a few steps of the people’s return to the village, Israeli soldiers started shooting tear gas at their backs. Due to the rocky terrain, many were unable to get away from the tear gas that the soldiers continued to fire. 15 people had to be treated by paramedics due to several tear gas inhalation, however it was difficult to access those in need because of the difficult conditions underfoot. Stun grenades were also used extensively by the Israeli forces. More…

Sunday, April 20, 2014


If Jesus’ resurrection teaches us anything, it teaches us that death is not the final word. Death, imprisonment, torture—these are not the end of the story.

Safe in our fairy-tale country, we struggle to understand the message of the resurrection, but it is a powerful message of hope that Palestinians—Christian and Muslim—live every day.

“No oppression, no denial of rights can continue forever.” Dr. Saeb Erekat quoted Nelson Mandela in his recent message on Palestinian Prisoner Day:

[From Palestine News Network, April 17] The PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Saeb Erekat issued a press statement marking the Palestinian Prisoner Day, as follows:

"For Palestinians, having loved ones in prison is not the exception: it is something which has affected every Palestinian family. In the context of prolonged occupation, Israel- a foreign military power- has unlawfully imposed itself on the land of another people and has oppressed millions, in many varying ways. The plight of the prisoners reflects the plight of the Palestinian people as a whole.

A staggering 800,000 Palestinians have been arrested by Israeli forces since 1967. 5224 remain incarcerated today, including administrative, sick, female and children detainees. These numbers reflect one of the worst experiences of imprisonment in contemporary history, designed to break the will of an entire nation seeking freedom.

Israel has criminalized all forms of resistance, both armed and peaceful, and even political and civic engagement. The Palestinian leadership has chosen to resist through diplomatic and peaceful means, in order to achieve the Palestinian people's inalienable rights, as enshrined in international law. We now need to demonstrate to our people that this path leads to freedom and justice in an independent and democratic State of Palestine. Exist so that we can coexist.

The release of the Palestinian prisoners will be the first signal that freedom is on the way.

Now, we await the release of the remaining 30 Pre-Oslo prisoners still captive in occupation prisons. These are people who have been incarcerated for over 20 years. Karim Younes, the longest serving of these prisoners, has spent over 32 years of his life in Israeli jails.

Israel committed to releasing these prisoners as part of the Oslo Agreement in 1993, again in 1999 through the Sharm el-Sheikh agreement, and a third time in July 2013. In July last year, we agreed to postpone our accession to multilateral treaties and conventions for nine months in order to finally release the 104 Pre-Oslo prisoners. We fulfilled our commitment. Israel, yet again, did not.

Where else in the world could a State imprison the elected representatives of another country with such impunity? The national leader Marwan Barghouthi was the first Member of Parliament to be detained. April 15th 2014 marked the 12th anniversary of his abduction. There has been a total of 50 Palestinian parliamentarians in Israeli jails at one time or another, equivalent to over one third of the Palestinian Parliament. Eleven remain detained today, including the Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Ahmed Saadat.

The level of support gathered by the International campaign for the freedom of Marwan Barghouthi and all Palestinian prisoners, and the signing of the Robben Island Declaration by prominent international figures, including six Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, church leaders, artists, parliamentarians, human rights figures, trade unions, and thousands of citizens, sends a clear message that must be heard: freedom of the Palestinian prisoners and freedom of the Palestinian people will pave the way to peace. Photo: “Free Marwan” grafitti on the wall near Ramallah. 

Israel must choose between the pursuit of occupation and the pursuit of peace. Each settlement, each arrest, each violation, each refusal to abide by its commitments and obligations, shows that Israel is heading in the wrong direction. But history teaches us that justice prevails. We follow the example of Nelson Mandela and the people of South Africa. No oppression, no denial of rights can continue forever."

Gracious God, keep us strong in hope and steadfast in our struggle to set the prisoners free. Amen.

Read an interesting editorial about how Marwan Barghouti’s release could lead to peace and a stable Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Resurrection of our Lord, Vigil of Easter—Hebron

Tonight, at the Easter Vigil, we read the stories of our heritage—remembering where we have come from on this long spiritual journey. The Fourth Reading is from Exodus, and the story is one that Jewish faithful are also celebrating this week—their Passover, which began on Monday.

In Jewish homes across America, families sit down to the traditional Seder supper and recall how God rescued them from the Egyptians and reflect on those who are less fortunate, those who are still slaves.

In Hebron, a Palestinian city in the West Bank, however, the holiday is a call to political protest, as an estimated 7000 settlers come for “tours”, led by Israeli soldiers and border police.

On Thursday afternoon, Israeli soldiers closed the main road into Hebron to allow settlers access to the Tomb of Othniel Ben Knaz, which is located in the H1 (Palestinian) sector of Hebron. Residents of Hebron had their daily routines disrupted as settlers, guarded by Israeli troops, paraded through the Palestinian suq, harassing the shop owners and preventing any sales.

The checkpoint between the suq and the Mosque has been closed since Wednesday, preventing Muslim worshipers from entering and forcing schoolchildren to walk a long way around. Schools have closed earlier and the children are forced to walk through large groups of soldiers. Many children stayed home.

Photo shows schoolchildren in Hebron this week, passing the Israeli soldiers.

April 17 is also Prisoners’ Day for Palestinians, when they remember all the prisoners held in Israeli prisons. In Hebron families gathered outside the stadium to pray for imprisoned loved ones. The International Solidarity Movement reports, “Many brought pictures of their family members and friends, and the people of al-Khalil (Hebron), together with many organisations and political parties, were there to show their support for the prisoners.”

Israeli soldiers have fired stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear-gassed the crowds. Young Palestinians have been throwing stones and some have been injured. You can read the whole story on the ISM website link above.

Savior God, you hear the cries of the oppressed and you set them free. Be with all who are oppressed and in bondage today. As you brought the Israelites out of slavery, give these people courage to resist their oppression and hope for their future. And give us courage and steadfastness to loosen the chains we hold. Amen.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday—Stations of the Cross 10-14

Good Friday
Stations of the Cross

10Jesus is stripped
They took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. Jn19.23

This week, Israeli Defense Ministry Moshe Ya’alon sized control of 984 dunams of Bethlehem land for the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, declaring it “state land.” This piece of land surrounds private Palestinian land, which will now be inaccessible to its owners. The land includes the illegal outpost of Netiv Ha’avot.

11Jesus is nailed to the cross

Reading Ha’aretz, the Israeli newspaper today, I found the story of Fuad Shehadeh, who has been hospitalized for six weeks, following an attack by Israeli settlers. Shehadeh lives in a village near Nablus, in the West Bank. He went with his friend to prune some olive trees and they were attacked as they were leaving. They ran, but one of the settlers threw a metal rod and broke Shehadeh’s leg, which immobilized him. After being beaten further, the Israeli soldier standing watching called to the settlers, “Enough,” and they left. He has ten fractures, eight on his right leg and two in his left arm. He has bruises on his head and right arm. The police have not even interviewed him, even though he is now in a hospital in Tel Aviv, being treated for his injuries. His assault was not reported in Israeli media.
Photo: Fuad Shehadeh and his son Mohammed at Ichilov Hospital. The police haven't shown up to investigate.

12Jesus dies on the cross

Jesus died, refusing to cooperate in his trial or answer to his accusers. He also rejected violence, even healing the ear of the high priest’s slave injured by Peter. In the account in Luke, Jesus forgives the criminal hanging next to him.

In Kairos Palestine, Palestinian Christians “call on the people of Israel to be our partners in peace and not in the cycle of interminable violence. Let us resist evil together, the evil of occupation and the infernal cycle of violence.” (Kairos Palestine, 4.3)

13Jesus is taken down from the cross

…when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. (Jn19.33)

Take a moment for prayer.

14Jesus is laid in the tomb

Now there was a Garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. (Jn 19.41)

This entire narrative of Jesus’ passion takes place within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In the early years of the fourth century, the Emperor Constantine sent his mother Helena to find the holy sites and build churches. She investigated the places where pilgrims had been coming since the first century and chose the site for the Holy Sepulchre. Constantine built a church there to celebrate the resurrection. Geographically, it’s a very small space for such a large narrative. Visiting pilgrimage groups usually spend 30 minutes or so visiting the five stations that are located inside the church. 

Good Friday—Stations of the Cross, 5-9

Good Friday
Stations of the Cross

5—Simon helps carry the cross
Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases… Is 53.4

Who are the people today who help suffering people bear their burdens?

6—Veronica offers her veil to Jesus

Who are the bearers of the image of Jesus today?
I think of a Muslim—Farhan, elected mayor of Beit Ummar in 2006, in the first elections under the Palestinian Authority. Upon election he was immediately arrested by Israeli soldiers and imprisoned for being affiliated with Hamas. Sitting in his mother’s home, with his youngest son, Salah Ad-Din, on his lap, he told us, “Every good action, even if very small, gives me more hope—a hole for the light to pass through.” This Hamas leader told us, “I teach my sons and daughters to love, not hate; I give them the courage of love, not to hate. Love needs courage; hate does not.” But, he says, “love is stronger than hate.” He tells us this is what the prophet Mohammad taught: “Hate is very dangerous for the human being. War is easy; peace is hard.”

Photo: Farhan and Salah Ad-Din

7—Jesus falls the second time
He learned obedience through what he suffered Heb 5.8

Almost every young Palestinian man I have met has been arrested and served time in prison. Usually it is for throwing stones in a demonstration against the Israeli soldiers and tanks in their villages. They tell about the network of Palestinian elders in prison who taught them about non-violent resistance. In prison they have studied Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., so that when they are released, they are equipped to continue the resistance.
8—Jesus meets the weeping women

I think of Eran Efrati, the former Israeli soldier who was in Denver in February. He told the story of his gradual awakening to what Israel was really doing in the West Bank. One pivotal moment was in Hebron, when he heard a mother’s cry as she mourned her son’s death. The night before, in the confusion and darkness, her son had been killed by some19-year-old soldiers. When he heard her cry, he realized it was the cry of his grandmother, waking in the night with nightmares about her time in Auschwitz.

Photo of women weeping at the death of Arafat Jaradat, killed in Israeli custody, February, 2013.

9—Jesus falls the third time
All we like sheep have gone astray
We have all turned to our own way…
(Is 53.6)

By Station nine, I am despairing. Will Jesus’ suffering never end? Will the Palestinians’ suffering never end? The US supports Israel’s human rights violations with our tax dollars. As a country, we have lost our way. All we like sheep… It’s not like the swelling choruses of the Christmas oratorio. It is like carrying the cross and falling under its weight.

Good Friday—Stations of the Cross, 1-4

The Stations of the Cross offer a way for Christians to contemplate Jesus’ life, passion and death. The stations help us meditate on our own lives. What paths have we taken? How do our lives reflect Jesus’ teachings?

In writing these meditations, I am coming from a particular perspective on Jesus’ life. Jesus took a path of non-violent resistance to oppression and tyranny—the tyranny of the Roman Empire and the enforcement of Roman law by the Judean political and religious leaders. Jesus’ life was a message of hope for the Judeans living under Roman military rule and he died because he spoke up for those who were suffering and challenged the system of oppression.

Many Palestinians are living their lives on this same path Jesus took, and the Stations of the Cross reflect their suffering too. The texts are taken from the lessons for Good Friday—Isaiah 52.13-53.12; Psalm 22; Hebrews 4.14-16, 5.7-9 and10.26-25; John 18.1-19.42.

1—Jesus is condemned

“We have no king but the emperor” (Jn 19. 16)

Today there are 183 children in the Israeli Prison System, according to their own statistics, as recorded on B’Tselem’s website. Children are usually arrested for throwing stones. They are in the military court system; their parents are not allowed to see them; they do not have a lawyer. When they are being questioned, they are often told they can see their mothers when they give names of people in their village who are conspiring against Israel. This is a horrible choice for children to have to make.

2—Christ receives his cross

Carrying his cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. (Jn19.17)

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is built over the site where Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection are believed to have taken place. The location is considered likely because Christians have venerated this site since 66 AD. Golgotha is a large rock that lies under the church and is visible in several places inside. Long lines of pilgrims wait to touch the rock in one of the chapels. As you can imagine, the crowds in the holy places are immense during Holy Week and Easter—pilgrims come from all over the world, but Christians who live in Bethlehem, a distance of about six miles, are unable to get permits to visit and Israeli soldiers block many of the entrances to the Old City, so it is difficult for anyone to be there on this holy day.

3—Jesus falls for the first time

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears… (Heb 5.7)

In Palestine news media, stories like this one happen every day…

Ramallah, April 10, 2014—A four-month-old baby was injured when an Israeli air strike hit meters away from his home in central Gaza.

Photo: Mohammad al-Tatar, with his father Tamer. The four-month-old baby received a head wound When an Israeli airstrike hit nearby.

Mohammad al-Tater from Al-Meghraqa was left “bleeding profusely” after the force of the explosion smashed windows in the house and scattered shrapnel throughout the bedrooms.

The attack came at 1:45 am on April 4 and struck a piece of farmland approximately 100 meters (328 feet) from the house. Full story…

4—Jesus meets his mother

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Jn 19.26-27

When children are arrested by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, the soldiers ride into the village in armored jeeps around 2 am, pile out of the vehicle and bang on the door of the home. I have heard and read this same story many times. They sometimes break down the door. They order the whole family outside, including even the babies. They beat the child right there, in front of his younger siblings and his father and his mother. Then they put him in one of the vehicles, often in his sleepwear, no jacket or shoes. And they take him to a nearby police station, which is usually in an Israeli settlement. And his mother cannot see him. She spends long hours, sometimes days, finding out where they have taken him.
Photo: Fourteen-year-old Ibrahim's parents, Mohammad and Sulha (right and center), tells us the story of his arrest when we visited Beit Ummar in 2010.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Maundy Thursday, John—With Love as Its Logic

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,
If you have love for one another.” Jn13.35

I think that if I endured the daily oppression that is part of every Palestinian’s life, I would be bitter and angry, depressed and hopeless. But the Palestinians I have met have instead chosen to be resourceful (like the firemen in yesterday’s post), creative and non-judgmental. They are resigned to things as they are, but also hopeful, knowing for certain that the occupation of their land and lives will not go on forever.

Whether Christian or Muslim, their faith in God’s promise of abundant life sustains them, gives them courage and hope. When I first went to Palestine and saw the harsh reality of the wall and the way Israel is continuing to take everything from them, I thought they would hate me for supporting Israel with my taxes.

But I have never experienced any hatred—only love. This looks like discipleship to me.

In 2009, Palestinian Christians wrote a letter to the world, telling of their situation, their suffering and the injustice still being done to them. They called it “Kairos Palestine: A Moment of Truth.” They stated their situation boldly and honestly and asked the world to take notice and change the situation, especially the US, which supports Israel with $3B per year.

They expose the occupation—the theft of land, the arrests without charges, the brutal treatment of prisoners, the violence against peaceful protesters, the permit system that does not allow them to leave their towns—and they call this an evil and a sin. They say Christians are called to resist these evils—a resistance “with love as its logic.”

They also speak to Muslims and Jews—with love. Their message to the Muslims is “a message of love and living together and a call to reject fanaticism and extremism.” Their message to Jews is, “Even though we have fought one another in the recent past and still struggle today, we are able to love and live together. We can organize our political life, with all its complexity, according to the logic of this love and its power.”

Then they add a caveat: “…after ending the occupation and establishing justice.”

This week, as we remember Jesus’ last days and hear the stories, showing all the reasons why he was killed, I think of these Palestinians, struggling to end their oppression, resisting the evil they are enduring. Bringing love to their situation is truly a sign of God’s presence and the work of the Holy Spirit.

They call on us to, “stand alongside the oppressed and preserve the word of God as good news for all rather than to turn it into a weapon with which to slay the oppressed.”

Not everyone can travel to Palestine or become totally immersed in the Palestinian narrative as I have, but we can all look around us and see the injustice in our own towns, in our own country, and do what they ask, “stand alongside the oppressed and preserve the word of God as good news for all.”

God of love, in these days we have come to know you through your son Jesus. As we wash one another's feet tonight and remember his ministry of love and his sacrifice, help us to be his disciples. Amen.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday in Holy Week, Hebrews - Running the race

Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us… Heb 12.1

“We leave without expecting to return” – meeting the firefighters of Gaza

Each day during Lent, I read the texts for the day and I read news from Israel/Palestine. It is truly terrifying how the stories are linked. God certainly knows our frailties. Today I’d like you to read a story from Gaza—a place we often think is beyond hope. These emergency workers restore my hope.

As you read, please remember that Gaza’s problems are caused by Israel’s occupation—Israeli soldiers have total control over everything that is brought into or take out of Gaza. It’s not a problem of money, but of military action, that prevents Gaza from functioning. And your tax dollars provide $3B in US foreign aid to Israel, which funds its military.

From the International Solidarity Movement Gaza:
“Yesterday I visited the Civil Defence Directorate, which provides the fire and rescue service in Gaza, as well as some emergency ambulances and marine rescue. These guys have a reputation as being fearless, as well as being the most vulnerable to attack during times of war. In the 2008-9 war, 13 Civil Defence workers were killed in the line of duty, with 31 injured. This includes medics killed in their ambulances by snipers and firefighters injured by secondary drone attacks while rescuing victims of the initial strikes. These risks are additional to jobs which are considered dangerous even in peaceful countries like the UK and USA….

Let’s start with a familiar theme in Gazan emergency services: shortages. After meeting with the Red Crescent and Department of Health, looking around a few dozen ambulances, an Emergency Department and interviewing a variety of health care workers, I’ve seen the same issues occurring endlessly. No equipment, limited or no drugs, no electricity, expensive fuel, training problems and unacceptable risk in times of conflict. The impact of each issue varies according to the service (for example, the electricity cuts are a huge problem for Al-Shifa hospital, whereas the fuel crisis has more of an impact on the emergency services) but the end result is the same – hamstrung services and an impossible situation for managers and workers.”

Read more….The article goes on to describe the imaginative and creative ways the emergency workers cope with the situation in Gaza. It is an amazing story of hope. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
God chose what is low and despised in the world,
Things that are not
To reduce to nothing things that are. 1 Cor 1.27-28

Non-violent resistance has proven to be an effective tool for the weak—no expensive tanks or weapons are needed. And when the world sees helmeted, M-16-toting soldiers in combat boots piling out of tanks to attack unarmed marchers carrying protest banners, we are all ashamed. It worked for Gandhi and for the Civil Rights Movement.

Palestinians study Gandhi and Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela—some do this in prison, where the older prisoners teach the younger ones.

The non-violent movement is strong in Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank. In November, our group of Interfaith Peacebuilders visited with leaders of the weekly Bi’lin and Nabi Saleh demonstrations. We saw the wall where it is built on their olive groves and farmland. And we saw the towering apartment blocks built on their land, which the wall supposedly protects.

I like to check with local news sources to find out what is happening in Palestine. The Middle East Media Center works to present news from the point of view of Palestinians. Their report for last week:

Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center,, for April 5th to the 11th, 2014. While Israeli attacks targeting the West Bank and Gaza leave four injure this week, the Palestinian President formally signed up to the Geneva Conventions this week. These stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.

The Nonviolence Report

Let’s begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities organized in the West Bank. Three civilians were injured and seven were kidnapped on Friday, as Israeli soldiers attacked the non-violent protests organized in West Bank villages. IMEMC’s Anna Ferensowicz has more:

Protests were organized on Friday in the village of Kufer Qadoum in the northern West Bank, the villages of al Nabi Saleh, Bil’in, Nil’in, both in the central West Bank, and Al Ma’ssara village in southern west Bank.
Two civilians were kidnapped and many others suffered effects of tear gas inhalation when troops attacked the weekly anti-wall and anti-settlements protest at the village of Kufer Qadoum.

Local residents said that troops attacked protesters before leaving the village and fired tear gas into nearby residents’ homes causing damage.

In the central West Bank, Israeli troops used tear gas and sound bombs as well as chemical water to attack the weekly anti-wall and anti-settlements protests at villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin, and the nearby village of al Nabi Saleh.

In Bil’in and Ni’lin, Israeli soldiers attacked the protesters as soon as they reached the gate of the wall that separates local farmers from their lands. Many protesters were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation at both locations. Meanwhile seven residents were kidnapped and one international supporter was injured at the village of Al Nabi Saleh. Troops attacked the unarmed protesters before even leaving the village. Later soldiers stormed the village and fired tear gas into residents’ homes causing damage. Meanwhile Israeli troops attacked the villagers of al Ma’ssara and their supporters at the village entrance. The soldiers then forced them back using rifle butts and batons. No injuries were reported.
—For IMEMC News this is Anna Ferensowicz.

Read more of the report:

Israeli occupation authorities hindered a Palm Sunday procession, on Sunday, led by Palestinian Christians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in Jerusalem, by failing to give all the necessary permits, depriving permit owners of full access, and knowingly distributing permits in such an order as to cause participants to miss the event.

Gracious God, in this holiest of weeks, we are reminded that you have stood firmly with the weak and with those who suffer. Help us to use our strength to stand with the weak, to end violence and bring peace, in the Middle East and wherever we find ourselves. Amen.