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Action Palestine - our partner for University twinnings

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Twinning with Palestine

The Britain - Palestine Twinning Network - "promoting twinning and friendship links"

Activities for the network in 2011 include * Women's visit - March * Twinning Conference in Palestine - April * Visits to Palestine April and October * Conference in Liverpool - November.

Churches twinned with or working in Palestine

On this page; Journal Letters / Speaking tours / Christian Zionism / How Christian leaders are treated by the Israelis

Other pages: Church and religious groups twinning with Palestine

Article - Right to enter; Israeli authorities deny entry to Clergyman

Book about building a relationship with a sister parish

“Israel is strangling Bethlehem - Tourists are told “go at your own risk”; and no Israelis are allowed to come to Bethlehem, so there is total harassment, but Bethlehem depends on tourism. The noose is getting tighter around Bethlehem and Bethlehem is becoming more and more isolated. Over 95% of its inhabitants are not able to visit Jerusalem or parts of Israel. These people have difficulty visiting other cities in the West Bank and cannot travel to Gaza. So the Palestinians are being separated from themselves”.

Bishara Awad - Principle of Bethlehem Bible College

Archbishop Desmond Tutu's address to the North American Sabeel Conference (PDF file)

Appeal - Every year Wi'am (The Palestinian Conflict Resolution Centre) provides the opportunity for Christmas celebration and the restoration of hope, through its Christmas Smile Project. This program reaches out to children, who are often most affected by the general situation, and tries to restore joy in the season. The project usually attracts around one thousand children and their families in Bethlehem and the neighboring cities. Part of the Christmas program is to give every child a small educational gift of 10 dollars in value. In order for this project to take place, we need the support of your churches, families, philanthropist, and social committees. Through prayer, warm thoughts, and financial support, you can help hundreds of children and their families have a joyful experience at Christmas. www.alaslah.org

There are a number of activities undertaken by Churches in support of the Palestinian people. Few churches are actually twinned with Palestinian Communities, but we have had enquiries. Christian communities in Palestine are very keen to find partners in the UK. If your local Church is interested in building links with a Palestinian Community please contact us.

- Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies. Siraj is a non governmental organization based in Beit Sahour, Palestine. Siraj aims to create links in between the Palestinian people with people from around the globe through travel programs, interfaith, ecumenical dialogue and culture and youth exchange programs. Through its local links, Siraj has been able to work directly with the local community in the Bethlehem area and around the West Bank. www.sirajcenter.org

Christian Pilgrimage for Peace. December 28th 2008- January 10th 2009. The Christmas Pilgrimage for Peace is an annual program that gives people from all over the world the opportunity to experience oriental Christmas in Bethlehem celebrated with local families. Moreover, gives participants that chance to more educated about the pledge for Justice and Peace. The Christmas Pilgrimage for Peace, will enrich its participants with the culture of the land, through living and sharing the lives of the people of the land.

One of the best ways of finding out more is to arrange a meeting with an Ecumenical Accompanier (EA) who has recently served in Israel-Palestine. www.eappi.org

The World Council of Churches' Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) frequently sends Ecumenical Accompaniers to Palestine.

Vacancy - there is a vacancy for an Ecumenical Accompanier during summer for 3 months in the Occupied Territories.

Anyone interested should please get in touch. A former Accompanier writes, "I was in Abu Dis/Sawahreh during autumn 2004 on such a placement. Life changing - if you dare...."

Enclosed is the set of Journal Letters from the team of Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) serving in Israel-Palestine until May 2006.

David Mowat details the work being done to resist the expansion of the Etzion Block of illegal Israeli settlements southwest of Bethlehem. www.quaker.org.uk

Ann Wright hears about children who have the responsibility of taking younger relatives to visit their fathers in Israeli jails, because the Israeli authorities have denied visiting rights to all adult members of their families. www.quaker.org.uk

There is another piece by Ann Wright in which she discovers the economic implications of aid being withdrawn by Western governments following the election of Hamas, in the West Bank city of Tulkarem. This piece is published on the Guardian Weblog and can be found by clicking here: commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/ann_wright/2006/05/tulkarem

The weblog allows for others to comment on this piece and there are many comments made already - some more constructive than others! You are free to add to the discussion if you would like to.

Christian groups building links with Palestine

- www.churches-together.net. Search for "Palestine". www.sabeel.org. Sabeel is an ecumenical grassroots liberation theology movement among Palestinian Christians. Inspired by the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, this liberation theology seeks to deepen the faith of Palestinian Christians, to promote unity among them toward social action.

- www.hcef.org

HCEF is committed to maintaining the presence and growth of the Arab Christians in the Holy Land, and developing bonds of solidarity between the Arab Christians and the other Christians in the World.

The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, Inc. (HCEF) is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that provides support to the Christians of the Holy Land through a variety of programs.

- www.interfaithpeaceinitiative.com.

The Interfaith Peace Initiative embraces three principles: respect for all faiths, adherence to international law (including UN Resolutions), and support for the equal human rights of all peoples. IPI is open to people of every faith who subscribe to these principles

- The Lutheran Church in the Holy Land. www.holyland-lutherans.org

Speaking engagements

Recently returned Ecumenical Accompaniers are always available for speaking engagements. A list of forthcoming meetings is below in case any are in your area. Please advertise any local meetings within your networks. Please contact us if you are interested in organising your own meeting to hear from a recently returned EA. Venues

The Early Day Motion

We would like to ask you to write to your elected representative in Parliament.

Ask them to sign Early Day Motion 596 (S2M-3103 in the Scottish Parliament):

'That this House welcomes the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme of the World Council of Churches in arranging for human rights observers to work in Israel and Palestine; encourages Her Majesty's Government to work with intergovernmental organisations to establish a human rights observation force in the Occupied Territories, and to press for an end to the occupation in a just and peaceful solution to the conflict on the basis of UN resolutions and the international rule of law.'

You can find out who your elected representatives are, how to contact them, and whether they've signed already, on the internet at www.writetothem.com.

CHECKPOINTS AND CHANCES

Katharine Von Shubert (nee Maycock) went to the West Bank in October 2002 as an observer on the Quaker programme which provided a foundation for the current EAPPI in Britain and Ireland. She has written a book on her experiences during that time and her subsequent stay in the region with another organisation. Checkpoints and Chances is an illuminating collection of stories from Palestinians and Israelis from all walks of life and is available by mail order from Methodist Publishing House at www.mph.org.uk for £9.

YOUR CONTACT DETAILS

Please notify us if any of your details have changed otherwise we will continue sending you these Journal Letters. You can contact us by email or call 020 7663 1144.

Thank you very much for your continued interest in and support for the work of the EAPPI.

In peace,

Lynda MacInnes & Teresa Parker

EAPPI Programme Co-ordinators

QPSW, Friends House,

173 Euston Road

London NW1 2BJ, UK.

020 7663 1144

www.quaker.org.uk/eappi

WITNESSING REALITY - Ecumenical Accompaniers recently returned from Israel-Palestine speak about their experiences on the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme. For more information, look at www.twinningwithpalestine.net

Statement by the Patriarch and Local Heads of Churches in Jerusalem

"THE JERUSALEM DECLARATION ON CHRISTIAN ZIONISM"

³Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.² (Matthew 5:9)

Christian Zionism is a modern theological and political movement that embraces the most extreme ideological positions of Zionism, thereby becoming detrimental to a just peace within Palestine and Israel.  The Christian Zionist program provides a worldview where the Gospel is reduced to an ideology of empire, colonialism, and militarism. In its extreme form, it places an emphasis on apocalyptic events leading to the end of history rather than living Christ¹s love and justice today.

We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as a false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation.

We further reject the contemporary alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organizations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States that are presently imposing their unilateral pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine.  This inevitably leads to unending cycles of violence that undermine the security of all peoples of the Middle East and the rest of world.

We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these policies as they advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war rather than the gospel of universal love, redemption and reconciliation taught by Jesus Christ. Rather than condemn the world to the doom of Armageddon we call upon everyone to liberate themselves from ideologies of militarism and occupation. Instead, let them pursue the healing of the nations!

We call upon Christians in Churches on every continent to pray for the Palestinian and Israeli people, both of whom are suffering as victims of occupation and militarism.  These discriminative actions are turning Palestine into impoverished ghettos surrounded by exclusive Israeli settlements.  The establishment of the illegal settlements and the construction of the Separation Wall on confiscated Palestinian land undermines the viability of a Palestinian state and peace and security in the entire region.

We call upon all Churches that remain silent, to break their silence and speak for reconciliation with justice in the Holy Land.

Therefore, we commit ourselves to the following principles as an alternative way:

·  We affirm that all people are created in the image of God. In turn they are called to honor the dignity of every human being and to respect their inalienable rights.

·  We affirm that Israelis and Palestinians are capable of living together in peace, justice and security.

·  We affirm that Palestinians are one people, both Muslim and Christian. We reject all attempts to subvert and fragment their unity.

·  We call upon all people to reject the narrow world view of Christian Zionism and other ideologies that privilege one people at the expense of others.

·  We are committed to non-violent resistance as the most effective means to end the illegal occupation in order to attain a just and lasting peace.

·  With urgency we warn that Christian Zionism and its alliances are justifying colonization, apartheid, and empire-building.

God demands that justice be done.  No enduring peace, security, or reconciliation is possible without the foundation of justice.  The demands of justice will not disappear.  The struggle for justice must be pursued diligently and persistently but non-violently.

"What does the Lord require of you, to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)

This is where we take our stand.  We stand for justice. We can do no other.  Justice alone guarantees a peace that will lead to reconciliation and a life of security and prosperity for all the peoples of our land.  By standing on the side of justice, we open ourselves to the work of peace -- and working for peace makes us children of God.

"God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation." (2 Cor 5:19)

His Beatitude Patriarch Michel Sabbah,

Latin Patriarch, Jerusalem

Archbishop Swerios Malki Mourad,

Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem

Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal,

Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Bishop Munib Younan,

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land

August 22, 2006

How Christian leaders are treated by the Israelis

Bishop Riah denied his human rights at Tel Aviv Airport

Dear Friends,

I regret coming to you again today, again with a story of hateful behaviour, but I believe that it is a story I am to tell.

I was scheduled to leave Tel Aviv on Swiss Air flight number 255D at 15:55 this afternoon. I proceeded as usual to the baggage and security clearance area. After asking me both relevant and non-relevant security questions, the young woman security officer concluded by questioning why I did not have an Israeli visa even though I was carrying an Israeli passport!!

Then she let me put my bags on the conveyor belt so that they could be screened, after decorating both bags and my passport with blue and green stickers. Then I saw her rushing to a supervisor who ordered the belt stopped. Approaching me he asked, "English or Hebrew?” I responded, "Please, Arabic”. Arabic is one of two official languages of the State of Israel and I knew that it was my right in this "oasis of democracy” to make that official request.

Because I refused to speak other than Arabic, because I informed them that I am an Arab-Palestinian-Christian, and because down deep I knew that their behaviour was designed to humiliate me, I insisted in conversing with them in the language I master which is Arabic, my mother tongue. At that point, Tal Vardi, the Security Duty Manager also showed up and insisted on speaking in any language other than Arabic. I refused. An Arab from Nazareth who happened to be present offered to translate when Mr. Vardi turned his back and turned toward me only to say, "You will not fly today!".

I called Mr. Caesar Marjieh, Director of the Department for Christian Communities who tried his best to assist me, but he did not succeed. I waited two hours thinking that someone with enough courtesy and good judgment would come, but to no avail. I had no alternative but to return to Jerusalem and inform my friends who were expecting me in Geneva today and London tomorrow of the situation. Later in the week I will file a suit in the High Court against the Security Duty Manager and his staff for violating my civil rights without cause.

My indignation is not for me, but it is for all people in occupied territories who face this kind of oppression and humiliation every day of their lives. This happened to an Anglican Bishop with special identification given him by the Department of the Interior and the Ministry of Religious Affairs. What do you imagine happens to others?

In, with, and through Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Riah H. Abu El-Assal

Bishop

The Diocese of Jerusalem

Christian Town in Palestine- www.taybehmunicipality.org

Useful book for Churches

Bridges of Faith: Building a Relationship With a Sister Parish serves as the ultimate source and guidebook for members of churches, schools and other faith communities who would like to establish a faith-based partnership with a "twin" parish in another region or country. Bridges of Faith provides detailed accounts of how individuals and parishes have became involved in and initiated their own partnerships and what they have experienced in these fruitful and spirit-filled relationships. With this easy-to-read and helpful guidebook, anyone, anywhere can begin to build a bridge of faith and hope today.

Bridges of Faith: Building a Relationship with a Sister Parish - £13.78

Useful website - www.richwiles.com

Contact us

Events in 2011

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Women's Tour March 2011

Conference Palestine April 2011

Conference - Liverpool November 2011

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Help us develop the Twinning with Palestine network

Group Membership - Supporters

Join the Twinning with Palestine Groups facebook page for the latest news and events. www.facebook.com

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Please support our work - click here

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Would you like to visit Palestine? We regularly organise tours to Palestine. Book for the October 2010 tour now!

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Greeting Cards (Eid / Xmas)

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Gallery

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The Israeli Apartheid wall "security barrier"

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Twinning Banner

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Zaytoun Olive Oil

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Getting there - Airlines activists use

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