Archive

July 20th, 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 20 July 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 20 July 2017

Pray for freedom and protection for three young men at risk of deportation from Lesbos, Greece, who have been on a hunger strike for over three weeks.

Today, we would like to carry in our prayers Amir Hampay from Iran and Hussein Kozhin and Aresh Bahroz from Iraq who Greek police has held in detention for nearly three months while preparing to deport them from Lesbos. Amir as a political freedom activist faces decades of imprisonment, torture and, very likely, an execution by hanging, if returned to Iran. 23 days ago the three friends began a hunger strike. They ask for political protection and reversal of the deportation order. Their health condition is deteriorating.

In act of solidarity and love, Amir's brother Arash Hampay has also begun a hunger strike in a public square of Mytilene, the capital of Lesbos. Today marks the 22nd day of his hunger strike. Arash asks for a release of his brother and friends.

CPT Mediterranean team on Lesbos accompanies Arash. Other people, including the CPT team on Lesbos, are also joining in solidarity with Amir, Hussein and Aresh by doing a symbolic 24-hours-long fast.

Please consider joining as well.

Arash and a woman holding pictures and a solidarity banner

July 19th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) A week in photos July 11-17

A week of occupation in photos: July 11 - July 17
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Prayers Controlled 

Pictured here: Several Palestinian women, children, and men wait to be allowed access through a checkpoint that leads to al-Ibrahimi Mosque for Friday noon prayers in al-Khalil. Many seeking to pass through were subject to body searches, ID checks, and bag searches, typical of the control Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) have over the Old City and al-Ibrahimi Mosque. Though Palestinians experience this control every week, tensions were particularly high due to the events in Jerusalem earlier that morning: three Palestinian men and two Israeli Police officers had been killed at the al-Aqsa Mosque, resulting in Israeli forces closing the al-Aqsa compound for Friday prayers and thousands of Palestinians being denied entry to pray. Al-Aqsa was not reopened until Sunday, and only with the addition of metal detectors at the gates and much of the Old City in Jerusalem still closed. Many Palestinians responded by refusing to enter through the metal detectors and praying in the streets instead. 

(July 14, 2017)

July 17th

PALESTINE REFLECTION: Three stories of throwing

CPTnet

17 July 2017

PALESTINE REFLECTION: Three stories of throwing

by Kathy Moorhead Thiessen

In March 2017, I spent 10 days in Hebron and observed three throwing situations that showed a microcosm of the occupation in that Palestinian city. Hebron, a major city in the southern West Bank, is where some 800 Jewish settlers, protected by hundreds of Israeli soldiers, have moved into the old city, among the Palestinian population.

I was there with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) a faith-based organization that has teams in Colombia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Canada and Hebron, Palestine. The Palestine team, which began in 1995, supports Palestinian-led, nonviolent, grassroots resistance to the Israeli occupation and the unjust structures that uphold it. Some of their activities are documenting the treatment of school children passing through military checkpoints and of Palestinians going to Friday prayers at Ibrahimi Mosque. CPT team members also attend to calls from Palestinian families who are harassed by Israeli settlers.

Shuhada Street in Hebron, once a vibrant market road that is now forbidden to all Palestinians, was the route for a parade marking the Jewish festival of Purim. Israeli settlers were welcome to walk there. Music, laughter, costumes and much wine added to the celebration, as they commemorated the courage of Queen Esther and the buffoonery of the evil Haman.

Israeli soldiers are arresting a Palestinian boy

Photo: Israeli Border Police detains a Palestinian boy who threw a stone at the reinforced checkpoint.

July 13th

Prayers for Peacemakers. 13 July 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 13 July 2017

Thanksgiving for the suspension of eviction and prayers for further protection of El Guayabo community.  

Two weeks ago the CPT Colombia team asked for a worldwide prayer support for the El Guayabo community that CPT has accompanied since 2013. The local municipal court issued an order to evict 11 out of 150 families from the land that has sustained their lives for over 30 years. Today, we would like to express our joyful gratitude for the wonderful news of the seemingly impossible turning into reality. Just days before the scheduled eviction, which appeared to be inevitable, the Inspector General and Public Advocate offices in Bogotá warned that the human rights of the residents of El Guayabo would be at high risk of violation, and thus on the basis of the Colombian constitution suspended the eviction.

Let us celebrate with the members of El Guayabo community that they are able to breathe more freely now. Let us give thanks to the Almighty for bringing about this miracle. Let us hold members of El Guayabo in our prayers as they continue the process of resistance and liberation from the local armed actors who want their land and will likely plan to retaliate.  

Read more about this joyful victory of El Guayabo.   

El Guayabo people stand with banners

Photo Credit: Marcos Cualbonk.

July 11th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) A week in photos July 4 -10

 

Access Denied  

Pictured here: One of two new checkpoints under construction in the neighbourhood of Tel Rumeida. Once these checkpoints are completed, Palestinians will face even greater restrictions of movement, further denying their freedom to move easily for work, school, or even visiting family and friends. A checkpoint is a way that Israeli Occupying Forces attempt to control daily life in occupied Al-Khalil, in this case building a concrete, permanent barrier in which Palestinians will be harassed, ID checked, and body searched daily.    

(July 6, 2017)

July 10th

COLOMBIA: El Guayabo Eviction Suspended


CPTnet

10 July 2017

COLOMBIA: El Guayabo Eviction Suspended

Last week, the eviction ordered for July 5 in El Guayabo was suspended after the Inspector General and Public Advocate offices in Bogotá warned that the human rights of the residents of El Guayabo would be at high risk of violation.

In January, the local court in Puerto Wilches, the municipal center for El Guayabo, ruled in favor of Rodrigo LĂłpez Henao, in his claim to ownership of the San Felipe parcel of land of which 150 families have been dependent on for the last 30 years. While the residents of El Guayabo were only notified of the eviction on June 30th they have been living with the potential threat of eviction since the ruling, a repetition of the violent and traumatic eviction of the local teacher in June 2014.

Victims of the Colombian armed conflict are guaranteed certain rights under the constitution to prevent a violation of their fundamental rights. The letter sent by the Land delegates of the Inspector General and Public Advocate offices that was addressed to the judge who made the ruling, and the Police Inspector – the public office that enforces evictions – argued that the residents of El Guayabo “have not been guaranteed their right to due process.” If the eviction were to be enforced, the municipal authorities would have to first comply with a list of eight prerequisites pertaining to procedures that guarantee the human rights of persons affected by the armed conflict as required by the Constitutional Court ruling T239/13.

On July 4th, two members of the community visited the Police Inspector’s office in Puerto Wilches to acquire a written statement declaring the suspension of the eviction. The first statement with which they were provided justified the suspension due to the lack of an adequate riot police personnel. Only upon insistence by the farmers was the declaration amended to acknowledge the receipt of official correspondence from Bogotá to suspend the eviction because enforcing it would violate their human rights by omission for not following through with the “procedures of eviction.”

Family in El Guayabo

Photo credit: Caldwell Manners

July 7th

PALESTINE AND USA REFLECTION: The Struggle to Breathe; state policies and lethal violence target Palestinian people and black US American communities

CPTnet

7 July 2017

PALESTINE AND USA REFLECTION: The Struggle to Breathe; state policies and lethal violence target Palestinian people and black US American communities

by Rachelle Friesen 

Oppression chokes, squeezing communities until breath becomes more and more difficult. It displaces people from their land, pushes people into low-income neighbourhoods where folks struggle to survive in markets of high-unemployment, and contains people through mass incarceration. In targeted communities every day’s existence becomes a battleground to regain breath. 

This is acutely felt in the black community in the United States. The unemployment rate for African Americans is 8.8 percent, double rate of what it is for whites. One in three black men can expect to go to prison in their life time. A black man is 5.1 times more likely to be incarcerated than a white man. In 2016 the police killed more than 250 black people in the USA. 

In Palestine, there is a similar struggle for existence as Israeli policies of displacement push and confine Palestinians into extremely crowded zones. Israeli settlements expand and Palestinian land shrinks, strangling opportunities for farmers. There are 7,000 Palestinians in Israeli detention as one in four Palestinian men will spend time in prison. Walls, checkpoints, and settler-bypass roads contain and threaten communities. Meanwhile in Gaza, one of the most densely populated places on earth, Palestinians are caged while facing a barrage of bombings and shootings from the Israeli Military on a frequent basis.

Struggle to breathe in USA and Palestine

July 6th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) A week in photos June 27 - July 3

 AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) A week in photos June 27 - July 3

 

Another Delayed Journey  

Pictured here: Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) stop and search vehicles in a Palestinian neighbourhood, causing a backup of cars trying to pass through. During a period of 1 hour and 20 minutes, 30 cars were stopped and searched. Several vehicles were held for 10-15 minutes each and at least 2 people were made to exit their vehicles and were body searched. This temporary or "flying checkpoint" is one example of the constant restriction of movement the IOF imposes on Palestinians in occupied Al-Khalil, preventing them from moving freely throughout the city. To read more about restricted movement across Palestine, click here

(June 27, 2017)

July 5th

Prayers for Peacemakers, 5 July 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 5 July 2017

In the shadow of big national anniversaries of Canada and the USA, let us remember in our prayers all Indigenous peoples of the Turtle island and their struggle and pray for the CPT Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Team and its partners.    

This week two countries on the Turtle island celebrate important anniversaries of their existence as sovereign states: 150 years since the creation of Canadian confederation and 241 years since the declaration of independence and formation of the United States of America. The grandiose patriotic celebrations and media coverage rarely remember the impacts of these historic events on the Indigenous peoples who had lived on and cared for these lands and nature for thousands of years. 

Today, let us remember in our prayers the Indigenous nations of the Turtle island who “official histories" have attempted to ignore, erase and silence. Let us pray for the descendants of settlers, who built their country on genocide and land appropriation, because they (and we) are given an opportunity to learn about the past in order to understand the presence. Let us ask the Creator to lead us on the path of transformation to become good allies and partners of future change. Let us pray for the CPT Indigenous Peoples Solidarity team and all their partners who play a pivotal role in these efforts.

Decolonization Road sign 

July 3rd

CPT INTERNATIONAL REFLECTION: We don’t have to soldier on; grief is part of Christian peacemaking.

CPTnet

3 July 2017

CPT INTERNATIONAL REFLECTION: We don’t have to soldier on; grief is part of Christian peacemaking.

by Sarah Thompson and Tim Nafziger

Michael J. Sharp was a close friend. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) he was a Mennonite witness, scholar and peacemaker. Over five years, first with Mennonite Central Committee and then with the United Nations (UN) group of experts, he cultivated relationships of trust and respect with people who were experiencing dreadful violence, exploitation because of government corruption, and the oppressive impact of generations of corporate-colonial resource extraction. His teamwork there included demobilizing armed groups, investigating human rights abuses, and reporting to the UN Security Council towards their goal of creating the conditions for peace in the Great Lakes region of Africa.

MJ Sharp with CPTers Sarah Thompson and Jonathan Brenneman
                                                                  MJ Sharp in the middle with Sarah Thompson and CPTer Jonathan Brenneman