Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sabeel Young Adults have had a busy month

For those of you who have participated in our Young Adult Conference, you've already had a chance to encounter some of the awesome participants in our local Sabeel young adult programs. We want to keep all of you updated on the sorts of young adult programming that is happening here in Palestine and Israel.

The Sabeel young adults have had a busy month. As the month of Ramadan came to a close, members of the young adult program and the women's program were guests at the house of the Al Kurd family. Half of the Al Kurd house, located in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem, has been taken over by a group of radical Israeli settlers. This takeover is part of a larger plan to push Palestinian inhabitants of Jerusalem out and to build a large settlement complex in the heart of East Jerusalem. (Participants of the 2008 young adult conference visited the Al Kurd house for a press conference). Members of Sabeel broke the fast with the Al Kurd family and then heard the family's story, including incidents of vandalism, harassment, and attempts to entrap the family by leaving purses and guns by their doors. There was also traditional Palestinian poetry and music. (For more on the Al Kurd family, see this article by EAPPI).

The young adults have also participated with the local Syrian Christian community in a cultural celebration held by the community and have begun going together on Sundays to the worship services of different churches in Jerusalem. They have prayed at the Syrian Orthodox church and the Latin Catholic church so far. This continuing ecumenical outreach is one of the most important aspects of the work of Sabeel's young adults.

Other recent activities have included a camping and cultural activity at the Nassar family farm, the Tent of Nations, which is threatened by the encroachment of illegal settlements. Participants shared special stories from a variety of cultural backgrounds. The young adults also gathered at the Sabeel office for a movie on interfaith understanding.

Most recently, 35 young people from Nazareth, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem traveled to Hebron to participate in the olive harvest. The olive harvest is central to Palestinian economy and culture, but tragically, many Palestinian farmers cannot get to their fields due to land confiscation, military bases, settler harassment, or the Wall.

The young adult group worked alongside members of a family whose olive trees are threatened by settlers in Hebron. Along with members of an Israeli peace group, they were able to pick olives together for several hours before settlers began threatening the group. After a confrontation with a journalist and a member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams, the Israeli military arrived on the scene and declared the area a closed military zone, thus preventing the family from continuing their harvest. You can read more about this incident as reported by CPT.

Next weekend, the Sabeel young adult group will continue its participation in the olive harvest by picking olives at the Garden of Gethsemane.

In all of these activities, Sabeel young adults attempt to break down walls of division in order to be living witnesses to the love and justice of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Event in Toronto Area

For any friends of Sabeel in the Toronto area who might be interested:

The Near East Cultural and Educational Foundation
presents the 2nd Annual James Graff Memorial Lecture

The Israel Lobby & Middle East Peace
Guest Speaker: Dr. John Mearsheimer

Dr. John Mearsheimer will speak about the Israel Lobby's push to create a special relationship between the United States and Israel and its detrimental effect on US foreign policy and prospects for peace in the Middle East. He will also address the significant influence of Israel lobbies in Canada and Europe.

Sunday November 2, 2008
3:30 pm to 6:00 pm
Trinity-St. Paul's United Church - 427 Bloor St. W
(just west of Spadina) - Toronto
$10 (adult) - $5 (student)

Tickets will be available at the door.

For advance tickets or more info e-mail NECEF at

Dr. John Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and the co-director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago. Professor Mearsheimer has written extensively about security issues and international politics. His most recent and controversial book with Stephen M. Walt is The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (2007)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sabeel resources

Hi friends,

I wanted to make you aware of a few resources available on the Sabeel website that might be helpful to you in education and advocacy work.

Sabeel statements, including our document on Morally Responsible Investment, are available at Check out the Jerusalem Sabeel Document for Sabeel's basic understanding of the situation here and possible solutions, and the Morally Responsible Investment document for a practical and concrete advocacy project that you can work on in schools, churches, and communities.

For information about the Palestinian Christian community in West Bank and Israel, see the Sabeel survey available at

One thing we always ask is that people pray for our Sabeel ministries, for Palestinian Christians, for the Palestinian community in general, and for all the people of this land, that justice, peace, and reconciliation be made available for all. We invite you to join us in prayer by viewing our weekly "Wave of Prayer." Share these prayers with your church and with prayer groups, youth organizations, etc. Available at

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Resources from UN-OCHA

Hello friends,

It seems that one of the presentations that is consistently the most helpful for people visiting Palestine and Israel is the power point given by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories (OCHA-oPt). In our most recent Young Adult Conference, this presentation was given by OCHA director Allegra Pacheco.

OCHA has a great website that is very helpful for presenting objective facts and analysis of the situation on the ground in the occupied Palestinian territories (East Jerusalem, West Bank, and Gaza):

They publish updates on the humanitarian situation, the construction of the Wall, and checkpoints and closures.

If you are interested in OCHA's power point presentations, you can find them at: