Wednesday, July 19

MCC Palestine Prayer Request - 19 July 2006

MCC Palestine Prayer Request

19 July 2006

Dear Friends,

It is another sad morning in this part of the world. To date over 230 Lebanese and 25 Israelis have been killed since the Israeli offensive into Lebanon began last week after two Israeli soldiers were captured by Hizbollah forces and over 100 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the Israeli offensive into Gaza began three weeks ago after an Israeli soldier was captured on the Gaza-Israel border. This is not to mention the thousands of people injured, traumatized, left homeless or stranded with no place to go, or without adequate water, food, or medical services due to the targeting and destruction of civilian infrastructure.

Below is a personal account from a Lebanese family in southern Lebanon--where Israel has focused the majority of its military attacks and where the people have experienced the most hardship. His name is Bassam and he is has been working with MCC's Lebanon program for over 20 years. All of us in MCC Palestine have gotten to know Bassam on several different occasions over the past years. He always has a smile on his face, always laughing at the jokes we all share with each other.

For those of you in the U.S., please consider calling the White House Comment Line at (202) 456-1111, or for those in Canada, emailing the Prime Minister at, to urge the President and Prime Minister to: 1) to cooperate with international diplomatic intervention efforts, calling for an immediate cease fire and using his influence to promote direct talks between Israel and Hamas and Israel and Hezbollah; 2) to work with the Israeli government to restrain their use of military force, which has resulted in civilian deaths and destruction of infrastructure in Lebanon and Gaza that has been disproportionate, creating a humanitarian disaster, and only weakening the Lebanese and Palestinian governments and discouraging hopes for peace in the region; 3) to take an even-handed approach to the conflict--while Israel has been a long-term U.S. ally, it is not helpful to place all the blame on Hezbollah and Hamas. The United States and Israel may label Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorist groups, but many in the region receive social services from these organizations and see them as legitimate resistance movements to Israel’s occupation. For more on how to advocate, please visit

For more information about MCC's response, please visit:

Podcast Interview: Bassam Chamoun from his home in Lebanon
Posted on Monday, July 17, 2006

Podcast Interview: Ken Seitz on crisis in Lebanon
Posted on Friday, July 14, 2006

Podcast Interview: Alain Epp Weaver on events in Gaza
Posted on Friday, July 14 2006

MCC workers in Lebanon prepare for evacuation
July 17, 2006

Helping Palestinian children and families cope with trauma
July 13, 2006

Please keep Bassam, his wife and their three children and all of those suffering from violence and fear in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank, and Israel in your prayers today. Specifically, please pray: for an end to the violence; for safety and protection for all people; for open access to needed services--food, water and medicine; for strength, courage and persistence for peacemakers; for wisdom, courage and compassion on the part of world leaders; and for attention to the deeper systemic causes of the violence.

Pray that all the people of this land would know a peace born of justice and security and that we all would seek "the things that make for peace" (Luke 19:42).


Christi and Timothy Seidel
Peace Development Workers
Mennonite Central Committee - Palestine

Lebanese residents 'scared to go'

Bassam Shamoun is a charity worker living with his wife and three children in southern Lebanon.

His village, Ansar, is 12km west of the town of Nabatiyeh, in an area which has been targeted in Israeli bombing raids. Here he describes the conditions:

Life here is miserable, especially for the families who have kids. They were just starting their summer holidays - and now life has changed dramatically.

We're all going through a lot of stress, fear and uncertainty.

Nothing has been hit in our village yet, but the village next to us has been hit. Right now I can hear the planes and the bombs, really loud. It's very scary for the children.


We are isolated, we can't get to Sidon, Tyre or Beirut. We can't even get to Nabatiyeh - the road was hit yesterday.

Today we were thinking about leaving for Beirut. We started to pack, but then we heard about some cars that had been attacked on the road to Beirut, so we decided not to go.

The roads are so dangerous, many people have lost their lives on them. People are afraid to travel - but they are also afraid if they stay in their houses.

For me this is difficult because I lost my brother on the road in 1984, during the civil war, when he was trying to escape from one place to another. His car was hit and he was killed.

I have three children, aged 18, 15 and 12. I can see the stress in them.

Last night none of us could sleep. We just stay in the house.

When we see what those bombs are doing we don't think there's anywhere that's safe. This area is not prepared for bombings, there are no bomb shelters.

We feel there's nothing we can do. We feel hopeless.


We have had no power for the last few days, which is very unusual here. There is no landline or e-mail access, though we still have cell phones operating.

We are able to get food at the moment - bread comes from another village, but you don't know how long food supplies will last.

Everybody's nervous and afraid. Today I saw one of the local doctors, he said most people in the village are taking tranquilisers.

During the day we try to be with our neighbours, who have children of the same age, so that the children can be away from the pressure.

At this moment my 12-year-old son is playing outside on his bicycle. But he has a small radio on his bike and he won't stop listening to what's happening, even if I tell him to turn it off.

The adults are following the news on television, but sometimes we get so depressed we can't watch anymore, so we just sit and talk.

But the main topic is the situation - trying to analyse what will happen. We try to avoid it but we can't.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/07/17 16:29:38 GMT


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