Friday, April 20

MCC Palestine Update #136

MCC Palestine Update #136

20 April 2007

Dear Friends,

We would like to share the following Easter letter from international church workers living and working in Palestine-Israel (inserted below as well as attached to this email as a letter and a bulletin insert). This letter comes at an important time for the people of this land, particularly as June approaches marking 40 years of Israeli military occupation and subsequent colonization of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Today this structure of occupation and dispossession has created an apartheid reality for the people of this land that includes daily military attacks, house demolitions, land confiscation, expanding Israeli colonies, and the Wall, and has been identified by many as the greatest obstacle to a just and durable peace to this terrible conflict.

As we celebrate the miracle and mystery of resurrection and new life, we would challenge you to take action using the suggested resources mentioned below.

Peace to you all,

Timothy Seidel

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


Easter Greetings from the Holy Land!

Al-Masiih Qaam! Haqaan Qaam!
Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

Though Easter and its celebration of resurrection and new life defines Christianity, in a place like this—a place where death and despair are very real, and where it is challenging to speak a word of life and hope—the season of Lent always seems more appropriate. Lent is a time of preparation in expectation for Easter. It is a time marked by fasting and other acts of penitence with the practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving signifying the pursuit of justice towards God, oneself, and one’s neighbor.

For Palestinians, the poverty and dispossession, the walls that separate families from one another, the closures and restrictions on movement that prevent people from earning a living and accessing places of worship, all create a sense of Easter celebration delayed and Lenten season prolonged. Indeed, this June as Palestinians approach 40 years of denial of freedom while under military occupation and as they approach 60 years of Nakba next year,* the ongoing experiences of dispossession and justice delayed are all too real.

And yet there is a word of hope that resists the dispossession and the injustice and which Palestinians hold onto. Especially for Palestinian Christians—those communities of steadfast resilience formed with the conviction that the purposes of God and the demands of justice will not relent—the words of John’s Gospel still challenge and comfort: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:5)

Zoughbi Zoughbi, a Palestinian Christian working for peace and justice, echoes this hope. “It is as if the Palestinian people are walking the ‘Via Dolorosa’ or the ‘Way of Sorrow,’” tracing Jesus’ path to crucifixion. “It is only that we do not know at which station we are along this path,” Zoughbi says, “but we know that at the end there will be resurrection and new life.”

This is the new life that all Palestinians hope for—a new life born from a peace that knows justice in this broken land. And a reconciliation where, as the psalmist describes, “mercy and truth have met together; justice and peace have kissed.” (Psalm 85:10).

During this Easter season, we pray that the voices of our Palestinian sisters and brothers that are so often dismissed and silenced will speak loudly to us, providing a challenge that would move us to action for peace and justice.

As international church workers living and working in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, we urge you to do this by taking time this Easter season to remember all the people of this broken land in your prayers. Set aside a time for your church communities—perhaps after a Sunday service, in a prayer meeting or a bible study—designated specifically to discuss, learn about, and pray for the people here. As people of faith, this is where our engagement with the world begins.

We would also urge you to move further. Perhaps during such a designated time, you and your community could hand-write letters to your senators or congresspersons, urging them to learn more about this situation, to pray, and to act for a peace born of justice in this land. A specific suggestion is to set time aside on the final Sunday of April and the final Sunday of May, before the week’s activities beginning in June to mark 40 years of Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian territory.

We know how difficult and time-consuming such a task can be. This is why we have prepared several sample letters you can feel free to choose from. We will post these letters by April 20th. Please visit our website at to find information and ideas for themes for letters that you and your community can then hand-write and send to your representatives.

In places such as this, where death and despair are very real, it becomes our responsibility to speak words of life and hope and bear witness to God’s reign of peace and justice revealed to us by our Risen Lord.

Al-Masiih Qaam! Haqaan Qaam!
Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

How will we respond?

Grace and Peace,

Easter 2007

Ecumenical Advisory Group

The Ecumenical Advisory Group is a group of international church workers and associates living and working in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

*Nakba is the Arabic word for “catastrophe” and is used by Palestinians to refer to what happened to them in 1948 when between 750,000 and 900, 000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes and over 500 Palestinian villages were destroyed. Today, this refugee population numbers close to 7 million. Naksa is the Arabic word referring to the expulsion of Palestinians from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza during the 1967 war. It also marks the beginning of Israel's illegal military occupation of these territories, another stage in a continuing catastrophe with daily military attacks, house demolitions, land confiscation, expanding Israeli colonies, and the Wall. This June, many will mark 40 years since the beginning of the occupation with events and declarations calling for the respect of human rights and rule of law in Palestine-Israel.


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