Posted by Kendall Harmon

A 72-hour truce in the Gaza fighting expired at 8 a.m. Friday as Palestinian militants fired a barrage of rockets into southern Israel, signaling Hamas’s refusal to extend the lull and its desire to apply pressure for its demands to be met at talks in Cairo for a more durable cease-fire agreement.

In response, the Israeli military said it had targeted “terror sites” across the Gaza Strip, and there were reports of airstrikes and artillery fire.

Israel had said it was willing to extend the truce unconditionally and had vowed to respond to any fire from Gaza. Israel has withdrawn its ground troops from the Gaza Strip, but the air force has been on standby, and forces have remained on alert along the border.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

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Posted August 8, 2014 at 5:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The mob howled for vengeance, the missiles raining down on the synagogue walls as the worshippers huddled inside. It was a scene from Europe in the 1930s – except this was eastern Paris on the evening of July 13th, 2014.

Thousands had gathered to demonstrate against the Israeli bombardment of Gaza. But the protest soon turned violent – and against Jews in general. One of those trapped told Israeli television that the streets outside were “like an intifada”, the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation.

Some of the trapped Jews fought their way out as the riot police dispersed the crowd. Manuel Valls, the French Prime Minister, condemned the attack in “the strongest possible terms”, while Joel Mergei, a community leader, said he was “profoundly shocked and revolted”. The words had no effect. Two weeks later, 400 protesters attacked a synagogue and Jewish-owned businesses in Sarcelles, in the north of Paris, shouting “Death to the Jews”. Posters had even advertised the raid in advance, like the pogroms of Tsarist Russia.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryEuropeMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 3, 2014 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Across Europe, the conflict in Gaza is generating a broader backlash against Jews, as threats, hate speech and even violent attacks proliferate in several countries.

Most surprising perhaps, a wave of incidents has washed over Germany, where atonement for the Holocaust and other Nazi crimes is a bedrock of the modern society. A commitment to the right of Israel to exist is ironclad. Plaques and memorials across the country exhort, “Never Again.” Children are taught starting in elementary school that their country’s Nazi history must never be repeated. Even so, academics say the recent episodes may reflect a rising climate of anti-Semitism that they had observed before the strife over Gaza.

This week, the police in the western city of Wuppertal detained two young men on suspicion of throwing firebombs at the city’s new synagogue; the attack early Tuesday caused no injuries. In Frankfurt on Thursday, the police said, a beer bottle was thrown through a window at the home of a prominent critic of anti-Semitism. She heard an anti-Jewish slur after going to the balcony to confront her assailant, The Frankfurter Rundschau reported. An anonymous caller to a rabbi threatened last week to kill 30 Frankfurt Jews if the caller’s family in Gaza was harmed, the police said.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsJudaism* Theology

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Posted August 2, 2014 at 10:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Calls for an immediate ceasefire have come from all over the world. Pope Francis last Sunday deviated from his script to make an impassioned plea, apparently choking back tears as he spoke: "Please stop, I ask you with all my heart, it's time to stop. Stop, please."

The Evangelical Episcopal Church's Bishop in Israel & the Palestinian territories, Dr Hani Shehadeh, and four other churchmen from the Holy Land wrote to the Church Times this week urging Christians to pray for peace.

They urge all Christians to stand up for the rights of the Christian family in the Middle East: "Lobby your parliament, speak up in your media, and pray for the well-being and safety of Christians facing persecution." The letter said that the latest conflict in Gaza meant that "the Christian community of this corner of the Holy Land faces extinction."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 1, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“You can't look at the pictures coming from Gaza and Israel without your heart breaking. We must cry to God and beat down the doors of heaven and pray for peace and justice and security. Only a costly and open-hearted seeking of peace between Israeli and Palestinian can protect innocent people, their children and grand children, from ever worse violence.

“My utmost admiration is for all those involved in the humanitarian efforts on the ground, not least the medical team and staff at Al Ahli Arab Hospital. Providing relief and shelter for those displaced is a tangible expression of our care and concern, and I encourage Church of England parishes and dioceses, as well as the wider Communion, to pray for them and support the Diocese of Jerusalem's emergency appeal.

“While humanitarian relief for those civilians most affected is a priority, especially women and children, we must also recognise that this conflict underlines the importance of renewing a commitment to political dialogue in the wider search for peace and security for both Israeli and Palestinian. The destructive cycle of violence has caused untold suffering and threatens the security of all...."

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 30, 2014 at 7:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While more than 200 thousand Palestinians have fled Gaza since the war began, and more being added daily, some remain in resistance. Among them is Fr George Hernandez, pastor of the Catholics in Gaza, at Holy Family Church in Zeitun, where he stays to care for his flock while bombs continue to fly overhead and land too close to home.

Fr. Hernandez spoke to Vatican Radio where he described the situation on the ground and how the war has struck the Catholic community:

“Unfortunately, the resistance movement is situated near houses and in the streets. For us, this was a problem yesterday. At a certain point, we could not leave the house. Then the bombs fell. One house near the church was hit and there have been some major damage to our rectory and parish school”.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted July 30, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Palestinian and Israeli casualties are mounting at a pace that could surpass any other Israeli conflict in nearly a decade, amid signs of a deepening military and political stalemate driven by diplomatic gridlock, Palestinian militant resilience and the absence of a clear Israeli exit strategy.

The rising death toll in the Gaza Strip conflict propelled U.S. and European diplomats huddled in Paris to call for an extension of a 12-hour humanitarian truce Saturday that had afforded both sides a brief respite from the nearly three-week-old conflict.

Late Saturday, Israel approved a 24-hour extension of the truce but said it would retaliate if Hamas prevented its forces from continuing to destroy tunnel networks through which the militants have attempted to infiltrate Israel. Hamas fighters, though, resumed firing rockets and mortar rounds into Israel.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

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Posted July 27, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With safe passage promised by a 12-hour humanitarian cease-fire, residents of the areas hardest hit in Gaza fighting returned to their homes on Saturday. They could not believe what they saw.

Many roads were barely passable, and almost quiet. Women did not wail. The men looked stunned. Their neighborhoods were reduced to ugly piles of gray dust, shattered cement block and twisted rebar.

Huge bomb craters marked the spot where on Friday four-story apartment blocks stood. On some streets, it seemed as if every house was either riddled with bullet holes or shrapnel spray, charred by flames, or leveled.

The scale of the damage from Israeli airstrikes and artillery fire was the worst seen in 19 days. Much of the damage witnessed Saturday occurred in the past 24 to 48 hours, as diplomats debated the terms of a possible truce.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 26, 2014 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Militant rockets can be seen launching from crowded neighborhoods, near apartment buildings, schools and hotels. Hamas fighters have set traps for Israeli soldiers in civilian homes and stored weapons in mosques and schools. Tunnels have been dug beneath private property.

With international condemnation rising over the death toll in Gaza exceeding 650 in the war’s 16th day, Israel points to its adversaries’ practice of embedding forces throughout the crowded, impoverished coastal enclave of 1.7 million people.

“Hamas uses schools, residential buildings, mosques and hospitals to fire rockets at Israeli civilians,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Canadian counterpart in a call over the weekend, according to a statement from Mr. Netanyahu’s office. “Hamas uses innocent civilians as a human shield for terrorist activity.”

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 24, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Seventy Palestinians were killed Sunday in a heavy bombardment of a Gaza neighborhood and 13 Israeli soldiers were slain in the most intense day of fighting in Israel’s current offensive against Hamas fighters, officials said. The Hamas military also announced that its fighters had captured an Israeli soldier.

Abu Obaida, a spokesman for the Al Qassam Brigades, appeared on Hamas TV to announce the soldier had been taken prisoner. Minutes later, there were fireworks and shouts of “God is great!” from loud speakers.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the army was investigating the claim.

Read it all and join in as we continue to pray for peace.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 20, 2014 at 4:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...now, things have changed. Some may point to the pressure Netanyahu was facing from his own cabinet. Only days into the recent round of fighting, Netanyahu’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, announced that his Yisrael Beitenu faction would end its partnership with Netanyahu’s Likud party, a partnership that had guaranteed Netanyahu the largest party in the Israeli coalition. Lieberman cited “essential differences” with Netanyahu over the latter’s overly restrained response to Hamas’ rocketfire. And just yesterday, Netanyahu fired his incendiary deputy defense minister, Danny Dannon, over his unrelenting criticism of the Israeli government’s handling of the current campaign—particularly its acceptance of a ceasefire proposed by Egypt. (The ceasefire, unfortunately, was rejected by Hamas.)

But the more likely explanation is that Israel just didn’t have any other options. Israel could have continued its aerial and artillery exchanges with Hamas, but this campaign did not appear to be damaging either the will or the capability of Hamas. It could have loosened its rules of engagement and struck Hamas more effectively—but doing so would have inflicted unconscionably disproportionate civilian damage. It could have capitulated to Hamas’s ultimatums to release hundreds of security prisoners and reopened Gaza to shipments of arms- and tunnel-making materials. Apart from the moral implications of such a concession, doing so would simply have strengthened Hamas and ensured additional fighting. An extended cease-fire would be ideal. But so far, Egyptian attempts to broker such a cease-fire seem to have fallen on deaf ears. So Netanyahu was left with a choice that wasn’t really much of a choice.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 18, 2014 at 5:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

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Posted July 17, 2014 at 5:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Egypt has proposed a ceasefire to end a week of cross-border fire between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

The initiative, announced by the foreign ministry, urges a ceasefire starting on Tuesday morning followed by a series of meetings in Cairo with high-level delegations from both sides.

It comes ahead of an urgent meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgyptIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 14, 2014 at 3:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Up to 20 people have been killed in the deadliest night of Israeli air raids on Gaza since its current offensive began, Palestinian officials say.

The health ministry said most died in attacks on a house and a cafe in Khan Younis in the south, bringing the overall death toll to 76.

Militants in Gaza continued firing rockets into Israel on Thursday, with sirens sounding over southern towns.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned the situation was "on a knife-edge".

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

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Posted July 10, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the wake of the brutal murder of Arab teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir in Jerusalem, allegedly committed by Jewish extremists, Israeli politicians, pundits and even former terror victims have expressed their shock and outrage at the killing. And so have some of the Jewish state’s most prominent rabbis. At a meeting of the Chief Rabbinate Council yesterday, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau condemned the crime, saying bluntly, “This is not the way of the Torah.” Lau’s counterpart, Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, planned a personal visit to the Khdeir family, where he said he wished “to fiercely denounce the outrageous murder that was perpetrated against the innocent young man.” The visit was cancelled due to security concerns over his safety, and so Yosef released a public statement calling his fellow clergy to account: “We as religious leaders need to lead forward with a conciliatory message in order to prevent continued pain and bereavement, so that no one else is harmed.”

Other rabbis have answered this call. Rabbi Amnon Bazak of Yeshivat Har Etzion–a school located where three Jewish teenagers were kidnapped and murdered earlier this month–wrote on Facebook that “It is incumbent upon the religious Zionist world to draw a clear red line, especially for the youth, and say: no more! The Torah of Israel and any understanding of the cruel murder of an innocent boy are an utter contradiction that cannot be countenanced in any way.” Noting that some had attempted to justify the killing, Bazak said that “the religious community must remove these individuals once and for all from the legitimate discourse.”

Rabbi Dr. Benny Lau of Beit Morasha and the Israel Democracy Institute also spoke out forcefully against the murder and called on Israelis to grapple with the hate that led to it.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted July 8, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After passionate debate over how best to help break the deadlock between Israel and the Palestinians, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted on Friday at its general convention to divest from three companies that it says supply Israel with equipment used in the occupation of Palestinian territory.

The vote, by a count of 310 to 303, was watched closely in Washington and Jerusalem and by Palestinians as a sign of momentum for a movement to pressure Israel to stop building settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and end the occupation, with a campaign known as B.D.S., for Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeStock Market* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesPresbyterian* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 20, 2014 at 9:07 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hours before he convened an unprecedented Vatican prayer service for peace in the Middle East, Pope Francis told a crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square that “a church that doesn’t have the capacity to surprise . . . is a dying church.”

By that standard, Francis showed that Catholicism on his watch is alive and kicking by delivering one of the greatest surprises of his papacy — a peace summit that is likely to have no immediate effect whatsoever on the Middle East peace process, but that yet still managed to feel like a historic turning point.

In truth, going into Sunday’s prayer with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres, neither the pope nor his advisers was expecting a miracle.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 9, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope Francis delivered a powerful boost of support to the Palestinians during a Holy Land pilgrimage Sunday, repeatedly backing their statehood aspirations, praying solemnly at Israel's controversial separation barrier and calling the stalemate in peace efforts "unacceptable."

In an unscripted move, Francis arranged a meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian presidents at the Vatican next month. The meeting, while largely symbolic, shows how the pope has sought to transform his immensely popular appeal into a moral force for peace.

On the second day of a three-day swing through the region, the pope arrived in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christianity, before heading to Israel for the final leg of his visit.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelJordanSyriaThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

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Posted May 25, 2014 at 4:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Arriving here on Sunday, Pope Francis made an impassioned appeal for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and gave the Palestinians an uncommon boost by openly endorsing “the State of Palestine.”

Francis called for “a stable peace based on justice, on the recognition of the rights of every individual, and on mutual security,” and for intensified efforts for the creation of two states — meaning a Palestinian state alongside Israel — within internationally recognized borders.

“In expressing my closeness to those who suffer most from this conflict, I wish to state my heartfelt conviction that the time has come to put an end to this situation, which has become increasingly unacceptable,” he said in remarks after a meeting with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 25, 2014 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...At the start of Day Two of a Holy Land trip whose set plans were rich in symbolism – and one whose announced schedule was parsed to the core – while en route to the late-morning Mass at Bethlehem's Manger Square, the Pope suddenly halted his motorcade, stepped off the Jeep, and caused a chaotic moment as he waded through a crowd to stop and pray for several minutes at the barrier separating Israel and Palestine as an advocate for the latter blared their case over loudspeakers in English.

Read it all and make sure to watch the Vimeo video.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

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Posted May 25, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As Israeli and Palestinian negotiators prepare for preliminary talks in Washington on Monday (July 29), the future of Jerusalem — holy to three faiths — looms as the thorniest and most difficult issue to resolve.

The State Department announced Sunday that the two sides had accepted invitations from Secretary of State John Kerry to come to Washington “to formally resume direct final status negotiations.” The department said two days of initial meetings will begin Monday evening.

The announcement came shortly after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet approved the release of 104 Palestinian prisoners, a key part of the Kerry-brokered deal.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

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Posted July 29, 2013 at 11:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The resolution on peace and justice in Palestine and Israel, passed by the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada at its Ottawa meeting earlier this month, has met with mixed reactions from Palestinian and Israeli organizations.

The resolution reiterated the church’s established positions, recognizing “the legitimate aspirations, rights and needs of both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace with dignity within sovereign and secure borders; condemning the use of all kinds of violence, especially against civilians; call[ing] for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories…”

- See more at: http://www.anglicanjournal.com/articles/mid-east-resolution-stirs-reaction#sthash.DbfK4NwW.dpuf

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

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Posted July 19, 2013 at 5:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After a long and passionate debate, the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada meeting in Ottawa has passed a resolution on the issue of peace and justice in Palestine and Israel.

The resolution reiterates the established positions of the church, which “recognize the legitimate aspirations, rights and needs of both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace with dignity within sovereign and secure borders; condemns the use of all kinds of violence, especially against civilians; calls for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories (West Bank and Gaza); and calls upon Israel, as an occupying power, to recognize the Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids the transfer and settlement of its citizen in occupied territories. ”

However, it also calls on Canadian Anglicans to take some new steps, including educating themselves more deeply.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

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Posted July 9, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A group of prominent Episcopalians is criticizing their church’s stand on Israel, urging it to join 15 other denominations who call for an accounting of U.S. aid to Israel.

The public letter released on Friday (Jan. 18) notes that leaders of 15 religious groups, including Lutherans, Presbyterians and Methodists, asked Congress to take that step last October, and that the “voice of the Episcopal Church is woefully missing.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Executive Council* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 22, 2013 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Executive Council* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelJordanLebanonThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 22, 2013 at 3:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the Gaza Strip fighting, where a cease-fire was reached Wednesday, the Israeli military pounded Gaza with hundreds of airstrikes. Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that rules Gaza, launched hundreds of rocket attacks on Israel.

The weeklong battle temporarily diverted attention from Iran, the archenemy of Israel and a key ally of Hamas. Israeli leaders have threatened to strike Iran over its nuclear program.

Yet the Gaza fight may offer insights into what a possible confrontation between Israel and Iran would look like.

Read (or listen to) it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIranIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

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Posted November 21, 2012 at 4:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastEgyptThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

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Posted November 21, 2012 at 11:34 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Another day of loud booms and deadly weaponry plummeting from the sky wracked Israel and Gaza on Sunday, with fresh casualties reported on both sides of a conflict that international leaders scrambled to end.

Rescuers pulled the bloodied bodies of children from the wreckage of a Gaza home Sunday after an Israeli airstrike, which Israel said targeted a top Hamas militant. The Israelis initially said the operative was killed, but they later said he may have survived.

And about 120 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel on Sunday, the Israel Defense Forces reported. At least 38 were intercepted by Israel's "Iron Dome" missile-defense system, the IDF said -- but one struck a car in the Israeli town of Ofakim, injuring an unspecified number of people, while another hit a woman's carport while she was inside her house in Ashkelon. Fresh sirens sounded Sunday in Tel Aviv, but the IDF said it had intercepted at least two rockets headed for the city.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

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Posted November 18, 2012 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Israel said its air force bombed the house of a Hamas commander in the Gaza Strip after militants fired more than a dozen rockets toward southern Israel, trampling hopes for a three hour ceasefire during a brief visit by Egypt's premier to the tiny stretch of land.

Israel had agreed to halt it's three-day assault on Hamas in the Gaza Strip if militants refrained from firing rockets at Israel. It would have been the first break in the escalating conflict....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgyptIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

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Posted November 16, 2012 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Israeli warplanes struck dozens of militant sites in Gaza early on Thursday, the second day of Israel’s deadly offensive against Hamas and other militant groups, and rockets fired from the enclave reached far into Israel, killing three civilians when one struck an apartment block in this small southern town.

The regional perils of the situation emerged in ever sharper relief, meanwhile, as President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt said in a national address on Thursday that his country stood by the Palestinians against what he termed Israeli aggression, news reports said, echoing similar condemnation on Wednesday.

Thursday’s deaths were the first casualties on the Israeli side since Israel launched its most ferocious assault on Gaza in four years in response to persistent Palestinian rocket fire.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgyptIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

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Posted November 15, 2012 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I was recently struck by some photos and reports I saw on the al-Arabiya network, the most respected news outlet in the Middle East. There was a starving child in Yemen, a burnt-out ancient souk in Aleppo, Syria, car bombs in Iraq and destroyed buildings in Libya.

What links all these images is that the destruction and the atrocities were not perpetrated by an outside enemy. The starvation, the killings and the destruction in these Arab countries were carried out by the same hands that are supposed to protect and build the unity of these countries and safeguard their people. Who, therefore, is the real enemy of the Arab world?

Many Arabs would say it is Israel — their sworn enemy, an enemy whose existence they have never recognised. From 1948 to today there have been three full-scale wars and many confrontations. But what was the real cost of these wars to the Arab world and its people? The harder question that no Arab wants to ask is: what was the real cost of not recognising Israel in 1948 and why didn’t the Arab states spend their assets on education, healthcare and infrastructure instead of wars? But the very hardest question of all is whether Israel is the real enemy of the Arab world and the Arab people.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPovertyViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaLibyaMiddle EastEgyptIsraelJordanLebanonQatarSaudi ArabiaSyriaThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleUAE (United Arab Emirates)

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Posted October 12, 2012 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Israeli military experts Sunday worked around the clock to examine the remains of a mysterious drone that was shot down after penetrating Israeli airspace from the Mediterranean Sea.

The Israeli military announced Saturday that the unmanned aerial vehicle was shot down over the northern Negev Desert. They say the drone did not take off from Gaza, leading them to consider the possibility that it originated in Lebanon.

Israeli security experts point the finger at Israel's longstanding rival Hezbollah, the Shiite militia based in southern Lebanon.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIranIraqIsraelLebanonSyriaThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

1 Comments
Posted October 8, 2012 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Yesterday afternoon, the Committee for National and International Concerns heard testimony on about 12 resolutions encouraging the church to act in support of the Palestinian people. Even our own Diocese of Maryland put forth a resolution on this complex issue. After reading the resolutions and listening to the testimony, here is my distillation of the arguments at hand.
No one disagrees that Palestine and the minority community of Palestinian Christians are being oppressed, persecuted, and denied basic human rights. Everyone also agrees that in the United States, the story of the Palestinian Christian people is not widely known and they feel forgotten by their brothers and sisters in the West.

But how do you fight the oppression and discrimination of a people?

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

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Posted July 9, 2012 at 4:38 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Presbyterians in favor of divestment said that their church could not in good conscience hold stock in companies that they said perpetuate an unjust occupation and undermine the search for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. But opponents said that divestment would unfairly vilify Israel, and accomplish little but further polarization.

Arthur Shippee, a delegate from southern New England, said: “What divestment will achieve is this: We will add a whisper soon lost in the storm, but we will further the divisions in our church when we have our own serious problems to address, and we will precipitate divisions with the synagogues within our communities whom we work with frequently on a variety of issues. This will be perceived as picking on Israel, and how could it not?”

Speaking in favor of divestment and against the pro-investment resolution, Tim Simpson, a delegate from the Presbytery of St. Augustine in Jacksonville, Fla., said: “The Palestinians aren’t asking us for a check, sisters and brothers. The Palestinians are asking us for justice. They’re asking us for dignity. How can you write a check to a people who don’t control their own water?”

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeStock MarketForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesPresbyterian

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Posted July 6, 2012 at 5:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Several resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be considered by the Episcopal Church’s General Convention, meeting here July 5-12.

Among them is Resolution B019, which calls on the church to engage actively in the discipline of advocacy, study, and prayer for peace between Israelis and Palestinians; encourages all Episcopalians to travel to the Holy Land as pilgrims and witnesses; affirms the importance of economic measures designed to support a negotiated two-state solution; and calls for positive investment in the Palestine Territories and in the social service institutions of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East.

The resolution, proposed by Diocese of Northern California Bishop Barry Beisner and endorsed by Olympia Bishop Gregory Rickel and Bishop Suffragan for the Armed Services & Federal Ministries Jay Magness, also commends the leadership of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in calling all Episcopalians to advocate for an end to the conflict and increase support for the Jerusalem diocese and the other Christian communities of the Holy Land.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesThe Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle EastEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

1 Comments
Posted July 6, 2012 at 5:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While the ancient Christian communities around Jerusalem await the miracle of the Holy Fire this week, I pray for another miracle -- one that would give full religious freedom to the Christians in the West Bank and Gaza. Holy Week has long been a time of pilgrimage to Jerusalem; Christians have worshiped there since the birth of the church, and these sites are a core aspect of the devotion of Palestinian believers.

The restrictions on travel for worship are not only in force during Holy Week, but also for routine Sunday services, weddings, funerals, and baptisms throughout the year. Certainly, Israel can take care of its own security concerns while accommodating peaceful Palestinian Christian worship.

In a recent letter by 80 Palestinian Christian leaders, including the Greek Orthodox archbishop of Jerusalem, Palestinian Christians spoke out against the lack of religious freedom inside Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. They complained of being forced to endure an "assault on our natural and basic right to worship."

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches

4 Comments
Posted April 5, 2012 at 7:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The President of the Palestinian Authority has met with leaders of the Christian Churches of Britain in London following his talks with the British government over the stalled Middle East peace process.

The meeting between Mahmoud Abbas and Dr. Rowan Williams comes at a nadir in Anglo-Israeli relations and on the same day the Israeli Foreign Ministry chided Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg as being grossly “ill informed” about the conflict in the Middle East.

According to a statement released after the 17 Jan 2012, President Abbas told the church leaders that Israel and the Palestinians must resume peace talks. The Arab Spring provided a “rare opportunity” to bring peace to the region, the Palestinian leader said.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther Churches

3 Comments
Posted January 20, 2012 at 12:33 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On the Sabbath morning of Nov. 5, less than three weeks after the release of Sgt. First Class Gilad Shalit in a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas, Jews in synagogues throughout the world will read a Torah portion concerning Abraham’s early journeys. The text recounts how invaders conquered the city of Sodom, taking Abraham’s nephew Lot as a captive, and the way Abraham raised an army to rescue him.

The timing of this Torah reading is an absolute coincidence, an unplanned synchronicity between the religious calendar and breaking news. Yet the passage also offers an essential explanation, one almost entirely ignored in coverage of the Shalit deal, for Israel’s anguished decision to pay a ransom in the form of more than a thousand Palestinian prisoners, including the perpetrators of terrorist attacks on civilians.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

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Posted October 22, 2011 at 11:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Two Pittsburgh religious leaders said they felt joy and relief when they learned an Israeli soldier held captive for five years by Hamas had been freed.

"I'm thrilled that that's happened for the family, but I certainly hope and pray not just for his welfare, but that we don't have to face this situation again," said Bishop David Zubik of the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese.

Zubik and Aaron Bisno, senior rabbi of Rodef Shalom Congregation in Shadyside, discussed their reactions on Tuesday after Israel exchanged more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for Gilad Schalit, 25, an Israeli soldier held captive since 2006.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther Churches

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Posted October 19, 2011 at 6:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At the outset, it bears noting what The Episcopal Church has said repeatedly over the course of multiple decades: a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians can be achieved only by bilateral negotiations between the two parties themselves. This important principle was reaffirmed just last month by a joint communiqué of the Patriarchs and Heads of Local Churches in Jerusalem. The contours of what such negotiations must produce are as clear as ever: a two-state solution that provides for the security and universal recognition of Israel and the safety of all its people, the viability and territorial integrity of a state for the Palestinian people, and a sharing of the holy city of Jerusalem.

Unfortunately, the gulf between this outcome and the political and moral will needed to achieve it has proven wide. Only a year ago, hope existed that negotiations would commence, and that – particularly with the involvement of the President of the United States – the moment for a peaceful solution might finally have arrived. Tragically, the events of the past year have driven the parties further apart rather than closer together, leading some to question whether international efforts to support the peace process have lost credibility, and whether there is any meaningful path toward negotiations.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

6 Comments
Posted October 3, 2011 at 2:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has come under sharp criticism from Palestinian activists, who have accused Dr. Rowan Williams of being an ill-informed right-winger bent on “demonizing Islam” and supporting the Israeli government.

However, a spokesman for Dr. Williams tells The Church of England Newspaper that Kairos Palestine had improperly construed the archbishop’s remarks about the plight of Christians across the Middle East to be an endorsement of Israeli government policies.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

3 Comments
Posted July 7, 2011 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Episcopalians in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles held silent prayer vigils in protest of Israeli treatment of Palestinians on May 24, the day Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress about the peace process.

They sought to send a message about the Israeli government's policies towards Palestinians in general and specifically the refusal to grant Anglican Bishop Suheil Dawani a permit to reside in Jerusalem. As bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, Dawani, a Palestinian Christian, oversees congregations and institutions in Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian Territories.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesThe Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle EastEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

4 Comments
Posted May 26, 2011 at 4:51 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is understood that the president’s remarks may have been made to head off a symbolic recognition of pre-1967-borders Palestine at the U.N. General Assembly and to restart negotiations between the parties. This is indeed commendable, but not at the expense of securing an agreement that is just and workable for both Israel and the Palestinian people. It would be tragic if the emergence of a Palestinian state consigned the Palestinians to Salafi-Wahabi servitude rather than leading to a true freedom for Christians as well as Muslims, women as well as men.

Finally, from a Judeo-Christian point of view, I would have welcomed an acknowledgment from the president of the Biblical basis of the idea, expressed in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, that women and men are endowed with certain inalienable rights by their Creator. This is the true basis for any struggle to have human equality affirmed and respected.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Economics, PoliticsForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

2 Comments
Posted May 23, 2011 at 1:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The biggest leak of confidential documents in the history of the Middle East conflict has revealed that Palestinian negotiators secretly agreed to accept Israel's annexation of all but one of the settlements built illegally in occupied East Jerusalem. This unprecedented proposal was one of a string of concessions that will cause shockwaves among Palestinians and in the wider Arab world.

A cache of thousands of pages of confidential Palestinian records covering more than a decade of negotiations with Israel and the US has been obtained by al-Jazeera TV and shared exclusively with the Guardian. The papers provide an extraordinary and vivid insight into the disintegration of the 20-year peace process, which is now regarded as all but dead....

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UKEuropeMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

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Posted January 25, 2011 at 5:51 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We were very concerned about the fire that destroyed entire forests in the Haifa area. We offer our condolences to the families of victims, and our admiration for the courage of those who died in the line of duty. This sad event made us experience international solidarity. The fact that the Palestinian Authority made available their team of firefighters was a very significant gesture and may be a beginning of a fruitful collaboration in the future, when peace will be established in this troubled land.

We suffer from the failure of direct peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. This should not lead us to despair. We continue to believe that on both sides, and in the international community, there are men of good will who will work and put their energies together in their commitment for peace. We believe that nothing is impossible with God and we want to carry out the wishes sang by the angels on Christmas night: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”(Lk.2 :14) We also wish Europe to play a more significant role in this process.

We were shocked and troubled by the massacre of Christians in Baghdad in the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help....

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

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Posted December 27, 2010 at 7:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 2008, the World Council of Churches convened a group of Protestant and Catholic theologians to review the underpinnings of Christian attitudes toward Israel. (No Jews were invited.) The group published the so-called Bern Perspective, which, among other things, instructed Christians to understand all biblical references to Israel only metaphorically.

This understanding denies the connection between today's Jews and Moses, Jeremiah and Isaiah. It marks a return to "replacement theology," the medieval view that the Church has replaced Israel in God's plan and that all biblical references to Israel refer to the "new Israel"—that is, to Christians. For centuries, that view was the theological basis for denying rights to Jews in Church-dominated Europe.

In 2009, on the first day of Chanukah (which Jews again celebrate this week), a group of Christian Palestinians issued the Kairos Palestine Document, which was immediately published on the World Council of Churches website. The document calls for a general boycott of Israel and argues that Christians' faith requires them to side with the "oppressed," meaning the Palestinians. It speaks of the evils of the Israeli "occupation," yet is silent on any evils committed by Palestinians, including the Hamas terrorists who now govern the Gaza Strip.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesPresbyterian

31 Comments
Posted December 3, 2010 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Several prominent Israelis expressed concern over a statement by the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, which said Jews cannot use the Bible to justify injustices.

But tensions increased when a U.S. bishop told reporters at the synod that Jews could no longer regard themselves as God's "chosen people" or Israel as "the Promised Land," because Jesus' message showed that God loved and chose all people to be his own.

The Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, said Oct. 25 that the final message of the Synod of Bishops reflected the opinion of the synod itself, while the remarks by Melkite Bishop Cyrille S. Bustros of Newton, Mass., were to be considered his personal opinion.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVIOther FaithsJudaism

1 Comments
Posted October 30, 2010 at 2:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishops from the Middle East, summoned by the pope to the Vatican, ended their two-week meeting with a statement that called on Israel to end its "occupation" of Arab lands and to stop using the Bible to defend injustices.

The dwindling numbers of Christians living in the Middle East was to be the principal reason for the meeting called by Pope Benedict XVI, but the joint communiqué also warned Israel about "injustices" against Palestinians.

The synod's message said that "re course to theological and biblical positions which use the word of God to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable," in an apparent reference to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

2 Comments
Posted October 30, 2010 at 1:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mutual distrust leads many Palestinians and Israelis to think of peace as a mirage. Since religion plays a significant role in justifying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, politicians need the help of religious leaders in their search for a solution.

The problem is that often the patriarchal figures of the three faiths are too focused on “protecting” the community from erosion of piety or the threat of assimilation to pay enough attention to moral empowerment. Too many leaders defend ownership of land at the expense of justice, rationalize war and its spoils, and remind their people to track the enemy vigilantly using partial interpretations of sacred texts for this purpose.

Religious leaders from outside the region oftentimes also fuel the conflict, sometimes without even being aware that they are doing so. Based outside of the area and free from the considerations of local day-to-day life, these authorities too often espouse hardline positions. The American charismatic church, for example, supports Israel automatically, even at the risk of threatening long-term Jewish security. To become enablers of peace, religious authorities will have to shift from a preoccupation with protecting the tradition from change to becoming agents of inter-communal reconciliation.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamJudaism

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Posted October 27, 2010 at 5:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Palestinian leadership said Saturday that four-week-old direct talks with Israel should be suspended as long as Jewish settlement housing was being built in the West Bank. It called on the international community to pressure Israel to stop the construction.

A statement issued after a meeting of about 35 Palestinian leaders — the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the central committee of the main Fatah movement and a handful of others — held at the compound of the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, said that Israel was responsible for the deadlock.

“The leadership confirms that the resumption of talks requires tangible steps, the first of them a freeze on settlements,” Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior P.L.O. official said after the three-hour meeting. “The Palestinian leadership holds Israel responsible for obstructing the negotiations.”

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

7 Comments
Posted October 2, 2010 at 1:13 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Despite tragic violence and discouraging developments, there are signs of hope. Majorities of both Israelis and Palestinians still support a two-state solution. Arab states have declared their commitment to peace in the Arab Peace Initiative. There are U.S. diplomatic efforts to restart Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese negotiations for peace. Official and informal negotiations have produced the outlines of concrete compromises for resolving the conflict, including the final status issues: borders and security, settlements, refugees and Jerusalem. Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders both here and in the region reject the killing of innocents, support a just peace, and believe sustained negotiations are the only path to peace.

As we said two years ago, there is a real danger that cynicism will replace hope and that people will give up on peace. With the resumption of direct negotiations, clarity is demanded. So let us be clear. As religious leaders, we remain firmly committed to a two-state solution to the conflict as the only viable way forward. We believe that concerted, sustained U.S. leadership for peace is essential. And we know that time is not on the side of peace, that delay is not an option.

The path to peace shuns violence and embraces dialogue. This path demands reciprocal steps that build confidence. This path can lead to a future of two states, Israel and a viable, independent Palestine, living side by side in peace with security and dignity for both peoples, stability in the region, and a comprehensive peace between Israel and all her Arab neighbors.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamJudaism

1 Comments
Posted September 30, 2010 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Saying that they are people of hope who "refuse ... to give in to cynicism or despair," a group of interfaith leaders delivered a declaration to the White House and State Department Sept. 29 uniting in support of "active, fair, and firm U.S. leadership for Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace."

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was among the 28 Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders who signed the statement.

Alexander D. Baumgarten, director of government relations for the Episcopal Church, represented Jefferts Schori at the meeting with General James Jones, United States national security adviser, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches

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Posted September 30, 2010 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The US says it is "disappointed" by Israel's decision not to extend a ban on West Bank settlement building.

US Middle East envoy George Mitchell has been sent to the region in an attempt to salvage direct peace talks that were restarted earlier this month.

The 10-month moratorium came to an end at midnight (2200 GMT on Sunday).

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack Obama* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

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Posted September 27, 2010 at 5:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are opening in Egypt, amid concern over the imminent expiry of Israel's partial ban on West Bank settlement building.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are holding three-way talks with Hillary Clinton in Sharm-el-Sheikh.

Before the talks began the US secretary of state had said Israel should extend its freeze on West Bank construction.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

9 Comments
Posted September 14, 2010 at 7:55 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the months ahead, direct negotiations will be taking place between the Israeli and Palestinian authorities. This will be a critically important test for those directly responsible and a heavy responsibility lies on them to move the situation forward from the tragic patterns of recrimination and retaliation that have become so familiar. It will also be a time of testing for Jews, Christians and Muslims in this country. Shall we be able to pray together for peace and justice; shall we be able to refrain from words and actions which are partisan rather than reconciling and thereby model to the wider world how a deep commitment to each other can be sustained? It is my hope and prayer that this will be so.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury * International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsJudaism

0 Comments
Posted September 10, 2010 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

... the film tracks the story of Mohammed Abu Mustafa, a 4-month-old Palestinian baby suffering from a rare immune deficiency. Moved by the baby’s plight, Eldar helps the infant and mother go from Gaza to Israel’s Tel Hashomer hospital for lifesaving bone-marrow treatment. The operation costs $55,000. Eldar puts out an appeal on Israel TV and within hours an Israeli Jew whose own son was killed during military service donates all the money.

The documentary takes a dramatic turn, though, when the infant’s Palestinian mother, Raida, who is being disparaged by fellow Gazans for having her son treated in Israel, blurts out that she hopes he’ll grow up to be a suicide bomber to help recover Jerusalem. Raida tells Eldar: “From the smallest infant, even smaller than Mohammed, to the oldest person, we will all sacrifice ourselves for the sake of Jerusalem. We feel we have the right to it. You’re free to be angry, so be angry.”

Eldar is devastated by her declaration and stops making the film. But this is no Israeli propaganda movie. The drama of the Palestinian boy’s rescue at an Israeli hospital is juxtaposed against Israeli retaliations for shelling from Gaza, which kill whole Palestinian families.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMovies & Television* Economics, PoliticsForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

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Posted August 9, 2010 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England is reviewing its investment in a company building Jerusalem's light railway amid concern that the tramline "will help to cement Israel's hold on occupied east Jerusalem".

But the Church has stopped short of endorsing a campaign urged by Palestinian churches to boycott "everything produced" by Israel's West
Bank occupation.

The boycott call was made in a document known as 'Kairos Palestine', issued by Palestinian Christians last December. It denounces "Israeli occupation of Palestinian land" as "a sin against God and humanity".

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

1 Comments
Posted July 8, 2010 at 9:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada went on record expressing “deep concern” regarding the interception by Israeli Defence Forces of relief ships from Turkey and Ireland. The ships were attempting to disrupt the Israeli blockade of Palestinian ports to deliver relief supplies to Gaza.

Nine people were killed May 31 after the Israelis boarded ships heading toward Gaza. On June 4, an Irish Gaza-bound aid ship was forced to head towards the Israeli port of Ashdod instead.

The synod passed the motion by a show of hands after a short debate. “It’s not for us to declare to the nation of Israel how to defend themselves,” said David Parson from the diocese of the Arctic.

Bishop Dennis Drainville of Quebec argued that the synod was within its rights to object to what he considered an unjustified action. He quoted Martin Luther King as saying that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice anywhere.”


Read the whole thing.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

5 Comments
Posted June 10, 2010 at 8:24 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here is one:

Re “Chosen, but Not Special” (Op-Ed, June 6):

Michael Chabon writes eloquently about his desire for Jews and Israel to shed the idea of exceptionalism. But exceptionalism is intrinsic to almost any group, and it is a fantasy to expect a nation or a religion to shed the idea, however irrational and ridiculous, that somehow it is special.

Rather than view Jewish exceptionalism as an albatross, we should view it as a way to inspire Jews and Israel to do better and to be openly critical of events and actions that fall far short of the ideal.

This ability to be self-critical is, like the belief in exceptionalism, an intrinsic part of Jewish and Israeli culture. It is precisely what is happening right now with the widespread acknowledgment that the raid on the Mavi Marmara was a tragic blunder.

Stuart Rojstaczer
Palo Alto, Calif.


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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism

1 Comments
Posted June 8, 2010 at 8:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We construct the history of our wisdom only by burying our foolishness in the endnotes. To imagine a Chelm — the town inhabited, according to Ashkenazi Jewish folklore, entirely by fools — requires a presumption of general wisdom elsewhere, as the proper imagining of Heaven requires an earthly realm of sorrow.

As a Jewish child I was regularly instructed, both subtly and openly, that Jews, the people of Maimonides, Albert Einstein, Jonas Salk and Meyer Lansky, were on the whole smarter, cleverer, more brilliant, more astute than other people. And, duly, I would look around the Passover table, say, at the members of my family, and remark on the presence of a number of highly intelligent, quick-witted, shrewd, well-educated people filled to bursting with information, explanations and opinions on a diverse range of topics. In my tractable and vainglorious eagerness to confirm the People of Einstein theory, my gaze would skip right over — God love them — any counterexamples present at that year’s Seder.

This is why, to a Jew, it always comes as a shock to encounter stupid Jews. Philip Roth derived a major theme of “Goodbye, Columbus” from the uncanny experience. The shock comes not because we have never encountered any stupid Jews before — Jews are stupid in roughly the same proportion as all the world’s people — but simply because from an early age we have been trained, implicitly and explicitly, to ignore them. A stupid Jew is like a hole in the pocket of your pants, there every time you put them on, always forgotten until the instant your quarters run clattering across the floor.

It was this endlessly repeated yet never remembered shock of encountering our own stupidity as a people — stupidity now enacted by the elite military arm of a nation whose history we have long written, in our accustomed way, by pushing to the endnotes all counterexamples to the myth of seichel — that one heard filtering through so much of the initial response among Jews to the raid on the Mavi Marmara.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism

0 Comments
Posted June 8, 2010 at 7:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The lethal mishandling of Israel’s attack on a ship carrying humanitarian supplies that was trying to break the blockade of Gaza was bound to provoke outrage—and rightly so. The circumstances of the raid are murky and may well remain that way despite an inquiry...But the impression received yet again by the watching world is that Israel resorts to violence too readily. More worryingly for Israel, the episode is accelerating a slide towards its own isolation. Once admired as a plucky David facing down an array of Arab Goliaths, Israel is now seen as the clumsy bully on the block.

Israel’s desire to stop the flotilla reaching Gaza was understandable, given its determination to maintain the blockade. Yet the Israelis also had a responsibility to conduct the operation safely. The campaigners knew that either way they would win. If they had got through, it would have been a triumphant breaching of the blockade. If forcibly stopped, with their cargo of medical equipment and humanitarian aid, they would be portrayed as victims—even if some, as the Israelis contend, brought clubs, knives and poles. As it was, disastrous planning by Israel’s soldiers led to a needless loss of life.

For anyone who cares about Israel, this tragedy should be the starting point for deeper questions—about the blockade, about the Jewish state’s increasing loneliness and the route to peace. A policy of trying to imprison the Palestinians has left their jailer strangely besieged.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

17 Comments
Posted June 8, 2010 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Israeli raid on a flotilla bound for Gaza, which left at least nine dead, was a disaster. It was poorly conceived, incompetently executed and entirely counter-productive.

Israel has a right to defend its borders, but also a responsibility towards its citizens and friends to remain a beacon of civilised conduct in the Middle East. When it fails in this responsibility, the problem is not its alone. Israel’s friends believe in Israel because they believe in the ideals that it represents. On Monday morning, Israel fell short of these ideals.

Such a betrayal invites a roar of disapproval, all the more damaging to Israel’s interests because of that which it drowns out. Just as the intransigence of the blockade around Gaza has allowed the vile regime of Hamas to escape the scrutiny that it deserves, so has Israel’s blundering savagery on the high seas allowed those on board the flotilla to appear unimpeachable. This is inaccurate and also dangerous.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

5 Comments
Posted June 3, 2010 at 6:38 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Differences remain between Israel and the US, following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington, the White House has said.

President Obama urged the Israeli PM to take steps to build confidence in the peace process, during "honest" talks on Tuesday, said spokesman Robert Gibbs.

Mr Gibbs also said the US was seeking "clarification" of the latest plans to build homes in occupied East Jerusalem.

Mr Netanyahu's trip came amid the worst crisis in US-Israeli ties for decades.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

6 Comments
Posted March 24, 2010 at 4:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Israel signaled it won't halt its building plans in the disputed territory of east Jerusalem, deepening a rift with the U.S. that threatens efforts to contain Iran and other American security goals in the Middle East.

Officials on both sides fear relations between the two allies are at their worst point in decades, after Israel scuttled hope for a new round of peace talks by announcing new settlement plans last week during a visit by Vice President Joseph Biden. That led to an extraordinary public rebuke of Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Netanyahu apologized for the timing, but he has declined to retract the plans for the settlements and others that have become among the biggest obstacles to peace talks. On Monday, a leading member of Mr. Netanyahu's Likud party said the prime minister told members in a closed-door session that Israel wouldn't bow to pressure and reverse course on its planned 1,600 new homes in East Jerusalem.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastIranIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

1 Comments
Posted March 16, 2010 at 6:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

WE may scoff at the idea that the Olympic Games have anything to do with the “endeavor to place sport at the service of humanity and thereby to promote peace,” as the Olympic charter enshrines as its ideal. But at least nations across the world were able to put aside differences for two weeks of friendly competition in Vancouver.

A mundane achievement, perhaps, but it’s one that’s beyond the grasp of the Islamic world. The Islamic Solidarity Games, the Olympics of the Muslim world, which were to be held in Iran in April, have been called off by the Arab states because Tehran inscribed “Persian Gulf” on the tournament’s official logo and medals.

It’s a small but telling controversy. It puts the lie to the idea of the Islamic world as a bloc united by religious values that are hostile to the West. It also gives clues as to how the United States and its allies should handle two of their most urgent foreign policy matters: the Iranian nuclear program and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSports* Economics, PoliticsForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIranThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

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Posted March 1, 2010 at 8:33 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Benedict XVI says peace in the Holy Land is possible, and that it hinges on Israelis and Palestinians recognizing their mutual right to a homeland.

The Pope took up this theme today when he delivered his traditional New Year address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See.

The Holy Father's address for 2010 centered on the issue of respect for creation and the environment, the same theme he highlighted in his Jan. 1 message for the World Day of Peace.

The Pontiff recalled how during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land last May, he "urgently appealed to the Israelis and the Palestinians to dialogue and to respect each others' rights."

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Filed under: * International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

0 Comments
Posted January 12, 2010 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A new U.S.-led initiative to revive Middle East peace talks faces steep hurdles even before it's launched, with Israelis and Palestinians resisting new concessions despite a fresh application of American diplomacy.

President Barack Obama's first efforts at brokering Middle East peace bore no fruit last year, and the White House now has crafted a two-year plan under which Israelis and Palestinians would hold regular, intense meetings to reach a final peace agreement.

Obama is sending his Mideast envoy, former Sen. George Mitchell, on a series of trips to the region and to Europe starting next week. He's also enlisting the help of Arab allies, whose representatives are filing through Washington.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

0 Comments
Posted January 7, 2010 at 12:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Indeed, it’s time for us to dust off James Baker’s line: “When you’re serious, give us a call: 202-456-1414. Ask for Barack. Otherwise, stay out of our lives. We have our own country to fix.”

The fact is, the only time America has been able to advance peace — post-Yom Kippur War, Camp David, post-Lebanon war, Madrid and Oslo — has been when the parties felt enough pain for different reasons that they invited our diplomacy, and we had statesmen — Henry Kissinger, Jimmy Carter, George Shultz, James Baker and Bill Clinton — savvy enough to seize those moments.

Today, the Arabs, Israel and the Palestinians are clearly not feeling enough pain to do anything hard for peace with each other — a mood best summed up by a phrase making the rounds at the State Department: The Palestinian leadership “wants a deal with Israel without any negotiations” and Israel’s leadership “wants negotiations with the Palestinians without any deal.”

It is obvious that this Israeli government believes it can have peace with the Palestinians and keep the West Bank, this Palestinian Authority still can’t decide whether to reconcile with the Jewish state or criminalize it and this Hamas leadership would rather let Palestinians live forever in the hellish squalor that is Gaza than give up its crazy fantasy of an Islamic Republic in Palestine.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

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Posted November 9, 2009 at 4:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Obama administration's Arab-Israeli peace process is in more trouble than even the White House realizes. To be sure, the Israelis and Palestinians are both dug in, and when the president sought baby steps from the Arabs toward normalizing relations with Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Kuwait rebuffed the administration. But now even Cairo, where Obama hit his reset button with the Muslim world, has made its stand, albeit much less publicly. The campaign against Egyptian editor and analyst Hala Mustafa for meeting with Israel's ambassador to Cairo is sufficient evidence that the first country to have a peace treaty with Jerusalem is no closer to normalization than it was when Anwar Sadat signed the Camp David Accords 30 years ago.

Recently, Israel's envoy to Egypt, Shalom Cohen, visited Mustafa at her office in the Al-Ahram newspaper building, home to the semi-official daily to which Mustafa often contributes, and where she edits the quarterly Arabic-language journal, Democracy.

"The ambassador had a proposal to convene a symposium and asked me to participate," Mustafa told me by phone. "Egyptians, Israelis and Palestinians were to discuss Obama's initiatives and the peace process. Since we would need authorization from Al-Ahram and other state institutions, I didn't give him any final decision."

Nonetheless, chairman of the Egyptian press syndicate Makram Muhammad Ahmed claimed that Mustafa's brief interview with Cohen violated the boycott of the Zionist enemy that the syndicate adopted in 1983.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMedia* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgyptIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

1 Comments
Posted September 29, 2009 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jews have no history in the city of Jerusalem: They have never lived there, the Temple never existed, and Israeli archaeologists have admitted as much. Those who deny this are simply liars. Or so says Sheik Tayseer Rajab Tamimi, chief Islamic judge of the Palestinian Authority.

His claims, made last month, would be laughable if they weren't so common among Palestinians. Sheik Tamimi is only the latest to insist that, in his words, Jerusalem is solely "an Arab and Islamic city and it has always been so." His comments come on the heels of those by Shamekh Alawneh, a lecturer in modern history at Al Quds University. On an Aug. 11 PA television program, "Jerusalem—History and Culture," Mr. Alawneh argued that the Jews invented their connection to Jerusalem. "It has no historical roots," he said, adding that the Jews are engaging in "an attack on history, theft of culture, falsification of facts, erasure of the truth, and Judaization of the place."

As President Barack Obama and his foreign-policy team gear up to propose yet another plan for Israeli-Arab peace, they would do well to focus less on important but secondary issues like settlement growth, and instead notice that top Palestinian intellectual and political leaders deny basic truths about the region's most important city.

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Filed under: * International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism

21 Comments
Posted September 25, 2009 at 12:07 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was supposed to be the week President Barack Obama saved the world. More than 100 heads of state are preparing to descend on New York for talks on halting climate change, promoting nuclear disarmament, defeating terrorism in Pakistan and tackling poverty in sub-Saharan Africa — all before a G20 meeting in Pittsburgh on Friday aimed at reaching agreements on global financial regulation and curbing bankers’ bonuses.

The headline-grabber was expected to be the relaunch of the stalled Middle East peace process, to be followed a week later by America’s first direct talks with Iran since the Islamic revolution in 1979.

Instead, attempts to revive talks between Israelis and Palestinians, the cornerstone of the administration’s foreign policy, have failed so far. Western diplomats say it will take all the president’s considerable charisma to revive them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack Obama* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

9 Comments
Posted September 20, 2009 at 12:03 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Q: What was the most important aspect of your visit?

A: The learning for me was to see how the church witnesses to the Gospel in a situation that’s highly politicized, in a situation that always has the potential to be volatile and in a situation where Christians are clearly in the minority. The number of Christians in the Holy Land is diminishing year by year. As Bishop Suheil said, “We, Episcopalians and Anglicans are a minority within a minority.”

You learn pretty quickly there that a first principle in the diocese is faith in action. (It is) a diocese that has a huge commitment to education, healthcare, hospitality, housing and peace and reconciliation. Because of a diminishing number of Christians in the Holy Land, the bishop and the diocese have a huge focus on education and so they have several schools that they oversee and operate. The idea is to enable Palestinians, especially, to get an education…and to encourage them to stay in the Holy Land. The diocese is very committed to healthcare – ‘irrespective of one’s religion, one’s ability to pay whatever, we’re here to provide healthcare for you.’ Most of the people who visit the hospital doors are not Christians….People who aren’t Christians recognize in the church a real commitment to their well-being, their health. Likewise with housing, Bishop Suheil and the diocese have been involved in housing projects, not just for elderly people but for young couples – helping them to get established so that they can remain there.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

6 Comments
Posted September 4, 2009 at 4:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech on the future of the Middle East peace process may have been the first time the Israeli Prime Minister publicly acknowledged a Palestinian state, but its lack of specific details prompted a bewildering array of responses, locally and internationally.

The United States and the European Union found themselves agreeing with the Yesha council, which represents Jewish settlements in the West Bank, in welcoming the Prime Minister’s address at a Tel Aviv university, while Hamas joined with the Israeli far-right in condemning it.

Most Israeli commentators poured scorn on the talk – short on detail, and placing strict limits on any future Palestinian sovereignty – but agreed its main audience had been President Obama, who has bluntly told the right-wing Israeli Government to accept a two-state solution and stop settlement building.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

0 Comments
Posted June 15, 2009 at 8:09 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Binyamin Netanyahu tonight endorsed the creation of a Palestinian state after weeks of pressure from Washington, but defied President Obama's demand for a halt to all settlements.

In a high-profile speech that the Palestinian administration of Mahmoud Abbas said "hobbles all efforts to save the peace process", the Israeli Prime Minister said that the Palestinians must recognise Israel as a "Jewish state" and that any future Palestinian state had to be demilitarised.

“If we have the guarantees on demilitarisation and if the Palestinians recognise Israel as the state of the Jewish people, then we arrive at a solution based on a demilitarised Palestinian state alongside Israel,” Mr Netanyahu said.

Read the whole article.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack Obama* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

6 Comments
Posted June 14, 2009 at 3:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to endorse a “two-state solution” in a much-heralded speech this weekend, but he may stall on American demands to freeze Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Feeling the squeeze between the US Administration, which wants a moratorium on settlement growth and a commitment to a Palestinian state, and his national-religious coalition, which favours neither, the Israeli Prime Minister appears likely to try to steer a middle course.

Israeli newspapers were full of speculation about what Mr Netanyahu — who has so far refused openly to back a Palestinian state alongside Israel — might offer to deflect pressure from Washington. Ehud Barak, his Defence Minister, urged him this week to recognise a Palestinian state, but members of Mr Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party have cautioned him against the move.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack Obama* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

14 Comments
Posted June 13, 2009 at 5:13 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Arabs may have wished for more - for a tougher line on Gaza, a new peace “initiative” and an apology for past US policies. He was right to offer none of these. He did not repudiate his presidential predecessor. Nor did he denounce the two interventions that have inflamed much of the Muslim world - in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Instead, he insisted that America had no wish to stay a moment longer in Afghanistan than the threat dictated. His Administration knew that “the less we use our power, the greater it will be”. But that did not mean that America would not confront extremists.

Like his earlier address to Iran, Mr Obama's appeal struck a chord that infuriated those peddling hatred of America. Both Iran and Osama bin Laden were swift to belittle his words. He did not, sadly, address the issue of democracy. That must remain part of the agenda. What he did was to demolish the myth of a clash of civilisations. That is the first step to bridging the chasm.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack Obama* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgyptIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

11 Comments
Posted June 5, 2009 at 12:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When it comes to dealing with the Middle East, the president noted, “there is a Kabuki dance going on constantly. That is what I would like to see broken down. I am going to be holding up a mirror and saying: ‘Here is the situation, and the U.S. is prepared to work with all of you to deal with these problems. But we can’t impose a solution. You are all going to have to make some tough decisions.’ Leaders have to lead, and, hopefully, they will get supported by their people.”

It was clear from the 20-minute conversation that the president has no illusions that one speech will make lambs lie down with lions. Rather, he sees it as part of his broader diplomatic approach that says: If you go right into peoples’ living rooms, don’t be afraid to hold up a mirror to everything they are doing, but also engage them in a way that says ‘I know and respect who you are.’ You end up — if nothing else — creating a little more space for U.S. diplomacy. And you never know when that can help.

“As somebody who ordered an additional 17,000 troops into Afghanistan,” said Mr. Obama, “you would be hard pressed to suggest that what we are doing is not backed up by hard power. I discount a lot of that criticism. What I do believe is that if we are engaged in speaking directly to the Arab street, and they are persuaded that we are operating in a straightforward manner, then, at the margins, both they and their leadership are more inclined and able to work with us.”

Read it carefully and read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack Obama* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgyptThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

0 Comments
Posted June 4, 2009 at 6:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[James Baker said in 1989]: “Israeli interests in the West Bank and Gaza, security and otherwise, can be accommodated in a settlement based on Resolution 242. Forswear annexation; stop settlement activity.”

Those words make startling but depressing reading: Little has changed in 20 years. After Bush 41 and Baker, we got Clinton’s love affair with Yitzhak Rabin (“I had come to love him as I had rarely loved another man”); the disintegration of Oslo after Rabin’s tragic assassination; and the Israel-can-do-no-wrong policy of Bush 43.

Balance — the credential no honest broker can forsake — vanished from American diplomacy.

I don’t believe that’s been good for Israel. The Jewish state needs to be challenged by its inseparable ally if it is to achieve the security it craves.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack Obama* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

2 Comments
Posted June 4, 2009 at 6:38 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may be prepared to endorse a peace process leading to an independent Palestinian state, his defence minister has said.

Ehud Barak, a long-time rival now part of Israel's governing coalition, spoke ahead of Mr Netanyahu's first meeting with US President Obama in Washington.

He told Israeli TV a regional deal could be struck within three years.

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Filed under: * International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

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Posted May 16, 2009 at 5:52 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So you might expect the mood in the Middle East to be awful, bordering on desperate. Although it is sombre, those who know the region feel that there is all to play for. There are two reasons for this.

The first is the complex personality of Mr Netanyahu. I have met him several times and had informal conversations with him. He is usually reticent on strategy but a master at tactics. I have no doubt that he deeply dislikes the concept of a Palestinian state but that is not the same as saying that he could never endorse one....

That brings me to the second and, perhaps, decisive reason why the situation is more fluid than might first be apparent. Unlike George W. Bush, Barack Obama is engaging himself in the Israel-Palestine issue from the very outset of his presidency. He is doing so with more goodwill from the Arab world than any recent president.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident George BushPresident Barack Obama* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

5 Comments
Posted May 12, 2009 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope Benedict XVI called for the establishment of an independent Palestinian homeland immediately after he arrived in Israel Monday, a stance that could put him at odds with his hosts on a trip aimed at improving ties between the Vatican and Jews.

The pope also took on the delicate issue of the Holocaust, pledging to "honor the memory" of the 6 million Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide at the start of his five-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Benedict touched down in Israel on the second leg of a weeklong pilgrimage to the Holy Land, after spending three days in neighboring Jordan. He is using the tour to reach out to both Muslims and Jews.

In his first public comments upon arriving, Benedict urged Israelis and Palestinians to "explore every possible avenue" to resolve their differences.

Read it all.

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted May 11, 2009 at 8:23 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...when Pope Benedict XVI visits Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories starting on Friday, the world may be excused for holding its breath. In his four years on the job, this pope has not always demonstrated a deft symbolic touch. If he simply manages to get back to Rome without starting a war, some might declare the trip a success.

Yet Benedict can, and should, do much more. Granted, the pope is not a politician, and this trip is more a pilgrimage than a diplomatic mission. Nonetheless, Benedict can make a unique contribution to the peace process at a moment when it obviously needs the help.

The reason for this is that popes enjoy a tremendous advantage over Western politicians in engaging the Middle East. This is the realm of "theopolitics," where religious convictions always shape policy choices. A pope can engage those convictions in a way that secular trouble-shooters like former Senator George Mitchell, President Obama's envoy to the Middle East, never could.

Read it all.

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryMexicoMiddle EastIsraelJordanThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

1 Comments
Posted May 6, 2009 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jordan's king urged President Barack Obama Sunday to take a more forceful role in the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians, warning of a new Mideast war if there is no significant progress in the next 18 months.

Speaking to NBC's "Meet the Press," King Abdullah described the Israeli-Palestinian dispute as the core problem of the region and solving it would help the U.S. in dealing with Iran and combatting the appeal of radical Islamic groups like Al-Qaida.

"In the next 18 months, if we don't move the process forward, and bring people to the negotiation table, there will be another conflict between Israel and another protagonist," he said in the interview recorded in Washington on Friday.

Read it all.

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelJordanThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

1 Comments
Posted April 26, 2009 at 4:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As Shlomo Avineri, a political scientist, has written, Israel was supposed not only to take the Jewish people out of exile but ensure that exile was “taken out of the Jewish people.” In this, 61 years after its creation, Israel has fallen short.

Uncertainty does not so much hang over the country as inhabit its very fiber. Existential threats — from Iran, from Hamas and Hezbollah, from demography — are forever invoked. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refuses — for now — to support even the notion of Palestinian statehood.

Read it all.



Filed under: * International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIranIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

0 Comments
Posted April 20, 2009 at 10:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The publication late last week of eyewitness accounts by Israeli soldiers alleging acute mistreatment of Palestinian civilians in the recent Gaza fighting highlights a debate here about the rules of war. But it also exposes something else: the clash between secular liberals and religious nationalists for control over the army and society.

Several of the testimonies, published by an institute that runs a premilitary course and is affiliated with the left-leaning secular kibbutz movement, showed a distinct impatience with religious soldiers, portraying them as self-appointed holy warriors.

A soldier, identified by the pseudonym Ram, is quoted as saying that in Gaza, “the rabbinate brought in a lot of booklets and articles and their message was very clear: We are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land and now we need to fight to expel the non-Jews who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land. This was the main message, and the whole sense many soldiers had in this operation was of a religious war.”

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

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Posted March 22, 2009 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the two months since Israel ended its military assault on Gaza, Palestinians and international rights groups have accused it of excessive force and wanton killing in that operation, but the Israeli military has said it followed high ethical standards and took great care to avoid civilian casualties.

Now testimony is emerging from within the ranks of soldiers and officers alleging a permissive attitude toward the killing of civilians and wanton destruction of property that is sure to inflame the domestic and international debate about the army's conduct in Gaza. On Thursday, the military's chief advocate general ordered an investigation into a soldier's account of a sniper killing a woman and her two children who walked too close to a designated no-go area by mistake, and another account of a sharpshooter who killed an elderly woman who came within 100 yards of a commandeered house.

Read it all.

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

0 Comments
Posted March 20, 2009 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop John Gladwin, a former chairman of Christian Aid, used a debate on the Gaza situation in the House of Lords to call for a political process involving all parties.

He told peers: “Those of us who have been to the Holy Land will know the experience of passing through checkpoints on the West Bank that are staffed by young Israeli men and women who are barely out of school and controlling people old enough to be their grandparents.

“It makes you wonder what we are doing to the next generation of people and what people are thinking who have been involved in firing from tanks into Gaza, which has left young children and women dead or injured for life. There is a brutalising effect in all this.

“Then I think of the 1.5 million people on the Gaza Strip, half of whom are under the age of 21, I guess. What has happened to them now that thousands of their children have been traumatised by violence and brutality?”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

4 Comments
Posted February 15, 2009 at 2:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Our admiration for Obama is grounded in what he represents: fairness. He is the product of a just, democratic system that respects equal opportunity for education and work. This system allowed a black man, after centuries of racial discrimination, to become president. This fairness is precisely what we are missing in Egypt.

That is why the image of Obama meeting with his predecessors in the White House was so touching. Here in Egypt, we don't have previous or future presidents, only the present head of state who seized power through sham elections and keeps it by force, and who will probably remain in power until the end of his days.

Accordingly, Egypt lacks a fair system that bases advancement on qualifications. Young people often get good jobs because they have connections. Ministers are not elected, but appointed by the president. Not surprisingly, this inequitable system often leads young people to frustration or religious extremism. Others flee the country at any cost, hoping to find justice elsewhere.

We saw Obama as a symbol of this justice. We welcomed him with almost total enthusiasm until he underwent his first real test: Gaza.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack Obama* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

10 Comments
Posted February 8, 2009 at 5:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

How did this conflict get so fragmented? For starters, it’s gone on way too long. The West Bank is so chopped up and divided now by roads, checkpoints and fences to separate Israel’s crazy settlements from Palestinian villages that a Palestinian could fly from Jerusalem to Paris quicker than he or she could drive from Jenin, here in the northern West Bank, to Hebron in the south.

Another reason is that every idea has been tried and has failed. For the Palestinians, Pan-Arabism, Communism, Islamism have all come and gone, with none having delivered statehood or prosperity. As a result, more and more Palestinians have fallen back on family, clan, town and tribal loyalties. In Israel, Peace Now’s two-state solution was blown up with the crash of the Oslo peace accords, the rising Palestinian birthrate made any plans to annex the West Bank a mortal threat to Israel’s Jewish character, and the rockets that followed Israel’s withdrawals from both Lebanon and Gaza made a mockery of those who said unilateral pullouts were the solution.

All of this has led to a resurgence of religiosity. According to Haaretz, the following questions were posed by a well-known rabbi in one of the pamphlets distributed by the Israeli Army’s Office of Chief Rabbi before the latest Gaza fighting: “Is it possible to compare today’s Palestinians to the Philistines of the past? And if so, is it possible to apply lessons today from the military tactics of Samson and David? A comparison is possible because the Philistines of the past were not natives and had invaded from a foreign land.”

Who in the world would want to try to repair this? I’d rather herd cats....

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

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Posted February 4, 2009 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert threatened on Sunday a "disproportionate response" to the continued firing of rockets into Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

There have been sporadic rocket attacks by militants on southern Israeli communities and several Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip since a truce came into effect on Jan. 18 following a 22-day Israeli offensive in the territory.

At least two rockets struck southern Israel on Sunday, causing no damage or casualties. A wing of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a group belonging to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction, claimed responsibility.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

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Posted February 2, 2009 at 6:43 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A day after President Obama’s special Middle East envoy called for a consolidation of the fragile Gaza cease-fire, the truce came under new strain Thursday when the Israeli military said Palestinians fired a rocket into Israel at dawn and Israel launched an air attack into southern Gaza.

On his first visit to the region in his new role, the envoy, George J. Mitchell, traveled to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian leaders on Thursday after discussions with Israel’s prime minister, Ehud Olmert on Wednesday. In those talks, Mr. Mitchell said, he spoke of “the critical importance” of consolidating the cease-fire that ended Israel’s three-week offensive against Hamas.

As Mr. Mitchell prepared to travel to Ramallah, Israel said it launched an air attack in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis against a “known terrorist” accused by an Israeli military spokesman of being part of a squad responsible for a roadside bombing on Tuesday that killed an Israeli soldier on the Israeli side of the border.

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Filed under: * International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

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Posted January 29, 2009 at 10:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has issued a joint statement with the Rev. David Giuliano, Moderator of the United Church of Canada, calling for an independent investigation into the Israeli bombing of the Shaja'ih Family Healthcare Centre in Gaza City on Jan. 10, 2009.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

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Posted January 27, 2009 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We’re getting perilously close to closing the window on a two-state solution, because the two chief window-closers — Hamas in Gaza and the fanatical Jewish settlers in the West Bank — have been in the driver’s seats. Hamas is busy making a two-state solution inconceivable, while the settlers have steadily worked to make it impossible.

If Hamas continues to obtain and use longer- and longer-range rockets, there is no way any Israeli government can or will tolerate independent Palestinian control of the West Bank, because a rocket from there can easily close the Tel Aviv airport and shut down Israel’s economy.

And if the Jewish settlers continue with their “natural growth” to devour the West Bank, it will also be effectively off the table. No Israeli government has mustered the will to take down even the “illegal,” unauthorized settlements, despite promises to the U.S. to do so, so it’s getting hard to see how the “legal” settlements will ever be removed. What is needed from Israel’s Feb. 10 elections is a centrist, national unity government that can resist the blackmail of the settlers, and the rightist parties that protect them, to still implement a two-state solution.

Because without a stable two-state solution, what you will have is an Israel hiding behind a high wall, defending itself from a Hamas-run failed state in Gaza, a Hezbollah-run failed state in south Lebanon and a Fatah-run failed state in Ramallah. Have a nice day.

So if you believe in the necessity of a Palestinian state or you love Israel, you’d better start paying attention. This is not a test. We’re at a hinge of history.

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Filed under: * International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

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Posted January 27, 2009 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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