Jerusalem is a significant place for many. The city has been demolished and rebuilt on at least eighteen occasions, and it has been conquered and reconquered more than thirty-seven times. The latest conquest was by the Israeli army in 1967. Here’s what you need to know about Jerusalem and what you can do so that together we can rise up.
Palestinian liberation theology is inspired by the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. This liberation theology developed in the wake of the first intifada in 1987 through Bible studies in the local community as a response to many using the Bible to justify the occupation. Palestinian liberation theology attempts to answer the question of what does God ask us to do and how must we respond to the injustice present in Palestine-Israel. This theology seeks to liberate Palestinians from the unjust and illegal occupation by the State of Israel. Palestinian liberation theology reads the Bible through a lens of inclusivity, justice, and nonviolence and encourages all people to speak prophetically against the evil of injustice and oppression.
Sabeel is an ecumenical grassroots liberation theology movement among Palestinian Christians. We seek to deepen the faith of Palestinian Christians, promote unity among them and with the rest of their community, and lead them to act for justice and peace. Sabeel strives to develop a spirituality based on justice, peace, nonviolence, liberation, and reconciliation for the different national and faith communities. The word Sabeel is Arabic for “the way” and also “a spring of life-giving water.”
Sabeel also works to promote a more accurate international awareness regarding the identity, presence, and witness of Palestinian Christians as well as their contemporary concerns. We encourage individuals and groups from around the world to work for a just, comprehensive, and enduring peace informed by truth and empowered by prayer and action.
You can find Sabeel on their website at http://sabeel.org/. Or find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/naimateek/, on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SabeelJerusalem, or on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YyuujIgIZE. Find Sabeel’s weekly Wave of Prayer at https://sabeel.org/category/wave-of-prayers/.
Since East Jerusalem was annexed in 1967, the primary goal of the government of Israel has been to create a demographic and geographic situation in Jerusalem that will thwart any future attempt to challenge Israeli sovereignty over the city. To achieve this goal, the government has been taking actions to increase the number of Jews, and reduce the number of Palestinians, living in the city. Various methods have been used to achieve this goal:
- Physically isolating East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, in part by building the separation barrier;
- Discriminating in land expropriation, planning, and building, as well as demolition of houses;
- Revoking residency and social benefits of Palestinians who stay abroad for at least three years, or who are unable to prove that their center of life is in Jerusalem;
- Unfairly dividing the budget between the two parts of the city, with harmful effects on infrastructure and services in East Jerusalem (according to B’Tselem)
Jerusalem is a place that holds importance for so many, yet it has become a battleground. Nobody wants to see the destruction of this holy place; however, the situation now is the cause of much grief and anxiety for those who live here, and for those around the world.
Just as Mary and the disciples grieved over the death of Jesus, so people today grieve at the deep sickness of the place that Jesus called home. One of the many churches in Jerusalem is called Dominus Flevit in memory of the tears that Jesus shed over Jerusalem. Through the window of the church there is a spectacular view of the city that is so much in need of healing. We grieve as Jesus grieved, and we pray for the peace and tranquility of Jerusalem: the city must be shared.
Adapted from “Station Thirteen” in Sabeel’s Contemporary Way of the Cross: A Liturgical Journey along the Palestinian Via Dolorosa.
from “One Woman’s Story: A Testimony from June 1967” by Georgette Rizek
It was Monday morning on the 5th of June, 1967, when we felt something was wrong…. The schools started closing and my husband had to go and get the children from school. The Arab radios started giving updates on the movement of the army troops. It was a day of fear and terror. My mother, sister and I started filling sandbags to close the window of the basement and when my husband arrived we started moving mattresses, food and candles to the basement. We decided that we would not leave our houses. We were fooled when we thought we would come back to them in 1948, and we lost them forever. It took us 20 years to re-establish ourselves, our business and our residence. We could not afford to lose our houses again….
On Thursday the Israeli army, who by that time was controlling all of Jerusalem, started announcing that people could come out of their homes. My husband and I decided to walk downtown from Beit Hanina to see what happened to our garage on the border between East and West Jerusalem. There were many people in the streets walking downtown. When we got to Shu’fat, we heard someone calling our names. It was our family doctor, Saliba Saeed. He took me aside and said: “Georgette, your husband should not see the garage right now… it is completely damaged and it will be too much for him to handle.” …
I walked about seven kilometers under the burning sun and finally got to the garage. The offices were demolished, all the furniture was broken, all the tools were stolen, and all the cars were damaged or had been stolen. There was blood all over the floor and walls. Children’s school bags were thrown all over the garage. Oil, from our stock of oil barrels, was seeping all the way to Damascus Gate. The account books and ledgers were all over the place and the cash register was broken into pieces. I stood there crying and crying.
This was the business that my husband worked all his life to establish and it was all gone now. This was the business that has been supporting many families, and it was gone now. For the second time in my life, I could not bear the pain of starting all over again. It was too much… Oh God, it was too much. I started thinking about how to break the news to my husband, so he would not have a heart attack when he saw it….
From “One Woman’s Story: A Testimony from June 1967” by Georgette Rizek, Sabeel Cornerstone, Issue 46, Fall 2007, p. 12.1
Join us for our Kumi Creativity week! Instead of an organized nonviolent advocacy action for this week, we want to hear from you. Have in mind any creative, out-of-the-box, or unique ideas you have been wanting to see showcased for a Kumi action? Thinking of a simple or effective way to engage in activism? Do you know of a ‘go-to’ action that you have used for a previous campaign? Now is your time to share those ideas and provide the Kumi project with creativity for future advocacy actions.
Grassroots work is most successful when all voices are included. Share your ideas with us during this Kumi Creativity week by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and posting your ideas on social media. Include a link to this page of the Kumi Now website and the hashtags #KumiCreativity, #KumiNow, and #Kumi36. We hope to use your ideas for future Kumi actions!
A Prayer for Jerusalem and Luke 19:41-42
Our heavenly Creator God, in this city your beloved son was crucified and raised from the dead. Make us worthy of its heavenly message. We beseech you Lord, who knows what the people of this holy city have suffered, and are suffering: up-rootedness, lostness, the pain of being torn apart in separation, the pain of unsettlement, the pain of death. We beseech you Lord, to give this holy place Peace.
We beseech you Lord, to give the people of this city calm in their souls, and courage in their hearts. Strengthen, O God, the hearts of those who work to bring Justice. Bless their efforts and make them succeed over the powers of evil, and support them with your Holy Spirit.
Inspire our leaders, O Lord, to achieve a just solution to all the problems of this city so that Jerusalem—the city of peace—will have everlasting peace for all its people. Help us God, as we pass through such difficult trials, that we may grow to know your truth, that we may witness to you, to our savior, by our lives. May the way of the cross be the one we choose for ourselves, that each will carry their own cross to follow you, Shepherd of our souls, teacher, crucified and raised from the dead.
“As [Jesus] came near to the city, he wept over it, saying ‘If you, even you, had recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.’” (Luke 19:41-42)
Published under “Station Thirteen” in Sabeel’s Contemporary Way of the Cross: A Liturgical Journey along the Palestinian Via Dolorosa.
Books by Reverend Naim Ateek:
- Justice and Only Justice (1989)
- A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation (2008)
- A Palestinian Theology of Liberation: The Bible, Justice, and The Palestine-Israel Conflict (2017)
Other books recommended by Sabeel: http://sabeel.org/books/
- Our Story: The Palestinians (2000)
- Suicide Bombers (2003)
- Principles for a Just Peace in Palestine-Israel (2004)
- For He Is Our Peace … and Has Broken Down the Dividing Wall (2004)
- A Call for Morally Responsible Investment (2005)
- Reflections in the Galilee (2008)
- Contemporary Way of the Cross (2017)
Watch a trailer for the film The Stones Cry Out: https://youtu.be/9YyuujIgIZ
Statements from Sabeel: http://sabeel.org/statements/
- Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths by Karen Armstrong
- Jerusalem: The Biography by Simon Sebag Montefiore
- Overlooking the Border: Narratives of a Divided Jerusalem by Dana Hercbergs (published October 2018)
- “Jerusalem History: Animation” from Emek Shaveh: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljwo3fh46VM
- “(Under)mining the Status Quo” from Emek Shaveh: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpZWVMF4umM
- “Israel & Palestine: A Very Short Introduction” from Jewish Voice of Peace: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y58njT2oXfE
- “Jerusalem-Al-Quds 2037” from Ir Amim: https://youtu.be/zB0sPcGhU2Q
- “How to Share Jerusalem” from J Street: https://youtu.be/M29FCrP5GFY
- “Muslims and Christians Once Peacefully Coexisted in Jerusalem” from Smithsonian Channel: https://youtu.be/gz_wIacRi7s
- “Jerusalem: Three Religions, Three Families” from Faith Matters and DW English: https://youtu.be/3inhQffPlAI
- “Trump Unsuccessfully Bullies UN Members to Vote Against Shared and Peaceful Jerusalem” from Jewish Voice for Peace: https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/trump-bullies-un-members-vote-shared-peaceful-jerusalem/
- “Jerusalem: A City on Edge” from Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling: http://www.wclac.org/english/etemplate.php?id=1532
- “Jerusalem: A City Divided” from Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling: http://www.wclac.org/english/etemplate.php?id=1379
- “Jerusalem & Its Changing Boundaries” from PASSIA: http://www.passia.org/publications/287
- “Legal Status & Treatment Of Palestinians In Jerusalem” from PASSIA: http://www.passia.org/publications/108
- Jewish Voice of Peace: https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/
- Emek Shaveh:
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