Source: Pax Christi England and Wales, Independent Catholic News
You’ve probably all seen the shocking scenes from Jerusalem over the last few days. The violence in Jerusalem by heavily armed Israeli police, military and settlers, has escalated drastically in the last few days. Families in the Sheikh Jarrah district of occupied East Jerusalem have been the focus of excessive violence in which many have been traumatised when their homes were invaded and they were physically attacked and injured.
About 500 people are under threat of forced eviction from their homes so that a group of Israeli settlers can take them over. Last week as the families sat down to break their fast at a communal meal in the street outside their homes, they were interrupted by armed Israeli settlers who rampaged throughout the area, upturning the tables, attacking women, men and children and invading their homes. Many were injured and seriously traumatised.
During Ramadan, many Palestinians Muslims have been prevented from getting to the Al Aqsa Mosque, their most sacred place of worship. Last Friday and over the weekend, people at prayer in the Mosque were subjected to violent attacks by the Israeli Police and Military during which stun grenades, rubber coated steel bullets, tear gas and water cannon were used against them. Since then the violence has escalated and more worshippers have been attacked whilst at prayer and others on the courtyard area outside.
The Heads of Churches in Jerusalem have issued a statement calling on us all to take action: www.cbcew.org.uk/latin-patriarchate-reacts-to-recent-violence-in-jerusalem/ and say:
“We call upon the International Community, the Churches and all people of goodwill to intervene in order to put an end to these provocative actions, and to continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. We join in prayer with the intention of the Holy Father Pope Francis that “the multi-religious and multi-cultural identity of the Holy City might be respected and that fraternity might prevail.”
Pax Christi, England and Wales is responding to that call by asking our members and friends to join with us in the following urgent actions:
Please join in our Pax Christi International call to prayer in ‘Circles of Silence’ on or near Saturday 15 May, as Palestinians recall the Nakba (catastrophe);
Light a candle each day/night and pray for peace with justice in Palestine and Israel;
Ask your parish/community to include prayers this weekend for the Peace of Jerusalem, and an end to the violence and forced evictions of Palestinian families from their homes.
Write to your local Church Leaders asking them to:
- Call the local community to prayer for peace with justice in Palestine and Israel;
- Speak out publicly to condemn the use of military force against people at prayer in the Al Aqsa Mosque and the forced evictions of Palestinians from their homes;
- Send messages of solidarity and prayer to our Sisters and Brothers in Palestine.
Write to your MP/Elected Representative:
Please send them the CAABU statement (below) and ask them to:
- speak out publically and call on the Israeli Government to immediately withdraw all troops from the area of the Al Aqsa Mosque;
- end the violence against Palestinian protestors;
- halt all planned evictions of families in the Sheikh Jarrah area of occupied East Jerusalem which, if carried out, would violate international law.
Information for your networks, elected reps and faith leaders:
Pax Christi International statement – https://paxchristi.net/2021/04/27/pax-christi-international-calls-on-un-to-oppose-sheikj-jarrah-silwan-evictions/
World Council of Churches calls for end to violence, urges respect of status quo of holy sites in Jerusalem: www.oikoumene.org/news/wcc-calls-for-end-to-violence-urges-respect-of-status-quo-of-holy-sites-in-jerusalem
Eye-Witness account from worshipper in Mosque attack: www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-palestine-aqsa-raid-eyewitness-account
The history of the Sheikh Jarrah area of occupied East Jerusalem: www.facebook.com/hiddenpalestine/
Footage of the Israeli military entering Al Aqsa mosque while Muslims attend worship for the end of Ramadan – https://twitter.com/arwaib/status/1390800051887345669
Here’s what our governments have been saying:
Pax Christi England and Wales