On December 8, 2015, eleven faith groups who are members of the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy met with the U.S. Department of State.
Maryknoll and its international affiliates have been engaged in the struggle for peace and justice in the Middle East for many years. We support the work of Muslims, Christians, and Jews around the region who challenge of racism, political and economic inequality, military occupation, and who promote inter-religious dialogue. In Washington D.C., the Office for Global Concerns analyzes issues affecting the Middle East in its cultural and historical contexts so that U.S. citizens and law makers can make informed decisions about foreign policy and better understand this important and diverse region of the world.
Articles, alerts, events
Many members of Congress travel during the August recess, and many take trips to Israel. It is important that they get a full picture of the region during these visits, and we can help them do that.
This issue of the Middle East Notes focuses on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s and his chosen ministers’ rejection of any viable Palestinian State, his increasing attempts to control all Israeli media, the challenge to the U.S. to reformulate its non-military support of the Israeli government, the equivocation or substitution of the State of Israel by many Israeli Jews for monotheism as the heart of Jewish identity, the example of Pope Francis in his prophetic role calling for peace and justice, and other issues.
In response to this critical issue around the treatment of children by the Israeli military (which receives the largest amount of U.S. foreign assistance), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN-4) has drafted a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, and invites her fellow members of Congress to sign on.
Topics this issue include both the need for and impossibility of the “two state solution”; the disparity between the so-called two sides, the Israelis and Palestinians, which is made to appear to be in perfect balance, but are not so in fact; the permanent occupation of the West Bank; the Vatican recognition of the State of Palestine and declaration of sainthood for two Palestinian women; the continuing Nakba of 1947-49, 1967 and the present; and other articles of interest.
Ask your representatives to attend a Congressional briefing on the important issue of children in Israeli military detention.
This issue’s articles focus on concerns such as: the best U.S. response to the Israeli/Palestinian and other Middle East conflicts could be a lessening of involvement, Zionism’s close connection to growing anti-Semitism, increasing threats to the survival of Israel as a Jewish, democratic, and an accepted member of the community of nations due to the current policies of the Israeli government, a shift in U.S. public opinion from blind and unquestioned support of Israel, questions concerning the continuing absolution of Israel from the Deir Yassin and all other massacres, the continuing violation of Palestinian human rights through Israel’s settlement outpost system, and other issues.
Tell your elected officials to support peaceful solutions with Iran, in Syria: Don’t stand in the way of Iran negotiations, and do support urgent help for Yarmouk refugees.
This issue’s articles highlight Israeli opposition to the nuclear arrangement being negotiated by the U.S. and European nations with Iran, the underreported continuing repression and oppression of Palestinians, possible actions to be taken by the Palestinian Authority in the International Criminal Court (ICC), the need for Israel to deal with the underlying causes of the Gaza conflicts, or face the prospect of renewed armed conflict, the responsibility to criticize elected leaders of democratic states, and links to many other issues of interest.
Most of this issue’s articles focus on reactions to the reelection of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; his present and future relationship with the White House; the possible end of the two-state solution; the reality that Israel seems to have already chosen a one-state solution by expanding its settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem; the weakening of unquestioned support of Israeli policies by U.S. Jews and Christian Evangelicals; acknowledgement of Israel’s nuclear weapons; and other issues.
A peaceful resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue is in the best interest of its neighbors in the region – including the Israelis and Palestinians – as well as the best interest of the United States and the world.
This issue of Middle East Notes (MEN) highlights Hamas’ interest in a long term ceasefire with Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s constant focus on Iran with little mention of the occupation, President Obama’s possible more aggressive attitude on resolution of the Palestinian issue, documents clarifying that Israel knew that Egypt, Syria and Jordan were not planning to attack when beginning the Seven Day war, the impossibility of Israel being both democratic and the nation state of the Jewish people while denying the Palestinians their right to self-determination, settler violence against the Palestinians, and other issues.
The following articles focus on the analysis of and response to Benjamin Netanyahu's address to a joint session of Congress, March 3, 2015.
This issue focuses on pre-speech opposition to Netanyahu stating that he speaks for the “entire Jewish people,” initial surprise and dismay by AIPAC leadership to the news of the invitation to speak to Congress, the media drowning out of any news on the Israel/Palestine conflict, the dire situation for the nearly two million people of Gaza living in a “giant prison,” the absence of “symmetry” in the Israeli/Palestinian violence with the overwhelming power on the Israeli side and the majority of victims on the Palestinian side, the stain on the upcoming Israeli elections caused by the land grab through settlements, and other issues.
The controversial speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Congress scheduled for March 3 is problematic for a number of reasons including the way the invitation was issued without coordination with the White House, the anticipated content of the speech which is expected to deal with the Iranian nuclear issue at a critical time in the negotiations with Iran, and the timing of the speech just prior to the Israeli elections.
This issue of Middle East highlights Israeli and U.S. opposition to the speech to Congress by Prime Minister Netanyahu, slated for March 3, the claim by Netanyahu that he speaks for Jews worldwide, (“Israelis in Exile”), the situation in Gaza, U.S. tax exempt funding of settlements, continuing opinion that the “two-state solution” is already impossible, civilian deaths in Gaza, and other issues.
Maryknoll Sister Jean Fallon lived and worked on mission in Japan. “Living and working in a non-Christian milieu is very different from what Missioners might expect, say, in Latin America,” Sister Jean said. “The New Testament, however, brings insights to us all that are ever-new, ever deepening our faith and ever giving life to everyone.”