Please write letters!  To the Foreign Minister, The Age,  and to the Rector of St James Piccadilly for their amazing 'Bethlehem Unwrapped' festival
Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network - Update

Brother Peter Bray - Vice Chancellor of Bethlehem University coming to Australia

Melbourne: 7.30pm 3 Feb, 207 Serpells Road, Templestowe, Vic. Read more 
Sydney: 6pm, 6 Feb, The Broken Bay Institute,  Caroline Chisholm Centre Building 2, 423 Pennant Hills Road (enter via City View Road), Pennant Hills. Book to attend.


Bethlehem Unwrapped - please write to congratulate them

You may or may not have heard of the deeply inspiring project of St James in Piccadilly, London "Bethlehem Unwrapped".  It included many cultural performances, but its most prominent feature was a replica wall that they build around the church. I recommend you watch a of their intentions, and read a piece by Rector Lucy Winkett in the Guardian.   The church has received some very heavy criticism for their truth telling.  If people could write a quick email of congratulations to - I think they would be deeply appreciative.

Australian politics - Julie Bishop lurches towards Israel - please write!

Australia Palestine Advocacy Network's latest bulletin includes a report of the Foreign Ministers recent actions which were dubbed 'willful defiance from international consensus' by the PLO's Hanan Ashrawi and thanked by hard line settler groups.  They ask Australians to write to the Foreign Minister Read bulletin and request for letters.  Also today there is an Op Ed in The Age supporting the Foreign Minister's stand - please write in response!

Diary note: September 22-29 2014 is the World Week for Palestine and Israel


News about Palestine & Israel

United Church of Canada members write an open letter to Palestinians
As their foreign minister visits Israel and refuses to condemn settlements, members of the United Church Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel released an open letter to Palestinians supporting them against settlements.  Read letter.

Palestinian film nominated for Oscar
The Palestinian film "Omar" has been nominated for an Academy Award in the Foreign Language Film category, making it the second Palestinian film to be nominated for the prestigious golden statuette. More

Ban Ki-moon’s launch of Palestinian Solidarity Year stirs anger in Israel
General-Secretary of the United Nation, Ban Ki-moon launched the “Palestinian Solidarity Year”. Ban Ki-moon stating  that “2014 will be will be a crucial year for achieving a two-state solution, ending the occupation that was started in 1967, and establishing an independent Palestinian state that live side by side in with an Israeli ditto.”  For more

UNESCO cancels Israeli exhibit
UNESCO has called off a controversial exhibition at its Paris headquarters after coming under pressure from a number of Arab states.  The UNESCO sought to spotlight "3,500 years of ties between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. It was cancelled by UNESCO after Arab states registered a strong protest. UNESCO has stated that the exhibit was postponed indefinitely out of "support for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority." Read more

Israel retaliates over EU settlement protest
Israel called in European ambassadors in a tit-for-tat move Friday after four EU states lodged formal protests against the right-wing government's drive to expand illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the European Union of a "hypocritical" attitude toward the Middle East process, saying it should be more concerned by Palestinian militancy than Israeli housing construction. For more

Israel settler attacks on Palestinians quadruple: UN
The United Nations figures show that the annual rate of Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians has nearly quadrupled in the past eight years. More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967. More

Recognizing Israel as 'Jewish state' would legalize 'racism'
Israel's pressure on Palestinians to recognize it as a Jewish state is an attempt to legalize "racism," 
PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi. Defining Israel as a Jewish state would signify that any Jewish person would have the right to return to Palestine, while Palestinians would lose that right. Ashrawi says Israel wants to "create a narrative that denies the Palestinian presence, rights, and continuity on the historic Palestinian lands." For more.
Israeli NGO: Israel Tortures Palestinian Children
The Public committee against torture in Israel (PCATI) writes in a report that Israel fails to protect Palestinian minors from torture. PCATI states that it is actively investigating cases concerning children's torture and ill treatment by IOF soldiers. The cases include acts of sexual violence and caging of children in outdoor cages. Report

Human Rights groups condemn Israeli military exercises 
Israel on has been condemned by human rights groups because of a rise in military exercises in Palestinian towns and villages. There have been reports of soldiers taking up positions in Palestinians homes during fake raids in the occupied West Bank and Palestinians being detained for hours without explanation. Human rights groups including the group “Breaking the Silence” said the Israeli military's exercises in the West Bank broke the law and endangered civilians.For more

Evangelical Christian support for 'Palestinian Cause' on the rise
Jim Christian, a long time Christian publisher, was interviewed by Israeli media. He argues that the Evangelical Church has moved into the "Palestinian camp" when it comes to the Middle East conflict. After having been Israel's most robust supporters for decades, the Evangelicals who one saw  the rebirth of the Jewish state as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy and evidence of God's faithfulness, a new generation of Evangelical leaders are "committed to spreading the Palestinian version of the conflict," Read more

Israel plans to build hundreds of new settlements
Palestinians have warned repeatedly that settlement building destroys the fragile US-brokered peace talks that resumed in July after a three-year hiatus. Israeli media has reported that soon Israel will announce plans for new settlement construction next week, coinciding with the release of a third batch of Palestinian prisoners as part of peace talks. Read more

Contesting Israel’s racist marriage laws
Activists have launched a new campaign to challenge Israeli laws which prevent many Palestinians from marrying each other. “We were all friends through different forums, and we decided to do something to tackle this racism,” Najwan Berekdar, a founding member of the campaign, told The Electronic Intifada. Launched in March this year, the campaign — which the activists are calling Love in a Time of Apartheid — focuses on Israel’s Citizenship and Entry Law, a temporary order that prevents the reunification of Palestinian families based on the type of identification card they carry. Love in a Time of Apartheid consists of some thirty members who work on a voluntary basis. Read more
Bethlehem Unwrapped at St James Piccadilly in London

Buy Taybeh Peacelamps

The South Australian Council of Churches are selling ceramic peacelamps on behalf of the Taybeh Christian community in the West Bank.  These lamps are a lovely gift, and also are a beautiful reminder for the need to pray for peace.  Additionally they provide much needed local employment.  Buy one as a gift, for your church, or home. Download more information with order form. 

Trips to Palestine

8-17 February 2014: Olive Planting
Often Palestinians or their olive trees are attacked during the olive harvest.  Joining an Olive Planting is therefore an act of protective accompaniment as well as a wonderful chance to meet local Palestinians. This trip is jointly organised by the YWCA-YMCA Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI) and the Alternative Tourism Group (ATG). Read more.

10-14 March, 2014: Christ at the Checkpoint
Read more

Easter 2014 and be part of the Compass special.

3-18 August 2014, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions - rebuilding camp
Join with Palestinians and Israelis who refuse to be enemies in a powerful act of non-violent resistance in rebuilding a Palestinian home.   Participate in an extensive educational program including field trips to both sides of the divide. Read more.
Would you like a speaker for your church or event?  Or would you like some of our new brochures for your church?  We'd love to send you as many copies as you like -

Australian Christians who seek lasting peace for the people of Palestine and Israel. 

We aim to equip and 
inform Australian churches, inspired by Christ’s vision for universal reconciliation.

Executive Officer
Jessica Morrison 
0431 519 577