September 21, 2015 –
ACT PALESTINE FORUM
PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
24th of every month
Prayer Petitions for Gaza Reconstruction, for the Cessation of Demolitions, and for an End to the Construction of the Apartheid Wall in the Cremisan Valley
Thursday, 24 September, 2015
Every day in the month ahead, we continue to pray with and for our sisters and brothers in Palestine and Israel who have called for an ecumenical prayer vigil across the globe on the 24th of every month.
WORLD WEEK FOR PEACE: This month, the ACT Palestine Forum prayer vigil coincides with the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel. Our prayers remain steadfast for the reconstruction of Gaza, continue to pray for the end of demolitions in Area C, but also follow the theme for World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel: “God has broken down the dividing walls”. We specifically pray about the restart of construction of the Apartheid Wall through the Cremisan Valley and Beit Jala area.
GAZA: A year after the conflict in Gaza destroyed over 19,000 homes and left 100,000 people homeless, Israeli restrictions on building materials continue to cause delays. Reconstruction has started on just over 2,000 of the 19,000 homes destroyed last year, and not a single home has been fully rebuilt. As the conditions in Gaza have still not improved, we remember our sisters and brothers in Gaza as their suffering continues.
DEMOLITIONS IN AREA C: August saw a surge of demolitions in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, with a high concentration in Area C. In one week alone, the Israeli Army destroyed 63 homes and basic structures within Area C, including 12 basic humanitarian necessities, such as solar panels, portable latrines, animal pens, and tents financed by the European Union. APF and organizations around the world call for an end to these illegal and devastating demolitions. We continue to pray for our displaced sisters and brothers, and for those facing demolition orders.
CREMISAN VALLEY: In August, Israel restarted construction of the Apartheid Wall in the Cremisan Valley, surrounding the city of Beit Jala. This section of the wall will allow for the expansion of the Israeli settlement Har Gilo and will cut off the families of Beit Jala from their farmland. Olive trees, some 1500 years old, have already been uprooted and will be replanted on what will be the Israeli side of the wall, preventing Palestinians from accessing and harvesting their historic olive groves.
ELCA LETTER TO US OFFICIALS: Many religious leaders in Beit Jala, along with both Christian and Muslim members of the Beit Jala community have been joined by internationals to hold weekly services at the site of the construction. Several of these services and marches have been met with heavy IDF resistance and tear gas. The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), said in a letter to U.S. officials these actions are “very disturbing and destructive, both for those directly affected as well as the broader cause of promoting better understanding between Israelis and Palestinians and bringing to an end their too-long-standing conflict”.
APF SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER FOCUS: During the month between 24 September and 24 October 2015, the ACT Palestine Forum will focus its awareness building and advocacy efforts on seeking justice in accordance with international law for the recovery of Gaza, for the loss of homes and structures for humanitarian necessities, and for the end of construction of the Apartheid Wall. We will continue to pray for Palestinians and Israelis, and advocate for non-violent means of pursuing justice. We invite you to prepare and send prayer petitionsfor us to share on the APF website.
PRAYERS for 24 September 2015 and the month following:
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair.”
(2 Corinthians 4:8)
We pray to our Heavenly God in the name of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and Rescuer.
You, in your mighty works, O God, have sanctified this land and have made it holy. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus this land has been set apart with a special calling. The continuing political conflict that scars this land and harms all its peoples is a scandal against Your will.
We lament the many forms of violence afflicting people in this land.
We cry out for reconstruction of a destroyed Gaza and ask for the ability to live a life of dignity to be returned to the people of Gaza. Their continued suffering is a call to action to demand basic human rights for all in the Holy Land.
We cry with those whose homes are laid to ruin before their eyes and whose basic tools for livelihood are destroyed. These actions serve to demolish the hope for peace and a just future for all people.
We grieve that the barrier of separation has split Palestinian communities from one another and sharpened the divide between Palestinian and Israeli societies. This barrier has contributed nothing to justice, and less to peace.
We pray for comfort, for the strength to not lose heart.
We pray for hope, for the peace that comes when materials can be obtained to heal the destruction of war.
We pray for solace, for the knowledge that homes can be rebuilt and communities strengthened.
We pray that the wall and all similar walls will fall.
We believe that the Wall is a “momentary affliction … for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4.16–18). We pray for reconciliation and for peace, as we commit to working for justice for all persons who live in this Holy Land.
As we observe this week with our sisters and brothers around the world, we ask for the strong comfort of the Holy Spirit for all who seek justice in this land. Inspire us not to be content with mere words, but to engage in acts of costly solidarity. Inspire us to be instruments of your peace, the workers of your will. “For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.” (Ephesians 2.14)
–Based on the “Jerusalem Prayer” for World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel.