This is a very interesting article about an interfaith delegation and what they learned on their recent trip to the West Bank. The delegation offered a unique perspective having members who have worked on civil rights issues during the times of segregation in the US. Please take a few minutes to read this article.


Christian leaders will not be cowed into silence about widespread human rights violations | Mondowei

An interfaith delegation to the West Bank witnessed widespread human rights violations; and American Christian










The following is an update from the EAPPI office regarding an injustice being served to a Palestinian family in Hebron/Al Khalil. Please take a stand for justice and contact your elected officials and let them know that you expect the Israeli government to uphold international law and not allow the take over by Settlers of a locally owned home (it is illegal for an occupying force to transfer its population into occupied territory). Take a stand for democracy and justice and let your elected officials know this action will impede the process for peace and for Israel to be a true democracy. Please see the detailed story below.


EAPPI Advocacy Officer
Oct 9 (2 days ago)

The Jerusalem District Court ruled on 13 September 2012, that the locally-known “House of Peace”, a privately owned, Palestinian building in Hebron’s H2 area, belonging to the Al Rajabi family is to be given to Israeli settlers.
The house is situated in a valley at the southern entrance of the Kiryat Arba settlement, in a strategic location that could link this settlement to five other nearby settlements around Hebron’s Old City.
The Al Rajabi family is currently preparing to file an appeal to the court ruling. Nonetheless, they are not hopeful of the outcome and are seeking international support to pressure Israel to return their property to them without delay.
On 19 March 2007, approximately 200 settlers occupied the building and claimed to have purchased it. The settlers launched a campaign of attacks against Palestinian families and their property in an effort to pressure Palestinians to move away from the area. Their efforts were supplemented by an increased presence of Israeli soldiers in the area to provide security for the settlers, which resulted in severe movement and access restrictions for Palestinians.
On 17 November 2008, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the ownership deed produced by the settlers was forged, and declared that the ownership of the building should only be decided after the case has gone through all levels of litigation in the Israeli Judicial system. The settlers were ordered to vacate the building, which they did, while injuring approximately 25 Palestinian civilians, damaging seven cars, and vandalizing three homes in the process.
Since then, the Israeli Military has occupied the building pending a court decision, and the area has been calm. However, the Jerusalem District Court’s ruling will likely result in increased settler violence and harassment targeting Palestinians living in the area.
Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 states that, “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
Article 23 of The Hague Convention of 1907 clearly states that, “it is especially forbidden (for the occupier) to destroy or seize the enemy’s property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war.”
We encourage you to:
·       Forward this email to your networks·       Inform your representative in parliament about what is happening in Hebron·       Contact the following officials and call on them to demand that the Al Rajabi’s property not be handed over to settlers. o   Your Ambassador and/or Consul General in Israel§ o   The Israeli Ambassador in your country§ o   Israeli Minister of Defense:§  Ehud Barak§  Ministry of Defence§  Fax: +972.3.691.6940 / +972.3.696.2757 / +972.3.697.7285
§  Email: / /   Israeli Military Judge Advocate General:§  Major General Avihai Mandelblit§  Fax: +972.3.569.4526 / +972.3.608.0366§  Email:   Israeli Military Chief of Staff§  Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz§  Fax: +972.3.691.6940 / +972.697.6218
You may either use the sample letter below or draft your own:
Mr. Ambassador / Consul General / Defense Minister / Judge Advocate General, Chief of Staff,
I am writing you in light of a recent decision by the Jerusalem District Court on 13 September 2012, which ruled that ownership of the so-called “House of Peace” in the West Bank City of Hebron be transferred to Israeli settlers.
The situation in the City of Hebron is already tense and the handing over of the building to settlers would only serve to increase the tension in the area, and will endanger the lives and property of Palestinians living in the area, threatening the relative peace and stability that has been upheld since the removal of settlers from the building by the Israeli military in 2008.
Moreover, the Jerusalem District Court’s decision contradicts Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which states that; “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
The ruling is also a violation of Article 23 of The Hague Convention of 1907 clearly states that, “it is especially forbidden (for the occupier) to destroy or seize the enemy’s property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war.”

The following is the most recent press release by the ELCA regarding the situation in the Holy Land and the use of US military aid.

October 5, 2012

ELCA, other churches call for investigation of military aid to Israel

     CHICAGO (ELCA) – Concerned about the deteriorating conditions in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories and the commitment for a just peace, the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and other U.S. Christian leaders are urging Congress to conduct an investigation into possible human rights and weapon violations by the government of Israel.
     In an Oct. 5 letter to Congress, the religious leaders cited possible violations by Israel of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act and the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, which respectively excludes assistance to any country that engages in a consistent pattern of human rights violations and limits the use of U.S. weapons to “internal security” or “legitimate self-defense.”
     The leaders also urged Congress “to undertake careful scrutiny to ensure that our aid is not supporting actions by the government of Israel that undermine prospects for peace. We urge Congress to hold hearings to examine Israel’s compliance, and we request regular reporting on compliance and the withholding of military aid for non-compliance.”
     U.S. churches and religious organizations have been deeply involved in the pursuit of peace for both Israelis and Palestinians. The religious leaders shared in their letter that they have witnessed the pain and suffering of Israelis as a result of Palestinian actions and of Palestinians as a result of Israeli actions.
     “When as Lutherans we say that all the baptized will strive for justice and peace in all the earth, it means that we will be immersed in complex issues. While we do not all agree on the best way to establish justice and bring peace, we will be involved in lively, respectful, passionate conversations,” said Hanson.
     In their letter, the U.S. Christian leaders were clear in their recognition that Israel faces real security threats and that it has both “a right and a duty to protect both the state and its citizens,” but the “measures that it uses to protect itself and its citizens, as in the case with any other nation, must conform to international humanitarian and human rights law.”
     The leaders further said it is unfortunate that “unconditional U.S. military assistance to Israel has contributed to (the) deterioration, sustaining the conflict and undermining the long-term security interests of both Israelis and Palestinians. This is made clear in the most recent 2011 State Department Country Report on Human Rights Practices covering Israel and the Occupied Territories, which details widespread Israeli human rights violations committed against Palestinian civilians, many of which involve the misuse of U.S.-supplied weapons.”
     Examples of human rights violence related to U.S. military support were included as an annex to the letter and, in addition to specific rights violations, the Christian leaders expressed their concern that Israel continues to expand its settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, claiming territory “that under international law and U.S. policy should belong to a future Palestinian state.”
     “From Palestinian Lutherans, I hear discouragement about the lack of progress and questions about where the voice is of American Christians,” said Hanson. “Our letter seeks to be a partial answer to such questions, that we are clear in our resolve to continue to work for a just and lasting solution for Israelis and Palestinians.”
     The U.S. Christian leaders wrote that it is “our moral responsibility to question the continuation of unconditional U.S. financial assistance to the government of Israel. Realizing a just and lasting peace will require this accountability, as continued U.S. military assistance to Israel — offered without conditions or accountability — will only serve to sustain the status quo and Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian territories.”
     They requested that Congress hold Israel accountable to these standards by “making the disbursement of U.S. military assistance to Israel contingent on the Israeli government’s compliance with applicable U.S. laws and policies. As Israel is the single largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid since World War II, it is especially critical for Israel to comply with the specific U.S. laws that regulate the use of U.S.-supplied weapons. We also encourage Congress to support inclusive, comprehensive and robust regional diplomacy to secure a just and lasting peace that will benefit Israelis, Palestinians, and all the peoples of the region and the world.”
     Through an action, the 2001 ELCA Churchwide Assembly expressed concern over continued U.S. military aid to Israel.
– – –
About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with 4.2 million members in 10,000 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of “God’s work. Our hands,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA’s roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.

Christians in the Holy Land

Posted: April 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

This past Sunday, 60 minutes aired a segment about the shrinking Christian presence in the Holy Land. If you didn’t have a chance to watch it Sunday night here are two links with the information that was aired on 60 minutes.

Watch “Christians of the Holy Land” (aired on CBS 60-Miuntes 4/23/12): 

Also, watch “The Last Christian Village in the Holy Land” (name: Taybeh):;cnav 

Also, if you would like to learn more about the conditions in the Holy Land from religious leader,s you can watch this video interview conducted by Christians for Middle East Peace. Here they interview 2 Christian religious leaders in the Holy Land. It gives a clear description of what life is currently like in the Holy Land and how we may support the work of the church in the Holy Land. Click on the link below to view the video.

In Peace,




As I reflect on my time spent in Palestine over the last three months many things come to mind. Its is difficult to describe my entire experience. Ann Haften, the US coordinator for the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program for Palestine and Israel has written a great summary of my time in Palestine and Israel with a comprehensive overview of the EAPPI program. I encourage everyone to go to the link to read this article and consider supporting the US-EAPPI program in some way whether it be participation in the program or by sponsoring a volunteer or by helping a volunteer raise funds to participate. It is a great program that provided an experience of a lifetime that has enabled me to become a better advocate for Peace with Justice. Please follow the link below to see Ann’s summary:

Here’s the link:

“Next Time”

Posted: February 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

Early last week, I witnessed the following incident along with other international observers.  This information has been included in a larger report citing other human rights abuses of this particular military unit.  This report may be viewed at:

Two 11-year-old boys were detained at Cordoba school in Hebron on February 6, 2012. Towards the end of our afternoon monitoring period of the school we (myself  and two other international observers) were leaving the area and saw 6 soldiers armed with M-16 rifles run urgently up the hill towards the school. We then heard 6 soldiers shouting violently at the children and heard children screaming and crying. We ran up the stairs to find the soldiers pulling the boys by their clothes to take them to the police station. The teachers from the school were still on school grounds and surrounded the children to prevent them from being arrested and attempted to talk to the soldiers. The soldiers yelled at the teachers several times to “go away”.  Finally, the principal came out and intervened. The soldiers made the teachers leave and allowed the principle to stay and talk to them on the boys’ behalf since she told him the parents were at home and not near the school.

Child being detained at Cordoba school

The soldiers accused the boys of throwing stones at the Israeli settlement across the street and down the steep hill from the school (Beit Hadassah Settlement). The principle explained that the boys were playing and started to fight with each other and did not intentionally throw stones at anyone. International observers said while they had been standing near the school, they only saw the boys playing. They did not see anyone throw a stone. The principle pleaded that the boys not be arrested. The captain for these soldiers who was negotiating with the principle of the school threatened her by saying “Next time if stones are thrown at the Jewish people, I will take the nice little children to the police and I will make a big problem at your school”.  He then told the principle and the students they were free to go.

school boys detained at Cordoba school


Intervention by the Principle

After the incident, the other international observers and I talked to the principle. The children who were involved in this incident along with another student who had been playing with them were crying historically and were visibly traumatized by this incident. This is just one of the many incidents that have scared and worried the local Hebron community since the Golani brigade was stationed in the old city of Hebron in late December. For more information on this military brigade and harassment of the local community in the old city of  Hebron see:



For a video account of this incident go to: 

Next time.MP4: via @youtube


Posted: February 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

Maklubah is one of the traditional dishes in Palestine. It is most commonly made with chicken, but you can also make it with fish as I will illustrate in this post. Yesterday Hilda, our landlord’s wife let me watch her as she prepared Maklubah with fish for 14 of us. Here I will give the basic ingredients which can be adjusted according the number of people you are cooking for.

What you will need:

1 large pot

1 Mixing bowl

1 even larger serving plate

Step One–the Onions:

Place large chunks of onion in the large pot. Fill the bottom of the pot for large groups, or for 4-6 people use approximately 6-8 medium to large onions.


Add a couple pinches of salt and 1 TBL spoon of cumin.

Pour oil over the onions and cook until the onions become soft.

While the onions cook, prepare breading for the fish.

Step Two—The Fish:

Cut desired fish filets in half

Cut pieces of fish to half pieces.

In a mixing bowl  place:

2 cups of Flour

2 TBL spoons of salt

1 1/2 TBL spoons of Cumin

1 1/4 TBL spoons of Tumerick

1 TBL spoon of Cinnamon

1 TBL spoon of black pepper

Mix ingredients of breading. Bread the fish with this mixture.

Fry breaded fish (in a pan or deep fry).

Fried fish

Step 3—The Rice

Use 1/2 cup of Basmati rice for each person to be served.


1 TBL spoon of Salt

1 TBL spoon of Cumin

1 TBL spoon of Tumeric

Step 4—Combining the onions, fish and rice

Place the pieces of fried fish on top of the cooked onions in the large pot.

Place the rice mixture on top of the fish and add water just above the onion, fish and rice mixture.


3 TBL spoons of salt

3-4 TBL spoons of Cumin

1 TBL spoon of Tumerick

1-2 TBL spoons of Cinnamon

1 TBL spoon of Black Pepper

Step 5—

Simmer onion, fish and rice mixture until rice is fully cooked.

Step 6—-

Get someone really strong to help you flip the pot of cooked food onto a large serving plate.

Step 7—–

Add your favorite salads, (hummas, babaganoush, radish, etc.) to the table.

Palestinian Salads

EAT your delicious food! (Zatain, Buen Provecho!)

Maklubah Dinner