A national union for the judges said the post “directly attacks sitting immigration judges with racial and ethnically tinged slurs.”
We are an integral part of the Palestinian people, yet we are virtually invisible for those in the White House who claim to care about Christianity.
By Fr. Emmanuelle Awwad
A photo taken near the ruins of the shrine of Saint Barbara in the West Bank village of Aboud. (Bukvoed/CC-BY-4.0)
When Israel barred Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from visiting Palestine last week, it was a clear attempt to keep the congresswomen from witnessing the impacts of military occupation for themselves. This decision, however, also revealed the extent to which the very leaders who claim to care about Christians in the Middle East are willing to weaponize religion.
I was supposed to meet with the congressional delegation. My plan was to introduce them to the reality of my people, and particularly the Christian Palestinian community, by telling them about Aboud, the village I have been serving for over a decade. I was hoping that our village could symbolize not only the hardships of life under military occupation, but also a message of hope for the prospects of peace through the fulfillment of the rights of everyone, including the right for Palestine to be free.
Aboud is located around 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) northwest of Jerusalem and has a population of around 2,000 people. I serve in a church that has had uninterrupted services since the year 332 AD. The Church of Saint Mary was built at the same time as the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. Historically, Aboud had around nine churches and monasteries, including the shrine of Saint Barbara, which dates back to the fifth century and was blown up by the Israeli army in 2002.
We are a village full of history yet almost no pilgrims or tourists visit us. The fact that Aboud was part of the path taken by the Holy Family from Jerusalem to Nazareth doesn’t seem to impress those in charge of making touristic packages. Instead of having a responsible and ethical pilgrimage to the Holy Land, including engaging with the local population, visitors prefer to tour stones without getting to appreciate the traditions and customs of those who have been taking care of those places for centuries.
Three settlements, Halamish, Beit Aryeh, and Ofarim, have been built on our village’s land. The existence of these Jewish-only settlements has become part of the daily nightmare that our people must endure. Aboud, known historically as the “City of Flowers,” once had enough water to survive on its own. Today, its main water resources are under Israeli control, and mostly serve the Israeli settlements nearby. Some of our villagers have access to their own water only if they buy it from an Israeli company.
Aboud has been deprived of developing almost 12,000 dunam of land (2,956 acres) due to restrictions imposed by the Israeli occupation. In other words, there are only 2,000 dunams, or 608 acres, available for development. This has dealt a major blow to our local economic and housing needs. Young people today can’t find affordable places to live, and many are leaving our village.
While some prefer to talk about Christians leaving this region, we have chosen to set an example of resilience by doing everything possible to stay on our land. That is why, with the initiative of our own community, we are developing housing and tourist plans with one main goal in mind: to keep a strong and vibrant Christian presence in the birthplace of Christianity.
In this context, we can understand why neither President Trump nor Prime Minister Netanyahu wanted the congressional delegation to visit Palestine. It is not only the reality of the occupation that they did not want Tlaib and Omar to see, but particularly how it affects Palestinian Christians. We are an integral part of the Palestinian people, yet we are virtually invisible for those in the White House who claim to care about Christianity.
When they talk about “Christianity,” they seem to be reading from a different Bible: we talk about a God of love and compassion, while what we mainly hear from them is about hatred and the political use of religion. Our region knows exactly what happens when holy books are used to justify crimes.
On Dec. 16 and 17 we will be celebrating – once again without much fanfare, as we have done for centuries – the feast of Saint Barbara, one of the most important pre-Christmas celebrations in the Holy Land. Our families will be celebrating an ancient festival that very few get to see simply because places like Aboud, and others such as Burqin, Taybeh, Jifna and even Nablus and Jericho, are rarely visited by foreign Christian tourists.
We open our arms to Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, as well as other members of Congress, to join us for the celebration of Saint Barbara. Here they will meet a proud people that have carried on their traditions for generations and will continue to do so. All we are asking for is actions that will help us achieve what any human being wants: to live in dignity, freedom, justice and peace.
Fr. Emmanuelle Awwad is the parish priest of the Palestinian village of Aboud.
The post For Netanyahu and Trump, Palestinian Christians are only pawns for political gain appeared first on +972 Magazine.
A seaborne nuclear plant has started its journey across the Arctic Circle to supply power to a Siberian town. Russian activists warned the barge could become a “Chernobyl on ice.”
The North Carolina Supreme Court will hear a case next week that’s a matter of life or death for some black inmates.
The president said he would retaliate further, but it was unclear how he planned to carry out his demand that companies seek alternatives to China.
— Read on www.nytimes.com/2019/08/23/business/china-tariffs-trump.html
He wants to add USA to his list of business failures 🤬
Email sent to immigration judges links to virulently anti-immigrant site full of antisemitic references
The US Department of Justice distributed a morning news briefing to immigration judges that contained a link to a white nationalist website riddled with antisemitic references.
As first identified in a report by BuzzFeed News, the executive office for immigration review (EOIR), a division of the justice department, included a link to a blogpost on the website VDare in the briefing, which was emailed to immigration court employees earlier this week.
Closing of Chevrolet plant is latest blow in a slow, painful decline in Lordstown – an area that has suffered more than most from the outsourcing of jobs overseas
For years, the General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio, employed 8,000 workers in the Mahoning valley.
In a rust belt region that has become synonymous with industrial decline, following the closure of its once mighty steel mills in the 1970s, the presence of the Chevrolet factory in Lordstown, and its well-paid manufacturing jobs, was particularly important.
The rainforest might seem a remote place, but it is the heart of the planet – and it is under attack as never before
The Amazon is the centre of the world. Right now, as our planet experiences climate collapse, there is nowhere more important. If we don’t grasp this, there is no way to meet that challenge.
For 500 years, this has been a place of ruins. First with the European invasion, which brought a particularly destructive form of civilisation, the death of hundreds of thousands of indigenous men and women and the extinction of dozens of peoples. More recently, with the clearance of vast swaths of the forest and all life within it. Right now, in 2019, we are witnessing the beginning of a new, disastrous chapter. The area of trees being cleared has surged this year. In July, the deforestation rate was an area the size of Manhattan every day, a Greater London every three weeks. This month, fires are incinerating the Amazon at a record rate, almost certainly part of a scorched-earth strategy to clear territory. Why is this happening now? Because of a change in power.