October 11, 2013
Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach writes about the devastating impacts of the Prawer Plan on Bedouin communities if the proposal becomes law in the latest Third Way Cafe.
If fully implemented, the plan could destroy as many as 35 Bedouin villages and displace up to 70,000 people from their homes. Although Bedouins comprise 30 percent of the population in the Negev, the Prawer Plan would reduce Bedouin ownership of land from 5 percent to 1 percent. Meanwhile, plans are being put in place for 10 new Israeli agricultural settlements on the land that will be cleared.
Read more about this plan here and urge the U.S. to promote just policies in Palestine and Israel!
October 1, 2013
Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach evaluates Iran-U.S. relations, including congressional resistance to current diplomatic efforts.
Continued congressional resistance to diplomatic progress with Iran misses the many areas in which the United States and Iran could find useful common ground. The most urgent of these is a political solution to the devastating civil war in Syria—a solution that will require that all parties who are involved in the conflict have a seat at the table.
Click here to read the article.
September 10, 2013
Yesterday MCC U.S. joined leaders of 40 national Christian, Jewish, and Muslim organizations, calling on Congress to oppose the proposed authorization for the use of military force in Syria.
The letter declares: “military strikes are not the answer. Rather than bringing an end to the violence that has already cost more than 100,000 lives, U.S. military strikes threaten to widen the vicious civil war in Syria and undermine prospects to de-escalate the violence and eventually reach a just negotiated settlement, in which all actors are held accountable for crimes committed.” Read the full letter.
Call Congress to let them know your views today!
August 29, 2013
Urge your Members of Congress to oppose U.S. military action against Syria.
The U.S. government appears to be preparing for a military attack against Syria, in response to last week’s alleged chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus.
U.S. missile strikes could well lead the U.S. into an ever-deepening military conflict and will certainly cause even more suffering for the people of Syria who have already suffered so much. The MCC representative for Syria and Lebanon reports on her numerous conversations with Syrians in the last few days: “Without fail they are all saying the same thing. ‘We are all very worried. We hope the U.S. won’t do anything…’” Read the full action alert.
Read MCC’s call to end the violence, sent to the U.S. government yesterday.
August 21, 2013
Rachelle Friesen, an MCC peace development worker in Palestine, writes about a plan to forcibly expel Bedouin from their homes in Israel in the MCC Palestine blog.
Since the seventh century the Arab Bedouin community has been living in the Negev. Yet, in the last 60 years the Bedouin have faced harsh discriminatory tactics as Israel tries to push them off their land in order to build Jewish settlements, military centers, and forests. Even though they are citizens of Israel, the Bedouin communities have been denied official recognition, thus denying them public access to running water, paved roads, sewage treatment, education, healthcare, and building permits thus resulting in endless home demolitions. Despite the hardships, the Bedouin have remained on their ancestral land.
On June 24, 2013, the Israeli Knesset approved the implementation of the Prawer Plan. The Prawer Plan seeks the destruction and relocation of 35 Bedouin villages in Israel’s Negev. This would see the displacement of 70,000 Bedouin Citizens of Israel forced into government designated communities.
Read the entire article here. Sign a petition against the Prawer Plan.
August 1, 2013
Yesterday 24 church leaders, including Ron Byler, executive director of MCC U.S. and Ervin Stutzman, executive director of Mennonite Church USA, sent a letter to President Obama on the crisis in Syria.
The letter urges the U.S. government to “refrain from the provision of military assistance to forces involved in the conflict in Syria….Rather, the U.S. should call for all parties to cease all military activities in Syria and work urgently to de-escalate the crisis, together with other actors in the region and beyond.”
The letter highlights the urgent need for a negotiated, political solution to the crisis and encourages “an ongoing and robust response” to the dire humanitarian situation in Syria and neighboring countries.
Read the entire letter. Give to MCC’s Middle East crisis response.
February 20, 2013
Electrical stoves purchased with Mennonite Central Committee funds help to keep the children warm as they attend National Evangelical School in Homs, Syria. (Photo courtesy of National Evangelical School)
Sarah Adams, Mennonite Central Committee representative for Syria and Lebanon, reflects on the conflict in Syria:
The first time I went to Syria through my work with Mennonite Central Committee, almost four years ago, I was unable to access social networking websites. Today, the armed conflict prohibits me from entering the country, but I get a lot of my daily updates through my Facebook feed.
Recently I was chatting with a friend in Aleppo:
Me: How are you? Are you safe?
Friend: No one is safe here.
Naive question to someone in a city under siege, I admit. He’s right. Throughout the country, no one knows where violence will break out next. As the conflict has grown, cities that were home to people of all faiths and ethnicities and enjoyed calm for months have suddenly been caught up in the violence.
My friend goes on:
Friend: They are fighting now around the main electric generator. My friend who volunteers in the area told me that both armies won’t leave the station until it is totally destroyed. No electricity now and soon no water.
Me: Who’s benefiting from all of this destruction?
Friend: Everyone but the Syrians are benefiting…
Read the entire article.