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.
October 5, 2012
Today 15 Christian leaders released a letter to members of the U.S. Congress, saying it is their “moral responsibility to question the continuation of unconditional U.S. financial assistance to the government of Israel.” Ron Byler, executive director of Mennonite Central Committee U.S., is one of the signers of the letter, excerpts of which follow:
In response to our Christian call to be peacemakers, we have worked for decades to support both Israelis and Palestinians in their desire to live in peace and well-being…It is this experience and these commitments that lead us to write to you today to express our grave concern about the deteriorating conditions in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories which threaten to lead the region further away from the realization of a just peace…Unfortunately, unconditional U.S. military assistance to Israel has contributed to this deterioration, sustaining the conflict and undermining the long-term security interests of both Israelis and Palestinians…
Read the entire letter.
June 18, 2012
Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach writes about refugees in Israel/Palestine in the latest Third Way Cafe.
Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons are often an invisible casualty of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, left out of news reports on settlements and outbreaks of violence.
Yet they remain, “representing 70 percent of the entire Palestinian population worldwide (9.8 million),” according to BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights.
Read the entire article here.
April 24, 2012
Photo: Doug Hostetter/MCC
Talks held between Iran and the P5+1 (U.S., U.K., Russia, France, China, Germany) on April 14 were described as “positive” and a subsequent round of discussions is set for late May in Baghdad.
This is a welcome step, as diplomacy is essential if the differences between the U.S. and Iranian governments are ever to be resolved. Congress’ actions can either undermine or support diplomatic talks. It is critical that they hear constituent support for diplomacy.
Read more and encourage your Members of Congress to support diplomacy with Iran and to oppose actions that would undermine diplomatic efforts.
March 9, 2012
Palestinian children flying kites at Damascus Gate, Old City. Ryan Beiler/MCC
Rachelle Friesen, an MCC peace and development worker in Bethlehem, writes about Palestine and the UN in the latest Third Way Cafe.
Throughout the Arab Spring, Palestinians have tried to gain their freedom, not through revolution and violence, but through diplomatic processes at the United Nations. Despite their nonviolent actions, they have been vetoed and punished for their efforts.
One year ago the Arab countries brought forth a UN resolution to the Security Council condemning Israeli settlements. The resolution was drafted by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and was based on President Obama’s own statements against settlements. Despite additional support from 130 UN states and all other Security Council members approving the measure, the United States vetoed the resolution in a 14 to 1 vote.
Read the entire article here.
March 5, 2012
Later this week, your Members of Congress could be asked to vote on dangerous legislation that increases the risk of war with Iran. Please contact them TODAY and urge them to oppose Senate Resolution 380/House Resolution 568. You can call them using the toll-free number 1-855-68 NO WAR (1-855-686-6927) or send them an email.
Read the full action alert here and click here to read more about the resolution.
December 23, 2011
Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach writes about the end of the Iraq war and rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran in the latest Third Way Cafe.
One would think that policymakers would have no interest in getting into another conflict in the region. But since early November, U.S.-Iran relations, which have long been frosty, have gotten even more tense.
Read the full article here.