Every Friday for more than two years, come sunshine, rain, or even snow, Father Ibrahim Shomali, a Palestinian Catholic priest, has led a mass as a form of nonviolent resistance against the Israeli separation barrier threatening to divide the Cremisan monastery and a valley of olive groves from the rest of the West Bank town of Beit Jala. Organized by Palestinian Christians, this unique witness has welcomed activists and community leaders of all faiths, international church leaders, diplomats, and journalists. A legal appeal by local landowners against the walls route went to the Israeli Supreme Court in January, which ordered Israels State Attorney to provide more evidence as to why dividing Cremisan is necessary. In this video slideshow, Father Shomali explains the motivation behind this unique protest, and the recent developments in his communitys legal challenge to the separation barrier.
Mohammad Al Azraq, a Palestinian refugee In the early morning hours of March 26, Mohammad Al Azraq, activities director for Lajee Center for youth in Aida Refugee Camp, was taken from his home by Israeli forces. At the time of this posting, it is reported that Al Azraq has been taken for interrogation in the notorious Al Jalama Prison inside Israel for at least 15 days. His fate beyond that time remains unknown. Exactly one month previous, Al Azraq had met with a delegation of leaders from U.S. Mennonite Churches to talk with them about life in Aida Camp, the Palestinian struggle for freedom, and his hopes for an end to the occupation. Here is a portion of his testimony from that day