Peace Not Walls by East Jerusalem Hospitals NetworkPeace Not Walls<div class="ExternalClassC498CD52D0C34406BAA900CADF998924"><p>&quot;Recently erected checkpoints in East Jerusalem have been holding up patients and staff on their way to several hospitals. &quot;Currently, all of the hospitals within the East Jerusalem Hospital Network are experiencing challenges to their daily operations due to the placement of Israeli security checkpoints within East Jerusalem neighborhoods,&quot; says a statement of the East Jerusalem Hospital Network.</p><p>Walid Nammour, Chief Executive Officer of Augusta Victoria Hospital, delivered the statement at a network press conference today. Augusta Victoria, which is operated by The Lutheran World Federation, is one of the medical facilities affected. A checkpoint was recently been placed close to the hospital entrance.</p><p>Deep concern about well-being of patients</p><p>&quot;The checkpoints compromise timely access to our facilities. Ambulances and staff have been delayed, negatively affecting our ability to care for and serve our community.&#160; This is aggressive and offensive to patients and their families, and escalates an already tense situation.&#160; We are deeply concerned about the well-being of our patients who are particularly vulnerable due to cancer and other medical conditions,&quot; Nammour stated.&#160; </p><p>The statement also voices concern for hospital staff, some of whom must pass through multiple checkpoints on their way to and from work. Both Augusta Victoria and Makassed Islamic Charity Hospital have reported the forced entry of heavily armed Israeli military personnel into their facilities within the last 10 days. Other health facilities report injuries to emergency medical technicians, staff and ambulances. </p><p>The East Jerusalem Hospital Network consists of six hospitals, which are the main providers of tertiary health care services unavailable in the West Bank and Gaza. The network has played a leading role in the development of the overall Palestinian health care system and the training of health care workers and specialists.</p><p>Augusta Victoria provides life-saving healthcare to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, including specialized treatment offered at its cancer, diabetes and pediatric centers.&quot;</p><p><a href="https&#58;//"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Above text from the Lutheran World Federation</span></a> </p></div>10/21/2015ACT Palestine Forum statement calls for protection of civilians and access to Holy Sites Peace Not Walls<div class="ExternalClass8121406A24334E0FA08F46DE4141B683"><p>&quot;The ACT Palestine forum has issued a statement voicing deep concern &quot;about the loss of life and human suffering we experience across Palestine and in Israel these days,&quot; in view of recent violence in Palestine and Israel, and especially around the city of Jerusalem.</p><p>The forum strongly condemns violent acts such as &quot;the killing of both Palestinian and Israeli civilians, use of excessive force by Israeli police and army against protesters, extra judicial killings, collective punishment in the form of severe restrictions of movement, closure of Palestinian neighborhoods and punitive home demolitions in East Jerusalem.&quot;</p><p>It is composed of local churches and church-related development and humanitarian organizations including The Lutheran World Federation.</p><p>&quot;We are convinced that violence cannot solve the conflict,&quot; the statement reads. The signatories, including the LWF member church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and the LWF local office in Jerusalem, call upon the international community to open negotiations &quot;that will bring an end to the Israeli occupation&quot; and to take measures for the protection of civilians.</p><p>It also urges faith leaders to advocate for the protection and free access to Holy Sites in Jerusalem and the Holy Land.</p><p>The forum appeals to its partners and people of faith &quot;to help carry the vision of peace, justice, hope, and dignity for Palestine and Israel, especially at times like now, when young and old alike are weighed down by despair and discouraged by the lack of a viable peace process.&quot;</p><p>The LWF has been serving the needs of Palestinian refugees in the Palestinian territories for more than 60 years providing vocational training, scholarships and material aid. The LWF Augusta Victoria Hospital on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem provides specialty care for Palestinians from across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with services including a cancer center, a dialysis unit, and a pediatric center. Through its chairmanship in the ACT Palestine Forum, LWF is actively involved in advocating for justice, peace and reconciliation.&quot;</p><p><a href="https&#58;//"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Text above from the Lutheran World Federation</span></a> </p><p><a href="https&#58;//"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Read full statement here</span></a></p></div>10/19/2015LWF joins 34 Organizations to Call for the End to the Blockade on GazaPeace Not Walls<div class="ExternalClassA1B2D6F6AC0E49C2B4DE1E7C1B47669E">​T<span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">he Lutheran World​ Federation- Jerusalem Program along with 34 other organizations and thousands of people launch a public call to end the Gaza blockade. </span><a href="https&#58;//" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Sign the petition</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> to #OpenGaza and allow homes, schools, and hospitals to be rebuilt after the 2014 war.</span><div><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;"><br></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"></span><p>&quot;On the anniversary of the end of the conflict between the government of Israel and Palestinian armed groups, 35 aid, faith, development, and human rights organizations are calling for construction materials like wood, steel bars and cement to be allowed into Gaza so that hospitals, schools and homes can be urgently rebuilt.</p><p>More than 635,000 people from around the globe have joined the organizations in backing an unprecedented joint call urging world leaders to press the Israeli government to lift the blockade on Gaza and remove the restrictions on basic building materials needed to reconstruct the coastal strip.</p><p>Last year's conflict saw over 19,000 homes destroyed, and 100,000 people left homeless. Donor governments have pledged $3.5 billion to rebuild Gaza, but a year on, Israeli restrictions on building materials continue to cause delays. Reconstruction has started on just over 2,000 of the 19,000 homes destroyed last year, and not a single home has been fully rebuilt.</p><p>Ibrahem El Shatali, a resident of Gaza City said, 'Many of my friends and family members have been homeless for months now — how can we live like this, surrounded by rubble with no hope, no future and no prospect of things getting better? All we need are basic building materials and a fresh start.'&quot;</p><p><strong>The full petition text supported by the organizations can be seen </strong><a href="https&#58;//"><strong>here</strong></a><strong> and calls on the leaders of the U.S. and the European Union, amongst others, to push for an end to the blockade and allow desperately needed building materials, including wood, aggregate, steel bar, and cement to enter Gaza.</strong></p><p>According to research carried out in a recent <a href="http&#58;//">joint international ​NGO report</a>, the illegal Israeli blockade has obstructed reconstruction efforts, worsening the humanitarian crisis inside the Gaza Strip.&quot; Claiming security concerns, including rocket and other attacks from Hamas' military wing, the Qassam Brigades, Israel restricts the entry of materials into Gaza that it defines as &quot;dual-use&quot; (materials that could be used for military activities). Without access to building materials, including wood, aggregate, steel bar, and cement that are on the &quot;dual-use&quot; list, reconstruction efforts have been delayed.</p><p><a href="https&#58;//"><strong>Sign the​ petition</strong></a><strong> and tell everyone -- let's get 1.8 million voices for urgent action, one for each person living in Gaza. Join more than 635,000 people who have already signed!</strong></p><p><a href="http&#58;//">Quoted text above from the Lutheran World Federation - Jerusalem</a> ​</p></div></div>09/02/2015"We Support Peace" Banner CampaignPeace Not Walls<div class="ExternalClassC1671269430F4A5CA2CE5169A60DDCC5"><p>​Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is inviting houses of worship across the United&#160;States to display a &quot;We Support Peace with Justice&quot; banner in public. CMEP explains &quot;It is our hope that various religious institutions will choose to publicly reflect their congregants wishes for a peaceful solution to the decades old conflict in the Middle East. In light of the most recent war, violence and devastation, there is an immediate need and urgent opportunity to advance this cause of peace. We hope that a strong public demonstration of support for peace and justice from people all across America will encourage political leaders to make the decisions necessary to end this tragic conflict.​&quot;</p><p>​For a Q&amp;A about the banner campaign and to order a banner<a href="http&#58;//"> click here.​</a><br></p><p>​<br></p></div>04/24/2015LWF Advocates for Gaza Reconstruction: World Not Delivering on Gaza Reconstruction Promises, New Report WarnsPeace Not Walls<div class="ExternalClass020112226D614E4EAEBB34AD8B1DB95E"><p style="margin-top&#58;15px;margin-bottom&#58;15px;line-height&#58;1.5;color&#58;#484f57;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><span style="font-family&#58;calibri;font-size&#58;17.3333339691162px;">The international community must urgently change its approach to Gaza and deliver on promises of reconstruction, The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) together with 45 other agencies said today in a new report on the lack of progress since last year's conflict.</span></p><p style="margin-top&#58;15px;margin-bottom&#58;15px;line-height&#58;1.5;color&#58;#484f57;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><span style="font-family&#58;calibri;font-size&#58;17.3333339691162px;">“Six months since donors pledged $3.5 billion towards Gaza's recovery, many people are worse off and not a single one of the 19,000 destroyed homes has been rebuilt. 100,000 people are still homeless and many are living in makeshift camps or schools,” the report says.</span></p><p style="margin-top&#58;15px;margin-bottom&#58;15px;line-height&#58;1.5;color&#58;#484f57;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><span style="font-family&#58;calibri;font-size&#58;17.3333339691162px;">The report, &quot;Charting a New Course&#58; Overcoming the stalemate in Gaza,&quot; warns that further conflict is inevitable—and with it the cycle of destruction and donor-funded reconstruction—unless world leaders implement a new approach that addresses the underlying causes of the conflict. Donors must insist on a permanent ceasefire, accountability of all parties for ongoing violations of international law, and an end to the Israeli blockade that seals in 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza and keeps them separated from the West Bank. Rather than challenging the blockade, the report found that most donors are accepting ways to work around it.</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;font-family&#58;calibri;font-size&#58;17.3333339691162px;">Text above&#160;from LWF news release. <a href="http&#58;//">Click here for full text.&#160;​</a></span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;calibri;font-size&#58;17.3333339691162px;">​Further details, including a copy of the report, <a href="http&#58;//">can be found here</a>.&#160;&#160;​</span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;calibri;font-size&#58;17.3333339691162px;"><a href="http&#58;//">Click here​</a> for the December 2014 letter signed by the ELCA about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.</span></p></div>04/13/2015Easter Message from the Heads of Churches of JerusalemPeace Not Walls<div class="ExternalClassF2FC5B3D300C40EF80244447D2422A9E"><p>​The&#160;​​Easter Message of&#160;the&#160;​Heads of Churches in​&#160;Jerusalem states,</p><div>&quot;Along with all people of good will, we are deeply distressed by the level of violence still being falsely perpetrated in the name of religion in parts of the Middle East and elsewhere in recent times. Members of some of the ancient Christian communities in this region – especially in Egypt, Iraq and Syria – have been among those most directly affected, along with other minority populations. &#160; There is no true religion which advocates violation of the human person or the victimization of minority groups in society and we condemn such actions in the strongest possible terms. Those who engage in such barbaric behaviour dehumanize not only their victims, but themselves.</div><div><br></div><div>In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we urge people everywhere not to fall into despair. The very existence of this city of Jerusalem is paradoxically a sign of hope that God’s kingdom of peace, love and justice will prevail. There are indeed signs of darkness around us which make this a painful time to live through, but the darkest part of the night is often shortly before the dawn. The joyful proclamation of the Resurrection at dawn on Easter Sunday assures us that the last word lies not with violence and inhumanity but with God’s purpose of love, justice and hope which runs like a thread throughout history and will find its ultimate fulfillment in the coming fullness of his Kingdom.​&quot;</div><div><br></div><div><a href="http&#58;//">Full text of Easter Message&#160;​​​</a></div></div>04/02/2015