from Rev. Loren McGrail, Minnesota Conference UCC Authorized Minister
and Global Missions Israel-Palestine Missionary
In memory of four boys killed playing football on the beach in Gaza: Mohammed Bakr, 9 years old. Ahed Bakr, 10 years old. Zakaria Bakr, 10 years old. Mohammed Bakr, 11 years old. (art by Amir Schiby).
In this time of fear and suffering, from Jerusalem to Gaza, from Hebron to Nazareth, we reaffirm that all people deserve security, justice, dignity, and peace. We mourn all who have died, been injured, or made homeless. This is not a conflict or a war. It is an offensive attack on a people who have no army, navy, or air force.
Operation Protective Edge is taking place in the context of Israel’s illegal military occupation and a seven year siege on Gaza. Israel controls Gaza from air, land, and sea therefore it is obliged to protect civilians not attack them according to the Geneva 4 Convention. It is criminal to collectively punish a whole population, or to target civilians, journalists, and medical workers. It is criminal to use banned weapons and gases that blow up bodies beyond recognition. These are crimes against humanity and violate humanitarian and international law.
We cannot be silent. We must hold Israel and all governments and companies accountable.
The above comes from my first Action Alert for our partner the YWCA of Palestine on the newest offensive bombardment on Gaza. I have written five alerts altogether because each week there have been new and more horrible events that we wished the world to know so it could act to end the violence.
Telling you that I am the Communications/Advocacy Officer for the YWCA may suggest that I spend my time writing annual reports or answering emails but the truth is I am engaged in witnessing and writing about what is happening here under the longest military occupation in history. You have charged me to support the important work of our partner as it seeks to provide vocational training to Palestinian women and their children and advocacy training on how they can advocate for their human and gender rights. Part of my work then is to write alerts or calls to action centered on important dates in our shared Christian life, Palestinian history or political moment. To do this requires deep listening to what my Palestinian sisters and brothers are experiencing and then crafting messages that expresses what they wish the world to know and how they wish them to respond or act. Because the YWCA has observer status in the UN and is committed to a rights based approach, these current action alerts on Gaza focus on violations to humanitarian law of which there are many.
Please visit the YWCA’s website to see all the action alerts at www.ywca-palestine.org. You will also find information about the YWCA’s advocacy project Fabric of Our Lives that I coordinate about the women in our refugee camps from 1948.
Please visit Global Ministries to learn how you can support my mission work.
If you are interested in updates on Palestine and my life as your missionary, you can follow me on facebook at Accompanying Naomi and on my blog at agarmentofdestiny.blogspot.com. You are also welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.