Thanks to the generosity of several United Methodist churches and community organizations in Northern California, more than $8,000 was raised during a September speaking tour for a guest house project in the Palestinian village of Wadi Foquin to boost tourism and help offset agricultural losses due to encroachment by an illegal Israeli settlement onto its land. Since it was initially established in 1985, the settlement of Betar Illit and its accompanying outpost settlement, Hadar Betar, have annexed 500 acres of land belonging to the village.
Coming on the heels of the speaking tour, on Nov. 14 Wadi Foquin Mayor Ahmad Sokar and Bethlehem Mayor Anton Salman, will speak at a U.S. congressional briefing in Washington, D.C., to describe the impact of accelerating Israeli settlement expansion on Palestinian daily life throughout the West Bank and opportunities for Congress to intervene. Due to the close proximity of settlements to both of these West Bank communities, access to jobs, schools, healthcare facilities, and agricultural fields is severely restricted for Palestinians. Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, executive director of Churches for Middle East Peace, and UMC Rev. Michael Yoshii, co-chair of Friends of Wadi Foquin, will also be on the panel.
Friends of Wadi Foquin is a partnership initiated by United Methodist congregations in 2009 to support community development projects in Wadi Foquin that provide hope for families seeking a future for their children as well as to assist with advocacy efforts. FOWF is suggesting three ways you can help support the briefing:
• Pray for open hearts and minds and for God to make a way out of no way toward peace and justice in the region.
• Call your representatives and senators and ask them to attend the briefing (Nov. 14, 10:30am–12pm EST, SVC 209-08, U.S. Capitol Visitor Center). Email them the attached briefing announcement.
• Help defray briefing costs. Checks may be made out to BMU-FOWF and mailed to Jean Hart, FOWF Treasurer, Berkeley Methodist United Church, 1710 Carleton St., Berkeley, CA 94703; please note “briefing” in the memo line.
Donations for the guest house project may also be made online through the UMC Advance at www.umcmission.org (Advance project #3021565).
For more information contact FOWF co-chairs Rev. Michael Yoshii at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Rev. Naomi Southard at email@example.com, or communications coordinator Julie Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE BRIEFING, CLICK HERE.