Dear CMEP friends and family,
“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” Romans 14:19
Last night, like many of you and millions of people in the US and around the world, I watched as results streamed-in for the 2020 US Presidential Election. As we await the final official results, the question that is certain to emerge is: Where do we go from here? Will the nation be able to come together despite such deep partisan divides? While many questions remain, we at Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) want to make clear that regardless of who is in the White House or Congress, we are committed to working for peace and justice for all in the Middle East.
While uncertainty and divisions remain in the country, we pray for leaders from both sides of the aisle to work together to ensure there is a peaceful outcome–whether that be a transfer of power or a second term for the President. Our hope, whomever is in the highest office in our nation, is that the U.S. government and the Administration will play a constructive role in the Middle East. Our prayer? That U.S. Middle East foreign policy would be based on principles of equality, liberty, and human rights for all people.
The presidential election also accompanies changes in leadership within the US Congress. We will soon find ourselves needing to work with newly elected officials and will continue to engage with previous congressional members. In the coming year, CMEP will establish new relationships and strengthen previous ones to encourage US policies that actively promote peace, justice, and a comprehensive resolution to conflicts in the Middle East, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This work will only bear fruit if it is accompanied by your advocacy and we are eager to provide ways for you to feel confident in developing or expanding relationships with your congressional members in the year ahead.
In all of our work, CMEP will continue to encourage the vision and realization of a just peace throughout the entire Middle East. In Israel/Palestine, the facts on the ground remain grim. While annexation has not officially moved forward, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, home demolitions in the West Bank have increased. While the world has been in lock-down, the realities of the occupation persist. We must continue to raise our voices to push for a future in which all people in Israel/Palestine can flourish.This means ensuring that any peace proposals or processes focus not only on ending conflict but guarantee that Israelis and Palestinians receive the justice they deserve. A just peace is needed to support a durable peace and a future that involves upholding human dignity and cultivating thriving relationships among the people of the Holy Land.
We remain committed to advocating for justice throughout all of the Middle East. It is our hope that in the coming year the U.S. administration will affirm the bipartisan legislation Congress has already passed, and end U.S. support for the Saudi and Emirati led coalition in the Yemeni civil war. We will continue to work alongside partners in Lebanon still suffering from the explosion this summer as well as the ongoing economic crisis, to encourage U.S. policies that will help address both the immediate humanitarian needs and systemic challenges that have come from years of political and economic mismanagement.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, CMEP has been challenged to adapt to new ways of working in the service of our mission and vision. This has included developing more virtual content to help our members support our mutual dedication to peace and justice. In response to the possible official annexation of parts of the West Bank, we launched our Churches Against Annexation campaign, which included two educational webinars on the impact of annexation on the Christian community in Palestine, a letter to Congress we helped organize signed by 27 church leaders calling on Congress to respond with meaningful consequences should annexation proceed, and a public statement inviting our global network to add their names officially raise their voicesThe results of this election will once again challenge us to adapt to ensure that we respond effectively to changes in our government. In the days to come, CMEP will continue to provide more information about how we plan to move forward after the official election results and how we, as a community, can help advocate for justice and peace and continue to work against annexation and an end to the occupation of the Palestinian people.
I am so grateful for your ongoing support of our work. During these challenging times, I pray God’s peace surrounds you and those you love.
Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon
Executive Director, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP)
God in heaven, as the world continues to reel with the effects of the coronavirus, be with all of those who are suffering. As we keep in mind those in need in the Middle East, provide for their material and spiritual needs. Bring your divine comfort and empower those in leadership to bring an end to systems of oppression, ongoing war and violence, and to dismantle injustices. Strengthen courageous actors working toward justice and peace in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Elevate the voices of reason and moderation who are responding to the economic crisis in Lebanon. Bring peace and a resolution to the violence that is causing such devastation in Yemen. Provide physical shelter and provision for the families who have been displaced throughout the region. And be with us in the United States as we seek to move forward as a united nation with policies and government actions that contribute not only to our own wellbeing, but are also in the best interest of our neighbors around the world. Go before us, we pray. In the name of Christ. Amen.