MCC Photo/Jessy Hampton

Beit Jala, a town in the West Bank where the separation wall has helped Israel annex 87 percent of the land of the Bethlehem district.

Wall to Wall, Part 1: The Israeli separation wall

June 9, 2015

A quarter century after the fall of the Berlin Wall, nations are still turning to walls in an attempt to find security. Paradoxically, walls often bring greater insecurity as they tear apart communities and families.

This fall Mennonite Central Committee U.S. is participating in a walk by church leaders along two walls in which we as U.S. citizens are complicit: the separation wall in Palestine and Israel and the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. This issue of The Washington Memo focuses on Palestine and Israel, while the next issue will focus on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Download the full version here (pdf)

Policy updates

Immigration: On May 26, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Obama administration’s request for an emergency stay to lift the injunction blocking the president’s 2014 executive action for immigrants. On family detention, a federal judge’s ruling is expected later this month. Members of both the House and Senate have sent letters to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson calling for an end to the practice. Read more.

Iran: A bill giving Congress the authority to review a nuclear agreement with Iran and slowing down the process for lifting sanctions has now been signed into law. This means that we are building toward a key moment this summer. If a final deal is reached, Congress will then move to debate and either approve or disapprove the deal. Read more.

Syria and Iraq: The House passed the annual defense authorization bill, authorizing $715 million to train and equip Iraqi forces and $531 million to train and equip Syrian opposition forces. These programs continue the flawed assumption that the U.S. has not gotten involved enough in the wars in Syria and Iraq. But as many of MCC's partner organizations in the Middle East make clear, further militarization will only serve to intensify the war and put civilians at further risk.

Upcoming events

June 30-July 5: Join us at the Mennonite Church USA convention in Kansas City, Mo. Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach will be leading workshops for youth on advocacy and the Middle East. Delegates will consider resolutions on Palestine and Israel and Endless War.

July 21-26: Mennonite World Conference is coming to Harrisburg, Pa. Among the many workshops offered will be one on travel to the Middle East, and one on advocacy, both co-led by Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach.

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An infographic about the UN's role in the cholera outbreak in Haiti.

Resources by the Mennonite Palestine Israel Network on the proposed Mennonite Church USA resolution.

Staff updates

A warm welcome to our summer interns Matt Hershey, a senior at Eastern Mennonite University, and SunJu Lee, EMU class of 2015.

On May 15, our staff hosted a May-term cross-cultural class from Eastern Mennonite University while they were in Washington, D.C. for a few days. We always enjoy meeting with student groups, so let us know if you will be passing through! Click here for more information.