May 5th, 2015

COLOMBIA: Divine Mathematics in El Guayabo--a Reflection on 2 Kings 6:17

A group of thirteen women from different Christian churches and organizations working in human rights and peacebuilding in Colombia joined a Christian Peacemaker Teams’ (CPT) delegation during Easter Week of 2015, and we may have encountered some angels in the process. This delegation focused on the accompaniment of the campesino community of El Guayabo, part of the municipality of Puerto Wilches, Santander, Colombia. 

This community comprises approximately 250 families who have lived in the region on the banks of the Magdalena River for more than twenty-eight years. Since 2002 they have struggled for their right to remain in the territory, resisting unlawful eviction on the part of the national police and military forces who have conspired and aligned themselves with a man who declared himself owner and inheritor of these lands, without ever having lived there. 

To reach Guayabo we travelled up river by boat from the port in Barrancabermeja for two-and-a-half hours down the majestic, although contaminated, Magdalena River. Upon arrival to this beautiful community we were received by a group of people, including girls and boys with banners of welcome and biblical texts. Their smiles, joy, and ruckus reminded me that I was upon sacred ground, inhabited by people with dreams and hopes. I felt that angels were receiving us, affirming and celebrating our arrival in this sacred territory; a token of His presence and ongoing support of this community, and of us during these days that we call “Easter/” We were in a “holy place”–in sacred territory. And I say ‘sacred territory’ because the people that live there are campesinos: men, women and children who are fighting for their land, which is to say that they are fighting for their lives, because for campesinos land is life, and life is sacred. Sacred also because the community was still mourning the loss of three of its members who had departed this earth due to a boat accident. 

May 4th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): A Week in Photos 19-25 April 2015

Below are some of the CPT Palestine's best photos for the week of 19-25 April, capturing the grim absurdity of the occupation and the spirit of Hebron's inhabitants.




Pictured here: Here is a child who has decided to have a bit of fun by turning the tables on this Israeli policeman - and follow him for a change. 

April 29th

Prayers for Peacemakers, April 29, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, April 29, 2015

Pray for the families of the migrants who have drowned in the Mediterranean in the past week trying to reach Europe.  Pray that Europe and the international community will make preserving human life their priority as they formulate immigration policies.


                                                                     *Epixel for Sunday, May 3, 2015
The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers 
and sisters also. 1 John 4:21
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's  Revised Common Lectionary  readings.

April 28th

COLOMBIA: Colombians march for justice, peace—and a new deal


Over 10 rappers from Medellinhave been assassinated  
for speaking against the system, 
while many are in 
This movement has encouraged youth to pick up 
microphone instead of the gun in a city controlled by
armed groups. A rapper performs at the April 9th March
in Medellin.

On 9 April, 2015 thousands of Colombians participated in marches for peace in major cities across Colombia.  Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), along with our local partners, participated in the ones in Bogotá and Medellin. In addition to these two marches, many of our local partners from Barrancabermeja and Guayabo also participated in the march in Bucaramanga, Santander.

The date was significant. On 9 April, 1948  Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, a populist leader and Liberal Party candidate was assassinated. Gaitán had been the mayor of Bogota and at the time of his assassination seemed poised to win the presidential elections, based on his platform of nonviolent solutions to the conflict in Colombia. His assassination resulted in massive rioting that destroyed much of Bogota, and led to a long period of horrific violence in Colombia known as ‘La Violencia’ (approx. 1948 to 1958).

The march was also an endorsement of President Santos’ decision to seek a negotiated solution to the armed conflict in Colombia by entering into dialogue with the FARC.  Santos had campaigned on this issue last year and defeated his major rival, Óscar Iván Zuluaga, who, in line with former President Uribe, insisted that insurgents should be defeated militarily.

April 23rd

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): A Week in Photos 12-18 April 2015

Below are some of the best photos the Christian Peacemaker Team in Palestine took in the past week.



Pictured here: A lively children's party in the middle of Hebron's Old City brings smiles and hope. At the same, we remember that growing up under the constant violence of military occupation can never be considered a normal childhood. 

April 22nd

Prayers for Peacemakers, April 22, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, April 22, 2015

Pray for the extended Jabari family, which owns land between the Israeli settlements of Kiryat ‘Arba and Givat Ha’avot, This week, the Israeli military finally followed through on a long-standing Israeli court order to dismantle a settlement outpost on Jabari family land.  When outposts are taken down, settlers often take out their anger on the nearby Palestinian inhabitants in “pricetag” attacks.

A young member of the Jabari family works his family's land

April 21st

NIGERIA: Boko Haram trauma survivors discover ways to heal each other

“When I came home after escaping the attack, our home had been bombed, and everything was destroyed,” one woman said.

“I was away when Boko Haram attacked my village,” a man voiced with regret.  ”I still feel horrible that my wife had to face it and flee alone.”

“Everyone else in my village fled when Boko Haram came. I was the only one who stayed, and miraculously, I was not found and killed,” a third said, expressing his gratitude.

“I ran home when our church was attacked,” another shared. “My husband was at home and was able to go in the car to the next village. When he called me, I told him to go ahead and escape. He answered, ‘I will wait for you to find me. We will stay together, and if we die, we will die together.’”

April 20th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): A week in photos 5-11 April 2015




Pictured here: A group of young Palestinian girls make their way past an Israeli military blockade in front of Al Fayha Elementary School. In the days surrounding Passover, CPT witnessed a surge in the amount of Israeli military and a rise in the restriction of movement for Palestinians.

April 18th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Old City under water, under occupation

After just a few short hours of rain, dozens of Palestinian shopkeepers in Hebron have spent the past week salvaging their stores’ goods and exhausting their modest bank accounts to return places of business into working order. To a simple passer-by, the flooding would have looked like the rare product of circumstances: poor infrastructure and the Old City’s location at a point in Hebron lower than the surrounding hills. But that isn’t the whole story. 

More than 100 roadblocks, checkpoints, and barricaded alleyways restrict and control the movement of Palestinians in Hebron. This military apparatus was specifically engineered to create a matrix of control around the Ibrahimi mosque, linking all of the Jewish settlements from Tel Rumeida to the northwest to the main settlement of Kiryat Arba to the south east— all built and maintained under the political buzzword of “Israeli security”.

But this isn’t simply about security; it’s about creating a completely unsustainable living situation for Palestinians living in the low valleys of the Old City of Hebron.

April 17th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Settlers inflict “Price Tag” harassment on Jaabari family after Israeli military demolishes illegal outpost


 A boy from the Jaabari family works on his 
family's land

On the morning of 14 April, the Israeli military demolished a settlement outpost built on the land of fifty-seven-year-old Abed Karim Jaabari.   Jaabari, father of a large family, some with severe disabilities, owns family land between the Kiryat Arba and Givat Ha’vot settlements in Hebron.

In 2001, settlers occupied part of his land and constructed what became known as the tent synagogue. The construction was illegal under international law, and because settlers built it without Israeli authorization, illegal under Israeli law too. In addition to the synagogue, settlers built a path across the Jaabari land linking the two settlements.  The Israeli military declared the path a closed military zone, for the use of Israeli military and police alone, but settlers made regular use of it too.

In 2003, the Israeli Civil Administration issued a demolition order for the synagogue, followed by years of procrastination by the relevant authorities.

In 2014, Abed Jaabari negotiated with the Israeli authorities to secure the return of the land. On 18 February 2015, the Israeli court found in favour of the Jaabari family, and ordered the Israeli military to demolish the structure. The court gave the military two months to complete the order.