In response to the Gaza War of 2023, the Arab Educational Institute (AEI) actively participated in various initiatives to address the crisis, extend solidarity, and advocate for peace and justice in the region. Below is an overview of our activities:
- Prayer and Fasting Response: A prayer and fasting session took place in response to the call by the World Council of Churches and local Heads of Churches to observe a day of prayer and fasting on the 16th and 17th of October.
- Candlelight vigil: AEI members came together for a candlelight vigil at Manger Square in front of the Nativity Church, on October 18.
- Zoom Meeting with the World Council of Churches: WCC’s Advisory Board members of the Joint Liaison Office (JLO) and its General Secretary organized a Zoom meeting to listen to the World Council of Churches’ partners. The goal was to gain insights into the catastrophic situation in Gaza and engage in discussions on potential responses.
- Information Gathering: AEI staff conducted interviews with friends and international organizations, such as Arigatou, to gather more information about the ongoing realities during the Gaza War, aiming to get a deeper understanding of the situation.
- Expression Session for Women’s Group: AEI’s Women’s Group conducted a session called “Let Out” to discuss the ongoing and distressing new Naqba. Facilitated by Mrs. Sandrine Hilal, Head of Psychology Al Yawm, along with Mrs. Rania Murra and Mr. Fuad Giacaman, participants, including Mr. Sandrine, shared the harrowing experiences of their families in Gaza who were directly affected by bombings and violence.
- Sharing Personal Reflections and Stories: AEI encouraged its members, including women, teachers, youth, and staff, to share their personal reflections, analyses, live testimonies, and stories. These accounts were shared with foreign funders, friends, peace activists, churches, and organizations.
- Advocating for Peace and Justice: The reactions expressed not only fear and worry about the ongoing crisis but also the Palestinian people’s resilience, faith in God, in themselves, and the support of individuals, groups, and nations working for peace. AEI actively called for an end to the catastrophic war and for Israel to adhere to UN resolutions related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
- Solidarity Initiatives: AEI individuals and groups showed solidarity and sympathy with our brothers and sisters in Gaza through acts of love, giving, and empathy.
- Dissemination of Statements: AEI shared the statements of the Pax Christi International Movement, Heads of the Churches, and local Palestinian theologians and Christian organizations. These statements addressed a global audience, highlighting the continued cycle of violence due to the presence of military occupation, injustice, and the absence of a peaceful settlement for the conflict.
Throughout the Gaza War, AEI remained dedicated to its mission of promoting peace with justice through dialogue and nonviolence. We actively engaged with the local and international community to address the pressing issues at hand, driven by the shared hope for a more peaceful and just future for all in the region.