• Pray for Arabs and Jewish people to find meaningful reconciliation in the Prince of Peace.
• Pray for Palestinian Christians to boldly live out the Gospel despite oppression.
• Pray for believers to show Jesus' love and concern for Palestinian exiles.
West of Syria and Jordan lay some of the most contested lands on earth: The Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The West Bank is landlocked between Israel and Jordan and borders the Dead Sea. The Gaza Strip, located between the Mediterranean Sea and Israel, borders Egypt. The West Bank contains the city of Jericho, one of the oldest cities in the world. Since the formation of the State of Israel in 1948, Palestinian life has been dominated by conflicts. Many have left due to poor living conditions and instability. Sixty-one percent of all Palestinians live as exiles. The local population numbers only 5 million.
The Gaza Strip and the West Bank’s history is, at best, complicated. The mostly Muslim-Arab region was part of the Ottoman Empire in the early 1900s, then became known as British Palestine in 1917. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were moving to the area around this time and violence was breaking out between Jewish and Arab communities. In 1947, the United Nations planned to divide the region for the two communities yet Arab leaders were not pleased with this plan. They invaded in 1948 to keep Palestine unified. Israeli forces won and claimed much of the territory. Many Palestinian communities were expelled from the land. At this point, the Gaza Strip was still controlled by Egypt, and the West Bank by Jordan. But the Gaza Strip and West Bank came under Israeli military occupation after another conflict in 1967 known as The Six Day War. Today, unemployment soars as high as 26% in the occupied regions. Roughly 80% of the population depends on external aid. In Gaza, 60% live in poverty and very few have access to clean water. Between oppressive living conditions, heavy-handed treatment from Israel, and poor Palestinian leadership, many are susceptible to violent Muslim extremist recruitment, especially youth.
Palestinian Christians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are often caught in the crossfires. They face constant pressure and persecution from both radical Islamists and Israelis. The city of Bethlehem in the center of the West Bank — and Jesus’s birthplace — has dwindled from more than 80% Christian in the mid-20th century to less than 12%. Throughout the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, military occupation and violent Muslim persecution have practically forced out the Arab Christian minority, now down to roughly 1%. Christians who remain feel largely abandoned and ignored by the global Church. Arab evangelicals face isolation and rejection from Arabs, Jews, and even many Christians worldwide. Many factors from the loss of leadership to continuing emigration remain a hindrance in Church growth. The hope for true peace and a solution over the territories often seems bleak. May God bring peace in the land, and may both Jew and Arab alike meet the Prince of Peace! Through Him alone will any meaningful reconciliation occur.
Source: Arabic Christian Worship-Calvary Church; Elias Nawawieh
Capital City: Jerusalem (claimed); Ramallah (administrative capital)
Major People Groups: Palestinian Arab, Jew
Religion: Muslim 98-99%
Language: Arabic, Hebrew, English
GDP Per Capita: $6,220
Literacy Rate: 97.5%
POPULATION IN UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUPS: 98.9%
If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. - John 14:14