Many Church Leaders Remain Silent While Palestinian Arabs Suffer At The Hands of Muslims
Dr. Grobman is a Hebrew University trained historian. His is the author of a number of books, including Nations United: How The U.N. Undermines Israel and The West; Denying History: Who Says The Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It? and a forthcoming book The Palestinian Right To Israel about Israel's moral and legal right to exist as a Jewish State to be published by Balfour Books.On December 11, 2009, a group of Palestinian Christian leaders issued a 13 page document known as "Kairos Palestine-2009: A moment of truth." Having "reached a dead end" because of the “Israeli military occupation,” the leaders appealed to churches worldwide to treat Israel as they had apartheid South Africa by divestment and economic boycott.1
Given that the authors of this document include Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Lutheran Bishop of Jerusalem Munib Younan, Archbishop of Sebastia Atallah Hanna from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, we should not be surprised with this distorted description of the plight of Christian Arabs in Gaza, Judea and Samaria.
Justus Reid Weiner, an international human rights lawyer, warns that the present Christian Arab leadership is not telling the truth about the real conditions in these areas, and who is really responsible for perpetuating the anguish of Arab Christians. The “patriarchs and archbishops of Christian Arab denominations,” he says, “who are currently deceiving the international community, are self-interested people. They collaborate with the Muslim perpetrators of intimidation and violence. Against all evidence they claim that the Christians Arabs are living comfortable and prosperous lives. In fact the present situation is growing worse by the day."”2
Though these false accusations are not new, there is a danger they could change the way some of Israel’s Christian supporters view the Arab/Israeli conflict.3 That is why we need to examine what is really transpiring in these areas.
Samir Qumsiyeh, owner of the private Al-Mahd (Nativity) TV station in Beit-Shahur, warned that, “15 years from now there will be no Christians left in Bethlehem. Then you will need a torch to find a Christian here.”4 Population increases in the West Bank have been generally flat. In 1967 there were 40,000 Christians in the area; in 2006 there were approximately 45,800.5
The cause for the concern is the Islamic success at the municipal elections, 6 and the Muslim campaign of “intimidation” to force Christians to leave their homes and relinquish their land. After the Palestinian Authority (PA) took control of Bethlehem in 1994, they altered the municipal boundaries of the city and the predominately Christian suburbs of Beit Jallah and Beit Sahour to incorporate the 30,000 Muslims residing in the nearby refugee camps of Dehaisheh, El-Ayda and El-Azeh, and thousands of residents living near the Ta’amarah Bedouin tribe. These boundary modifications created sweeping changes in the demographic balance of Bethlehem.7
At the same time, Muslims were persuaded to move from nearby Hebron to Bethlehem where large-scale Muslim housing was being planned. In 1990, Christians comprised 60 percent of the population of Bethlehem.
By 2001 they were 20 percent of the population, resulting in a significant effect on local elections. As a result, PA chairman Yasser Arafat appointed a Muslim as Governor for the Bethlehem District, and the bureaucratic, security and political apparatus was purged of Christians.8
Muslims boycotted Christian businesses in Bethlehem’s Nativity Square forcing many of them out of business. Approximately ten percent remained by paying extortion money to Muslim terrorists. When a Christian owner of a café in Manger Square refused to be extorted, he was charged with collaborating with the Israelis, then later shot in the eye, and eventually had to escape from the country after having lived in Bethlehem for 30 years. Refusal to pay was often fatal. Furthermore, at the PA-controlled Voice of Palestine, Christian names are not permitted to be mentioned in the obituaries read on air. 9
Those who sell land to Jews are subject to the death penalty according to the Palestinian Land Law, a clear violation of two international rulings. Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948), states that everyone has the right to own property. Part III, Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil And Political Rights states, “In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentences of death may be imposed for only the most serious of crimes. This penalty can only be carried out pursuant to a final judgment rendered by a competent court.”10
In this environment of “officially sanctioned intimidation,” Christians have considerable trouble buying land or selling their own property to other Christians. There is even the perception that selling to any non-Muslim is prohibited. The PA does not recognize Christian property rights as sacrosanct, including holy sites on the West Bank. As early as 1997, the PA Ministry of Information claimed that the Palestinian people “have assumed their natural right to of controlling parts of the Palestinian land, the most important of which under Palestinian national sovereignty is in the Palestinian city of the birthplace of Jesus Christ---Bethlehem.”11
Palestinian protection means little when Christian cemeteries and symbols are desecrated, property wrecked, monasteries robbed of gold and precious objects, and parishioners hindered from attending services. An atmosphere of intimidation and trepidation is created, especially since the perpetrators can buy their way out from serving time.12
Of all the abuses Christians are forced to endure, the treatment of their women is the most egregious. They are subjected to verbal sexual harassment and rape “perhaps the most blatant denial of basic human rights of religious identity.” Compounding the problem is that in the Middle East, a female who has been violated is regarded as having been sullied and “unfit for marriage.” Rather than bring shame to the victim, the rape is not openly acknowledged. Furthermore the victim must prove she has been raped. If not, a court can convict her of having had extra-marital relations.13
Raping a Christian woman often has fewer consequences than raping a Muslim one. The rapist knows that under a Muslim- controlled PA there is a greater chance of not being prosecuted. If the victim is Muslim, the perpetrator has to contend with members of her extended family, 14 who are obligated to obtain compensation or revenge. Each member is responsible for the welfare of individuals in the group. When one member is attacked, the group unites to protect themselves. They do not expect government agencies, officials, police, courts or any other institutions or persons to intervene on their behalf. 15
Raping of Christian women is also used to reduce the Christian population by ensuring that Christian men will not marry these women and have children. Another method to lower the Christian populace is to force Christian women to marry Muslim men in violation of Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states, “Marriage shall be entered in only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.”16
Those willing to speak out openly about this bullying are subjected to death threats. Samir Qumsiyeh documented 160 attacks against Christians, including physical harassment, home robberies, and illegal seizure of land during the past several years. In response to Qumsiyeh’s own public statements, his home was fire-bombed.17
The 3,000 Christians living in Gaza among 1.2 million Muslims are also anxious and quite concerned about their future. Archimandrite Artemios, the Greek Orthodox priest who heads the St. Porphyrius church in Gaza, observed that Christians never felt so “endangered” as they do now. He did not know whether they were even still considered “part” of the Gaza community. 18
A rash of attacks has raised the level of their apprehension. On February 15, 2008, a library managed by the Young Men’s Christian Association was firebombed, resulting in the destruction of 10,000 books. The previous Fall a Christian book store owner was kidnapped and murdered. His shop was bombed twice. A Catholic church and a school were vandalized in August 2007. These incidents lead Artemios to conclude, “the edifice of tolerance is crashing down over our heads.”19 Before dawn on May 16, 2008 a bomb exploded outside the Zahwa Rosary School, a Christian school in Gaza city, operated by nuns primarily for Muslim students.20
Writing in the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Hussein Shubakshi, a Saudi columnist complains about Christian emigration from the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan and Syria which “has reached astonishing proportions.” In Gaza and the West Bank, there is “a plan to eradicate the entire deeply-rooted Christian presence from its territories.” There are 70,000 Palestinian Christian émigrés living in Chile, particularly in Santiago, the capital. Arabs from other areas emigrate to Europe, Australia, the U.S. and Canada.
That they are “openly and collectively” leaving by the thousands from Arab countries out of “fear, worry” and “society’s failures,” should be of grave concern, Shubakshi asserts. Failure to address the spread of extremism will be at a high price to all concerned. 21
What is particularly discouraging is that many church leaders throughout the world are aware of the myriad human rights abuses perpetrated by the PA against the Christian Arabs according to Justus Reid Weiner.22
Yet despite the beatings, theft of land, kidnappings, torture, firebombing of churches, forced marriages, rape, extortion, and sexual harassment, these church leaders “remain silent.” Others, “rather than identify the true Palestinian perpetrators of crimes against their people, take the politically correct path” by accusing Israel of being responsible for the strife and misery in the area. They do not even concede or criticize Muslim aggression. Church leaders often blame Israel for the decline of the Arab Christian population in Judea, Samaria and Gaza and for the suffering they experience under Hamas and Fatah rule.23
The Western Christian leaders involved in this anti-Israel activity are from the American Episcopalian and Presbyterian movements.24 Those taking comfort in evangelical backing for the Jewish state should think again. Jim Fletcher, publisher of the pro-Israel Balfour Books and an evangelical Christian, observes that there is an increasing erosion of evangelical support for Israel that is being influenced in part by the constant attacks against Israel in the Western media.25 Until there is a concerted effort to counter the lies and distortions within the Christian community, this erosion will continue.
1. “Palestinian Christians urge boycott,”Al-Ahram (17-23 December 2009).
2. Manfred Gerstenfeld, “Palestinian Crimes against Christian Arabs and Their Manipulation against Israel: Interview with Justus Reid Weiner,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs No. 72. (September 1, 2008).
3. “Remember the Palestinian Christians,” Charisma Magazine (December 22, 2008) and Rev. Alex Awad, Dean of Students at Bethlehem Bible College, www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=58373227616.; Jim Fletcher, “Cold Winds Blowing.” onenewsnow.com
4. Khaled Abu Toameh, “Bethlehem Christians fear neighbors.”Jerusalem Post (January 25, 2007), Online; Holy lands’ Only Christian TV Station to Shut Down.” Christian Post (October 30, 2007), Online; for the situation in other areas of Palestinian controlled areas, please see David Raab, “The Beleaguered Christians of the Palestinian-Controlled Areas.” Jerusalem Letter/Viewpoints. Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Number 490, (January 1-15, 2003).
5. Daniel Williams, “’Endangered’” Gaza Christians Mull Flight Amid Deaths, Firebombs.” Bloomberg.com (February 25, 2008); Etgar Berkovits, “Expert: ‘Christian groups in PA to disappear.” The Jerusalem Post (December 4, 2007); Daphne Tsimhoni, “Israel and the Territories-Disappearing Christians of the Middle East.” Middle East Quarterly (Winter 2001); “Christians Are Leaving the Middle East,” voanews (January 17, 2006); David Pryce-Jones, “Christians in the Holy Land,” Nation Review Online (March 20, 2008).
6. Julie Stahl, “Bethlehem Christians Worry About Islamic Takeover in Jesus’ Birthplace,” CNSNews.com. (May 19, 2005).
7. Khaled Abu Toameh, “Church official, wife beaten and robbed in Gaza,” Jerusalem Post (July 23, 2009); “PCHR (Palestinian Centre for Human Rights LTD) Strongly Condemns Desecration of Cemeteries of the Orthodox and Latin Churches in Jafna Village North of Ramallah,” IMRA (May 24, 2009); “Persecution of Palestinian Christians: Cruelty and silence in Gaza,” IMRA (December 11, 2008); “Palestinian Columnist: Muslims Are Harming Christian Culture,” MEMRI Special Dispatch no, 2112 (November 12, 2008); Justus Reid Weiner, “Human Rights of Christians in Palestinian Society” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (2005):10.
8. Weiner, op.cit. 10-11.
9. Ibid. 11-12.
15. Philip Carl Salzman, Culture and Conflict in the Middle East. (Amherst, New York: Humanity Books, 2008), 66-67.
16. Weiner, “Human Rights of Christians in Palestinian Society” 15-16.
17. Abu Toameh, op cit; Uriya Shavit and Jalal Bana, “The secret exodus –Palestinian Emigration.” Haaretz (Magazine section) (October 5, 2001).
18. Williams, op.cit.
20. Gaza: Bomb explodes at Christian school.” Jerusalem Post (May 16, 2008); “Middle East: The Other Christmas Rush Is Christians Fleeing Arabia.” Newsweek (January 5, 2008).
21. “Saudi Columnist laments Expulsion of Christians from Arab Countries.” MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 1850 (February 21, 2008).
22. Gerstenfeld, “Palestinian Crimes against Christian Arabs and Their Manipulation against Israel: Interview with Justus Reid Weiner,” op.cit.; For persecution of Christians in other Muslim countries, please see Paul Marshall and Lela Gilbert, Their Blood Cries Out (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 1997); Nina Shea, In the Lion's Den: A Shocking Account of Persecuted and Martyrdom of Christians Today and How We Should Respond (Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman & Holman, 2007).
25. Jim Fletcher email to author December 8, 2009. For examples of how some evangelicals view Israel, please see Brian McLaren a Christian “activist” and author, is part of the so-called Emergency Community, liberal Christians who count activism for the Palestinians as one of their callings. www.brianclaren.net. His blogs often discuss “justice for the Palestinians; Christianity Today, the flagship magazine of American evangelicals. The CT staff contains many anti-Israel Christians. http://blog.chrisitanitytoday.com.ctliveblog/archive; Janet Parshall, www.christianpost.com/article/20070331/prominent-evangelical-leader-opposes-blind-support-forIsrael/index.html; General Council of the Assemblies of God, www.ag.org/top/beliefs/sptlissues Israel.cfm; Friends of Sabeel-North America (FOSNA) works in the United States and Canada to support the vision of Jerusalem-based Sabeel, a Christian liberation-theology organization. FOSNA cultivates the support of American churches through cosponsored regional educational conferences, alternative pilgrimage, witness trips, and international gatherings in the Holy Land (www.fosna.org); 2007 letter to President George Bush, from prominent evangelicals who support a two-state solution: www.christianpost.com/20070731/u-s-evangelicals-shatter-chrisitan-zionist-misconception/index.html
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Elliott Aron Green - 1/31/2010
Alex, you referred to the UDHR of 1948. What most people don't realize is that the Organization of the Islamic Conference drew up a competing declaration, The Cairo Decl of HR [circa 1991]. This Cairo Decl is quite slick and smooth but on careful reading it is obvious that it denies the equality of all humans. It sets up categories of the most beloved by God and those who deserve supremacy over others. It denies several of the rights affirmed in the Universal Decl, etc.
So we might describe what the Muslims in Bethlehem are doing as mere application of the Cairo Decl. The sooner people are made aware of the Cairo Decl and its meaning, as well as the fact that the OIC is behind it, the better off we'll be. As you probably know, the OIC was behind the Goldstone Report and used its great influence on the UN "human rights council" [an Orwellian misnomer!!] to initiate the "fact finding mission" that grew into the fraudulent Goldstone report.
art eckstein - 1/27/2010
THE QUR'AN SAYS:
"To Moses We [Allah] gave nine clear signs. Ask the Israelites how he [Moses] first appeared amongst them. Pharoah said to him: 'Moses, I can see that you are bewitched.' 'You know full well,' he [Moses] replied, 'that none but the Lord of the heavens and the earth has revealed these visible signs. Pharoah, you are doomed.'"
"Pharoah sought to scare them [the Israelites] out of the land [of Israel]: but We [Allah] drowned him [Pharoah] together with all who were with him. Then We [Allah] said to the Israelites: 'Dwell in this land [the Land of Israel]. When the promise of the hereafter [End of Days] comes to be fulfilled, We [Allah] shall assemble you [the Israelites] all together [in the Land of Israel]."
"We [Allah] have revealed the Qur'an with the truth, and with the truth it has come down. We have sent you [Muhammed] forth only to proclaim good news and to give warning."
[Qur'an, "Night Journey," chapter 17:100-104]
SHAYKH PROF. ABDUL HADI PALAZZI COMMENTS:
God wanted to give Avraham a double blessing, through Ishmael and through Isaac, and ordered that Ishmael's descendents should live in the desert of Arabia and Isaac's in Canaan.
The Qur'an recognizes the Land of Israel as the heritage of the Jews and it explains that, before the Last Judgment, Jews will return to dwell there. This prophecy has already been fulfilled.
MUSLIMS MUST RECOGNIZE THE STATE OF ISRAEL AS A JEWISH STATE
Is there any fundamental reason which prohibits Muslims from recognizing Israel as a friendly State?
I realize that a negative answer to the above question is taken for granted by popular opinion. My approach, however, is not based on popular opinion or the current political situation, but on a theological analysis of authentic Islamic sources.
Elliott Aron Green - 1/27/2010
`Umar could read over the verse in the Quran about a Jewish return to the Jews' land. Now, if we rely on the Quran, ya `Umar, we cannot call the Jews in Israel "colonialists." They were only fulfilling the Quran's prophecy. Maybe the Arabs could help peace efforts by taking the more liberal, more constructive verses in the Quran seriously.
- - - - - - - - -
See Quran 17:104; Dawood translation, Penguin ed., p 236
This verse echoes a verse in the Book of Zechariah
A. M. Eckstein - 1/25/2010
Prove those accusations! Cite chapter and verse.
Otherwise, we all know it's just vituperative empty blather from Omar.
As for my own statement, I can and will cite exact chapter and verse regarding Omar regarding Israeli old people, women, and children as legitimate targets, as "civilians" in scare quotes:
On May 28, 2008 (posting #123154), Omar indicated that "all the colonialist community", including "civilians" (a term which Omar put in scare quotes) were, in his opinion, legitimate targets of Palestinian "resistance"
omar ibrahim baker - 1/25/2010
Shorn of facts as is evident from his totally unsupported allegation above, that he hopes will come to pass through a conscious meaningless generalization, he ( Professor Eckstein) resorted once more to day dreaming, fabrication , extrapolation and often to outright lying.
omar ibrahim baker - 1/25/2010
" According to Omarian logic, even if the event occurred pre-facto, before there was a restored State of Israel, Israel is still guilty prefactually. "
(Re: Blame Canada ! (#139907)
by Elliott Aron Green on January 24, 2010 at 11:21 AM )
Elliott; you having done an Eckstein, that seems to be quite contagious malady in some circles, I am afraid you also fall within the same category of those who "Shorn of facts as is evident from his totally unsupported allegation above, that he hopes will come to pass through a conscious meaningless generalization, he resorted once more to day dreaming, fabrication, extrapolation and often to outright lying. "
art eckstein - 1/25/2010
More blather from Omar--vituperation spewed forth in the hope of substituting for factual refutation.
Where, exactly, have I been inaccurate as to your position, Omar?
Do I have to remind you that you were the person who put scare quotes around the phrase "civilians" when discussing the intentional murder of Israeli women, children and infants?
omar ibrahim baker - 1/25/2010
"My point was the ridiculousness of Omar's instinctive positions on atrocities such as this. "
In a new flight of imagination and wishful thinking the Professor, Eckstein no less, had the above sentence in his latest effusion.
( Blame Canada ! addendum (#139905)by art eckstein on January 24, 2010 at 8:16 AM. )
Shorn of facts as is evident from his totally unsupported allegation above, that he hopes will come to pass through a conscious meaningless generalization, he resorted once more to day dreaming, fabrication , extrapolation and often to outright lying.
Elliott Aron Green - 1/24/2010
Art and Peter, of course I don't think that the events in Nag Hammadi were in any way amusing. What I thought was amusing, absurd, ridiculous if you will, was that `Umar and the church leaders that he refers to want to blame it all on Israel, as if events like these were not taking place 100 years ago and 150 years ago, etc, when there was no state of Israel [although Jews were a majority in the Jerusalem population at least by 1853].
Does `Umar not know about the Armenian genocide, the Bulgarian massacres of the late 19th century, and so on?? How about the persecution of the Arabic-speaking Christians living in the Land of Israel in the 1820s, in retaliation for the Greek revolt [albeit they were mostly Greek Orthodox]? According to a monk in Jerusalem who recorded the events of his time, great sums of money, gold, other valuables, were extorted from the local Christian community in that period. This extorted loot included church utensils, such as gold candlesticks, etc.
According to Omarian logic, even if the event occurred pre-facto, before there was a restored State of Israel, Israel is still guilty prefactually.
art eckstein - 1/24/2010
Elliott, by "very amusing" I don't mean that the Nag Hamadi massacre is amusing--not in the least. My point was the ridiculousness of Omar's instinctive positions on atrocities such as this. The serious point is that he can never acknowledge Muslim wrong-doing, or if he does, he brushes it aside as unimportant, or sees the murder of 30 old people at a Seder (or babies on busses) as an understandable reaction to Israeli oppression, indeed, as noble resistance to it.
art eckstein - 1/24/2010
Elliot, very amusing but I think that you are probably quite close to Omar's official position on the Nag Hamadi massacre.
When in June 2007 Hamas gunmen began murdering the *children* of Fatah officials in Gaza, children on their way home from school, Omar insisted it was Mossad. Etc, etc, etc.
Elliott Aron Green - 1/24/2010
Peter, we can't forget those six Copts gunned down a few weeks ago on the eve of the Coptic Christmas [Jan 6], along with a Muslim guard who was in the way. It happened in Nag Hammadi in Egypt better known for a trove of ancient documents found there early in the 20th century.
In your search for the true perpetrators of the Nag Hammadi massacre, consider all possibilities. There is an Israeli satellite up above called Amos. Maybe this earth satellite made an unreported trip to Mars and brought back a few little green men as hired assassins to be parachuted into the Nag Hammadi region of Egypt. We cannot rule out any possibility.
Peter Kovachev - 1/23/2010
Yes, Omar, I know of George the terrorist, and Hanan Ashrawi the windbag, and about a handful of deluded or bought semi-commie Arab Christians who actually thought that "Palestinianism" is more than a cynical marketing ploy. Aliances with Islamists and voluntary dhimmitude have always been hopeless strategies, one of those historical banalities that replay themselves over and over again. It's a little too late now to shed tears for your valued "Palestinian Chrisians," though, isn't it?
Anyway, what would be your point?
omar ibrahim baker - 1/23/2010
" with fewer Christians to rape and rob, what is a self-respecting Muslim youth there supposed to live on and sport with? "
Well Kovachev if that is how you see things then what is the point to say anything to you except:
Have you ever heard of George Habash?
David I Lieberman - 1/22/2010
Actually, Omar, the real question here isn't who cares more about the *welfare of Palestinian Christians.* What's clear is that the various church leaders Grobman and Weiner name are motivated, as you are, to lay all the blame for all the ills of the region exclusively on Israel, irrespective of the behavior of anyone else, especially of Palestinian Muslims.
Peter Kovachev - 1/22/2010
"It is a very well known fact in the occupied teritories that the consulates of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand , inter alia, are willing to profer, almost on demand, emigration visas to Christian Palestinians.
Their departure is a source of deep sorrow and a grave loss to Palestine."
Good point, Omar. Those nasty countries are stealing away the "Palestinian" Muslim's cherished Christians by offering them, for some inexplicable reason, refugee status..."on demand," as you say. Imagine that, such affront and travesty, when we all know who the Arab Christians belong to and that only Muslim Arabs can suffer. It is truly distressing, I agree; with fewer Christians to rape and rob, what is a self-respecting Muslim youth there supposed to live on and sport with?
But despair not, Omar; Hamas, Tanzim, et alia, pay rather well (with Western donations) for joining up with them, and the religiously-sanctioned promise of 72 under-aged virgins in Paradise is a hard offer to beat. Then, too, there are always those bad Muslims we don't talk about, the ones who are not up to scratch in their proper respect for Islam (music at weddings...o the horror!), and they've been making fairly good targets too.
Peter Kovachev - 1/22/2010
As our mortally insulted Omar and even the recent mewlings by the Vatican are ably demonstrating, Muslims are never at fault for persecutions of non-Muslims. Never, ever, and don't anyone here forget it.
Not to worry, the "it's Israel, stupid!" standard and hallowed explanation still stands, and while we must still respect it, (lest we get into trouble) I do have a remarkable discovery which can help explain just how a tiny to non-existent number of non-representative Muslims have been wreaking such massive havoc on non-Christian minorities throughout the world...while being led by Israel, a country smaller in land and population than many a Third World urban slum.
Just to recap. Israel is, of course, responsible for the racially-based ethnic cleansing and genocide of Black Darfurians by the pure-blooded Sudanese Arabs. No argument there. Israel, we must remember, is also responsible for maliciously shrinking Pakistan's Hindu population from 20% at Pakistans founding, to the current 3%. That wasn't easy, I imagine. But then, Israel is unique; all thanks to the Zionist colonialist expropriation of the ancient native Palestinian institutes of higher learning and high-tech industries.
But wait, there is more. Lebanon's take-over by Hezbollah and the shrinkage of the once-majority Christian population there is another incredible Zionist feat. And for a fun spectacle of fireworks and demolition, Israel managed to somehow engineer by proxy the destruction of the 6th century Buddha statues of Bamiyan. Very droll, that, did you see how...well, enough on that.
Look at how Israel is distracting us with Maxim pics of IDF girls for the low-brows, and with rescue missions such as the one in Haiti for the middle-brows, while simultaneously orchestrating the recent destruction of churches in Nigeria, Pakistan and Malaysia, not to mention the killings of Buddhists in Thailand, and so on. The latter is easy to explain; Jews and Buddhists have been at war for centuries. Even in moderate Turkey ... a deserving EU membership candidate... Christians are now openly harassed and Christian church and communal properties are being confiscated. Makes sense, though, since soon enough there won't be Christians left in Turkey either.
Of course, just to bamboozle all of us, Israel has to occasionally manipulate symbolic attacks against Jews as well. The usual blowing up of Israeli kids, and even the torture and slaughter of a pregnant representative of World Zionism in Mumbai are not easy to pull and some overly-sensitive Jews cringe at such things. Better to go back to the basics of Muslim historiagraphical revisionism. In Iraq, for example, the centuries-old Jewish Tomb of the Prophet Ezekiel is having its Hebrew inscriptions rubbed out by venerable scholars of the Iraqi antiquities department; a novel interpretation of historical preservation, one that even the UN seems to approve of, since it has yet to make a peep (maybe because Big Media hasn't told them yet). But the Iraqis shouldn't bother with the rubbing-out and renaming act really, as plans are afoot to build, you guessed it, a mosque, over the tomb.
What is astonishing, if not outright miraculous, is that all of these massive and ambitious projects to remove unclean non-Muslim elements from holy Muslim lands are somehow being executed (good word, that) by a miniscule number of "radicalized" Muslims who do not at all and never, ever, represent the Religion of Peace.
So, we have a "missing energy" conundrum. And here I have a revolutionary rival theory which I hope to flesh-out and submit soon. I will argue that given the magnitude of the assault against non-Muslims in Muslim-dominated lands, Israel is much too small to be given sole credit. Also, only about a dozen or so non-representative Muslims throughout the world are available for the arduous, time-consuming and messy work of all that bombing, demolishing, killing, looting and raping of infidels. Obviously someone much bigger is aiding Perfidious Zion. It can't be Big Satan anymore, as it is too busy with its Hope and Change revolution. Little Satan is, of course, too little for the job. That leaves only Canada, with its rapidly reviving population of aggressive, islamophobic beavers and racist white arctic foxes. But 'nuf said on this; y'all will have to wait for my peer-reviewed journal article coming soon.
omar ibrahim baker - 1/21/2010
I am sure you would have liked those archbishops NOT to have spoken!
The truth is bound to emerge and from reliable, honest sources.
Childish accusations of the bishops being "intimidated" are really too infantile to respond to .
Can you NOT keep your silence when men of worth, dignity and sincerity , as these bishops are , speak.
I construe you four stand as a sign of desperation.
I thought you would be above that and leave it to Eckstein .
Patently I was mistaken in this respect.
I like your " Umar, what about the article by Sandro Magister "
Is that your new bible: objective , infallible and saying nothing but the truth.
Are you aware that the august NY Times, a couple of years ago, admitted that MOST of what was written by one its senior writers was false , that it apologised and tried to correct his writings.
What does that tell you ??
Truly I thought you would be above that and leave it to Eckstein .
Elliott Aron Green - 1/21/2010
Art, we spoke too soon. `Umar is here and with a vengeance.
`Umar, what about the article by Sandro Magister that I link to in a comment above?? He is a Christian. He quotes other Christians with experience in the country. As far as the church leaders that you mention are concerned, it ought to be borne in mind that they are subject to intimidation.
Now that reminds me that a rabbi that I know was traveling in his car from Jerusalem to Efrat, his home. This was before the tunnel was completed that enables drivers to avoid Bethlehem when going south from Jerusalem in early 1996. At a hitchhikers stop on his way at the outskirts of Jerusalem he picked up a woman who looked like somebody he knew in Efrat. Why did you do this to us? she asked. It turned out that she was a Christian woman from Bethlehem. She wanted to know why Israel had betrayed her people, the Christians of Bethlehem, by allowing Arafat to take control of them. I can assure everyone that I did not approve of ceding that area to arafat dominion.
Now, Dr Grobman's article states that the number of Christians in Bethlehem and the adjacent towns/villages of Beyt Sahur and Beyt Jala has gone down sharply since Bethlehem and surroundings came under arafat rule, arafat dominion [that is, became part of the "palestinian authority"] in December 1995. `Umar, do you dispute the fact of population change/demographic change in the Bethlehem/Beyt Jala/Beyt Sahur/ area since December 1995 as Grobman describes??
If you don't dispute what Dr Grobman asserts about the demographic changes in that area since 12-1995, then how do you explain those changes??
Elliott Aron Green - 1/21/2010
I notice but I don't know why.
art eckstein - 1/20/2010
In short, you have no evidence that the specific and very serious allegations of Muslim oppresion of Christians in the PA and Gaza are false. So you've substituted empty bluster and insults instead.
Please note that one of the leading accusers is a major Christian cleric, the Archimandrite Artemios, head of the St. Porphyrius Church in Gaza.
Another major accuse is the Saudi columnist Hussein Subakshi, writing n al-Sark al-Awsat (London).
These accusations aren't coming from Jews, Omar.
omar ibrahim baker - 1/20/2010
Allegations are easy to make and some might have some truth in them BUT that Justus Reid Weiner, YOU, Green and Grobman do care and worry about the fate and fortunes of Palestinian Christians MORE than three Christian ! archbishops is hard to swallow by the most gullible!
Next you will be speaking for them, casting the bishops aside.
Your presumptuousness is hard to believe and harder to emulate!
However it is evident that having had so many of your fabrications go unchallenged had encouraged you to the point of truly insulting the American public for whom this BS is meant!
The Pope had something similar to say lately or is that you also worry and care about the fate and fortune of Palestinians Christians MORE than he does.
I would NOT be surprised if you presume to!
art eckstein - 1/20/2010
Omar, there are specific factual allegations made in this article. Prove them wrong. Insults and slander won't do it.
omar ibrahim baker - 1/20/2010
The saddest fact of the question of Palestinian Christians is that, pro rata, more of them departed, emigrated from their homeland, after Israeli occupation, both 1948 and 1967, than Moslems did.
Palestinian Christians have been throughout modern history an extremely valuable basic component of Palestinian society politically, culturally and economically; throughout they proved to be, still are particularly in the Palestinian diaspora, at the forefront of all three domains.
Their standing was never perceived as that of a numerical confessional minority but as a thoroughly integral part of Palestinian society that happens to profess the Christian religion.
The relatively higher proportion of Christians that emigrated post 1948 and 1967 occupation can sustantially be attributed to two reasons;
-The minor: a greater proportion of Christians had the wherewithall to start a new life particularly in the West: knowledge of foreign languages, acquired at Christian missionary schools and professional skills
-The major: greater Western readiness to accept them as emigrants by the issue of immigration visas and western missionary zeal in furthering, often iniating, their desire to emigrate.
It is a very well known fact in the occupied teritories that the consulates of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand , inter alia, are willing to profer, almost on demand, emigration visas to Christian Palestinians.
Their departure is a source of deep sorrow and a grave loss to Palestine.
That many Israeli and Jewish
"scholars" will try to make an issue out of that is only to be expected since nothing effectively belied, still belies, the myth and fallacy of Palestinian intolerance as Palestinian Moslem/Christians relations do.
Professor Grobman article is his contribution to this fallacy.
Never the less we have here a unique opportunity to watch a Zionist
"scholar" at work doing his bit.
Please NOTE that professor Grobman here requests of US readers to take the word of a certain “Justus Reid Weiner, an international human rights lawyer “
against the word of
“Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Lutheran Bishop of Jerusalem Munib Younan, Archbishop of Sebastia Atallah Hanna from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, “
This Justus Reid Weiner, according to Grobman , Elliott and Eckstein is supposed to care about the fate and fortune of Palestinian Christians MORE than three major Christian archbishops do.
The American public is requested to believe that.
That is truly insulting but typical of the way Zionist "scholars" deal with the American public!
art eckstein - 1/20/2010
I notice that Omar is staying away from this topic, Elliott
Elliott Aron Green - 1/18/2010
Here's another article on your topic. It is by Sandro Magister who writes for L'Espresso and La Repubblica. This version is in English.
Elliott Aron Green - 1/18/2010
These Christian church leaders, not only in the Palestinian Authority zones and obviously susceptible to intimidation but in North America and Europe, seem to prefer hating the Jews to protecting and defending their own fellow Christians, whether in the PA zones or in Iraq or Egypt or Lebanon.
What's most important is whom they hate, the Jews/Israelis, not whom they love or would be expected to love, the native Middle Eastern Christians. It's funny though, because in the 19th century the Western missionaries to the Middle East made much of their Oriental brethren and how they were oppressed by the Ottoman Empire. Now, in the late 20th and early 21st century, the Western churches seem more interested in using the Eastern Christians to make propaganda against Israel rather than protecting them against Muslim oppressors, such as Hamas or the PA.
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