Joined: 30 Jul 2006 Posts: 5721 Location: East London
Posted: Tue Oct 14, 2014 5:51 am Post subject:
Attacks on Al Aqsa compound proof Israel not interested in peace:
(CHICAGO 10/13/2014) – The American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) is outraged that Israeli forces today fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinians inside Al Aqsa mosque, disrupting the holy site’s sanctity and safety. The Palestinians were taking refuge from aggressive Israeli settlers, who, with increasing frequency, have been harassing Palestinian worshipers at Islam’s holiest site in Palestine and third holiest place overall.
After dawn prayer today, extreme right settler groups, protected by Israeli soldiers and police, entered the Al Aqsa mosque compound for the second time in less than one week. At the same time, most Palestinian men under 50 and nearly all women were banned from offering prayers in the mosque, in contravention of international law.
Israeli attacks against Al Aqsa are not new. For instance, in 1967, immediately after the end of the Six Day War, “the Israeli army chief rabbi, General Shlomo Goren, tried to convince a commander of the conquering forces, Uzi Narkis, to blow up the mosque ‘once and for all,’” according to published historical accounts.
What’s changed is the frequency of settler incursions into the Muslim holy site, coupled with discussions in the Israeli Knesset about dividing Al Aqsa in the manner of the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron, which apportioned two-thirds of the mosque for Jews, prohibiting the area to Palestinians. The Jerusalem Municipality also is discussing plans to turn the courtyard area between the Dome of the Rock mosque and Al Aqsa into a public park. Israeli authorities already have given the extremist settler group Elad the right to create an oversized ‘visitor center’ that will abut the mosque compound, further cutting off Palestinians from their historical religious site. UNESCO is so concerned about recent ‘Judaization’ developments in Jerusalem it dispatched a fact-finding committee to study the issue in April.
All these actions come at a time when Israeli settlers have forcibly moved into Palestinian homes and the creation of new settlements in East Jerusalem are planned.
“Israel has no intention whatsoever of allowing Palestinians sovereignty over anything, even their religious sites,” said AMP Chairman Dr. Hatem Bazian. “While these attacks on Palestinians at Aqsa are reprehensible, they are only symptomatic of the larger problem here, the Zionist colonial desire for all of Palestine and Israel’s desire to annex all of Jerusalem, thereby negating any hope for peace.”
AMP calls upon President Barak Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to unequivocally call upon Israel to immediately cease all hostilities at Al Aqsa mosque compound and to respect Palestinians – both Muslims and Christians – the right to worship in peace and security.
American Muslims for Palestine
10101 S. Roberts Road
Palos Hills, IL 60465
email@example.com _________________ 'And he (the devil) said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them'. Luke IV 5-7.
'Criminal charges against against nine Palestine solidarity activists who shut down a UK drone engines factory for two days last summer were dropped at the end of January.
The case had been due to go to trial next week. But the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), pulled out at the last minute, after company managers mysteriously decided to go back on previous commitments to testify against the nine.
One of the protesters Adie Mormech told The Electronic Intifada today that this was a “green light for further action” by activists against the factory.
Ewa Jasiewicz, another of the nine, said that UAV Engines Limited was now a “prime target” for nonviolent action to shut the factory down. UAV Engines is owned by Israeli arms firm Elbit Systems.
Jasiewicz said the group accused the factory of making engines for drones used in Israeli attacks against Palestinians. Everything the factory says should be treated with skepticism, she said: “The most decisive evidence, we feel, is that they dropped the charges.” In other words, they let the activists get away with it rather then let the truth come out in court.
The nine published an opinion piece at Mondoweiss today calling for more direct action and are part of London Palestine Action.
Scaling the roof of the factory on 5 August last year, the nine protesters locked the front gate of the factory, locked themselves down to the roof, unfurled a banner and bunked down for the night, saying they had enough supplies to last them a week.
At the height of Israel’s killings of civilians in the Gaza Strip that summer, the protesters were drawing attention to the UK’s arms trade with Israel, and called for a comprehensive two-way arms ban. Their banner read “UK: Stop Arming Israel.”
Lawyers for the defendants say the case collapsed after either Elbit or the UK government decided they did not want to disclose details about licenses for arms exports to Israel.
The activists had pleaded not guilty to charges of “preventing lawful activity,” on the basis that the Staffordshire factory was aiding and abetting war crimes and that its regular business was therefore illegal.
The group argued in pre-trial hearings and statements that they acted “to prevent the inevitable death, injury and suffering of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.”
Elbit “running scared”
The CPS told The Independent on Friday that the case was dropped after two witnesses from the company were no longer prepared to give evidence, and that documentation would not be forthcoming. “We deemed that there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction,” the CPS said.
Based on police reports and witness statements examined by The Electronic Intifada, these two witnesses are thought to be David Cliff and Jody Yates, two managers at UAV Engines named as key witnesses for the prosecution along with fourteen police officers.
The defendants’ legal team asked for disclosure of documents relating to UAV Engines’ export licences, as well as documents on any checks done by the government to ensure that parts produced by the factory were not being used by Israel in its attacks on Gaza.
Jessica Nero, one of the defendants, said in a press release that the group had mixed feelings about the case being dropped: “This news is bittersweet for us, as Elbit and the UK government have run scared from having their role in Israeli war crimes put on trial.”
Elbit’s drones played a key role in Israel’s killings of more than 2,200 Palestinians in Gaza last summer, Nero noted. “UN bodies and international human rights organizations have accused Israel of war crimes during its recent Gaza massacre,” she added. “What will it take for the UK government to impose a two-way military embargo on Israel and hold it accountable for its crimes against humanity?”
The UK has authorized £49 million ($73.6 million) worth of arms sales to Israel since 2010. Figures from the Campaign Against the Arms Trade show that the UK exported £7 million ($10.5 million) of weapons in the six months leading up to the summer 2014 war on Gaza, including components for drones.
The dropping of the case by UK prosecutors leaves many unanswered questions. But what seems in little doubt now is that the UAV Engines factory now may now be exposed to similar protests in future.
According to general manager David Cliff in a written police statement, seen by The Electronic Intifada, direct labor costs to the company of the protest amounted to between £10,000 and £11,000 (between $15,000 and $16,500). Workers had to be sent home for the duration.
Cliff also wrote that: “The value of lost production for the two days we were forced to close amounted to £186,000” – almost $280,000.
In his statement, Cliff also confirmed that UAV Engines “is owned by Elbit Systems which is based in Israel” and that it made drone engines.
In one bizarre sentence, Cliff describes the rooftop protesters “as vagrant youths.” He claimed there was “a safety concern with the staff as we don’t know what the protesters are capable of.”
But in one tellingly defensive line, Cliff claimed: “We are a legitimate company that supply engines all over the world but we do not supply to Israel. [sic] for use in Israel.”
This section of the handwritten statement has a period between “we do not supply to Israel” and “for use in Israel.” This makes it seem like the latter statement was an afterthought, perhaps dictated by a company lawyer.
Jasiewicz said the company was playing a “semantic game” to obscure its material support for Israeli war crimes.'
(Pictures in original)
Other articles from 'The Other Israel' newsletter:
Bethlehem mayor recruiting pope to intervene on West Bank barrier
Haaretz and Lauren Gelfond Feldinger - Palestinians argue that the wall, in any of the locations Israel has proposed, would either separate the school from the town where the students live, or block off access to the only green area near Bethlehem
New Israel Fund blacklisted - anti-Zionists everywhere
Americans for Peace Now - News Nosh daily review of Israeli media - Rightist Israeli politicians boycott democracy conference over NGO backing - Politicians from Likud and Habayit Hayehudi announced they would not participate in a conference initiated by Haaretz because of `funding by an anti-Zionist body,` the New Israel Fund. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom) [bz]
U.N. Gaza war inquiry to pursue work despite resignation
Allyn Fisher-Ilan and Stephanie Nebehay - Reuters - The report will be produced on time next month despite the resignation of its chairman, officials of the United Nations inquiry said on Tuesday, brushing aside a demand from Israel`s prime minister to shelve it. [bz]
Raids, arrests, new roadblocks and the case of Osama Qabaha
IMEMC & Agencies - On Monday, the Salem Israeli Military Court sentenced university student Osama Qabaha, 22, to a ten-month imprisonment, and a 3000 New Israeli Shekels fine. He had been arrested May 28 2014 and since then kept behind bars. [Judging from the relatively light sentence, he seems not to be considered a security threat-bz]
Israel to continue withholding PA tax money
Ma`an - Netanyahu gave orders to withhold $100 million the PA was supposed to receive as tax revenues for January. Israel was already withholding another $100 million of PA tax revenue for December. The PA government uses the tax revenues to pay its employees. On Sunday, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah urged government employees to be patient and promised to issue a partial payment of salaries "soon." [bz]
IDF suspends plan to minimize nighttime arrests of children
Gerard Horton - +972 - The program was announced by Israel’s military authorities in February 2014, and called for issueing written summonses instead of arresting children during night raids in the West Bank. The announcement followed concerns raised in the UK, The Netherlands and Australia. [bz]
Head of UN inquiry into Gaza conflict to quit
Reuters - Ynet - In a law journal article of December 2010, Schabas wrote that Netanyahu could be considered "the single individual most likely to threaten the survival of Israel." William Schabas says is resigning "to prevent overshadowing the report and its findings over Israeli allegations of bias." [bz]
`Rivlin is not welcome in Hebron` - Palestinians protest Israeli president`s visit to Hebron settlers
Middle East Eye - Rivlin said that Hebron bore witness to Jewish presence in Palestine for "thousands of years." Members of Israel`s leftist Meretz movement said that the visit was meant for electoral propaganda for the right-wing Likud Party. [bz]
Netanyahu calls Schumer / The saga continues; the plot thickens.
Marwan Bishara - Al Jazeera - Increasingly isolated, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu turns to US Senator Chuck Schumer, Israel`s leading friend, to enlist the support of this Democrat against President Barack Obama. Bishara describes how the conversation may have been. [bz]
Selection of earlier days:
Israeli soldiers open fire at Palestinian protesters at Gaza border
Ma`an News Agency - "A spokesman for the Gaza Committee to Break the Siege, Adham Abu Salmiya, told Ma`an that march was in protest against the continued Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and the Israeli refusal to allow reconstruction materials into Gaza." [ry]
Black Flag: The legal and moral implications of the policy of attacking residential buildings in the Gaza Strip, summer 2014
B’Tselem - “On 8 July 2014, another round of hostilities broke out in Gaza. It was dubbed Operation Protective Edge. About 50 days later, the fighting ended in a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas. During the fighting, which included an incursion by ground forces, the Israeli military launched strikes from the air, sea and land against thousands of targets. More than 2,200 Palestinians were killed, including hundreds of children. About 18,000 homes were destroyed or badly damaged and more than 100,000 Palestinians were rendered homeless” [ry]
Child Detainees Tortured and Abused by Israeli Interrogators
Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News - "Hiba Masalha, a lawyer with the Palestinian Detainees Committee, managed to meet a number of Palestinian children imprisoned by Israel, who described to her the horrific torture and abuse they had experienced at the hands of the Israeli interrogators, and by the soldiers who kidnapped them" [ry]
Pelosi vs. Netanyahu`s Congress speech: If he wants to talk Iran, he can go on TV
Barak Ravid - Haaretz - Criticism in the Democratic Party over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu`s planned Congress address is refusing to die down. Despite marathon phone calls between Netanyahu and senior Democrats in an effort to convince them to tone down their objections to the speech, the underlying message relayed by the Democratic representatives in the House and the Senate is that Netanyahu ought to cancel it. The most direct statement yet was issued by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Friday, who did not rule out the possibility that many Democratic lawmakers would boycott Netanyahu`s speech on March 3. dn
Israel Takes New Step to Expand West Bank Housing
ISABEL KERSHNER--JERUSALEM - Israel on Friday published bids for the building of 450 new housing units in West Bank settlements, deepening Palestinian anger and eliciting blunt criticism from the United States, which called the move illegitimate, counterproductive and likely to worsen Israel`s isolation. dn
Hezbollah, Israel and the old deterrence equation
John Bell--Neither side wants war, the cost will be too high for both - but such logic may not prevail. dn
Bombing Homes in Gaza: "It was supposed to be their shelter"
Samer Badawi - +972 "“Even if the Israeli cabinet thought this policy would bring an end to attacks on Israeli communities, it should not have implemented it because of its foreseeable, horrifying consequences as well as because of the black flag of illegality flying over it.” Of course, B’Tselem’s report coincides with the recent Palestinian decision to sign the Rome Statute, a precondition for leveling war crimes charges against Israeli leaders at the International Criminal Court. B’Tselem, though, stops short of naming Israel’s actions “crimes” under international humanitarian law, or IHL. It concludes instead that, “at least in some cases, the military’s actions ran contrary to IHL provisions and, in other cases, there is grave concern that they did so.” ca
Israel Destroys Water Lines Feeding Palestinian Areas in Jordan Valley
Ma`an News Agency - " Israeli forces on Thursday destroyed a water network which feeds Palestinian villages and Bedouin dwellings in the northern Jordan Valley, the head of the village council of al-Maleh and its surrounding Bedouin dwellings said.Arif Daraghmah told Ma`an that Israeli troops escorted excavators which destroyed a 2,000-meter-long water pipeline near the village of al-Atuf. The pipeline, he said, was funded by the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees." ca
UNRWA Forced to Suspend Gaza Assistance Due to Lack of Funds
by UNWRA - IMEMC "Gaza, 27 January 2015: UNRWA has been forced to suspend its cash assistance programme in Gaza to tens of thousands of people for repairs to damaged and destroyed homes and for rental subsidies to the homeless... It is easy to look at these numbers and lose sight of the fact that we are talking about thousands of families who continue to suffer through this cold winter with inadequate shelter. People are literally sleeping amongst the rubble, children have died of hypothermia”. USD 5.4 billion was pledged at the Cairo conference last October and virtually none of it has reached Gaza. This is distressing and unacceptable.” ca
Water Crisis in East Jerusalem Continues
ACRI - "Update: Following the court hearing, the Justices gave the parties 14 days to meet to begin outlining a plan for upgrading water infrastructure in East Jerusalem. The plan must be submitted to the court within 60 days...Israeli planning authorities have never conducted urban planning for the neighborhoods of Ras Khamis, Ras Shahada, Dahyat a-Salam, and the Shu’afat Refugee Camp, located in North-East Jerusalem and within the city’s municipal boundaries for 48 years...The prolonged water crisis is just one example of the chaos and neglect suffered by Jerusalem residents living beyond the separation barrier." ca
Drones have forever changed us
Neve Gordon - Aljazeera - drones change our conception of war because it becomes, in Chamayou`s words, a priori impossible to die as one kills. One air force officer formulated this basic benefit in the following manner: "The real advantage of unmanned aerial systems is that they allow you to protect power without projecting vulnerability."-rh
Palestinian political unity welcomed for Israeli elections
Daoud Kuttab - Al-Monitor - The unprecedented success of Palestinians in Israel agreeing to a joint list is in fact likely to create the fourth-largest bloc in the 120-member Israeli Knesset provided the public comes out to vote. Palestinians in the occupied territories generally welcomed the unity of their compatriots in Israel, and some leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) have even taken partial credit for the list. In a phone interview with Al-Monitor, Yaser Abed Rabbo, secretary-general of the PLO’s Executive Committee, expressed his pride in the PLO’s contribution.-rh
The Truth About The Fight Against `Anti-Semitism`
Ludwig Watzal - Countercurrents - The Israeli movie maker Yoav Shamir documents in the film "Defamation" the fight of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) against "anti-Semitism". This "fight" has little to do with "anti-Semitism" but much with muzzling Israel critic. "Anti-Semitism" serves as a pretext to immunize the State of Israel against criticism. The Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery said about the fight of ADL. "None of them fights anti-Semitism. They fight criticism of Israel".-rh
Occupier’s justice: heads and tails you lose
Jonathan Cook - Mondoweiss - now that the settlers have a piece of paper with the court’s decision stating that the land belongs to Kiryat Arba, they can bill the Palestinian family for years of arrears on property taxes amounting to $22,000 – more than the family earns in several years. If they don’t pay, the settlers will seize the land and sell it.-rh
Settlement funding: Likud betrays the poor
Akiva Eldar - Al Monitor - "The Likud Party has turned its back on the weaker sectors of society and on the residents of the periphery; those who brought it to power in 1977." - id
Village in Focus: As Sawiya
International Solidarity Movement - ISM - "Seven mountains surround the village; much of the land is occupied by three illegal Israeli settlements – Eli, Rechelim, and Ma´ale Levona. As Sawiya suffers many injustices under Israeli occupation, including military and settler violence against the village’s residents, lands, homes, and schools." - id
MP Holds Longest Administrative Imprisonment Record: 134 Months
PNN - Palestine News Network - "The Ahrar Center for Detainees Studies and Human Rights said that the kidnapped prisoner MP Hatem Qafisha (57) holds the record for the longest period of administrative imprisonment in Israeli prisons." - id
Gaza-West Bank split divides lovers
Asmaa al-Ghoul - Al-Monitor - "The couple talks over Skype, Viber and Facebook and whatever other technology allows them to be closer to each other. But nothing compares to getting married and living under the same roof, in the house that Rashed bought on a mountain in Nablus." - id _________________ 'And he (the devil) said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them'. Luke IV 5-7.
The only Palestinian Orthodox Christian bishop in the Holy Land speaking about the suffering of Palestinian Christians, their unity with Muslims in the Palestinian struggle, about Orthodox Christian martyrs, and Ukraine.
Archbishop Sebastia Theodosios (Atallah Hanna), 49, is the only Orthodox Christian archbishop from Palestine stationed in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, while all other bishops of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem are Greeks. The Israeli authorities had detained him several times, or stopped him at the border, and taken away his passport. Among all Jerusalem clergymen he is the only one who has no privilege of passing through the VIP gate in the airport – because of his nationality. “For the Israeli authorities, I am not a bishop, but rather a Palestinian,” explains his Beatitude. When talking on the phone he says a lot of words you would normally hear from a Muslim: “Alhamdulillah, Insha’Allah, Masha’Allah”. He speaks Arabic, and the Arabic for ‘god’ is Allah, whether you are a Christian or a Muslim.
Your Beatitude, what’s it like being the Palestinian bishop in the Holy Land?
Firstly, I’d like to confirm that I am the only Palestinian bishop in the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. A fellow bishop is serving in the city of Irbid in the north of Jordan; and there are also several Palestinian priests.
I take pride in belonging to this great religious institution that’s over 2,000 years old.
My church has been protecting the Christian presence in the Holy Land and the sacred items related to the life of Christ and Christian Church history.
I am proud of my religion and nationality, I am proud to belong to my fatherland. I am a Palestinian, and I belong to this religious people who are fighting for the sake of their freedom and dignity to implement their dreams and national rights.
I support Palestinians and share their cause and their issues. We the Palestinian Orthodox Christians are not detached from their hardships.
The Palestinian issue is a problem that concerns all of us, Christians and Muslims alike. It’s a problem of every free intellectual individual aspiring for justice and freedom in this world.
We the Palestinian Christians suffer along with the rest of Palestinians from occupation and hardships of our economic situation. Muslims and Christians suffer equally, as there is no difference in suffering for any of us. We are all living in the same complicated circumstances, and overcoming the same difficulties.
As a church and as individuals we protect this people, and we hope a day will come when Palestinians get their freedom and dignity.
A Christian pilgrim holds a cross as he dips in the water after a ceremony at the baptismal site known as Qasr el-Yahud on the banks of the Jordan River near the West Bank city of Jericho January 18, 2015. (Reuters/Mohamad Torokman)
For those coming to visit the Holy Land there are few opportunities to see how hard the Palestinians’ situation is. What would you like to say to those wishing to understand better the Palestinian problem?
The Israel authorities treat the Palestinian people in a way we can never accept or approve, first and foremost because Israel treats Palestinians as foreigners, as if we were strangers in our land.
Palestinians have never been strangers either to Jerusalem or to the entire homeland. Israel is an occupation force which treats us as visitors or some temporary residents. But we are the native people of this land. We didn’t come here, we have always been here. In contrast, Israel appeared out of the blue.
They are treating us as if we came here from elsewhere, as if we accidentally and recently strayed into this land. But we are the rightful owners of this land. We didn’t intrude into Israel. Israel intruded into our lives in 1948, and in 1967 it occupied Eastern Jerusalem. We have been here long before Israel. By the time Israel came here, our forefathers had been living here for many centuries.
This is why we cannot accept Israel treating us like strangers to our own homeland. I shall be honest and say it over again: both Christians and Muslims suffer the same from the Israeli authorities.
Is visiting Jerusalem as difficult to a Christian Palestinian from the West Bank as for a Muslim?
They don’t ask if a person arriving from Beit Jala or Ramallah to Jerusalem is a Christian or a Muslim. They only ask one question, “Do you have a permit to enter Jerusalem or not?”
The pass allowing a Palestinian to enter Jerusalem is issued by Israel. No one can come through without one. In pursuing its racist policy towards the Palestinian people Israel disregards different confessions. We are all targeted just the same. It all depends on getting a pass, whether you’re a Christian or a Muslim.
We all are their targets.
On top of that, Israel took control of a lot of property of the Orthodox Christian Church and is interfering with the internal affairs of the Church. They put pressure on the Palestinian Christians in all sorts of ways trying to force them to leave.
There is only one cause of suffering for both Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land.
The recent attack on the French satirical magazine triggered a wave of anti-Muslim marches in Europe. Netanyahu walked in the front row of such a march. What it your attitude to what happened?
We denounce the attacks in Paris which were committed by the people allegedly representing a particular religion.
But they do not represent any religion – they are murderers.
This attack was committed by the people, who claimed to have faith, but they definitely don’t represent Islam and cannot act on behalf of Islam, they only do harm and hurt the image of Islam through what they do.
At the same time, we denounce just as much terrorist operations in Syria and Iraq as we denounce the terrorist attacks in Paris.
Those who committed the terror attack in Paris and elsewhere, belong to the same groups that are engaged in terrorism in Syria and Iraq and attack sacred places, desecrate churches and kidnap religious leaders.
They attack women and children in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.
We were witnesses of the terror act in Lebanon’s Tripoli just days ago which killed dozens of innocent people who were at a café.
We condemn the terror attacks in Paris and we equally condemn any such attacks in any part of the world. We strongly oppose the idea of connecting these attacks to Islam.
We are currently preparing for an international conference that religious figures – Christian, Muslim and Judaist – from many countries will take part in to assert that we, the representatives of the three monotheistic religions, are against terror, fanaticism and violence used under religious slogans. The conference might take place in Amman, Jordan.
To a Western mind, Allahu Akbar sounds like a threat. What do Christians of the Holy Land think about them?
We Christians also say Allahu Akbar. This is an expression of our understanding that the Creator is great. We don’t want this phrase to be related to terrorism and crimes.
We refuse to associate these words with massacres and murders.
We speak against using this phrase in this context. Those who do, they insult our religion and our religious values.
Those using these words while taking some unreligious, unspiritual, uncivilized actions are harming the religion.
Allahu Akbar is an expression of our faith.
One must not use these words for non-religion-related purposes in order to justify violence and terror.
Christian priests hold a Christmas Midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem December 25, 2014. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)
Do people say Allahu Akbar in church?
For us, Allah is not an Islamic term. This is a word used in Arabic to indicate the Creator who’s made the world we are living in. So when we say Allah in our prayers we mean the Creator of this world.
In our prayers and pleas, in our Orthodox Christian religious ceremonies we use exactly this word. We say, glory be to Allah in all times. We say Allah a lot during our liturgy. It’s erroneous to think that the word Allah is only used by Muslims.
We the Arab Christians say Allah in our Arabic language as a way to identify and address the Creator in our prayers.
Is this all about Christ? Was he the one to provoke a religious split in the Holy Land? Christians and Muslims recognize that Jesus Christ had been born, and they are awaiting his second coming, and the judgment day. Jews deny this however, and await their Messiah.
We Christians believe that Jesus has already come. We have recently celebrated Christmas as a reminder that Jesus came into this world, that he was born in Bethlehem, and began his road here in the Holy Land for the sake of all mankind, and for the salvation of the world.
So as far as we are concerned, Jesus has already come.
Jews believe that he hasn’t come yet, and await his coming. This is the main disagreement between Jews and us. We believe that Jesus has already come, whereas they don’t.
Despite this fact, we are not at war with Jews. We do not express aggression against Jews or anyone else in the world, despite any differences in our beliefs.
We pray for those who disagree with us.
When Jesus came into this world he didn’t tell us to hate, ignore, or be at war with one or the other; he didn’t tell us to kill this one or that one. He gave us one very simple instruction: to love one another. When Jesus told us to love one another this love wasn’t conditioned by what a person was like, or what he was doing. If we are indeed true Christians it is our debt to love all people, and to treat them with positivity, and with love.
When we see someone who’s sinful, lost, and distant from Allah and from faith, someone who acts wrongly, then it is our duty to pray for him although he might be different from us and our religion. When we have religious disagreements with people we pray that Allah would guide them the right way. Hatred, anger, and accusations of having a wrong faith are not a part of our ethics as Christians. This is the key disagreement and difference between the Jewish religion and ours. The Jewish religion that had existed before Christ is the religion of people who were awaiting Jesus’ coming. Many Jews followed him, yet there were those who didn’t believe in him, and rejected him.
We know that Jesus was persecuted, and so were the early Christians. For instance, Herod the King killed thousands of babies in Bethlehem thinking that Jesus would be among them. The book of the Acts of the Apostles, as well as sacred tradition, talk about numerous instances of persecution of early Christians.
Despite that, we see each person who disagrees with us on religion as our brother, our fellow human. Allah created all of us, he gave us life, therefore it is our duty to love each person, and to pray for those who are mistaken or are misunderstanding, so that Allah would guide them the right way.
Is that why Christians and Muslims are persecuted?
We don’t divide the Palestinian people based on who is Christian and who is Muslim, who is religious and who isn’t, who is left or what party they are a member of. We don’t divide the people based on convictions and religion.
For the resistance it doesn’t matter whether they are Muslim or Christian.
Regardless of what their political views may be, all Palestinians actively support the idea that the Palestinian people should be able to exercise their rights and achieve their dream.
Yes, a number Christians have been killed since 1948 to this day. Some Christians have been driven away from their houses. Some Christian villages have been completely destroyed, and now there’s not a single house or resident there, for example, Al Galil in the Golan Heights.
Many churches have been attacked in Jerusalem; there have been attempts to seize their property and lands.
There are Christians in Israeli prisons – not as many as Muslims, but there are some. The Christian community is smaller in general, but we have our own martyrs who were killed and prisoners who spent years and years behind bars.
Christians suffer under the Israeli occupation just the same as Muslims – the entire Palestinian population suffers under it. They don’t distinguish between us.
Are there any special aspects when it comes to Christians living in the Holy Land?
Here’s one of the many examples, connected to the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Holy Trinity Cathedral located in the western part of Jerusalem belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church, but after 1948 Israel used the situation in Russia to its advantage and seized some of the buildings around the Cathedral, using them as police quarters and a prison with torture practices.
When someone says “moskobiya”, referring to something connected to the Moscow Patriarchate, something holy and spiritual, the first thing that comes to the mind of a Palestinian living in Jerusalem is torture, police, interrogation and prison.
In Nazareth, for example, the word “moskobiya” is associated exclusively with the old Russian school where the Palestinian cultural elite, scientists and politicians studied. Although it was closed after the 1917 Revolution in Russia, its fame lives on.
So it’s only for the Palestinians in Jerusalem.
What do Palestinian Christians, I mean Orthodox Christians first of all, think of the Ukraine crisis?
Overall, we are deeply concerned with the divide in Ukraine. We still believe all Ukrainian Christians must stay within the fold of the Mother Church that is the Moscow Patriarchate.
I wish the Ukraine crisis would resolve through dialogue so that we see reconciliation and an end to violence and bloodshed.
Christians do not need wars, killings and massacres. This political crisis must be resolved in a peaceful way. The Church must work hard to ensure that the divisions are bridged and overcome.
The Orthodox Church in Ukraine is strong because most of the people preach Orthodox Christianity.
Divisions must be healed. We really hope that the efforts by the Moscow Patriarchate and the Patriarchate of Constantinople will help to re-unite the Ukrainian Church.
I believe the split can be reversed and those who broke away could come back. But in order for that to happen we need humility, belief and strong will.
Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor issued a new report on Friday, saying that the Israeli military has used excessive force and committed arbitrary killings in the Palestinian territories.
In a press conference in Geneva, human rights expert Daniela Donges said regarding the latest escalation in violence: "The Israeli government believes it can violate the human rights of the Palestinians it controls with impunity. And who can blame them? It indeed has gotten away with apartheid and brazen war crimes for decades. If anything, it has been rewarded, with millions of dollars of so-called aid and weaponry from the United States and preferred trade status by Europe."
The report focused on the escalation over the past few weeks, as Israeli soldiers deployed on the border with the Gaza Strip and in the occupied West Bank.
It investigated the case of 13-year-old Ahmed Manasra in Jerusalem, whose video clip went viral on social media after he was left bleeding while an Israeli was cursing him and wishing him death. The report collected eyewitness accounts stating that Manasra “was beaten with sticks and metal pipes in the town of Hezma, north Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, an Israeli police spokesperson said that Manasra was shot when he attempted to stab an Israeli. Euro-Med reported that has been admitted to the Israeli hospital Hadassah Ein Kerem with serious injuries, under continued detention.
Among the other many cases that the report showed in a press conference is Israa Abed, 29, a Palestinian holding an Israeli ID.
Abed "is another example of Israel’s deliberate targeting and arbitrary killing of civilians," the report said.
"Like the others, Israeli authorities claimed Abed attempted to stab an Israeli soldier. However, video recordings from surveillance cameras in the central train station of the city of Afula, where the incident took place, documented Israeli authorities’ reckless disregard for life.”
Dr. Rami Abdu, chairman of Euro-Med Monitor, says his team has collected evidence from eyewitnesses accounts that Abed was terrified when she found herself surrounded by Israeli soldiers pointing weapons at her.
“The soldiers shouted at her to remove her headscarf and drop her bag. The young woman refused to remove her hijab, but raised her hands and begged the officers not to shoot. Nonetheless, the soldiers shot her with four live bullets in the upper part of her body”.
Forty Palestinians have been killed and 5,511 were wounded in the mass protests along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel since March 30, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported on Tuesday. The protests have been held every Friday since then.
The information on the casualties is broken down by date, nature of the injury, gender and age, as well as where the person was treated.
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Palestinian casualties in border demonstrations
Of the injured, 2,596 people were hospitalized in government hospitals, 773 in nongovernment hospitals and the rest were treated in the field. Of those in government hospitals, 1,499 were hit by live ammunition, 107 by sponge-tipped bullets, 408 suffered gas inhalation and 582 suffered other injuries; 2,142 were adults and 454 were minors.
“Gaza's health sector is struggling to cope with the mass influx of casualties, due to years of blockade, internal divide and a chronic energy crisis, which have left essential services in Gaza barely able to function,” stated the report.
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This transcript of an Israeli General on an Israeli radio station (begins 6.52 in) defending the latest killing by Israeli army snipers of a 14 year old boy who posed no threat of any kind, is much more powerful if you just read it than any analysis I can give.
Brigadier-General (Res.) Zvika Fogel interviewed on the Yoman Hashevua program of Israel’s Kan radio, 21 April 2018.
Ron Nesiel: Greetings Brigadier General (Res.) Zvika Fogel. Should the IDF [Israeli army] rethink its use of snipers? There’s the impression that maybe someone lowered the bar for using live fire, and this may be the result?
Zvika Fogel: Ron, let’s maybe look at this matter on three levels. At the tactical level that we all love dealing with, the local one, also at the level of values, and with your permission, we will also rise up to the strategic level. At the tactical level, any person who gets close to the fence, anyone who could be a future threat to the border of the State of Israel and its residents, should bear a price for that violation. If this child or anyone else gets close to the fence in order to hide an explosive device or check if there are any dead zones there or to cut the fence so someone could infiltrate the territory of the State of Israel to kill us …
Nesiel: Then, then his punishment is death?
Fogel: His punishment is death. As far as I’m concerned then yes, if you can only shoot him to stop him, in the leg or arm – great. But if it’s more than that then, yes, you want to check with me whose blood is thicker, ours or theirs. It is clear to you that if one such person will manage to cross the fence or hide an explosive device there …
Nesiel: But we were taught that live fire is only used when the soldiers face immediate danger.
Fogel: Come, let’s move over to the level of values. Assuming that we understood the tactical level, as we cannot tolerate a crossing of our border or a violation of our border, let’s proceed to the level of values. I am not Ahmad Tibi, I am Zvika Fogel. I know how these orders are given. I know how a sniper does the shooting. I know how many authorizations he needs before he receives an authorization to open fire. It is not the whim of one or the other sniper who identifies the small body of a child now and decides he’ll shoot. Someone marks the target for him very well and tells him exactly why one has to shoot and what the threat is from that individual. And to my great sorrow, sometimes when you shoot at a small body and you intended to hit his arm or shoulder it goes even higher. The picture is not a pretty picture. But if that’s the price that we have to pay to preserve the safety and quality of life of the residents of the State of Israel, then that’s the price. But now, with your permission, let us go up one level and look at the overview. It is clear to you that Hamas is fighting for consciousness at the moment. It is clear to you and to me …
Nesiel: Is it hard for them to do? Aren’t we providing them with sufficient ammunition in this battle?
Fogel: We’re providing them but …
Nesiel: Because it does not do all that well for us, those pictures that are distributed around the world.
Fogel: Look, Ron, we’re even terrible at it. There’s nothing to be done, David always looks better against Goliath. And in this case, we are the Goliath. Not the David. That is entirely clear to me. But let’s look at it at the strategic level: you and I and a large part of the listeners are clear that this will not end up in demonstrations. It is clear to us that Hamas can’t continue to tolerate the fact that its rockets are not managing to hurt us, its tunnels are eroding …
Fogel: And it doesn’t have too many suicide bombers who continue to believe the fairytale about the virgins waiting up there. It will drag us into a war. I do not want to be on the side that gets dragged. I want to be on the side that initiates things. I do not want to wait for the moment where it finds a weak spot and attacks me there. If tomorrow morning it gets into a military base or a kibbutz and kills people there and takes prisoners of war or hostages, call it as you like, we’re in a whole new script. I want the leaders of Hamas to wake up tomorrow morning and for the last time in their life see the smiling faces of the IDF. That’s what I want to have happen. But we are dragged along. So we’re putting snipers up because we want to preserve the values we were educated by. We can’t always take a single picture and put it before the whole world. We have soldiers there, our children, who were sent out and receive very accurate instructions about whom to shoot to protect us. Let’s back them up.
Nesiel: Brigadier-General (Res.) Zvika Fogel, formerly Head of the Southern Command Staff, thank you for your words.
Fogel: May you only hear good news. Thank you.
There is no room to doubt the evil nature of the expansionist apartheid state that Israel has now become. Nor the moral vacuity of its apologists in the western media.
Translation by Dena Shunra.
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'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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