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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Blind Eye to Terror

At FrontPage Magazine.com, Mark D. Tooley looks at the World Council of Churches (WCC)'s biased treatment of Israel as compared with their treatment of the 'Palestinians.'
The WCC is faithful to its recent history. It ignored and sometimes even justified the persecutions of the old Soviet Empire. It continues to ignore the oppressions and crimes of remaining Marxist regimes such as North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam and China. It will not criticize Islamist governments, even when they persecute Christian minorities. Israeli mistreatment of the Palestinians, whether real or distorted, are uniquely interesting to the WCC, which prefers to ignore human rights abuses by anyone but Israel or the United States, including by the Palestinian authorities against other Palestinians.

In March, the WCC organized its “International Church Action for Peace in Palestine and Israel” advocacy initiative, which involved 50 international leftist church officials visiting with Palestinians to examine up close their mistreatment by Israel. The activists visited a camp for Palestinian refugees, a village that has “experienced repeated attacks by Israeli settlers,” “communities affected by the separation wall,” and with people “who have been battling to save their land from settlement expansion.” In typical WCC style, it was quite a balanced visit!

"The main impact was to see vividly the severe problems that Palestinians are facing each day," said one US member of the WCC group. "Newcomers to the situation were in tears from what they saw. Members [of the group] who had visited previously were startled by how much negative change had taken place under the continuing occupation.” The WCC news release about the visit did not record any concerns by the church visitors about the new Hamas regime.

A more constant presence among the Palestinians is the WCC’s “Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Israel and Palestine.” It involves WCC volunteers from mostly Europe and the U.S. who “accompany Palestinians and Israelis in their non-violent actions and concerted advocacy efforts to end the occupation.” Basically, the volunteers serve as aids to Palestinian activists and left-wing Israelis. Their exclusive focus is on the real and perceived misdeeds of Israelis while creating a “stronger global advocacy network” for the Palestinian perspective.

The European sociologist, lawyer and social worker harassed by Israeli youngsters last month were volunteers with this “accompaniment” program. According to the WCC protest letter to the Israeli ambassador, these volunteers were merely victims of Israel’s “practice of establishing, protecting and expanding settlements.” The WCC demanded “concrete steps that lead to the complete withdrawal of all settlers from Hebron and return of settler-occupied properties to their Palestinian owners.”

Meanwhile, a 16 year old Florida boy, according to the last published reports, remains in serious condition at a Tel Aviv hospital. He barely survived the April 17 suicide bombing at a Tel Aviv restaurant, a bombing that the Palestinian Hamas regime defended. The 10 pound bomb sprayed nails and shrapnel against dozens of its victims. The boy, along with his wounded father, was visiting family in Israel. Although finally awake from a coma, the boy lost a kidney, his spleen and part of his right leg below the knee.

The Florida teenager, during his visit to Tel Aviv, was not accompanied by any of the WCC’s “Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme” volunteers, who occasionally suffer bruises and cuts in the course of their work. Family members of the boy hope he will be able to return to Florida in six months.
Read the whole thing.


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