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Monday, April 23, 2012

60 Minutes' Christians of the Holy Land: Yes, it's a hatchet job

60 Minutes did a segment on Sunday night about Christians in the Middle East, and specifically in Israel.

Let's go to the videotape.

I find it astounding that the segment criticizes Israel while letting the 'Palestinian' Muslims off the hook. Bethlehem was a Christian town until the 'Palestinian Authority' took over in 1994. And yet, the only hint that Muslims might have something to do with Christians leaving is 'Michael Oren says.'

But it's not Israeli Jews who are causing Christians to leave.
Since assuming control in 1995, Arafat has Islamized Bethlehem by changing the municipal boundaries of Bethlehem and its twin towns Beit Jallah and Beit Sahour. Together, they used to constitute the Christian enclave in Judea and Samaria. Arafat transformed the demography there by incorporating into the town three neighboring refugee camps, Dehaisheh, El-Ayda and El-Azeh. Thus 30,000 Muslims were added to the 65,000 residents in Bethlehem's municipal boundaries. He intensified the Islamization of Bethlehem by adding to its population a few thousand Bedouins of the Ta'amrah tribe, located east of Bethlehem, encouraging Muslim immigration from Hebron to Bethlehem, and inducing Christian emigration/flight away from Bethlehem. The Christian population has been reduced from a 60% majority in 1990 to a 20% minority (23,000) in 2001.

As a result, more Beit Jallah Christians reside in Belize (Central America) than are left in Beit Jallah itself! A similar process has also afflicted the Christians of Ramallah, now down to 20,000.

Aware of what was likely to happen under Arafat, Christian leaders had sought to prevent the transfer of Bethlehem to the Palestinian Authority. Between the 1993 signing of the Oslo Accords and the 1995 transfer of Bethlehem to the PA, Palestinian Christians lobbied Israel against the transfer. The late Christian mayor, Elias Freij, warned that it would result in Bethlehem becoming a town with churches but no Christians. He urged Israel to include Bethlehem in the boundaries of Greater Jerusalem, which had been the Jordanian practice until 1967. On July 17, 2000, upon realizing that then Prime Minister Barak recklessly proposed to repartition Jerusalem, the leaders of the Greek-Orthodox, Latin, and Armenian Churches sent a letter to Clinton, Barak, and Arafat, demanding to be consulted before such action was undertaken. Barak's proposal triggered a flood of requests for Israeli I.D. cards by East Jerusalem Arabs, who dreaded PA rule with its oppressive track record.

Setting out to "religiously cleanse" Bethlehem, in 1995 Arafat, defying tradition, slapped Christians in the face by appointing a Muslim from Hebron, Muhammed Rashad A-Jabari, as its governor. Arafat fired the Bethlehem city council (nine Christians and two Muslims) replacing them with a council equally balanced between Christians and Muslims. The entire top level of bureaucratic, security and political officials have been cleansed of Christians. The area is run by the local Muslim Fatah leader and his thugs, along with Tanzim gunmen, mostly Ta'amrah Bedouins. The PA has seized control of the Church of the Nativity, and has tightened the pressure on the Greek-Orthodox, Armenian, Latin,, and Franciscan Order in East Jerusalem. The Abraham's Oak Russian Holy Trinity Monastery in Hebron was seized by the PA on July 5, 1997, which then violently evicted its monks and nuns.

In addition, Arafat and the PA embarked on a campaign of physical and psychological intimidation of Christians. During anti-Israel PA rallies the chant is heard: "After we do away with the Saturday People, we shall take care of the Sunday People." Mosques have mushroomed adjacent to--and usually taller than--churches, implementing the tradition of Saladin, who constructed two taller mosques, Al Khanqa and Abdul Malek, contiguous to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The curriculum at church schools has been altered, adding Islamic--and reducing Christian--studies. Loudly magnified Muslim sermons have been aired during Christian services, including the April 2000 address by the Pope in Bethlehem, which had to be recessed until the purposely-loud Muslim sermon was concluded. Abusing Church tradition, the PA has transformed a Greek Orthodox monastery, located next to the Church of Nativity, into Arafat's official residence in Bethlehem.


There has been congressional testimony on Arafat's oppression of Christians. According to former Senator Connie Mack (R-FL), "[The Palestinian Christian] was arrested and detained [by the PA] on charges of selling land to Jews. He denied the charge, since he owned no land. He was beaten and hung from the ceiling by his hands for many hours. After two weeks, he was transferred to a larger prison where he was held for eight months without trial... These Christians conveyed to me a message of fear and desperation." (Senate speech, March 3, 2000, www.senate.gov/~mack/issue/statement.htm).

The PA has imported to Gaza, Judea and Samaria in general, and most especially to Bethlehem, its oppressive legacy of Lebanonization. The Christians of Bethlehem, Beit Jallah, Beit Sahour and Ramallah are now undergoing the experiences of Lebanese Christians from 1970 to 1982. They are perceived by the PA--as were Lebanon's Christians--as a potential Fifth Column. Accused of wearing "permissive" Western clothing, Bethlehem Christian women have been intimidated by PA personnel. Rape of Christian women has occurred frequently (especially in Beit Sahour) as was the case in Lebanon. Islamic hostility, disregard for civil liberties and economic jealousy have been harnessed by Arafat and his 20,000 terrorists imported from Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Tunisia, Jordan, and Lebanon in their campaign against the Christian infidel. Christians who dare oppose PLO oppression are accused of "collaboration" with Israel and face execution.
I think those numbers speak for themselves.

The Israeli guard tower that the kids see from their window in Bethlehem is the guard tower that protects Rachel's tomb. Until that tower was built, 'Palestinians' would shoot at Jews visiting Rachel's tomb.

I'll have the 'extras' and some additional comments a bit later today.

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At 1:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Jews had a duty to rid the land of 'avodah zarah'. So is Ambassador Oren, doing Jewish 'Taqiya' on TV rr what?

Carl, don't pretend that you welcome Christianity in Israel any more than you do Islam.

In fact, i'd even say, you'd welcome Christianity even less, than Islam but you're forced to keep up a pretence that you welcome it for fear of offending your settlement funders :)

I bet this comment isn't posted.

At 2:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No problem with Islam


It’s a delusion that suicide bombers feed on earthly failures and religious extremism. They are common nationalists, ready to die for their cause. Secular Russians were conducting suicide missions en masse during WWII.

There is no Judeo-Christianity. Rabbis permit Jews to attend mosques, but never churches. Islam is very close to Judaism in its affirmation of a single God and prohibition against worshiping images. And whatever the atheists say, no piece of Arab literature comes close to the language of the Koran.

At 2:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Raze the domes

The faithless Israeli government fearfully avoids demolishing the many Christian Orthodox churches that dot Jerusalem’s landscape, though it isn’t clear how those churches are different from Hitler’s monuments.

It was Christians rather than Muslims, Hindus, or Martians who exterminated the Jews for centuries. The churches in Jerusalem are a political symbol of the institutional oppression of Jews. Nazis held power for years, but the Orthodox Church conducted anti-Semitic propaganda and organized massacres for centuries. The Russian and Ukrainian pogrom mobs, with Orthodox crosses in hand, annihilated Jews.

Besides the political issue, there’s an explicit commandment to refrain from selling Jewish land to idolaters. And are the Orthodox Christians not idolaters? They revere weeping icons! That’s right, some of the most revered Christian icons “weep” occasionally, and are worshiped for that very behavior.

Let’s not presume the ancient Greeks to be so stupid as to believe that their statues are really enlivened; ancient idolaters worshiped their images as a symbol of divinity—just like the Orthodox Christians worship their icons, which feature their deity (a good Jew, actually).

Worse, the Orthodox Christian churches in Jerusalem picture what they believe to be God. However one interprets the prohibition of graven images, it doubtless covers false images of God.

Tolerating the Nazi-like, idolatrous Orthodox Christian churches in Jerusalem is, moreover, worthless. The Russians refuse to return hundreds of thousands of Jewish properties they confiscated after the Nazis massacred their owners, or to restore to Jews thousands of synagogues confiscated by the communists. Russians eagerly appropriate real estate, such as the Russian Courtyard, but supply anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to our Muslim enemies, work with Iran on its nuclear program, and have resumed a massive Navy presence in Syria.

Jews don’t gain anything by brazenly violating the commandments.

At 2:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christian friends might not be ours

The world did not pressure Russia over the immense atrocities commited against Chechnya, or China over the Uighurs. The world cares not about the Basques, Bretons, Red Indians, and scores of other oppressed minorities. The United States is built on occupied land. But the entirely insignificant tribe of Palestinian Arabs reaps international attention. The same media provides no coverage of other suffering Arabs: Shiites in Saudi Arabia, Christians in Egypt, Palestinians in Kuwait, etc. The only conceivable reason for the world’s passion for the Palestinians is anti-Semitism. Most anti-Semitic canards hold a bit of distorted truth, and so the Palestinian canard is true to an extent: Palestinians are much better off under Israeli rule, but they are less free, and most importantly, non-sovereign. But the screams in support of the Palestinian Arabs are not meant to support them, but rather to condemn Jews.

Jews lived peacefully with Muslims for centuries, but we have never felt comfortable in any Christian country; even the US was deeply anti-Semitic until the mid-twentieth century at least. Israeli problems with Arab nationalists stem in large measure from Christian actions. Christian nations pushed Israel into indefensible borders by carving Jordan and Palestine out of the land of Israel. Arabs might not fight a relatively large Israel in the borders of the Promised Land, but a beach-strip Israel is provocatively indefensible. The Christian state of America, rather than Muslim Egypt, forced Israel to give away the Sinai. Christian powers finance the Arabs’ wars with Israel by oil purchases, and enable those wars by selling Arabs advanced weapons.

Whatever the liberal rabbis are saying now, the Rambam declared in the Laws of Kings, chapter 11, “Jesus of Nazareth… caused Israel to perish by the sword and to have their remnant scattered and degraded. He replaced the Torah and led astray most of the world to serve a god besides the Lord.”

Christian support for Israel is exaggerated. A two-thousand-year-old anti-Semitic mentality cannot change in a few years. Israel enjoys support from several messianic movements, but these are no more than the fringes of Christianity. Even for those churches, Israel is only an instrument for the messianic event. Should the Jewish state perish in an apocalyptic war, messianists will only see that as furthering their aims.

There are many sensible Christians who like the Jews, and still more of those who hate Muslims and view Jews as useful allies. But Israel can’t ever count on the Christian mainstream. Curious indifference is the best attitude among Christians the Jews could hope for.


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