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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Vatican silent as UNESCO to register Church of the Nativity in 'Palestine'

Israel is working to prevent the 'Palestinian Authority' from registering the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem as a UNESCO historical site of the imaginary state of 'Palestine.' The gory details of the application are here, and it is not certain that the application will be granted at this time. But given how the 'Palestinians' treat Christians generally, and given how they have treated the Church of the Nativity in particular, isn't the Vatican's silence on the issue rather odd? To remind you of how the 'Palestinians' treated the Church of the Nativity:
Here's a brief summary of what happened:
On April 2, 2002, as Israel implemented its Defensive Shield operation to combat the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure, in Bethlehem "a number of terrorists took over St. Mary's Church grounds and...held the priest and a number of nuns there against their will. The terrorists used the Church as a firing position, from which they shot at IDF soldiers in the area. The soldiers did not return fire toward the church when fired upon [emphasis added]. An IDF force, under the command of the Bethlehem area regional commander, entered the Church grounds today without battle, in coordination with its leaders, and evacuated the priest and nuns."

That same day, "More than 100 Palestinian gunmen...[including] soldiers and policemen, entered the Church of the Nativity on Tuesday, as Israeli troops swept into Bethlehem in an attempt to quell violence by Palestinian suicide bombers and militias." The actual number of terrorists was between 150 and 180, among them prominent members of the Fatah Tanzim. As the New York Times put it, "Palestinian gunmen have frequently used the area around the church as a refuge, with the expectation that Israel would try to avoid fighting near the shrine" [emphasis added].

And in fact this was the case. The commander of the Israeli forces in the area asserted that the IDF would not break into the church itself and would not harm this site holy to Christianity. Israel also deployed more mature and more reserved reserve-duty soldiers in this sensitive situation that militarily called for more agile, standing-army soldiers.

On the other hand, the Palestinians did not treat it the same way. Not only did they take their weapons with them into the Church of the Nativity and fire, on occasion, from the church, but also reportedly booby-trapped the entrance to the church.

On April 7, "one of the few priests evacuated from the church told Israeli television yesterday that gunmen had shot their way in, and that the priests, monks and nuns were essentially hostages....The priest declined to call the clergy 'hostages,' but repeatedly said in fluent English: 'We have absolutely no choice. They have guns, we do not.'"

Christians clearly saw the takeover as a violation of the sanctity of the church. In an interview with CWNews, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, the Vatican's Undersecretary of State and the top foreign-policy official, asserted that "The Palestinians have entered into bilateral agreements [with the Holy See] in which they undertake to maintain and respect the status quo regarding the Christian holy places and the rights of Christian communities. To explain the gravity of the current situation, let me begin with the fact that the occupation of the holy places by armed men is a violation of a long tradition of law that dates back to the Ottoman era. Never before have they been occupied - for such a lengthy time - by armed men." On April 14, he reiterated his position in an interview on Vatican Radio.

On April 24, the Jerusalem Post reported on the damage that the PA forces were causing:
Three Armenian monks, who had been held hostage by the Palestinian gunmen inside Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, managed to flee the church area via a side gate yesterday morning. They immediately thanked the soldiers for rescuing them.

They told army officers the gunmen had stolen gold and other property, including crucifixes and prayer books, and had caused damage....
One of the monks, Narkiss Korasian, later told reporters: "They stole everything, they opened the doors one by one and stole everything.... They stole our prayer books and four crosses...they didn't leave anything. Thank you for your help, we will never forget it."

Israeli officials said the monks said the gunmen had also begun beating and attacking clergymen.
When the siege finally ended, the PA soldiers left the church in terrible condition:
The Palestinian gunmen holed up in the Church of the Nativity seized church stockpiles of food and "ate like greedy monsters" until the food ran out, while more than 150 civilians went hungry. They also guzzled beer, wine, and Johnnie Walker scotch that they found in priests' quarters, undeterred by the Islamic ban on drinking alcohol. The indulgence lasted for about two weeks into the 39-day siege, when the food and drink ran out, according to an account by four Greek Orthodox priests who were trapped inside for the entire ordeal....

The Orthodox priests and a number of civilians have said the gunmen created a regime of fear.

Even in the Roman Catholic areas of the complex there was evidence of disregard for religious norms. Catholic priests said that some Bibles were torn up for toilet paper, and many valuable sacramental objects were removed. "Palestinians took candelabra, icons and anything that looked like gold," said a Franciscan, the Rev. Nicholas Marquez from Mexico.
A problem that arose during the siege again shows Christian fear of Muslim domination. Two Palestinian gunmen in the church were killed, and the PA wanted to bury them in the basilica. "With two Muslim bodies inside the Church of the Nativity, Christianity could be facing an absolute disaster in Bethlehem," said Canon Andrew White, the special representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Middle East. "It would be catastrophic if two Muslim martyrs were buried in the church. It could lead to a situation like that in Nazareth," he said. Only after intensive mediation efforts were plans to bury the bodies inside abandoned.
Given this history of 'Palestinian' mistreatment of the Church of the Nativity, isn't it odd that the Vatican is silent as UNESCO plans to put the 'Palestinians' officially in charge of the church?

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At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Desperate to keep up the myth of Israel being a 'western' style democracy, eh?

Funny how you don't bring Palestinian Christians to confirm your lies. Like Daud Kuttab? Ray Hanania? Your only Christian sources seem to be Guillo Melotti, who thinks Israel will help him in Christianising the Middle East and joins in your chorus of lies?

Let's hear from a Palestinian Christian, Daud Kuttab

Israel Prevents Christian Pilgrims From Visiting Bethlehem


Israel has in previous years permitted many of Bethlehem's Christian population from visiting Jerusalem by providing those seeking it permits to the city. The permits distributed through local Churches, obviously, require individuals wishing to get the sought after permits to apply through one of the local churches. Human rights organizations say that this is a discriminatory act. Not only are the permits themselves a clear violation of the right to movement, the idea of giving selective individuals through local churches these permits creates yet another level of discrimination against non church goers. Church officials have noted that this year fewer permits were issued and the period of the permits had been cut from the 'generous' one month last year to a mere 15 days this year.

International humanitarian law requires occupying powers to respect the right to worship as well as the right of movement.

The restriction on the exit of Palestinians as well as the restriction of the entry of tourists and pilgrims to Bethlehem is a collective punishment which is a violation of the fourth Geneva convention. The Convention regulates how an occupying power is expected to operate towards the population under its control. Preventing tourists buses from entering Bethlehem is another form of collective punishment aimed at getting local business to press activists not to publicly express their demands for the freedom of movement.

At 11:06 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Pure madness And betrayal from the Vatican!

At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evangelicals meet with their Palestinian counterparts

Daoud Kuttab 03/12/2012
For the second year running, a unique event took place in the Palestinian town of Bethlehem this week. Christian evangelicals that many consider as most ardent supporters for Israel (often more so than many Israelis) were guests of a Palestinian Christian gathering.

The "Christ at the Checkpoint" conference, sponsored by Bethlehem Bible College, hosted more than 600 evangelicals from around the world, but primarily from the U.S. Among the leading evangelicals attending this Palestinian-sponsored event were Rev. Joel Hunter, the spiritual adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama, theologian Tony Campollo, social activists Ron Sider and Lyn Hybes, British pastor Stephen Sizer, community leader Shane Claiborne, Messianic leader Wayne Hilsden and Asian reverend Sang-Bok David Kim.

Before it opened at the Jacir Palace InterContinental Hotel, the conference (both organizers and guests) was the subject of multi-pronged attacks. Speakers were pressured not to attend with hundreds of e-mails and phone calls, with accusations that by participating they are giving legitimacy to an anti-Israel and anti-Semitic gathering.

Two rabbis who work on interfaith issues at the Wiesenthal Centre scathingly attacked the conference as potentially shaking up the foundations of the most effective supporters to Israel. Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Rabbis Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein said that the conference is "taking dead aim at Israel's single largest and most reliable supporter: Tens of millions of evangelical Christians who have stood with the Jewish state since day one."

They concluded that if the conference achieves even some of its aims, "the consequences will be disastrous for Israel and world Jewry."

Those articles and more produced a level of intellectual terrorism not known within Christian circles that believe in dialogue among fellow believers.

Perhaps the hardest hit group were Christian leaders of Jewish origin. Messianic Jews intending to attend were severely targeted and accused of giving legitimacy to an anti-Israel event. They came nevertheless and said that they felt welcomed and respected.

At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evangelicals against Israel: a grave trend

By Nathan Jeffay, March 15, 2012


Its provocative name was matched by the provocative logo of a church behind barbed wire, next to Israel's security barrier. Last week, some 600 Christian clerics, activists and academics gathered in Bethlehem for the Christ at the Checkpoint conference.

They discussed why, in their view, Christians who support Zionism have got it wrong.


Of course, there have always been dissenting voices, but they have lacked the organisation and developed theology of the Zionists. Christ at the Checkpoint, a now-annual event established in 2010, is an ambitious attempt to change this.

"It is a battle of narratives," the conference's media director Porter Speakman Jr told Palestinian press. As he sees it, it set out to rectify the situation that, previously among evangelicals, "there has only been one story about the situation here and who the people are".

Observers said that the event made significant headway in developing an intellectual arsenal for anti-Zionist evangelicals. It managed to "strengthen and sharpen various arguments that debunk the myths that many consider is the stereotypical position of Christian evangelicals," wrote Daoud Kuttab, a journalist with the Palestinian media outlet Ma'an News.

The emerging battle over the "correct" path for evangelicals may just seem another case of the anti-Israel lobby making inroads in a faith community. But this case is far more important than others. Perhaps even surpassing Jews, evangelicals are the most enthusiastic and effective lobbyists for Israel in America. Their community's vote in the upcoming presidential election is a large part of what pushes candidates to commit to Israel.

If the growing movement that has just refined its theology at Christ at the Checkpoint has significant impact on attitudes among evangelicals - or even if its leaders mange to create an illusion that it has - this could have serious consequences for Israel.

At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carl baby,

What is your comment on Max Blumenthals' belief that Christian Zionists one day will be the biggest enemies of Jews and Israel? That is when they realise Jesus isn't coming riding back?

Everything his father (Sidney Blumenthal) said about the Christian Right and how they'd destroy America, came to pass ;-)

Where do schnorrers like you fit into this scenario?

At 6:20 PM, Blogger Empress Trudy said...

Chayma calm down it messes with your aim when you're sniping babies.

At 6:44 PM, Blogger Moriah said...

Chayma: all I want to say to all your meaningless drivel is this: None of it matters. Jews aren't going anywhere. We're staying no matter what futility you go through, no matter who you team up with, and no matter how much money or publicity you get. We have the G-d of Israel...

At 9:36 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Hillel Neuer‏@HillelNeuer

Really Rare: UN draft res rejects Palestinian claim to #UNESCO, says Church of Nativity not "endangered" by #Israel http://bit.ly/KV9Z5m


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