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A Dose of Reality From a Palestinian Christian March 14, 2012

Posted by The Prodigal Son in Christianity.
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Palestinian believers lighting candles in the Church of the Nativity in the biblical Palestinian town of Bethlehem

A Palestinian Christian Response to Michael Oren

By Faysal Hijazeen

As the parish priest of Ramallah, an op-ed by Israel’s envoy to the US gave me pause for thought. Michael Oren’s article spoke volumes of Israel’s unending misrepresentation of Palestinian daily life.

The presence of our 13 Latin Patriarchate Schools throughout the West Bank and Gaza, for over 150 years, is a living witness to the coexistence of Palestinian Christians and Muslims.

We have never faced in our schools or society the supposed persecution of Christians by Muslims to which Mr Oren referred in “Israel and the Plight of Mideast Christians,” published Friday in the Wall Street Journal.

Contrary to Oren’s statements, the persecution of Christians here is caused mainly by the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory. This occupation humiliates us, destroys our economy, causes demographic changes and deprives millions of the freedom of movement and their right to decent lives, in addition to the confiscation of land.

These are the main ways Christians are persecuted in Palestine.

As anyone with eyes can see, the wall that Israel has imposed has negatively affected the lives of Palestinians and has confiscated a large amount of what is left of Palestinian land.

Saint Porphyrius Orthodox Church in Gaza, Palestine.

Oren claims that Israel “allows holiday access to Jerusalem’s churches to Christians from both the West Bank and Gaza.” In reality, the countless fixed and flying checkpoints have turned our lives into hell.

Israeli obstacles and practices do not differentiate between Muslims and Christians, and are imposed over a whole nation. The bullets that fired against Palestinians do not differentiate between Christians and Muslims.

But it is these imposed Israeli obstacles which strengthen the ties between Christians and Muslims. Christian students share the same classrooms with Muslim students and all school activities involve both religions.

For example last week at one of our schools, the al-Ahliyya College in Ramallah, we held a concert with peace songs, and 180 pupils of both faiths joined in the event.

The oppression of Christian communities is indeed “an injustice of historic magnitude.”

Israel could begin righting this wrong by setting an example: Offer freedom to the Christian communities under its occupation before criticizing Muslim oppression in other countries in the Middle East.

No such oppression exists in Palestine.

Nuns wait for the arrival of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah during Christmas celebrations on Manger square outside the Church of Nativity in the west Bank town of Bethlehem

The author is the director-general of the Latin Patriarchate Schools in Palestine and the parish priest of Ramallah.

From Ma’an News Agency

Pictures from Occupied Palestine, Christians in Palestine – in Pictures

~~~ ~ ~ ~~~




1. William White - March 15, 2012

I Greatly appreciate the unity I hear in these pages.. the sharing of Christians and Muslims. I Recently am studying as I have had a conversion from Roman rite to Eastern ways..

God I dont think judges on your religion and beliefs but your adoration of the Son and The law set before us… We must share our ways with each other as one body of Christ… We in the us need desperately this tolerance of Muslims which is off the page with hatred way before 911… thank you again, and pray for our leaders.

The Prodigal Son - March 15, 2012

I don’t know about all that!

Muslims are not part of the Body of Christ. Muslims do not affirm the death and resurrection of Jesus… nor do they believe that He is God incarnate.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
– I John 4

We can agree to disagree at best. Palestine and other countries such as pre-Gulf wars Iraq and Syria show that Christians and Muslims have coexisted together (yet still apart) for centuries.

We most certainly have a common adversary in the Jews but other than that…

2. The Prodigal Son - March 16, 2012

How (the Jewish State) Really Treats Christians

By Fida Jiryis | Ma’an | March 15, 2012

In a recent op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, “(The Jewish State) and the Plight of Mideast Christians,” Ambassador Michael Oren presents (the Jewish state) as a tolerant, dove-like, and peaceful democracy. This is belied by the facts.

I am one of those Palestinian Christians living inside (the Jewish state) to whom Oren refers. At no time in my life have I ever felt the “respect and appreciation” of the Jewish state, which Oren so glowingly references.

(The Jewish state)’s Christian minority is marginalized in much the same manner as its Muslim one or, at best, quietly tolerated. We suffer the same discrimination when we try to find a job, when we go to hospitals, when we apply for bank loans, and when we get on the bus — in the same way as Palestinian Muslims.

(The Jewish state)’s fundamental basis is as a racist state built for Jews only, and the majority of the Jewish population doesn’t really care what religion we are if we’re not Jewish. In my daily dealings with the State, all I have felt is rudeness and overt contempt.

Oren’s statement that “The extinction of the Middle East’s Christian communities is an injustice of historic magnitude” is outright shocking to anyone familiar with even the basic history of how (the Jewish state) was founded.

I would like to remind Oren and others that this founding expelled thousands of Palestinian Christians from their homes in 1948 and displaced them, either forcing them to flee across the border or making them internal refugees. The ethnic cleansing of Palestinians that comprised the founding of (a Jewish state in Palestine) is, too, an injustice of historic magnitude. A man living in a glass house — or a house stolen from Palestinians — should think very carefully before tossing stones.

My cousin’s husband, Maher, is from Iqrith, a village a few miles from mine in the Galilee. His family, and all of Iqrith’s inhabitants, were expelled from their village in 1948 and Iqrith was razed to the ground by Zionist forces on Christmas eve, 1950, in a special “Christmas gift” to its people. The timing of this destruction leaves one to wonder at the intended message.

Maher was born years after his family took shelter in Rama, a village nearby in the Galilee. Today, he struggles with finding a place to build a house to live in with his wife and children. (Zionist) policies that severely restrict the building zones in Arab towns and villages result in land shortages impeding the population’s natural expansion. Limiting land to residents of the same town or village means that internal Palestinian refugees face severe housing discrimination.

The return of people like Maher has been made impossible by (the Jewish state), which refuses to negotiate on the right of refugees to return to their homeland. If Oren is so concerned for Palestinian Christians, would he kindly give the green light for the return of Christian refugees from Iqrith, Birim, Tarshiha, Suhmata, Haifa, Jaffa, and tens of other Palestinian towns and villages that they were expelled from in 1948?

The answer, I assure you, is no. Many of these refugees are living in refugee camps in nearby countries, where (the Jewish state) and Oren are happy to leave them.

The terrorists referred to in Oren’s statement that “(The Jewish state), in spite of its need to safeguard its borders from terrorists, allows holiday access to Jerusalem’s churches to Christians from both the West Bank and Gaza,” are in fact Palestinian Christians living on the land that (the Jewish state) has occupied — in flagrant opposition to all human rights charters — and from which it is refusing to withdraw its soldiers and illegal settlers.

To applaud (the Jewish state) for giving people permits to travel across what by law is their own country is the height of hubris.

His claim that “In Jerusalem, the number of Arabs — among them Christians — has tripled since the city’s reunification by (the Jewish state) in 1967″ fails to mention (their) relentless policies of cracking down on Jerusalem: building unending settlements; building a separation wall that slices right through the city, severing its families, neighborhoods and businesses and hitting hard at its Arab economy; seizing Arab lands and expelling families that have lived on them for generations; and revoking the citizenship of any Palestinian resident who travels abroad for too long.

Imagine the outcry if an American citizen traveled abroad for two years and upon return discovered that his citizenship was revoked and that he had lost his American ID and passport.

(Zionist) officials don’t care whether the Palestinians they discriminate against are Christian or Muslim. It is true that inter-religious strife is on the rise in a region long tormented by poor living conditions, for which the West bears significant responsibility having aided the region’s many dictators.

Oren’s faux tolerance and crocodile tears over the plight of Christians fool no one. Were he serious, I would urge him to have a close look at (the Jewish state)’s policies of occupation and racial discrimination.

Fida Jiryis is a Palestinian writer from the Arab village of Fassuta in the Galilee. She is the author of the forthcoming book, My Return to Galilee, which chronicles her return from the Diaspora to (the Jewish state).

Via Aletho News

(You’d think a Christian would know that Israel is the Church – not a Zionist Jewish state in Palestine…)

Interview with Fida Jiryis
The Palestine Monitor
January 19th, 2012

I would ask her: Why would you ever want to live there now anyhow?

3. The Prodigal Son - May 13, 2012

Israeli persecution forces Christians to emigrate

By Khalid Amayreh

Israeli ambassador to the United State Michael Oren recently tried to bully CBS to kill a story exposing Israeli persecution, harassment and mistreatment of Palestinian Christians, forcing many of them to emigrate.

Oren, a Jewish supremacist, reportedly described the ’60 Minutes’ broadcast of 12+ minute story on Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinian Christians as “a strategic threat” to Israel. He didn’t explain how a short documentary would be a threat to a nuclear power that is armed to the teeth and which also happens to tightly control the government and Congress of the only superpower on the planet, namely the United States.

The story was prepared by veteran CBS reporter, Bob Simon who is expert on the Arab Israeli conflict. It began with a segment about the disappearance of Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land, with emphasis on a family whose Bethlehem home, once on the busiest street in town, is now surrounded on three sides by Israeli military walls.

Eventually, the story gained special attention as Oren approached CBS before the story was even completed and demanded that the network not air the story because it would do such a “hatchet job” on Israel.

I watched the story and honestly it never raised my eyebrows. I knew too well and all along that Israel had been persecuting and tormenting Christians since time immemorial, even before Oren and Simon were born.

Israel is not only a harsh and insidious occupier and persecutor, but is also a deceitful, pernicious liar. It knowingly and deliberately torments its victims, and then tries to turn the black into white and the big lie into a “truth” glorified by millions.

Long history of anti-Christianity

Does anyone still remember the fate of the depopulated Christian villages of Iqrit and Bir’im in the Galilee, which Israeli forces expelled their Christian inhabitants in 1948? Four 64 years, the banished inhabitants who had been dispersed all over the region and beyond pleaded to successive Israeli governments to allow them to return to their ancestral homes and land, but to no avail.

Israeli courts ruled on several occasions in favor of the villagers, but the Zionist establishment stubbornly refused to heed the rulings as Zionist leaders argued that carrying out the rulings would open up a Pandora’s box for Israel, an allusion to millions of Palestinians uprooted from their homes and villages when Israel was created in 1948.

But the special hatred (and contempt) of Christians by Jews, especially Orthodox Jews, goes deep in history and certainly precedes modern Zionism by numerous centuries.

According to Yisrael Shahak, author of Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years, Judaism is imbued with a very deep hatred toward Christianity, combined with ignorance about it. He argues that Jewish hatred of Christianity, though partly aggravated by Christian persecution of Jews, was mainly religious and theological in nature.

According to the Talmud, Jesus was executed by a proper rabbinical court for idolatry, inciting other Jews to idolatry, and contempt of rabbinical authority.

Shahak, who died at the age of 68 in 2001, clarified that all classical Jewish sources which mentioned Jesus’ execution were quite happy to take responsibility for it. Jesus is also accused in the Talmud of witchcraft, a charge the punishment for which is death.

“The very name Jesus was for Jews a symbol of all that is abominable, and this popular tradition still persists. The Gospels are equally detested, and they are not allowed to be quoted, let alone taught, even in modern Israeli Jewish schools.”

Christianity is classified as a pagan, idolatrous religion by most if not all Orthodox rabbis. Israel firsters will not intimate this fact to their naïve but hysterical Christian Zionist evangelical allies.

Nor will they tell them that whenever an orthodox Jew mentions the name Jesus, he or she must recite the following curse: “May his name is damned, and memory erased.” Would people like Pat Robertson and John Hagee, who pretend to be the spiritual guardians of Christianity, or even the Holy See, approach their Jewish friends and plead to them to see to it that this vulgar literature is expurgated from the Talmud or at least not taught in hundreds of Yishivot or Talmudic schools throughout Israel. Or perhaps these Zionist or Zionized “Christian” leaders are too pusillanimous to raise such “divisive issues.”

Chesronot Shas

Some of the most vulgar anti-Christian passages in the Talmud are called “Chesronot Shas,” literally the “Omissions of Shas.” The omissions were originally omitted from the Talmud in the middle ages for fear of upsetting Christians, especially in Europe.

However, when Israel was created in 1948, Chesronot Shas were reincorporated into the Talmud. The Hebrew translation of the originally Aramaic passages can now be purchased in any large bookstore in Israel.

Rabbis try hard to avoid as much as possible any public discussion of Chesronot Shas, also spelled Hesronot Shas, for fear of drawing stringent Christian reactions. However, it has been established that the omissions use the most vulgar and abusive epithets to describe Jesus and his mother, such as calling him “the son of a prostitute and a Roman soldier, who learned witchcraft in Egypt and who beguiled Jews to worship him as an idol.” Jesus, who is called Balaam the son of Beor the soothsayer, is also boiling in a huge cauldron in hell, full of excrement and human semen.

Hence, one can safely claim that Jewish and Judaic hostility to Christianity is inherent and intrinsic and transcends all Christian pogroms, including the holocaust.

Hitler of Bethlehem

A few years ago, I was discussing religion with a prominent rabbi in the southern West Bank. I was dumbfounded when the otherwise bland rabbi referred to Jesus as “Hitler of Bethlehem.” I had to terminate the conversation because as a Muslim, I was not supposed to tolerate any bad mouthing about Jesus and other prophets of God, including also Noah, Abraham, Moses, Muhammed, and others.

But I discovered that even 2000 years later, many Jews are not willing to forgive Jesus and still relating rather gleefully And vengefully to his “execution.” (to be honest, we Muslims don’t believe in the crucifixion story altogether) .

A few years ago, settler youngsters near Hebron chased a number of totally innocuous Christian Peace activists, hurling stones at them and telling them “we killed your God, you Nazis”!!

Some of the rabbis tried to restraint the youngsters, telling them that what they were saying would find its way to TV Screens in Christian countries such as the United States and would seriously damage Israel’s image.

But the insolent youngsters, who routinely assaulted unprotected Palestinian civilians, wouldn’t give a damn about hasbara and PR because “Jews control these nations anyway!!”

There is no doubt that Jewish hostility, dormant or otherwise, to Christianity is being deliberately kept secret as much as possible by much of the media in the West. This per se constitutes a conspiracy. After all, why of all themes and subject, Talmudic perceptions of Christianity and Christians remain more or less a taboo in western scholarship?

Indeed, the CBS story, a merely 12-minutes of understated facts, represents an exceptional anomaly in the western media treatment of the systematic Israeli persecution of Palestinian Christians. It is also clear, that the more religious and nationalist Israel becomes, the more aggressive and hostile toward Christians it will be.

Many Christians around the world may not be in the mood to listen to this “strange warning.” However, the drought of Christians from the Holy Land, which many fear will reach a terminal stage in the foreseeable future, should awaken concerned Christians and others from their self-imposed dormancy.

I am saying this because, without the Christians of Palestine, an original part of Palestine would be missing. And Palestine wouldn’t be the same without its Christian component.

From the Palestinian Information Center

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