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Opinion Editorials, June 2015

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Israeli Jewish Terrorists Burn Church of Loaves and Fishes Multiplication in the Galilee, Write Anti-Christian Graffiti on its Walls

By Mazin Qumsiyeh

Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, June 22, 2015

Tabghe Church in the Galilee withstood 1700 years of various rulers in Palestine. It is the church on the location we are told where Jesus multiplied the fish and the bread. For the first time in its long history it was burned nearly completely (arson) this week. The perpetrators wrote in red Hebrew graffiti that the “idol worshippers” will also be killed! It joins other churches and dozens of mosques destroyed since the founding of the “Jewish state” in Palestine. Israel is a repressive country that violates basic human rights including freedom of religion. It inculcates in its public and private Jewish only schools notions of chosenness and racism (just read Nurit Peled-Elhanan research into this subject). Just see these two examples of the products of Zionist indoctrination:

If you want to know what most of us Christians think of Zionism (not of Jews because these are different issues), visit this

Incidentally Ilan Pappe, author of “the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” spoke to hundreds in the occupied territories (in person in AlBireh with live teleconference in Gaza) and articulated brilliantly why peace with the Zionist ideology and the “two-state solution” are both impossible. He articulated the need for a  new strategy based on human rights including return and self-determination in one democratic state.

Now we are in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Gaza families are fasting like others even with the meager foods they have to break their fast and they have to do this next to their demolished houses (tens of thousands are without their homes after the genocidal assault last summer). Millions of Syrian and Iraqi refugees (of all religions) face similar conditions of deprivation and misery thanks to the conditions created by the Israeli lobby’s push for the war on Iraq in 2003. Looking around us, we miss the rational voices of colleagues like Edward Said and Faisal Al-Husseini. Here is one of my favorite prophetic writings of my friend Edward Said:

As for Faisal Al-Husseini, he was born in Baghdad on July 17, 1940 during his father's forced exile from Jerusalem. In 1944, his family moved to Mecca where they lived for one and a half years, and from there moved to Cairo where Faisal pursued his elementary and secondary education. His father Abdel Qader Al-Husseini was a leader in the armed struggle in Palestine and fell a martyr defending his homeland in the battle of Al-Qastal in 1948. Faisal passed away during his visit to Kuwait on 31/5/2001 and was buried on 1/6/2001 in the courtyard of Al-Haram Al-Sharif beside his father and grandfather. With tens of thousands attending his funeral (at least for that one day, the barriers around Jerusalem disappeared). Here is what he wrote after one of the many Zionist massacres that shows the level of his humanity and it is appropriate in this holy month:

Oh God, the chest is replete with bitterness… do not turn that into spite.
Oh God, the heart is replete with pain… do not turn that into vengeance.
Oh God, the spirit is replete with fear… do not turn that into hatred.
Oh God, my body is weak… do not turn my weakness into despair.
Oh God, I your servant am holding the embers… so help me maintain my steadfastness.
Oh God, faith is love… Oh God faith is forgiveness… Oh God, faith is conviction…
Oh God, do not put of the flame of faith from my chest.
Oh God, we wanted for the Intifada a white one, so please protect it.
Oh God, we wanted freedom for our people, we did not want slavery to others.
Oh God, we wanted a homeland for our people to gather them, we did not want to destroy states of others, nor to demolish their homes.
Oh God, our people are stripped of all things, except their belief in their right.
Oh God, our people are weak except in their faith and in their victory.
Oh God, grant us conviction, mercy and tolerance in our ranks, and not make us war against ourselves
Oh God, turn the blood that was shed into light that will guide us and strengthen our arms, do not let it turn into fuel of hatred and vengeance.
Oh God, help us over our enemy so that we can help him deal with himself.
Oh God, this is my prayer to invocation, so listen to it and grant us our supplication and guide us to the right path.

This past week we had good activities with many volunteers. If you want to see our activities, please follow us on facebook under Palestine Museum of Natural History and do Come visit us anytime.
Meanwhile.. stay human

Mazin Qumsiyeh
Professor and Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Bethlehem University
Tel 972-22773553


Catholic Assembly Condemns Burning Of The Loaves And Fishes Church By Israeli Extremists

Monday June 22, 2015 01:56 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News

Following condemnations by other Christian organizations, the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries issued a statement condemning the church burning by right-wing Jewish extremists on Thursday night. Father Michel Sabbah, Father Amjad Sabbara, and Dr. Hana Ashrawi also strongly denounced the assault.

According to the statement from the Catholic officials, the arson is “is another act of violence perpetrated by intolerant and scrupulous individuals that damage the image of the Holy Land, offends Christians in this country and the Church as a whole, and distresses the idea of a State that defines itself as democratic, tolerant and secure.”

The assembly pointed out that such acts of extremism undermine the coexistence that is so necessary for peace in the Holy Land. They called on Jews, Christians and Muslims to come together to fight such manifestations of violence, and to teach young people the importance of tolerance and coexistence.

In their statement, the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries said:

“This is the third time that the Benedictine community of the Holy Land has been affected by similar criminal attacks. On April 27, 2014 at the same site in Tabgha, young extremist Jews desecrated crosses and an altar. In the Benedictine Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion close to the Upper Room, fire was started on May 26, 2014 a few minutes after the departure of Pope Francis. The Benedictines of Mount Zion are also incessantly subjected to acts of contempt and violence.”

The Israeli authorities, according to the Catholic Assembly, never seriously investigated those incidents.

They called on the Israeli government to conduct a thorough and serious investigation of this most recent act of violence against a Christian holy site, and not just some statements of condemnation.

Israeli authorities arrested around 15 Israeli extremists for questioning, but released them all the same day.

Franciscan Pastor of Nazareth Amjad Sabbara, and various religious and social groups, strongly denounced the attack on this important historic Christian Church, which is one of the most sacred Christian places in the entire world.

“This attack violates every foundation of culture and humanity; it is an insult to us as Christians, and an insult to every person of faith,” the statement reads, “It is a serious violation to every country’s commitment to protect holy sites. We are committed to the teachings of Jesus Christ; we follow his path no matter what.”

“We strongly condemn this shameful act, and are hoping the this type of racism will be uprooted, and we demand the Police and the security forces to perform their duties and protect all holy sites,” the statement adds, “Any person who allows himself to commit such a vicious crime must be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

Father Emeritus Michel Sabbah said: "The attack is a repetition of what happened to the same church three or four years ago, but no one was punished because the police claimed they were underage, and gave other justifications, that resulted in no legal action against them."

“But those responsible are not minors,” he added, “When I keep seeing this happening, I see a government in Israel, and I see leaders who are not doing their job.”

“We as Christians believe in the message of Christ, the message of love, no matter what happens, here we stay; we aren’t demanding the protection of anybody, here or abroad,” he said, “The state (Israel) must know its duties, and must perform them. It shouldn’t just make statements; it knows the criminals, not minors, but those who raise them, in schools and in religious, and political, circles.”

“We don’t want to meet governmental officials, meeting them doesn’t honor us,” Father Sabbah added, “Every official, president or leader, must know their duties and must perform them, without meeting with me, or any other religious leader.”

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said there is a significant increase of organized hate crimes carried out by Jewish fanatics against both Christian and Islamic holy sites in Palestine.

She added that such attacks are taking place under the protection, and direction, of the fanatic Israeli government, that has failed to seriously investigate dozens of assaults against holy sites in occupied Palestine.

“This is an outcome of racist ideologies, constant incitement, and the discriminatory laws of Israel,” Dr. Ashrawi said, “This is yet another example how Israel acts with impunity, without fearing any legal prosecution.”

The Palestinian official also said that the fanatic right-wing coalition of the Israeli government, and various religious and political organizations in Israel, are encouraging a racist type of ideology in Israel, and among the settlers, who are illegally living in occupied Palestine.

Israeli extremists burn the church where Jesus multiplied loaves and fishes

Thursday June 18, 2015 10:56 by Celine Hagbard - IMEMC News

Early Thursday morning, right-wing Israelis set on fire the Church of the Multiplication, where Christians believe that Jesus multiplied loaves and fishes, and wrote graffiti in Hebrew on the walls that read, "False idols will be smashed" and "Pagans".

Church burned in Tiberias (image by 'Palestinian Christians' Facebook group)

The fire was set at about 3 am in the early hours of Thursday morning, severely damaging church offices and storage rooms. The entire church was saturated with smoke damage.

In addition, Hebrew graffiti was spraypainted all over the front entrance to the church reading "Pagans" in red paint.

The Church of the Multiplication is believed by Christians to be the site of Jesus’s miracle of multiplying two fish and five loaves to feed 5,000 people.

Several church volunteers suffered from smoke inhalation while trying to extinguish the fire before the firefighters arrived on the scene. The fire was put out several hours after it began.

The church, which is run by the Catholic Benedictine Order, is best known for its fifth-century mosaics, including one depicting two fish flanking a basket of loaves.

Christian churches have been targeted by right-wing Jewish Israeli attacks hundreds of times in recent years.

In May 2014, the Romanian Orthodox Church on Hahoma Hashlishit Street in Jerusalem was defaced in a suspected hate attack. That incident saw the words "price tag", "Jesus is garbage" and "King David for the Jews" spray-painted on the site’s walls.

Two weeks earlier, ahead of a visit to the country by Pope Francis, suspected Jewish extremists daubed hate graffiti on Vatican-owned offices in Jerusalem.

The Hebrew-language graffiti, reading “Death to Arabs and Christians and those who hate Israel,” was sprayed on the walls of the offices of the Assembly of Bishops at the Notre Dame center, a complex just outside the Old City, the Roman Catholic Church said.

Dmitry Diliani, a member of the Fateh revolutionary council, as well as the Secretary-General of the national Christian Assembly in Palestine, issued a statement that the attack on the church represents a practical application of the stances taken by the Israeli government, which funds fanatic groups.

He noted that some of the leaders of those fanatic groups hold political positions in spite of their incitement. By refusing to list those groups as terrorist organizations, Diliani argued, the Israeli Knesset is effectively providing them with legal protection, and is not taking seriously the ongoing, multiple attacks by right-wing Israelis against Christian and Muslim holy sites.

Knesset Member Dr. Basil Khattas was quoted as saying, "Those terrorist groups attack both Christian and Muslim holy sites with impunity. The Israeli government must open a serious investigation into this and other incidents of violence against holy sites."

Israeli authorities say they are investigating to see if the fire was an accident or was intentional. But Christians who live in the area say that the Israeli police are not taking the investigation seriously - adding that this was obviously an anti-Christian hate crime, given the graffiti that was written on the site of the fire.

No arrests have been made in connection with the arson.


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