Three days ago, Jodi Rudoren and Isabel Kershner had a longish piece about the Pope’s upcoming visit to Palestine (via Jordan) and then day trip in Israel: “Seeking Balance on Mideast Visit, Pope Pleases Few.”
The piece tries to establish that, with his planned itinerary, his poor Popiness can’t please everyone – or maybe even anyone – but reveals some things that are purposefully downplayed by the Grey Lady’s loyal lackeys.
His Mass scheduled for Monday evening on Mount Zion, believed to be the site of both Jesus’ last supper and the tomb of King David, has ignited protests by religious Jews and drawn anti-Christian graffiti.
The pope’s refusal of bulletproof vehicles has also created some complications: Vatican officials said Francis had insisted on open-top cars to connect with the public, but the Israeli authorities responded by expanding the security perimeter, which will make it harder for people to glimpse the pontiff. And his short sojourn — the last two popes made eight- and seven-day trips — left the Galilee, home to many Christians and to Christian historic sites like Nazareth, off the itinerary.
While the link is there from one paragraph to the next, the truth is swept under the rug a bit. The reason why “Israeli authorities” have expanded “the security perimeter” has nothing to do with potential violence from Palestinians; rather, the threats of violence come solely from Israeli Jews.
Palestinians voice concern and disappointment with certain aspects of the trip; Omar Barghouti is frustrated that Pope Francis is to lay a wreath at Herzl’s grave, calling it “a nauseating, offensive act of complicity that Palestinian civil society cannot but condemn.”
This sentence, however, reveals the sophomoric and petulant (or merely cruel?) nature of Zionism:
The pope’s decision to visit Herzl’s grave, 110 years after Pope Pius X harshly rejected Herzl’s appeal for support, is, for Israelis, a significant signal to offset his embrace of Palestine as a state.
And again, see who is angriest (and why) and who poses a potential threat to the Pontiff:
Monday’s Mass at Mount Zion has escalated a fight over the holy site. Christians, who have not been allowed to hold formal prayer services there other than a few times a year, want the last-supper room opened for liturgy daily from 6 to 8 a.m. Despite Israel’s insistence that no change in the regulations will be discussed during the pope’s visit, religious Jews plan to denounce such a change with a march Thursday night.
After a recent spate of hate crimes, the Israeli police on Wednesday issued restraining orders requiring that several right-wing Jewish activists stay away from the pope and Jerusalem’s Old City during the visit.
Meanwhile, here’s some of what the Pope will be doing in Palestine:
[C]hildren from Bethlehem’s refugee camps will sing him two songs during a 15-minute stop at a community center, where organizers were told the pope would have time to shake only three hands.
“I negotiated with them for 15 minutes; they spoke about 10 minutes,” said Mohammed K. Lahham, a Palestinian lawmaker who also met Popes Benedict and John Paul II, and who as a boy of 9 was among the throngs greeting Pope Paul VI in Manger Square. “Frankly, even if he comes just for seconds and leaves, it’s important. It’s an S.M.S. message for the whole world.”
Isn’t it curious as to why the more diverse and downtrodden are welcoming his visit, while the vitriolic, exclusivist, garrisoned colonizers are so enraged?
Perhaps it’s because Francis will remember the words of his deity and bless the meek, those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, and those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. It’s pretty clear that the nuclear-armed settler state isn’t the one eventually inheriting the earth and there is certainly no confusing them with the peacemakers, who shall be called the children of god.
So, when right-wing Israelis start throwing stones at the Popemobile as it rumbles through the streets of Jerusalem, the IDF will have no qualms about opening fire, right?