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‘There has been terror for some time’: Vatican responds to Jewish extremists attacks against Christians ahead of Pope’s visit

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Weeks before Pope Francis is due to arrive in Israel May 24 for a three-day visit, attacks and threats against Christians and their holy sites have escalated dramatically.

The latest hateful graffiti — “King David for the Jews” and “Jesus is garbage”– were sprayed in Hebrew on the Romanian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem this morning. That makes it the 20th attack of this nature inside Israel in 2014. Already this year Jewish extremists have graffiti’d “Death to Arabs,”  “America is Nazi Germany” and “Jesus monkey, Maria cow,” on Christian holy sites, in attacks described by the church as “terrorist vandalism.”

After a column in front of the Vatican’s Office of the Assembly of Bishops was vandalized on Monday the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Vatican’s Holy Land custodian, responded on its official website stating, “The wave of fanaticism and intimidation against Christians continues.” The statement goes on to say, “there has been terror for some time’, and expresses concern there had been no condemnation of the latest attack issued by Israeli government officials. The Latin Patriarchate also notes an absence or weakness of prosecution” of an astonishing 400 such cases, and expresses fear of impending escalation. The statement also warns that the Heads of the Churches in the Holy Land would respond.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (original bold):

Acts of vandalism and, especially, last week’s anti-Christian death threats in Galilee have aroused great emotion and solidarity. “For more than a week – says Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar for Israel – I was literally a ‘prisoner’, along with my collaborators, in the living room at the Patriarchal Vicariate in Nazareth where there were continuous visits by individuals and groups of various religions: Muslims, Druze, Christians of all denominations, Jewish academic circles and dialogue associations.”

But the faithful may have perceived a false note in these expressions of solidarity. Aside from the fact-finding visit to the local police, no gesture of solidarity and condemnation came the Israeli political side. It has shocked the faithful deeply: “We feel neither safe nor protected.”

The Bishops are very concerned about the lack of security and lack of responsiveness from the political sector, and fear an escalation of violence. There has been terror for some time, beginning with graffiti, then moved on to drilling holes in the tires of cars, various acts of vandalism and looting of properties or Christian symbols. Given the absence or weakness of prosecution, vandals have now come with personal threats. The recently published U.S. report on the phenomenon of Mekhir Tag (Price Tag) and other aspects of this terrorist vandalism is quite clear and disturbing. It lists more than 400 cases, the vast majority have gone un-prosecuted.

Heads of the Churches in the Holy Land are preparing a series of actions aimed at informing local and international public opinion, and to make the authorities and law officials aware of their responsibilities.

A monk stands next to graffiti sprayed on a wall at the entrance to the Latrun Monastery near Jerusalem September 4, 2012. (Reuters/Baz Ratner)

A monk stands next to graffiti sprayed on a wall at the entrance to the Latrun Monastery near Jerusalem September 4, 2012. (Reuters/Baz Ratner)

Subsequently Haaretz reported Israeli Police and the Shin Bet were concerned the situation could escalate as Jewish extremists could exploit the Popes visit by carrying out a major hate crime against Christians and/or their holy sites.

Meanwhile, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch told Army Radio on Wednesday that Israel “intended” to use administrative detention against extremists. Aljazeera reports Israel mulls internment for Arab hate crimes:

Although police have made scores of arrests, there have been no successful prosecutions for price tag attacks and the government has come under mounting pressure to authorise the Shin Bet internal security agency to step in.

“It is a matter of days or even weeks until these people are caught and investigated, and I hope they will be brought to justice for their actions,” said Aharonovitch…

Myriam Ambroselli, Director of the Media Office at the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, in an article published today on the attacks: “For a country that prides itself constantly on wanting to ensure, at any price, the safety of its residents, the recent escalation of violence is a stain. And what about the bitter lack of a message of solidarity to Christians who are preparing to receive the Pope in a few days?”

Even though the government seeks to distance itself from these attacks, the context they are arising in is one where the state is seeking to “de-Arabize” Christians and actively recruiting Christians into the Israeli army to separate them from the broader Palestinian community. In addition, they are walling up and stealing Church land, separating nuns from their Monastery, and denying Christians and Muslims access to holy sites on holy days.

Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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44 Responses

  1. German Lefty on May 9, 2014, 4:42 pm

    I consider myself anti-religious. However, I would NEVER attack religious people and their holy sites in such a way.

    • bilal a on May 9, 2014, 5:09 pm

      ‘Anti-religious’ is state policy , as in a previous era

      Religious Persecution? German Home-Schoolers Granted Political Asylum in US
      A family of evangelical Christians who said they were being persecuted for their religious beliefs in Germany have been granted political asylum in the US. The couple fled to Tennessee so they could home-school their five children, which is illegal in Germany.
      http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/religious-persecution-german-home-schoolers-granted-political-asylum-in-us-a-674312.html

      The Nazi Persecution of the Churches, 1933-45
      http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-nazi-persecution-of-the-churches-1933-1945-john-s-conway/1002556705?ean=9781573830805

      • annie on May 9, 2014, 5:14 pm

        oh please. from your article

        The parents had ignored repeated orders to send their children to school. German state constitutions require parents to send their children to public or private schools and they can face fines or even imprisonment if they don’t comply.

        there’s no evidence here whatsoever the actions of the state were related to their religion. it even says in the article

        they were forced to go the the US because they wanted to educate their five children at home, something that is illegal in Germany.

        …..a German Consul General in Atlanta, Georgia, said in an e-mail statement that German parents had a range of educational options for their children. Mandatory school attendance in Germany ensures a high standard of learning for all children, he said.

        “Parents may chose between public, private and religious schools, including those with alternative curricula like Waldorf or Montessori schools,” said Görgens.

      • German Lefty on May 9, 2014, 5:51 pm

        there’s no evidence here whatsoever the actions of the state were related to their religion.

        Exactly! If atheists wanted to deprive their children of a decent school education, they would be treated in the same way as these Christian fundies. Children have a right to a school education by independent, professional teachers outside the home.
        However, it’s only religious fundies who think that home schooling is a good idea. That’s because at an actual school their children would be taught “evil stuff”, e.g. evolution and that “sodomites” deserve equal rights. Religious fundies want to “protect” their children from such factual information. Factual information is murder on religion.

      • stephenjones on May 9, 2014, 9:02 pm

        It is factually incorrect and logically nonsensical to assert that only “religious fundamentalists” think home schooling is a good idea. There are many non-fundamentalist homeschoolers. And plenty of people (like myself) who – when I adopt someday – will strongly consider it.

        It’s odd that post-zionists and anti-zionists would not acknowledge that children are propagandized and encouraged to adopt problematic morality (e.g., competition for grades, popularity, a place on the team; the epidemic of testing) in most school settings. Private school alternatives and tutors are often too costly. Some parents and groups of parents want to spend more time with their kids in lieu of career advancement, etc.

        A dear (agnostic Unitarian Universalist) friend of mine works for the Board of Education and homeschools her child. An IT specialist who worked with me at an (extremely well-known and established) educational publishing company, now working for the a district near Seattle, homeschools his kid – he’s a little Buddhist, but generally atheist.

        I’m a fan of religious liberty myself, and unlike depriving kids of vaccines or blood transfusions, or performing genital mutilation on children who have no say in the matter, homeschooling should be fully protected. The kids will still have to take exit exams to prove they can do things, and some states require parents to submit their curricula for appraisal and approval. In the US there are currently 1.5million kids homeschooled… about 25% of them are in secular households.

      • annie on May 10, 2014, 9:52 pm

        stephen, i agree that in the US a lot of other people aside from religious fundies home school their children. i just rejected the notion in bilal’s comment that this circumstance he posted here had anything to do w/religion prosecution and i thought the insinuation with adding a link to ” Nazi Persecution of the Churches” was outlandish.

        there were periods of time when my son was growing up i home schooled him. mostly when we were on the road.

  2. Kay24 on May 9, 2014, 4:43 pm

    Despite the continuous attacks on Churches, the shameless devotion to zionism and Israel, will continue from Christians, especially the evangelicals. Perhaps they are afraid that the second coming will be cancelled, if they stopped sending aid.

    • Ellen on May 9, 2014, 5:46 pm

      Evangelicals are not bothered by attacks on Orthodox Catholic, Roman Catholic and Coptic churches because they do not consider them to be Christian.

      For a twisted and bizarre history

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OygDw2m3z4U

      • lysias on May 9, 2014, 6:46 pm

        So who do those evangelicals think were Christian in the first centuries after Christ?

      • piotr on May 9, 2014, 8:34 pm

        “Evangelicals” covers a number of sects, but usually a Christian sect believes that they are custodians of the true beliefs of the first Christians. Who did not sent children to public schools.

      • lysias on May 9, 2014, 10:06 pm

        If both Catholics and Orthodox are considered not true Christians, that must mean that for several centuries there were no true Christians at all, and that the lapse of Christianity must have happened a very short time after Jesus’s death. This is particularly true if the (monophysite) Coptic Christians are also considered not to be true Christians.

      • john h on May 10, 2014, 2:33 am

        “So who do those evangelicals think were Christian in the first centuries after Christ?”

        They just don’t even think logically like that. They have a one track mind in which Zionism/Israel has become a kind of golden calf to which they give their allegiance and bow the knee.

        Their response to the cry of Palestinian Christians, in their Moment of Truth document of 2009, has been to ignore {or be unaware of} what they say, or to denounce it.

        http://electronicintifada.net/content/christian-palestinian-leaders-call-church-boycott-kairos-document/1009

        http://www.kairospalestine.ps/?q=content/document

      • john h on May 10, 2014, 11:30 pm

        Snippet from the kairos document:

        “In this spirit the document requests the international community to stand by the Palestinian people who have faced oppression, displacement, suffering and clear apartheid for more than six decades. The suffering continues while the international community silently looks on at the occupying State, Israel.

        Our word is a cry of hope, with love, prayer and faith in God. We address it first of all to ourselves and then to all the churches and Christians in the world, asking them to stand against injustice and apartheid, urging them to work for a just peace in our region, calling on them to revisit theologies that justify crimes perpetrated against our people and the dispossession of the land.

        1.1 “They say: ‘Peace, peace’ when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14). These days, everyone is speaking about peace in the Middle East and the peace process. So far, however, these are simply words; the reality is one of Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, deprivation of our freedom and all that results from this situation:

        1.1.1 The separation wall erected on Palestinian territory, a large part of which has been confiscated for this purpose, has turned our towns and villages into prisons, separating them from one another, making them dispersed and divided cantons. Gaza, especially after the cruel war Israel launched against it during December 2008 and January 2009, continues to live in inhuman conditions, under permanent blockade and cut off from the other Palestinian territories .
        1.1.2 Israeli settlements ravage our land in the name of God and in the name of force, controlling our natural resources, including water and agricultural land, thus depriving hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, and constituting an obstacle to any political solution.
        1.1.3 Reality is the daily humiliation to which we are subjected at the military checkpoints, as we make our way to jobs, schools or hospitals.
        1.1.4 Reality is the separation between members of the same family, making family life impossible for thousands of Palestinians, especially where one of the spouses does not have an Israeli identity card.
        1.1.5 Religious liberty is severely restricted; the freedom of access to the holy places is denied under the pretext of security. Jerusalem and its holy places are out of bounds for many Christians and Muslims from the West Bank and the Gaza strip. Even Jerusalemites face restrictions during the religious feasts. Some of our Arab clergy are regularly barred from entering Jerusalem .
        1.1.6 Refugees are also part of our reality. Most of them are still living in camps under difficult circumstances. They have been waiting for their right of return, generation after generation. What will be their fate?
        1.1.7 And the prisoners? The thousands of prisoners languishing in Israeli prisons are part of our reality. The Israelis move heaven and earth to gain the release of one prisoner, and those thousands of Palestinian prisoners, when will they have their freedom?
        1.1.8 Jerusalem is the heart of our reality. It is, at the same time, symbol of peace and sign of conflict. While the separation wall divides Palestinian neighbourhoods, Jerusalem continues to be emptied of its Palestinian citizens, Christians and Muslims. Their identity cards are confiscated, which means the loss of their right to reside in Jerusalem. Their homes are demolished or expropriated. Jerusalem, city of reconciliation, has become a city of discrimination and exclusion, a source of struggle rather than peace.

        1.2 Also part of this reality is the Israeli disregard of international law and international resolutions, as well as the paralysis of the Arab world and the international community in the face of this contempt. Human rights are violated and despite the various reports of local and international human rights’ organizations, the injustice continues.

        1.2.1 Palestinians within the State of Israel, who have also suffered a historical injustice, although they are citizens and have the rights and obligations of citizenship, still suffer from discriminatory policies. They too are waiting to enjoy full rights and equality like all other citizens in the state.
        1.3 Emigration is another element in our reality. The absence of any vision or spark of hope for peace and freedom pushes young people, both Muslim and Christian, to emigrate. Thus the land is deprived of its most important and richest resource – educated youth. The shrinking number of Christians, particularly in Palestine, is one of the dangerous consequences, both of this conflict, and of the local and international paralysis and failure to find a comprehensive solution to the problem.
        1.4 In the face of this reality, Israel justifies its actions as self-defence, including occupation, collective punishment and all other forms of reprisals against the Palestinians. In our opinion, this vision is a reversal of reality. Yes, there is Palestinian resistance to the occupation. However, if there were no occupation, there would be no resistance, no fear and no insecurity. This is our understanding of the situation. Therefore, we call on the Israelis to end the occupation. Then they will see a new world in which there is no fear, no threat but rather security, justice and peace”.

      • annie on May 11, 2014, 3:22 am

        Amen

      • on May 10, 2014, 12:09 am

        ellen
        if they don’t think they’re christian, just who do they think they really are?
        because, strictly speaking, they are not christian because a christian is “one who is like christ”. enough said about that!

      • Ellen on May 10, 2014, 3:32 pm

        They think that they are the “whores of Babylon.”

        If you can withstand it, just listen to one of a Hagees “sermons.” (after listening to this stuff, you can develop an understanding of the treatment of Heritics in the Middle Ages :(

        The followers of Hagee and his ilk work tightly with the Zionist enterprise. Soul mates, if you will.

        Remember the concerted attacks on Hagel because he was not deemed to be loyal to Israel uber alles? It was mostly funded by Hagee’s group, Christians United for Israel.

        But right, they surely are not Christian, just as Zionism is not Jewish.

      • American on May 11, 2014, 8:17 am

        Ellen says…

        “Remember the concerted attacks on Hagel because he was not deemed to be loyal to Israel uber alles? It was mostly funded by Hagee’s group, Christians United for Israel….

        I dont think Hagee was involved in that—it started out of Kirk’s office and Kristol and the ECI.

      • Ellen on May 11, 2014, 2:39 pm

        American, thanks for your comment and not to get all puerile, but reports at the time were that the campaign was mostly financed by Hagee’s group. This was also reported in Israel. Hagee paid for hundreds of activist to descend on Washington to campaign against the appointment. Kirk and Kristol were the instruments of the campaign, not the money behind it.

        Thanks, as always, for your comments.

        “CUFI’s affiliated Action Fund has also rallied hundreds of Christian pastors and leaders to Washington this week to lobby against the former Nebraska senator’s bid to succeed Leon Panetta.”

        Read more: Christian Zionists spearhead fight against Hagel | The Times of Israel http://www.timesofisrael.com/christian-zionists-spearhead-fight-against-hagel/#ixzz31QwJlqGF
        Follow us: @timesofisrael on Twitter | timesofisrael on Facebook

    • Kay24 on May 9, 2014, 6:35 pm

      The Pope should simply cancel his forthcoming trip, as a silent protest to these hate crimes.

      • JusticeForPalestine on May 9, 2014, 10:21 pm

        As a Roman Catholic, I urgently call upon the Pope to speak love to power on this visit: Offer a message of love to Netanyahu and all Israelis but shirk not from the truth of the evil of Israel’s policies toward Palestinians.

        I also plead with the Pope to visit every occupied territory for as many minutes and hours and days as possible. Kneel on the ground in the street, talk to people one on one, and feel the pain of as many Palestinian children as is humanly possible.

        How many individual Palestinian children can Pope Francis meet in a few days? Dozens? A hundred? A thousand?

        I pray that my church’s servant leader, named after a patron saint of children and animals, will help give voice to all Palestinian kids – Muslim, Christian, and atheist alike.

      • Ellen on May 10, 2014, 3:47 pm

        Justice, I hope he would visit and meditate or pray with the most impoverish by the occupation in Palestine – Christian and Muslim and Jewish and atheist. I would hope that Jews of conscience will join in speaking love to power that divides people.

        I hope, but think it cannot happen. The Israeli government and handlers will never allow it to happen. They cannot allow him to show love for the other.

        Doing that could open the doors and ideas of reconciliation, living together. Ideas of the family of man. And as our Zionist posters here remind us, that — they believe — will be the end of Israel.

        The Pope will be contained. If he dares to stray, he will be demonized. The talking points to do that are in preparation.

      • Ellen on May 11, 2014, 6:12 am

        Another thing, JFP. Pope Francis is the head of an institution. Institutions and States are worldly creations. All work to survive, even if it means doing the wrong thing, making a deal with a devil, or turning a blind eye.

        Preservation and protection of the institution will most likely come before giving a voice to the occupied and jailed and demonized.

    • Walid on May 11, 2014, 3:35 pm

      “Despite the continuous attacks on Churches…”

      OT; about attacks on churches elsewhere, good news coming out of Syria today. After the destruction of the city of Homs’ 11 churches that started 3 years ago by the takfiris, today, the bell in the courtyard of the Saint Mary Orthodox Syriac church lolled for the first time as the church filled with worshippers that began returning to the city after the takfiris were totally chased out of the city by the government forces on Friday. Some neighbourhood Muslims joined the Christians celebrating Sunday Mass.

  3. American on May 9, 2014, 5:20 pm

    Israel better do something about the attacks on Christians and the US I-People better also back off calling the Christans ‘hate groups’ for advocating for I/P peace as Commentary and a lot of I-Mouthpieces have been doing lately.

    Because the shit has hit the fan in Jesus land……

    The SC ruling on allowing Christian prayer took up both local poitical talk progams here this am…lots of celebration.
    On one show however one lone woman called in and complained about it being unfair to Jews and non Christians–which kicked off an avalanch of calls attacking the woman.
    I wont go into everything the callers said but it went on and on and into liberals and non christian groups who are trying ‘to destroy us from within” and so forth.

    I said originally letting religion into the Israel issue was a bad idea. But then the mainline churches got involved and then got attacked by the Jewish groups as anti semitic and to been off to the races ever since then.
    Neither the Jewish or atheist groups in the US going after public prayer nor the Israelis are going to be able to beat the Christians— all they will get is a war they cant win and rejection from the Christian mainstream. And it will come from the ‘old conservative’ right, the religious right mainstream, with a good helping from the good old boys of ‘God and Country”. I recognized two callers as people I knew who I had no idea were so Christian identified and up in arms over what they called assault on Christians and ‘American traditions’….assaults on American traditons being one of the most often repeated complaints..and linked to our “Christian founders”.

    They need to back off the Christians now, in Palestine and the US before this religious thing escalates any more and gets even uglier.

    • seafoid on May 10, 2014, 12:57 am

      It’s really bad when this sort of thing is carried out with impunity. The Jewish State can’t be a pit of intolerance- what is the point ?
      You’d expect Yad Vashem and the rabbis to stand up but of course it’s too difficult, much easier to say nothing.

      • Walid on May 11, 2014, 7:35 am

        Hey, seafoid, any good guess what Netanyahu’s spectacular gift to Pope Francis will be this time around? I wonder if the Pope got around to reading Netanyahu’s thoughtful book about the Church’s persecution of the Jews.

  4. JusticeForPalestine on May 9, 2014, 5:46 pm

    I am an avid, everyday reader of Mondoweiss BECAUSE of my strong Christian (Roman Catholic) belief in the value and equality of every life. I’ve spent 40+ years attending and teaching Sunday school, parochial school and weekly masses in over a dozen parishes across the United States and in Spain, and in every instance the message that is taught is simply: love one another.

    I abhor certain official positions of my church, such as those proscribing (for now…) women in the clergy and, of course, homosexuality. On those issues, obviously, we Catholics, and many other Christians, remain in the dark ages. But I hold out hope that we will change even on those matters slowly but surely, because I know for a fact that the Church — truly — believes in that one overarching message of love.

    It is on this basis that images like the one of that vandalized church in Israel cut me to the bone. I wonder, what must a child living in that faith community feel when she or he sees such acts of hatred carried out for no reason that a little girl or boy could even begin to comprehend? How must such open, dehumanizing hostility crush a young person’s spirit, feeling of well being, place in the world?

    Then I wonder, how very many times worse must it have been, and continue to be, for millions (millions!) of Palestinian children to have grown up in much worse, much more dehumanizing, spirit-crushing conditions over these last seven decades?

    Oh my God.

    I weep for them all.

  5. Daniel Rich on May 9, 2014, 8:18 pm

    But some don’t shun being associated with the Apartheid State at all. Leno to host award ceremony in Israel.

    So, that burrito’s commercial wasn’t a comical hiccup after all?

    And then ‘Here’s Donny’ explaining that Judaism prevents a person from being [a] racist…

    I guess a truly ‘free’ world needs a ‘free’ mind to being with.

    • Kay24 on May 10, 2014, 3:54 pm

      “While said he sees both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said he considers himself to be “very pro-Jewish, very pro-Israeli.” Leno himself is not Jewish.

      “At some point in your life, you have to sort of take sides. I tend to side with the Jewish point of view on many things, especially issues like this one. I realize how important Israel is,” he said.”

      I always thought Jay Leno was an intelligent man, but now he seems as dumb as those who he interviewed on the street, and did not know who the Vice President of the US was, nor a country beginning with the letter “U”.

      • eljay on May 10, 2014, 6:52 pm

        “At some point in your life, you have to sort of take sides. I tend to side with the Jewish point of view on many things, especially issues like this one. I realize how important Israel is,” [Leno] said.

        It’s a shame Leno:
        – doesn’t take the side of justice and morality;
        – sides with Jewish supremacism in an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State”; and
        – fails to realize that justice, morality, accountability and equality are more important than a supremacist “Jewish State”.

      • RoHa on May 10, 2014, 7:51 pm

        Give him a tiny break. If he wants to keep living and working in Hollywood he has to lick the right arses.

      • German Lefty on May 11, 2014, 2:42 pm

        Give him a tiny break. If he wants to keep living and working in Hollywood he has to lick the right arses.
        No, I won’t give him a break. I understand that he doesn’t want to offend his “employers”. However, he could have simply remained silent on this issue instead of publicly endorsing the perpetrators.

      • German Lefty on May 11, 2014, 2:37 pm

        Leno seems as dumb as those who he interviewed on the street
        Well said! By the way, these interviews have always been very entertaining.

        “At some point in your life, you have to sort of take sides.”
        That’s true. However, taking no side is still better than taking the side of the perpetrators.

        “I tend to side with the Jewish point of view on many things, especially issues like this one.”
        What a dumbass! THE Jewish point of view? Apparently, he believes that ALL Jews think alike and that ALL Jews are Zionists. Claiming that pro-Zionism is “THE Jewish point of view” is misleading and dangerous. It’s like saying that all Jews are racist and criminal.

    • German Lefty on May 11, 2014, 2:19 pm

      Leno to host award ceremony in Israel.
      I had read about this story on Haaretz. I have never liked Leno and have always been a fan of Conan. Does anyone know if Conan made similarly stupid statements?

      And then ‘Here’s Donny’ explaining that Judaism prevents a person from being [a] racist
      He did NOT say that. The Daily Mail headline “I’m not racist, I’m a Jew!” is totally misleading.

  6. Walid on May 10, 2014, 3:32 am

    There’s a little bit more to the Pope’s visit than the hooligan settlers’ habitual bad manners. There are actually very important issues associated with the visit chief among them will most probably be Pope Francis wishing to emulate his patron, Saint Francis, that visited the Holy Land to break the ice with the Muslims and to try to put an end to the endless violence to the Crusaders’ wars. Saint Francis had met Sultan Malik al-Kamil that was so impressed by his benevolence that he placed Francis under his personal security and provided him safe-conduct through Muslim states; that’s how Saint Francis was able to get into the Holy Land. From then on, several accounts relate that the Sultan treated Christian prisoners of war with unprecedented kindness and generosity. Saint Francis (BTW) brought back with him some customs he picked up from the Muslims such as the 3 daily angelus prayers from the Muslim’s daily 5, the tolling of the church bells from the Muslim’s call of the muezzin and the prayer beads.

    Another on the Pope’s agenda is Israel’s veto on the Vatican’s overdue canonization of Pius XII. The Vatican is forever spooked by Israel’s (and particularly Foxman’s) overhanging threat of being branded “antisemitic” and is known to let it get away with murder because of it; this is blatant coercion by Israel. The Vatican is known to close its eyes on Israel’s oppression of Palestinian in exchange of allowing its local churches a limited degree of autonomy. There are embers still glowing from the fire Abe Foxman set a couple of years back when the Vatican tried to disprove and disallow the Jewish claim to being the “chosen” as well as that of the “”promised land” that was being used to dispossess the Palestinians and maintain the occupation. Pope Benedictus XVI buckled under Foxman’s campaign and watered down the 2 concepts so as to make them almost irrelevant.

    There is also the question of Israel’s theft of the WB’s Cremisan Valley monastery land by the apartheid wall that’s walling-in the monastery on 3 sides and separating it from its vineyards and preventing 400 Palestinian WB children from being schooled by the Salesian nuns. A court battle opposing the theft had been carried out by the Salesians but lost out in the Israeli courts last year and maybe Israel will do something about it to earn points during the Pope’s visit.

    A major issue tied to the visit is the major controversy brewing in Lebanon over the Lebanese cardinal’s intention of going to Israel to welcome the Pope on behalf of the large Maronite community there. This would be a first for a Lebanese Patriarch as it is illegal for a Lebanese to enter Israel although it’s known that Lebanese priests and nuns frequently make the pilgrimage there and Lebanese Maronite bishops have always been appointed to Israel and they too frequently travel back and forth and nobody raises any objection. But this time because the Cardinal is such a high profile personality and in his position as spokesman for the Lebanese, including Muslims, most are very much opposed to the cardinal’s visit claiming that Israel would be making PR capital out of it, but he is adamant about going and saying he has to as he is Patriarch of Antioch and All the East for the Maronite church of the Vatican and as such, Palestine and Jerusalem is within his territory and it’s his duty to be present there to welcome the Pope, his boss. The Patriarch is also on a personal mission to attract Christians into coming back to the Middle East and to encourage all Christians to not leave it and surely his planned visit may have something to do with this mission (500,000 Christians fled Iraq since 10 years, 100,000 Copts are reported to have fled Egypt in the last 2 years and over 50,000 Christian left Syria last year and over 200,000 Christians left Lebanon for better economic opportunities elsewhere since 10 years). Some in Lebanon are anticipating the cardinal would visit the Lebanese collaborators, such as General Lahd that are now living in Israel, most of which are anxious to return to Lebanon but without having to stand trial for their collaboration. President Abbas is all for the cardinal’s visit but Palestinian Greek Orthodox Archbishop Theodosios (Atallah) Hanna, the most vocal anti-occupation voice in Jerusalem is against the cardinal’s visit.

    Eternal-victim Israel will surely use the Argentinian Pope’s visit to resuscitate and make capital of the Buenos Aires bombings that are looking more and more like a Mossad black operation and will ask the Pope to pressure President Cristina de Kirchner to put an end to her joint Argentinian-Iranian truth commission looking into who actually killed the Jews back then.

    • annie on May 10, 2014, 12:26 pm

      thank you walid. some of what you mention i have not even heard of.

  7. American on May 10, 2014, 12:36 pm

    Amos Oz: Settler Price Taggers are “Hebrew Neo-Nazis” – http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2014
    6 hours ago from Tikun Olam-תיקון עולם

    ‘He’s only forty years late, but Amos Oz has finally gotten religion and has given extremist settlers a name they’ve deserved ever since Yeshaya Leibowitz first called them “Judeo-Nazis.” Oz’s term for them is “Hebrew neo-Nazis” as described in this Yediot story’

  8. American on May 11, 2014, 8:22 am

    Pope Francis should do a ‘Tear This Wall Down’…..Berlin moment.

    • Walid on May 11, 2014, 11:16 am

      He can’t, American, he’s arriving there with 2 strikes already against him. Last year he made a fundamental boo-boo when he declared that the Quran teaches peace. He was already being disparaged for having let the Muslim population of Argentina grow without hinderance. This didn’t go over very very well with the Zio crowd, so it’s highly doubtful he’d make any waves while in Israel. He’ll probably hold his breath and bite his tongue all the time he’s there. The Vatican is really spooked at being branded antisemitic and the Zios know it. He’ll talk to the poor and kiss the babies but that’s about all he’d be doing in Israel.

      • MHughes976 on May 11, 2014, 1:22 pm

        I would doubt if there is anything in the Pope’s background which make him different (to the chagrin of the likes of us) from Western leaders of almost all kinds, political and religious, who are more or less Liberal Zionists to a man and woman. We are getting support at long last in the peripheral worlds of academia and culture but even there we are a minority and in the worlds of churches and parliaments we are but outliers and misfits.
        If I were Netanyahu and feeling really mischievous I would (to respond to another question you raised) give the Pope a book about the so-called Tapliot Tomb with a strong hint that it will soon be proved, if his government puts enough money into the project, to contain the bones of the thoroughly un-resurrected Jesus.

      • Walid on May 11, 2014, 2:13 pm

        “… it will soon be proved,”

        They wouldn’t dare, MHughes, simply trying to prove it would be suicidal for Israel. People still haven’t forgotten about the scam by the Israeli artifacts dealer 12 years ago with his alleged find of the ossuary of James, the alleged brother of Jesus. 2 years ago, the Israeli court dismissed the case against dealer for lack of evidence that he was the one to have engraved the inscription on the box.

        http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/science/columnist/vergano/story/2012-03-17/james-ossuary-jesus/53578490/1

    • Walid on May 11, 2014, 12:45 pm

      More absurd news coming out of Israel today. A Latin church was ordered by the Israeli authorities to take down a large sign on the church wall welcoming the Pope in 3 languages. Makes you wonder why.

      • seafoid on May 11, 2014, 1:02 pm

        Might offend the locals who could lash out with a few hate crimes. Same really as not asking women to wear skirts. You are better off not provoking them…if they do react it’s your fault..

  9. American on May 11, 2014, 11:58 am

    Walid says .

    ”The Vatican is really spooked at being branded antisemitic and the Zios know it.”

    We’ll see. I think this Pope is sort of slick.

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