Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category

The religions of the people of the desertic regions

The peoples living the nomadic lifestyle in the desertic regions could Not appreciate abstract concepts, especially with religions that insist on including abstract dogma in their “belief systems

If my current idol does Not satisfy my desires, I destroy it and replace it by another more convenient idol.

“J’étais toujours frappé’ quand je voyais les cheikhs tomber a genoux au milieu du désert, se tournant vers l’Orient et toucher le sable du front. Qu’était ce que cette chose inconnue qu’ils adoraient vers l’Orient?’ (Napoleon Bonaparte).

En fait, Mohammad avait ordonné’ de se tourner vers Jerusaleme les 13 premiere annes de son prosélytisme, avant de changer d’avis quand il a fondé’ son City-State in Yathreb.

Et  Mohamed ordonna de se tourner vers la Mecque. Mohammad ne voulait plus une religion de “continuit锑 mais une religion à Soi. Une religion pour les peuple des déserts. Les peuples qui n’avaient cure des dogmes abstraits.

Le Judaïsme aussi est une religion du désert: Ces bédouins du désert du sud de la Palestine et du Sinaï ne voulaient pas faire parti des peuple civilisé de la “Syrie”, avec une culture écrite très élevé et développe’.

Chateaubriand a été’ invité en 1802 par Julien, le frère de Napoléon, a un gala.

Bonaparte fit son chemin directement vers Chateaubriand qui essayait de se faire invisible derrière des invités

Napoléon éleva la voix “Mr chateaubriand”. La foule se retira et se reforma en cercle autour des interlocuteurs

Napoléon qui avait peut être lu “Le génie du Christianisme” souflat:

“Les idéologues du Christianisme n’ont-ils pas voulu en faire un système d’astronomie? Si le christianisme est l’allégorie des mouvements celeste… les esprits forts ont beau faire, malgré eux ils ont laissé assez de grandeur a l’infâme (Les Voltairiens?)”

En fait, tous les religions antiques relève d’astronomie, même en ce jour des religions des peuple isolés.

Note: Mohamad Christian sect (Ebonite)  borrowed more from Judaism (daily rules) than from Christianity. Though Mohamad had a devotion for the “Virgin” Marie who raised the prophet Jesus (Issa). That was natural since  the 3 most powerful idols in the Arabian peninsula were women, each one with special tasks.

Allah was an all general idol that could not generate profit to the monopoli of the Umayyad tribe. This tribe made its wealth from caravane trade that extended from Yemen to Damascus, and Bassora (Iraq) and Palestine through the Nabataean Kingdom toward Egypt

As he took control of the City-State of Yathreb , Mohammad changed his mind and ordered to direct prayers toward Mecca instead of Jerusalem. And this Islam became the religion of the desertic regions.

The Deplorable Neo-cons? Christian Zionist or Extremist Evangelical Puritanism?

Note: Re-edit of “Christian Zionism: The Heresy of Choice for Neocons. May 23, 2018)

For each Jewish Zionist there are ten wacko Evangelical Christian Zionists.

At least one in four American Christians surveyed recently by Christianity Today magazine said that they believe it is their biblical responsibility to support the nation of Israel.

This view is known as Christian Zionism.

The Pew Research Center put the figure at 63% among white evangelicals.

Christian Zionism is pervasive within mainline American evangelical, charismatic and independent denominations including the Assemblies of God, Pentecostals and Southern Baptists, as well as many of the independent mega-churches.

It is less prevalent within the historic denominations, which show a greater respect for the work of the United Nations, support for human rights, the rule of international law and empathy with the Palestinians.

The origins of the movement can be traced to the early 19th century when a group of eccentric British Christian leaders began to lobby for Jewish restoration to Palestine as a necessary precondition for the return of Christ.

The movement gained traction from the middle of the 19th century when Palestine became strategic to British, French and German colonial interests in the Middle East.

Proto-Christian Zionism therefore preceded Jewish Zionism by more than 50 years. Some of Theodore Herzl’s strongest advocates were Christian clergy.

Christian Zionism as a modern theological and political movement embraces the most extreme ideological positions of Zionism.

It has become deeply detrimental to a just peace between Palestine and Israel.

It propagates a worldview in which the Christian message is reduced to an ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism. In its extreme form, it places an emphasis on apocalyptic events leading to the end of history rather than living Christ’s love and justice today.

Followers of Christian Zionism are convinced that the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 and the capture of Jerusalem in 1967 were the miraculous fulfillment of God’s promises made to Abraham that he would establish Israel as a Jewish nation forever in Palestine.

Tim LaHaye’s infamous Left Behind novels, together with other End Times speculations written by authors such as Hal Lindsey, John Hagee and Pat Robertson, have sold well over 100 million copies.

These are supplemented by children’s books, videos and even violent computer games.

Burgeoning Christian Zionist organizations such as the International Christian Embassy (ICEJ), Christian Friends of Israel (CFI) and Christians United for Israel (CUFI) wield considerable influence on Capitol Hill, claiming a support base in excess of 50 million true believers.

This means there are now at least ten times as many Christian Zionists as Jewish Zionists.

And their European cousins are no less active in the Zionist Hasbara-fia, lobbying for Israel, attacking its critics and thwarting the peace process. The United States and Israel are often portrayed as Siamese twins, joined at the heart, sharing common historic, religious and political values.

Pastor John Hagee is one of the leaders of the Christian Zionist movement. He is the Founder and Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Church, a 19,000-member evangelical church in San Antonio, Texas. His weekly programs are broadcast on 160 TV stations, 50 radio stations and eight networks into an estimated 99 million homes in 200 countries.

In 2006 he founded Christians United for Israel admitting that: “For 25 almost 26 years now, I have been pounding the evangelical community over television. The Bible is a very pro-Israel book. If a Christian admits ‘I believe the Bible,’ I can make him a pro-Israel supporter or they will have to denounce their faith. So I have the Christians over a barrel, you might say.”

In March 2007, Hagee spoke at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference. He began by saying: “The sleeping giant of Christian Zionism has awakened. There are 50 million Christians standing up and applauding the State of Israel…”

As the Jerusalem Post pointed out, his speech did not lack clarity. He went on to warn: “It is 1938. Iran is Germany, and Ahmadinejad is the new Hitler. We must stop Iran’s nuclear threat and stand boldly with Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East… Think of our potential future together: 50 million evangelicals joining in common cause with 5 million Jewish people in America on behalf of Israel is a match made in heaven.”

Christian Zionists have shown varying degrees of enthusiasm for implementing 6 basic political convictions that arise from their ultra-literal and fundamentalist theology:

  1. The belief that the Jews remain God’s chosen people leads Christian Zionists to seek to bless Israel in material ways. However, this also invariably results in the uncritical endorsement of and justification of Israel’s racist and apartheid policies, in the media, among politicians and through solidarity tours to Israel.
  2. As God’s chosen people, the final restoration of the Jews to Israel is therefore actively encouraged, funded and facilitated through partnerships with the Jewish Agency.
  3. Eretz Israel, as delineated in scripture, from the Nile to the Euphrates, belongs exclusively to the Jewish people, therefore the land must be annexed, and Palestinians driven from their homes and the illegal Jewish settlements expanded and consolidated.
  4. Jerusalem is regarded as the eternal and exclusive capital of the Jews, and cannot be shared with the Palestinians. Therefore, strategically, Christian Zionists have lobbied the US Administration to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem and thereby ensure that Jerusalem is recognized as the capital of Israel.
  5. Christian Zionists offer varying degrees of support for organizations such as the Jewish Temple Mount Faithful who are committed to destroying the Dome of the Rock and rebuilding the Jewish Temple on the Haram Al-Sharif (Noble sanctuary of Al-Aqsa).
  6. Christian Zionists invariably have a pessimistic view of the future, convinced that there will be an apocalyptic war of Armageddon in the imminent future. They are deeply skeptical of the possibility of a lasting peace between Jews and Arabs and therefore oppose the peace process. Indeed, to advocate an Israeli compromise of “land for peace” with the Palestinians is seen as a rejection of God’s promises to Israel and therefore to support her enemies.

Within the Christian Zionist worldview, Palestinians are regarded as alien residents in Israel.

Many Christian Zionists are reluctant even to acknowledge Palestinians exist as a distinct people, claiming that they emigrated to Israel from surrounding Arab nations for economic reasons after Israel had become prosperous.

A fear and deep-seated hatred of Islam also pervades their dualistic Manichean theology.

Christian Zionists have little or no interest in the existence of indigenous “Arab Christians” despite their continuity with the early church. (And the foundation of the civilization in the Near-East)

In 2006, I drafted what became known as the Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism signed by 4 of the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem: His Beatitude Patriarch Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch, Jerusalem; Archbishop Swerios Malki Mourad, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem; Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East; and Bishop Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land.

In it they insisted:

“We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as a false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation.

We further reject the contemporary alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organizations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States that are presently imposing their unilateral pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine.

This inevitably leads to unending cycles of violence that undermine the security of all peoples of the Middle East and the rest of world.

We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these policies as they advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war rather than the gospel of universal love, redemption and reconciliation taught by Jesus Christ.

Rather than condemn the world to the doom of Armageddon we call upon everyone to liberate themselves from ideologies of militarism and occupation.

Instead, let them pursue the healing of the nations!

We call upon Christians in Churches on every continent to pray for the Palestinian and Israeli people, both of whom are suffering as victims of occupation and militarism. These discriminatory actions are turning Palestine into impoverished ghettos surrounded by exclusive Israeli settlements.

The establishment of the illegal settlements and the construction of the Separation Wall (Wall of Shame) on confiscated Palestinian land undermines the viability of a Palestinian state and peace and security in the entire region.”

The patriarchs concluded, “God demands that justice be done. No enduring peace, security or reconciliation is possible without the foundation of justice. The demands of justice will not disappear. The struggle for justice must be pursued diligently and persistently but non-violently.”

The prophet Micah asks, “What does the Lord require of you, to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8).

It is my contention after more than 10 years of postgraduate research that Christian Zionism is the largest, most controversial and most destructive lobby within Christianity.

It bears primary responsibility for perpetuating tensions in the Middle East, justifying Israel’s apartheid colonialist agenda and for undermining the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

The closing chapter of the New Testament takes us back to the imagery of the Garden of Eden and the removal of the curse arising from the Fall:

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb… On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:1-2)

Surely this is what Jesus had in mind when he instructed his followers to act as Ambassadors of peace and reconciliation, to work and pray that God’s kingdom would come on earth as it is in heaven.

Note: It is the US Evangelical who pressured President Wilson to demand that England recognizes the rights of Jews in Palestine before joining in the WWI war.

In social idiosyncrasies, the Devil is NOT in the Details

Note: Re-edit of “The devil is NOT in the details; (October 16, 2009)”

Details are the basis for any program execution.  Do details bring people together to communicate, dialogue, and negotiate to reach compromises?

Strong with draft details, can each organization start to sort out the differences and comprehend the big picture? Why it is never the way around in social behavior?

The main wall that separate among communities is the concrete wall mixed with myths, general concepts, and abstract notions.

I will discuss two cases, one religious and the other of political nature.

First case:

After the crucifixion of Jesus, many Christian sects were born in the Near East in the first four centuries.  Fundamentally, these sects were almost identical in applying the Jewish daily rituals or the Jewish 650 laws of “correct” conduct.

What separated these sects were abstract concepts that did not harm their peaceful coexistence in separate communities of believers: they never attacked by force one another. Actually, they tended to isolate their community from “outside” influence

Military persecutions started when the Church acquired central power in Constantinople; and entire “heretic” sects and entire communities had to flee to safety.

The Mighty Wall was erected after 325 AC when Byzantium Empire decided to adopt Christianity as the main religion of the Empire.

Thus, the central power concept of the Empire dictated that church should be centralized.  Instead of focusing in negotiating on the details that split the various sects an upper abstract superstructure on concepts was imposed.

Concepts such as the dual nature of Christ, the deity of the threes (the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit), the virginity of the mother Mary and on.  This time around, the sects were to join the Orthodox Church by force if need be: a central Empire cannot permit disunity, even on totally nonsense abstract conjectures!

Consequently, the labeled “heretic” sects had to flee beyond the eastern shores of the Euphrates River (to the Persian Sassanid Dynasty).

The Nestorian sect reached China and translated “their” Bible into the Chinese language. Many other “heretic” sects settled in the Arabian Peninsula.

The Christian-Jewish “Ebionite” sect was firmly entrenched in Mecca. The uncle of the Prophet Muhammad, Ain Warkat, was the Patriarch of this sect and Muhammad learned to read in the Aramaic Ebionite Bible.

Muhammad aided his uncle in the translation of this specific Bible into the Arabic slang of Mecca.  Thus, Islam is originally a common denominator “heretic” Christian sect, one of many Christian sects in the Arabian Peninsula. The Prophet had to delete all the abstract notions to unite the sects; it was named Islam or the belief in the One and only God.

The strong animosity of the Catholic Church of Rome against Islam was not directed at a religion such as Buddhism or Mazdean but at a new “heretic” Christian sect usurping its central power in the Near East, the Orthodox Church .

The Orthodox Church in Constantinople was more lenient with Islam because it understood its genesis and the causes for the need of this new “heresy”: for Constantinople, Islam was the oriental counterpart of Protestantism to Rome when Islam became the dominant religion in the region.

It is said: “the enemy of my enemy is my ally”; this Machiavellian principle was lost to obscurantist Catholic Church. Rome was too far away and fought Islam with the ignorance of abstract concepts.

For the Catholic Church in 1,000 AC, Islam was doubly “heretic” instead of just the counterpart to the central Orthodox Church of the Byzantine Empire: it failed to realize that if Islam spread so fast and so widely it is mainly because most the labeled Christian heretic sects quickly converted to Islam as representing their system of belief against the monopole of Constantinople.

Second case:

The other case is the concept of a Syrian Nation with well delimited natural borders including Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and part of Iraq to the west of the Tiger (Dujlat) River.

This concept was highly widespread among the people of the region as the Ottoman Empire was dying during WWI.  It was still even more alive during the mandate of France and Britain to the region (Near East) after WWI.

The people in the Syrian Nation speak one language and have the same customs and tradition.  This nation was as natural as ABC; the immigrants were first called Turks during the Ottoman Empire and then they were all called Syrians regardless of location or religion.

The main problem is that the political parties spent two critical decades proving the evident (according to the newer definitions of the West for a Nation) instead of making the effort to developing draft detailed programs on the type of political administrative structure for this nation, the social representation, and election laws.

( For example, is it a Federal structure like the USA where each mandated State is fully autonomous with local government and local parliament, or provinces tailored made to religious, ethnic, and sectarian majorities, or loosely united States with open borders, common money, central army, or centralized foreign affairs; is Syria to be a monarchy and what kind).

Instead of discussing detailed programs, political parties mushroomed with abstract concepts not based on facts or pragmatic long-term goals.

The colonial “mandated powers” of France and England had field days of “dividing to rule”.

Every sect established its political party in every potential State claiming either total independence, or seeking a pan-Arabic Nation of Arabic speaking majorities in States, or Islamic Nation. 

We watched the emergence of communist parties disclaiming the notion of affiliating to a nation, to sectarian parties claiming democracy, socialism, and progressive. The worst propaganda that was encouraged by the colonial powers is to incite citizens against the Syrian people with the objective of discrediting the word Syria and giving it a bad connotation.

Natural borders of chain of mountains, desert, or large rivers do not necessarily protect from invasions; natural borders certainly encourage people to trade and interact inside the borders.  It is the internal rough geography and terrain that protects from outside military incursions.

Once a force crosses the border then Syria is an open land all the way to Egypt. Syria, or the Near East, was continuously occupied by foreign armies: these foreign invaders had to retreat quickly or get absorbed culturally.

Whatever monuments, constructions, temples, sport arena, or scholarly works that were attributed to invading nations (Persia, Egypt, Greek, Rome, or Arab) are basically the work of the Near Eastern civilization, their scholars, their craftsmen, and their adventurous business acumen.

The City-States in the Near East (Tyr, Sidon, Byblos, Ugarit, Mary …) competed in commerce and trade but never attacked one another militarily.  In Greece, City-States frequently waged military wars against one another.  The Near Eastern people adopted defensive strategy; even Carthage in its apogee refrained to antagonize Rome militarily.

Egypt and Persia frequent invasions in the Near East did not last long.

The Greek were absorbed: what Europe claim as Greek civilization is nothing less than the civilization of the Greek translating Syrians authors who spoke Aramaic.

Rome was finally absorbed: the Roman Laws are of the legal minds from the school of Beirut and the latest Emperors were born, raised, and educated in Syria.

The Byzantine Empire was fundamentally a Near Eastern Empire.  The Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula were absorbed when Damascus was selected as Capital during the Umayyad Dynasty.

The “Arabs” were absorbed by the Persian civilization when the capital shifted to Baghdad.

The Mogul retreated quickly but established long lasting Empires in India and Afghanistan.

The Ottoman conquered this land and could not be absorbed: the Syrian people were already exhausted from many years of successive invasions, religious obscurantism, and immigration by scholars to greener pastures.

France and England retreated “officially” within two decades but kept deep footprints in the laws and the administration structure. 

Implanted colonial Israel failed to retreat on time and is now being absorbed as Near Eastern State in social behavior, regardless of Israel propaganda attempts to seeking European image.

Consequently, failing to writing a draft on a possible administrative program for the Syrian Nation opened the door to abstract concept instead of working out negotiation and dialogue on pragmatic matters that concerned the people.

An unpublished coherent biography? Jesus The Nazarene

Note: Re-edit of “The Nazarene: An unpublished coherent biography (December 16, 2008)”

Preamble: Over a hundred of different manuscripts (Bibles) have been written on Jesus and his message in the early days of Christianity and before the four New Testaments (that were written by Matthew, Luc, Mark and John) that the Council of Nicea (Turkey) in 325 decided to select as the official representatives of the story of Jesus.

(Ironically, the selected Bibles were written in Greek; maybe the language was one of the main factors for retaining them. the other factor was to show Jesus a serious person who didn’t travel wide and large during his younger years. So far, no early manuscripts were made available or even recognized as valid).

There are evidences that the Bible of Mathew was originally written in Aramaic, the language of the Land, before being translated into Greek. Many of these early manuscripts were written by the disciples of Jesus and close companions like Barnaby (the spiritual guide of Paul and who accompanied Paul in his first apostolic trip in the interior of Turkey), Thomas (not necessarily the twin brother of Jesus who established the first Christian community in the port of Deb on the Indus River), Philip, Bartholomew, and others.

There are many folk tales that are to be considered as more valid than the canonical “truths or facts”.

What we know is that Jesus had his Bar Mitzvah in Jerusalem and he sat among the priests and had a discussed with them.  Actually, this event was done in the Carmel at the Eseens Grand Temple in Galilee.

In between this event and his preaching adventure (over 25 years) the Church has nothing to offer but that Jesus obeyed his parents.  Even the story of his birth until his Bar Mitzvah is not reliable and could be considered as one of the acceptable version.

It is said that Jesus was 33-year old when he was crucified; that is the minimum age because Jesus was older and probably close to be forty. Marie got wed very young at 15 or 16 as tradition required and she died at age 56 and Jesus was her eldest son. Do the calculus.

How Jesus spent the time in between (a span of at least 20 years) and where did he live and grew to maturity?

As is the custom in Judaism, boys were married at 13 and Jesus was not to be an exception but he had an outlet to tradition:  Nazareth, which didn’t even exist before Jesus lived there for a while until Joseph passed away and removed to Qana to live with his mother town. That is why the Jews of Jerusalem mocked Jesus as The Nazarene. 

The Essenes sect main location was in Qumran (not far from the western side of the Dead Sea).

The Essene sect (cabala) lived in a closed community; women were not included, and the members vowed celibacy;. They were vegetarians, ate together, distributed their wealth to the community, and each member worked according to his skills.

The members wore a unique white dress code in summer and another outfit in winter. The members of this community were known to be excellent healers. This sect was also labeled the “Baptist”, the “Nazoreen” and “Ossene” (the Strong).

The teachings of Buddhism had reached this community two centuries ago because King Ashoka of India had dispatched Buddhist monks to this region.

It is very plausible that Jesus opted to join the Qumran community to avoid being wed. The Essenien caste had branches in Alexandria (Egypt) called Therapeutic or healers and also in Syria.

John the Baptist cousin of Jesus, was Essenien.

The fact that the canonic testaments reveal that John the Baptist didn’t recognize Jesus at the first sight might suggests that the two men didn’t meet in the community of Qumran at the same periods or that Jesus had left the community long time ago: Jesus was a traveler and not a community dweller.

There are evidences that Jesus was a wide traveler, knew many languages and was highly versed in religions and other legal aspects of the land.

It is very plausible that Jesus visited Alexandria, Syria, and even reached India; he lingered in India and Persia before returning to Syria and Galilee.

A manuscript named “Himis” was discovered in Kashmir, close to the city of Leh, which described the “Lost years of Jesus”.

In that manuscript it is referred to Jesus as Issa (an Aramaic name that the Arabs adopted) who traveled to most of the Holy Cities in India such as Juggernaut, Rajagriha, and Benares, and was frequently chased out by the clergies (sacerdotal officers).

The manuscript relates multitudes of pronouncements and teachings by Issa that are compatible to the canonic Bibles.

Issa fled to Kashmir, Afghanistan, and Persia.  It is plausible that a Christian sect in the vicinities of Kashmir wrote that narrative. It is also plausible that Jesus survived his wounds during crucifixion and headed eastward: the shroud of Milan have marks of a body still hot and not of a cadaver.

I frankly cannot see why this story should be thrown out; countless adolescents tour the world nowadays; it was even more common in those times for young people trekking to learn and attend renowned schools.

Jesus knew more than three language; Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek (the language of the educated of the time) and Latin since he spoke to Roman centurions and Pontius Pilate.

It is also narrated that Jesus lived for a time in Sidon (a Lebanese port) teaching in its famous law school.  His mother Mary and part of her extended family were original of the town of Qana in the district of Tyre, and moved to a town nearby when Jesus was a lecturer in the law school.

It is no fluke incident that Jesus and Mary attended a wedding in Qana (a town close to Sidon); it is also very rational that Jesus decided to start his message after Qana when his mother removed the cover of secrecy and exposed his supernatural gifts of turning water to wine.

Jesus was a high priest in the Essene sect and preached a message based on symbolism and fables and was highly spiritual and staunchly anti-Pharisee.  The Jewish cabala sect is a branch of the Essene sect and is founded on the Sumerian theology and myths. 

Albert Schweitzer, a theologian, physician, thinker, organ player and Nobel Peace laureate offered his version on Jesus.

Schweitzer said, based on the first two Bibles of Matthew and Marc, that Jesus preached his message to the general public in the last year before his crucifixion.  Six months, all in all, was the period that Jesus was accompanied by the public; the remaining months he spent them among his close disciple around Caesarea of Philippi.

In the beginning, Jesus accepted the label of a prophet among the prophets but then he reached the belief that he is the Messiah of the Jews.

Thus, he sent his disciples two by two to preach the message of the end of time, as was the custom of every “prophet”.

Jesus was very surprised when all his disciples returned safe and sound; he expected his disciples to suffer terribly and be put to death if the “prophecy of end of time” was to be accomplished.

Jesus then decided that God would accept his sacrifice and save his close disciples from atrocious deaths before the first coming of the Messiah.  The version of what happened in Jerusalem and Jesus crucifixion can be followed in my article “Judas Iscariot“.

Note 1:  Jesus had a large extended family; he had many brothers and sisters and his grandmother Ann married a second time and had many boys and girls.  Matthew made a valiant attempt through 42 generations to link Jesus to David. If we have no records of Jesus own family then how could we go that far back in genealogy?

The Christian Jews wanted a Jewish King very badly.  Actually, several early Christian communities unified the New Testament into one coherent book and had eliminated Matthew’s ridiculous endeavor.

Note 2: The first Christian communities emulated the monastic and ascetic life of the Essene sect. A few early Christian sects went beyond the ascetic of the Essenians. For example, the author Amine Maalouf, in his book on Mani, mentions a community called in Aramaic “Halle Haware” or white garment clad people.

This caste did not eat meat or drink wine or leavened bread; the disciples wore white garments from top to bottom, they were scared of fire (symbol of evil), and thus would eat only raw fruits and vegetables grown by the community.

Outside food was prohibited and considered “female” food because women were banished from the community and the female names in the scriptures were not mentioned unless the names represented calamities and bad augurs.  Travelers of this community carried with them the unleavened bread and produce of their home grown community because outside food was not pure.

Many monophysist Christian sects (Jesus is only divine) such as the Jacobite and Nastourian (a name originated from the name Nazareth) had reached China before Islam (around 600 AC). They translated their Bible into Chinese and were permitted to preach their brand of religion and build churches.  T

The Nestorians built churches all along the Silk Road and many of these edifices can still be found in Tibet, Mongolia, China, Afghanistan, and Persia.

It is also believed that the Prophet Muhammad learned about Christianity from these sects that were marginalized by the official Byzantine Church.

Note 3: What the disciples of Jesus retained most from all the teaching of Jesus was that “the second coming” will take place shortly after they died, so that they will be resurrected as Jesus was.

 And what is the origin of Jesus Christ?

Note: Repost of my article “Who are the Israelites?  Origins of Jesus Christ; Chapter two, (March 20, 2009)”

Joachim (Youwakeem) Omram and Hanna, the parents of the “Virgin Mary”, were from the village of Qana (10 kilometers south of the city of Tyr and at an altitude of 85 meters)

This Qana was called Qana of Upper Galilee and was within the district of Phoenicia (Ty) during the Seleucid and early Roman Empires in the Near East (Levant). The administrative district of Upper Galilee extended from Tyr to Acre.

Joachim was one of the eminent personalities in the town of Qana and the neighboring region and was an Essenes high priest.

He had been frustrated because he could not secure any descendents. Joachim took his sheep to a remote area and fasted and prayed for 40 days. Hanna was also frustrated with this extended absence and decided to take off her black cloth and washed her hair and went out in the garden.

Hanna received an apparition that she will soon get pregnant and that Joachim is on his way home.

Mary was born in Qana and her parents dedicated her to the Great Temple on Mount Carmel (Mount Carmel was also in the district of Phoenicia).

When Mary was 3 years of age she was interned in the monastery of the Great Temple of the Carmel.  Mary was one of the 12 virgins of the elite families in the region to be dedicated to serve in the temple and she was named “The Pigeon of God Eil“. (The Hebrews in Judea never allowed girls to serve in temples).

Joseph was also from Qana and one of Mary’s relatives; he was one of the superintendents at the temple and he cleaned, painted and did the various tasks of maintenance. Mary received the “Good Tiding” from the Archangel while serving in Mount Carmel.

Mary and Joseph got married and Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem Tifone by the Carmel, close to the famous city of Dora by the seaside and north of current Haifa within the district of Phoenicia (Not in the Bethlehem of Judea).

Mary visited her aunt Elizabeth in Galilee who was 6 months pregnant.  Jesus was presented to the Great Temple of Mount Carmel for sanctification; Jesus was lost in the same temple discussing with the priests when he was 12 of years. Jesus studied in the schools of Mount Carmel.

Joseph and Mary lived in Bethlehem by the Carmel. The town of Nazareth did not exist yet and the area was called Nazareth. When Joseph died, Mary returned to her hometown of Qana where her father and grandparents were buried; Jesus spent his youth in Qana.

Jesus was called “Jesus of Mary” after the death of Joseph to distinguish him from the other people named Jesus. (The Hebrews of Judea never referred a son to his mother).

Mary was also called “the sister of Jacob”.  Hanna had remarried after the death of Joachim and gave birth to many offspring; the eldest son of Hanna was apparently named Jacob.

Jesus was also called Emmanuel (Amanou-eel) which means (The God El is among us).

Thus, God was made human.  All the names that start with El or finish with El refer to the God El, the all-encompassing God of the Land.

In the wedding of Qana, where Jesus showed his miraculous power of transforming water into wine, Mary was in her own town and it is Jesus who was invited.

Jesus came up from Lake Tiberias to join the wedding.  After the wedding, Mary and the brothers of Jesus (Jacob, Joseph, Simon, and Judah) followed him down to Capernaum by the Lake and stayed there for a few days and then joined Jesus’ party from then on.

Jesus was highly educated.  He could speak Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek and Latin.

The folk tales and early manuscripts demonstrate that Jesus studied Law and taught Law at the university in Sidon (Lebanon).

Jesus was born in the year 7 BC and Caesar’s census started in the year 10 BC. Jesus was also called Rabbi (Rabuny) which means teacher in Aramaic.  Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let anyone call you Rabbi since you have only one teacher in Christ and you are all brethren”

Jesus dressed in the same long white robe that the Essenes sect of Mount Carmel wore. The consecrated members were called “The White Brethren” and they were famous as healers.  The Essenes had many branches in Galilee and a prosperous one in Alexandria (Egypt) and had places for welcoming travelers and the sick.

John the Baptist, close relative of Jesus and just 6 months older, never left the region of Galilee, baptized with water as of the Essenes traditions and baptized Jesus.

Note 1: Jesus was elevated to Heaven on Mount Carmel. The first church was built on Mount Carmel and dedicated to the Virgin Mary while still alive.  A church was built within the town of Qana by the disciples and excavations showed a church from the first century.  The Muslims had veneration for the tomb of Joachim called “The tomb of the prophet Omran”.  When Israel bombarded south Lebanon in 1996 for 15 days, one of the missiles made a large crater, 4 meters off the tomb of the prophet Omran.  The excavations uncovered a buried church and the tombs of the family of Omran.

Note 2: Qana is famous today because Israel massacred over 100 civilians and gravely injured 120 when her bombs targeted a UN compound in Qana in 1996 and then hit that same town in 2006 and killed 50 more civilians.  Qana was an important town for many centuries before Christ and the main resting place of the disciples before venturing any further.

Qana of Upper Galilee (The Galilee of Nations or the Gentiles for the Hebrews) was the location where the disciples gathered for a while after the lapidation of the first martyr Etienne (Estefanos).

Note 3: I may conjecture that Mary retained the title of Virgin because she earned it serving as one of the virgins in the Great Temple.  There is this tradition in the Levant to bestow the title of nun and priest for even those who later relinquished their sacerdotal duties.

Note 4: The astrophysicist Reznikoff confirms that the Comet Halley that showed the way to the mages crossed Galilee and not Judea.

Note 5:  There are indications that Jesus entered Jerusalem for the first time when he was to be crucified.  No wonder that Jesus experienced a cultural shock when he witnessed business as usual and usury transactions within the temple. Jesus got hold of a whip and chased out the merchants and turned their tables over and declared: “It is said that the temple is the house of God and not a cavern for thieves”.

Note 6:  For 6 months, while walking to Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin and the Romans were gathering intelligence on this “Walking rabbi“, who is this Jesus, are his miracles for real and what are his purposes for visiting Jerusalem.

What JESUS Didn’t SAY? And what Mohammad didn’t say either…

Jim Palmer posted this November 22, 2013

15 THINGS JESUS DIDN’T SAY

shamegirl

15 things Jesus Didn’t Say:

1. “For God was so disgusted with the world and you that he gave his one and only Son.”

2. “I have come to bring you a new religion.”

3. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have correct theology.”

4. “If anyone would come after me, let him disparage all other religions and their followers.”

5. If you love me, you will regularly attend a church of your choice… within reason.”

6. “Blessed are the tithers for they shall be called the children of God.”

7. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in Heaven after the earth goes up in flames and destroyed.”

8. “You have heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor,’ which means the people with whom you attend church and relate to in your Christian sub-culture.

9. “In my Father’s house there are a limited number of rooms. But no worries, there is plenty of room in Hell.”

10. “The kingdom of God has come!… Well, not exactly. I mean, not completely. Let’s face it, the really-real kingdom comes after we die. Hang in there. It won’t be long.”

11. “And you will know the truth and the truth will make you superior to all the other simpletons who never learned Greek, Latin, Aramaic or Hebrew.”

12 “You are the light of the world… well… in a sinful-filthy-scum kind of way.”

13. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you a checklist of things to do and not do in order to remain in God’s favor.”

14. “For God so loved the world… you know like theoretically… as in, God loves the big ‘W’-world. But when it come to you specifically, that are quite a few things that would need to change for God to actually and specifically love… or even like… YOU.”

15. “He appeared to his disciples over a period of 40 days and spoke about how to incorporate his life and teaching as a 501(c)3, and go into all the earth to build mega-churches in his name.”

Jim Palmer. Notes from (Over) the Edge. It’s an excerpt from my upcoming book, Notes from (Over) the Edge. You can learn more about all my books on my Goodreads Author Page. Photograph by Erwin Olaf.

Arab secularism? In what forms and shapes? Its demise?

The end of Christianity in the Middle East could mean the demise of Arab secularism

In this current Middle East rebuilt on intolerant ideologies, there is likely to be little place for beleaguered minorities

The past decade has been catastrophic for the Arab world’s beleaguered 12 million strong Christian minority.

In Egypt revolution and counter-revolution have been accompanied by a series of anti-Copt riots, killings and church burnings.

In Gaza and the West Bank Palestinian Christians are emigrating en masse as they find themselves uncomfortably caught between Netanyahu’s pro-settler government and their increasingly radicalised Sunni neighbours.

In Syria most of the violence is along the Sunni-Alawite fault line, but stories of rape and murder directed at the Christian minority, who used to make up around 10% of the population, have emerged. Many have already fled to camps in Lebanon, Turkey or Jordan; the ancient Armenian community of Aleppo is reported to be moving en masse to Yerevan.

arab christian retreat

An Iraqi security officer guards the Church of the Virgin Mary in the northern town of Bartala, near Mosul, in 2012. Photograph: Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images

The worst affected areas of Syria are of course those controlled by Isis. Last weekend it issued a decree offering the dwindling Christian population of eastern Syria and northern Iraq a choice: convert to Islam or pay a special religious levy – the jizya. (It is business as usual for hard cash to replenish the treasury)

If they did not comply, “there is nothing to give them but the sword”. The passing of the deadline led to possibly the largest exodus of Middle Eastern Christians since the Armenian massacres during the first world war, with the entire Christian community of Mosul heading off towards Kirkuk and the relative religious tolerance of the Kurdish zone.

Even before this latest exodus, at least two-thirds of Iraqi Christians had fled since the fall of Saddam.

Christians were concentrated in Mosul, Basra and, especially, Baghdad – which before the US invasion had the largest Christian population in the Middle East.

Although Iraq’s 750,000 Christians made up only 7% of the pre-war population, they were a prosperous minority under the Ba’athists, as symbolised by the high profile of Tariq Aziz, Saddam’s foreign minister, who used to disarm visiting foreign dignitaries by breaking into Onward, Christian Soldiers in Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

According to tradition it was St Thomas and his cousin Addai who brought Christianity to Iraq in the first century.

At the Council of Nicea, where the Christian creed was thrashed out in AD325, there were more bishops from Mesopotamia than western Europe.

The region (East of the Euphrates, under Persian Empire) became a refuge for those persecuted by the Orthodox Byzantines, such as the Mandeans – the last Gnostics, who follow what they believe to be the teachings of John the Baptist.

Then there was the Church of the East, which brought the philosophy of Aristotle and Plato, as well as Greek science and medicine, to the Islamic world – and hence, via Cordoba, to the new universities of medieval Europe.

Now almost everywhere Arab Christians are leaving.

In the past decade maybe a quarter have made new lives in Europe, Australia and America.

According to Professor Kamal Salibi, they are simply exhausted: “There is a feeling of fin de race among Christians all over the Middle East. Now they just want to go somewhere else, make some money and relax.

Each time a Christian goes, no other Christian comes to fill his place and that is a very bad thing for the Arab world. It is Christian Arabs who keep the Arab world ‘Arab’ rather than ‘Muslim’.” (It is them who translated the Greek, Byzantium and Syriac scientific and philosophical books into Arabic)

Certainly since the 19th century Christian Arabs have played a vital role in defining a secular Arab cultural identity.

It is no coincidence that most of the founders of secular Arab nationalism were men like Michel Aflaq – the Greek Orthodox Christian from Damascus who, with other Syrian students freshly returned from the Sorbonne, founded the Ba’ath party in the 1940s – or Faris al-Khoury, Syria’s only Christian prime minister.

Then there were intellectuals like the Palestinian George Habash, and George Antonius, who in 1938 wrote in The Arab Awakening of the crucial role Christians played in reviving Arab literature and the arts after their long slumber under Ottoman rule.

(And don’t forget, Lebanon Antoun Saadeh, who founded the secular Syria National Social Party and was executed without trial from claiming that oil must be used as strategic weapon in 1947, against Zionist expansionism in Palestine)

If the Islamic state proclaimed by Isis turns into a permanent, Christian-free zone, it could signal the demise not just of an important part of the Arab Christian realm but also of the secular Arab nationalism Christians helped create.

The 20th century after 1918, which saw the creation of the different Arab national states, may well prove to be a blip in Middle Eastern history, as the old primary identifiers of Arab identity, religion and qabila – tribe – resurface. (The Nationalist Turks started the genocide against the Christian sects and Armenians in 1915)

It is as if, after a century of flirting with imported ideas of the secular nation state, the region is reverting to the Ottoman Millet system (from the Arabic millah, literally “nation”), which represented a view of the world that made religion the ultimate marker of identity, and classified Ottoman subjects by their various sectarian religious “nations”.

Despite sizeable Christian populations holding on in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, there is likely to be little place for Christian Arabs in a Middle East rebuilt on intolerant ideologies like those of Isis.

Their future is more likely to resemble that of the most influential Christian Arab intellectual of our day, Edward Said. Born in Jerusalem at the height of Arab nationalism in 1935, Said died far from the turmoil of the Middle East in New York in 2003. His last collection of essays was appropriately entitled Reflections On Exile.

Note: The demise of the Christians would become final if they are Not quickly incorporated in the political system and institutions in the Arab World. Only a solid political quota for the Christians can encourage the Christians to remain and return home

• The headline of this article was amended on 24 July 2014.

Marie Magdalena

Khalil Toubia shared this link. 3 hrs · Beirut · 

Elle… qui fut le premier témoin de sa résurrection.

Elle… à qui il apparut en premier pour lui annoncer son retour.

Elle… qui aura le rôle d’annoncer sa résurrection aux apôtres….

Elle… qui reçoit la mission de faire découvrir aux disciples où il se trouve et où ils doivent le rejoindre.

Elle… à qui il a permis ce très beau geste d’amour «elle n’a pas cessé depuis que je suis là de pleurer, d’essuyer ses larmes sur mes pieds avec ses cheveux, d’embrasser de sa bouche mes pieds, d’y déposer ce si précieux et si fin parfum »

Elle… qui ne trahira et ne reniera, comme l’ont été certains de ses plus fidèles apôtres.

Elle…. qui, avec Marie-mère, sera au pied de la croix.

Elle…. cette « pècheresse »… possédée par sept démons… symbole du mal absolu… a été « libérée » par le Nazaréen….

« Tes péchés te sont remis… ta foi t’a sauvée »… rémission qui lui a rendu sa dignité de femme… « …car les péchés sont pardonnés quand il y a beaucoup d’amour »…. paroles de Christ !!!!

Elle… pour qui … il demanda a Simon… « Oh Simon, ne sois pas si dur avec elle….regarde comme cette femme aime… » …

Elle… la femme… que Marie-mère a présentée aux soldats romains comme “elle est aussi de la famille”.

Elle… cette femme… qui a souffert d’amour…

Elle… cette amante dépossédée à qui les premiers chrétiens lui décerneront le titre « d’apôtre des apôtres ».

Elle… par qui et avec qui les « deux natures »… elles se sont le mieux exprimé.

C’est cette chrétienté, celle qui tolère, qui accepte, qui pardonne même, au « fils de l’homme » son instant de doute, exprimé sur la croix…. est celle-là même qui refuse de reconnaitre à ce même « fils de l’homme » ses instants d’amour dont il a été capable avec cette « noble dame ».

Are the Palestinian Territories Occupied?

IMEU published in July 13, 2012

June 5, 2012, marked the 45th anniversary of the start of the 1967 War, when Israel launched a surprise preemptive attack against Egypt and began its military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and Syrian Golan Heights.

Since that time, Israel has ruled over millions of Palestinians in the occupied territories by military decree, granting them no political rights while relentlessly colonizing their land.

Forty-five years on, Israel’s occupation and settlement enterprise become more entrenched by the day, leading many observers to conclude that the creation of a sovereign and territorially contiguous Palestinian state alongside Israel (i.e. the two-state solution) is no longer possible.

The following fact sheet provides an overview of 45 years of Israel’s occupation and settlement enterprise.

INDEX

SETTLEMENTS and their purposes

(Click here for 2012 UN map showing land allocated to settlements in the West Bank)
(Click here for Peace Now’s interactive “Facts on the Ground” settlement map)

Almost immediately after the 1967 War ended, Israel began to colonize the occupied territories in violation of international law, with Jewish-only “settlements.”

The settlement enterprise was established with the purpose of creating irreversible “facts on the ground,” thereby solidifying Israeli control over the occupied territories and ensuring that under any future diplomatic agreement Israel would retain possession of vast and strategically important tracts of Palestinian territory.

The settlement enterprise was also intended to ensure that a genuinely sovereign Palestinian state would never emerge in the occupied territories.

In the words of Henry Siegman, Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress from 1978 to 1994 and former Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations:

‘A vivid recollection from the time I headed the American Jewish Congress is a helicopter trip over the West Bank on which I was taken by Ariel Sharon [the former Israeli prime minister and defense minister and godfather of Israel’s settlement enterprise].

With large, worn maps in hand, he pointed out to me strategic locations of present and future settlements on east-west and north-south axes that, Sharon assured me, would rule out a future Palestinian state.’

In 2011, respected Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem noted: “The extreme change that Israel has made in the map of the West Bank prevents any real possibility to establish an independent, viable Palestinian state in the framework of exercising the right to self-determination.”

FACTS & FIGURES

‘And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem.

Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress.

‘The disengagement is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.’

  • As of 2012, there are more than 500,000 Israeli settlers living in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Of those, upwards of 300,000 live in the expanded boundaries of East Jerusalem. In addition, approximately 20,000 settlers live in settlements in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
  • As of 2012 there were some 130 official settlements and more than 110 “outposts” (nascent settlements built without official government approval) in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
  • According to Human Rights Watch: “Palestinians face systematic discrimination merely because of their race, ethnicity, and national origin, depriving them of electricity, water, schools, and access to roads, while nearby Jewish settlers enjoy all of these state-provided benefits… While Israeli settlements flourish, Palestinians under Israeli control live in a time warp – not just separate, not just unequal, but sometimes even pushed off their lands and out of their homes.”
  • From 1993 to 2000, as Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) negotiated what came to be known as the Oslo Accords, the number of Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem), nearly doubled, from 110,900 to 190,206 according to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. Accurate figures for settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, which are mostly built and expanded before 1993, are harder to find, but as of 2000 the number of settlers in East Jerusalem stands at more than 167,000 according to B’Tselem.
  • Settlements and related infrastructure (including Israeli-only roads, army bases, the separation wall, closed military zones, and checkpoints) cover approximately 42% of the West Bank.
  • In a 2012 report entitled “Torpedoing The Two State Solution,” Peace Now, the leading experts on Israel’s settlement enterprise, documented a 20% rise in construction starts in the West Bank in 2011 over the previous year.
  • Israel withdrew its soldiers and 8000 settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005, however Gaza remains under Israeli occupation according to international law as Israel continues to control all entry in and out of the territory, as well as its coastline and airspace.
  • In 2004, Dov Weisglass, a top advisor to then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said that the withdrawal of settlers from Gaza (the “disengagement” plan) was intended to “freeze” the peace process, by alleviating international pressure on Israel to take further action, stating,

LEGAL STATUS

  • The pre-amble of UN Security Council Resolution 242, which was passed shortly after the 1967 War, in November 1967, stresses “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.” The text of Resolution 242, which is the cornerstone of the two-state solution and international efforts to make peace in the region for more than two decades, calls for the “Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”
  • Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War states that, “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
  • The Hague Convention also forbids occupying powers from making permanent changes in the occupied territory unless it is a military necessity.
  • In its 2004 advisory opinion that deemed the wall that Israel is building in the West Bank illegal, all 15 judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) also found Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, to be in contravention of international law.
  • Successive Israeli governments have argued that settlement building does not violate international law, however a formerly classified document dated September 1967 shows that the legal counsel to Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Theodor Meron, advised the government of Prime Minister Levi Eshkol that “civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” Disregarding the opinion, in September 1967, Eshkol’s Labor government authorized the establishment of the first civilian settlement, Kfar Etzion, on the outskirts of Hebron in the West Bank.
  • International human rights organizations like the International Committee of the Red Cross, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have all condemned Israel’s settlement enterprise as illegal.
  • Numerous United Nations resolutions have also affirmed that Israel’s colonization of Palestinian land in the occupied territories is a violation of international law.
  • In 1979, the Security Council passed Resolution 446, which states: “the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”

US POLICY ON SETTLEMENTS

  • The official policy of the United States, in line with the rest of the international community, has always been that Israeli settlements are illegal.
  • In 1979, the State Department issued a legal opinion declaring that settlements were “inconsistent with international law.”  However, presidents from both parties have chosen to look the other way more often than not rather than confront Israel over the issue.
  • One notable exception occurred in 1991, when President George H. W. Bush threatened to withhold $10 billion in loan guarantees after Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir refused to halt settlement construction to facilitate the start of peace talks with the Palestinians. Under pressure from Congress, Bush relented and approved the guarantees on condition that only “natural growth” would be allowed, a loophole quickly exploited by the Israelis who soon began building at a faster rate than ever.
  • 2003’s Roadmap for Peace called for a freeze on all settlement construction, including so-called “natural growth” and the removal of all settler outposts.
  • Shortly after taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama began to urge Israel to stop all settlement construction as part of an effort to revive peace talks. After strenuously resisting, in November 2009 Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to a 10-month partial construction “moratorium.” However, it contained so many loopholes and exceptions (it didn’t cover public infrastructure, construction that had already been approved, or settlements in occupied East Jerusalem) as to render it meaningless. When the 10 months were over, settlement construction resumed as before and a year later, in September 2011, Peace Now reported that in the intervening 12 months settlement growth doubled, more than making up for the partial slowdown.
  • In November 2010, the Obama administration attempted to lure Israel into agreeing to a three-month partial construction freeze by offering a package of incentives including 20 F-35 fighter jets worth $3 billion, a promise that the US would continue vetoing any UN Security Council resolutions critical of Israel, and a promise not ask for another freeze after the three months expired. Despite the enormous size of the offer, Netanyahu turned it down.
  • In February 2011, the Obama administration vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that condemned Israeli settlements as illegal, despite the fact that the resolution reflected official American policy as it has stood for the past four decades.

SETTLER VIOLENCE –

(Click here for UN map “Settler Violence Incidents in 2011”)

  • Many settlements like Yitzhar, Kiryat Arba, and Itamar, are home to heavily armed religious extremists who frequently attack Palestinians and their property, including physical assaults and murder, graffiti and arson attacks against mosques, and the destruction of olive trees and other crops.
  • In March 2012, the Guardian newspaper reported that senior European Union officials had drafted a confidential report concluding that Jewish settlers are engaged in a systematic and growing campaign of violence against Palestinians and that “settler violence enjoys the tacit support of the state of Israel.”
  • Under Israel’s occupation regime, Israeli settlers living in the West Bank are subject to the civilian laws of Israel, with the attendant legal rights and protections, while Palestinians are subject to Israeli military law, and are granted virtually no legal rights or protections.
  • According to a 2012 report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
    • The weekly average of settler attacks resulting in Palestinian casualties and property damage increased by 32% in 2011 compared to 2010, and by over 144% compared to 2009.
    • In 2011, three Palestinians were killed and 183 injured by Israeli settlers. In addition, one Palestinian was killed, and 125 others injured, by Israeli soldiers during clashes between Israeli settlers and Palestinians.
    • In 2011, approximately 10,000 Palestinian-owned trees, primarily olive trees, were damaged or destroyed by Israeli settlers, significantly undermining the livelihoods of hundreds of families.
    • In 2011, 139 Palestinians were displaced due to settler attacks.
    • Over 90% of monitored complaints regarding settler violence filed by Palestinians with the Israeli police in recent years have been closed without indictment.
    • There are 80 communities with a combined population of nearly 250,000 Palestinians vulnerable to settler violence, including 76,000 who are at high-risk.
  • The most notorious instance of settler violence was carried out by an Israeli-American settler, Brooklyn-born Baruch Goldstein, who massacred 29 Palestinians as they prayed in Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque in 1994. More than 100 others were wounded in the attack. In the unrest that followed, another 25 Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers. Just over a month after the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre, Hamas launched its first suicide bombing against Israeli civilians.
  • In May 2012, Haaretz newspaper reported that the Israeli army was examining 15 complaints about Israeli soldiers who allegedly stood by and did nothing as Palestinians were beaten or attacked by settlers. Also in May 2012, a settler was filmed shooting a Palestinian near Nablus while Israeli soldiers stood idly by.
  • The aforementioned Haaretz article noted: “From the beginning of the second intifada in September 2000 through December 2011, [Israeli human rights organization] B’Tselem filed 57 complaints regarding IDF soldiers who allegedly did not prevent violence against Palestinians or their property. [Israeli authorities] told B’Tselem that investigations have been opened so far into only four of those cases, two of which were closed with no action against the soldiers.”
  • A 2012 UN report documented the rising use of threats, violence and intimidation by settlers to deny Palestinians access to their water resources in the West Bank. It found that Israeli settlers have been acting systematically to gain control of some 56 springs, most of which are located on private Palestinian land. The report also criticized Israeli authorities for having “systematically failed to enforce the law on those responsible for these acts and to provide Palestinians with any effective remedy.”

– ‘PRICE TAG’ ATTACKS –

  • In recent years, settlers have begun so-called “price tag” attacks against Palestinians and their property in response to Israeli government actions that displease them, such as the dismantling of settlement outposts.
  • The price tag campaign has included a string of more than a dozen arson attacks against, and desecrations of, West Bank mosques. In two cases, mosques inside of Israel’s internationally recognized borders were also torched.

EAST JERUSALEM 

(Click here for 2010 map of settlements in East Jerusalem)
(Click here for interactive “Jerusalem and its Environs” map)

– LEGAL STATUS –

  • Following the 1967 War, Israel unilaterally expanded East Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries and formally annexed it. Neither move has been recognized by the international community, including the United States.
  • Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem has been repeatedly rejected by the international community through a series of UN Security Council resolutions, including Resolutions 252267471476 and 478. Resolution 252 (1968) states that the Security Council “[c]onsiders that all…actions taken by Israel…which tend to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status.”
  • Although Israel has attempted to make a distinction between them, according to international law, there is no legal difference between East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied territories. As such, Israel has no internationally recognized legal claim to any part of East Jerusalem, including the Old City and its holy sites.
  • Recently, the Israeli Supreme Court has begun recognizing as legitimate legal claims from Jews to properties in East Jerusalem that were allegedly owned by Jews prior to Israel’s creation in 1948. As a result, at least three Palestinian families and one shop owner have been evicted in recent months to make way for Jewish settlers who claimed ownership of the land pre-1948. At the same time, the Supreme Court refuses to recognize legal claims by Palestinian Arabs to properties owned in what became Israel in 1948.

 

– FACTS & FIGURES –

‘Restricted access to East Jerusalem had a negative impact on patients and medical staff trying to reach the six Palestinian hospitals there that offered specialized care unavailable in the West Bank. IDF soldiers at checkpoints subjected Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) ambulances from the West Bank to violence and delays, or refused entry into Jerusalem even in emergency cases… The PRCS reported hundreds of violations against its teams and humanitarian services during the year. Most incidents included blocking access to those in need, preventing their transport to specialized medical centers, or maintaining delays on checkpoints for periods sometimes lasting up to two hours.’

  • Following its capture in 1967, Israel expanded the municipal boundaries of East Jerusalem, which comprised about four square miles, annexing an additional 45 square miles (more than 17,000 acres) of the occupied West Bank to the city.
  • Since 1967, Israel has expropriated approximately 5776 acres of Palestinian land in East Jerusalem.
  • Palestinian residents of Jerusalem contribute around 40% of the city’s taxes but only receive 8% of municipal spending.
  • In an attempt to separate and isolate East Jerusalem from the rest of the occupied West Bank, Israel has built a ring of settlements around its outskirts. This ring has been reinforced by the wall Israel is constructing, which also separates Israeli settlements in and near East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank.
  • Since 1993, Israel has prohibited non-Jerusalemite Palestinians from entering the city unless they obtain an Israeli-issued permit, which is rarely granted. As a result, over four million Palestinians are denied access to their holy places in Jerusalem, are prohibited from studying in East Jerusalem, and are denied certain medical treatments that are only available in East Jerusalem hospitals.
  • The State Department’s Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2011 noted:

THE ‘JUDAIZATION’ OF EAST JERUSALEM –

Revoking residency rights and social benefits of Palestinians who stay abroad for at least seven years, or who are unable to prove that their “center of life” is in Jerusalem. Since 1967, Israel has revoked the residency rights of about 14,000 East Jerusalem Palestinians, of which more than 4,500 were revoked in 2008.The encouragement of Jewish settlement in historically Palestinian-Arab areas. While severely restricting the expansion of Palestinian residential areas and revoking Palestinian residency rights, the Israeli government, through official and unofficial organizations, encourages Jews to move to settlements in East Jerusalem.

Systematic discrimination in municipal planning and in the allocation of services and building permits. According to a 2011 report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

‘Since 1967, Israel has failed to provide Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem with the necessary planning framework to meet their basic housing and infrastructure needs. Only 13 percent of the annexed municipal area is currently zoned by the Israeli authorities for Palestinian construction, much of which is already built-up. It is only within this area that Palestinians can apply for building permits, but the number of permits granted per year to Palestinians does not begin to meet the existing demand for housing and the requirements related to formal land registration prevent many from applying. As a result, Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem find themselves confronting a serious shortage in housing and other basic infrastructure. Many residents have been left with no choice other than to build structures “illegally” and therefore risk demolition and displacement.’

Demolitions of Palestinian homes and structures built without difficult to obtain permission from Israeli authorities. Since 1967, approximately 2000 Palestinian homes have been demolished in East Jerusalem. According to official Israeli statistics, from 2000 to 2008 Israel demolished more than 670 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem. The number of outstanding demolition orders is estimated to be as high as 20,000.

According to Human Rights Watch’s 2012 World Report:

‘Israel usually carries out demolitions on the grounds that the structures were built without permits, but in practice such permits are almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain in Israeli-controlled areas, whereas a separate planning process available only to settlers grants new construction permits much more readily.’

  • According to the 2009 US State Department International Religious Freedom Report: “Many of the national and municipal policies in Jerusalem were designed to limit or diminish the non-Jewish population of Jerusalem.”
  • According to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem: “Since East Jerusalem was annexed in 1967, the government of Israel’s primary goal in Jerusalem has been to create a demographic and geographic situation that will thwart any future attempt to challenge Israeli sovereignty over the city. To achieve this goal, the government has been taking actions to increase the number of Jews, and reduce the number of Palestinians, living in the city.”
  • In 2010, Jerusalem city councilman Yakir Segev stated: “We will not allow residents of the eastern [occupied Palestinian] part of the city to build as much as they need… At the end of the day, however politically incorrect it may be to say, we will also look at the demographic situation in Jerusalem to make sure that in another 20 years we don’t wake up in an Arab city.”
  • Methods used by Israel as part of an effort to “Judaize” or alter the religious composition of Jerusalem by increasing the number of Jews while decreasing the number of Palestinians, include:

DENIAL OF FREEDOM OF WORSHIP

  • Since 1993, Palestinians living in the West Bank have been forbidden by Israel to enter East Jerusalem without a difficult to obtain permit. As a result, millions of Palestinian Muslims and Christians living in the West Bank and Gaza are prevented from accessing their holy sites in Jerusalem.
  • According to the 2010 State Department International Religious Freedom Report: “[Israel’s] strict closure policies and the separation barrier constructed by the Israeli government severely restricted the ability of Palestinian Muslims and Christians to reach places of worship and to practice their religious rites, particularly in Jerusalem.”
  • The same State Department report noted: “The Government of Israel’s construction of a separation barrier, begun in 2002 due to stated security concerns, has severely limited access to holy sites and seriously impeded the work of religious organizations that provide education, healthcare, and other humanitarian relief and social services to Palestinians, particularly in and around East Jerusalem.”

THE WEST BANK WALL: Wall of Shame

(Click here for 2011 UN map of the wall)

In June 2002, under the pretext of security, the Israeli government began unilaterally constructing a wall, much of it on Palestinian land inside the occupied West Bank. (Since 1994, the Gaza Strip has been surrounded by an Israeli wall that cuts off the 1.6 million Palestinians living there from the rest of the world. See section on Gaza restrictions.)

– LEGAL STATUS –

  • In July 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued an advisory opinion deeming the West Bank separation wall illegal. The court said the wall must be dismantled, and ordered Israel to compensate Palestinians harmed by its construction. It also called on third-party states to ensure Israel’s compliance with the judgment. While the ICJ’s decision was an advisory opinion, and therefore not binding on the parties, it is an authoritative statement of the status of the wall in international law.

– FACTS & FIGURES –

  • As of May 2012, more than 325 miles of the wall had already been built, at a cost of $2.6 billion (US).
  • Once completed, the full length of the wall will be between 420 and 440 miles (according to the Israeli Ministry of Defense and B’Tselem, respectively) – more than twice the length of Israel’s internationally recognized border with the West Bank.
  • Eighty-five percent of the wall will be built not along Israel’s internationally recognized pre-1967 border, but on Palestinian land inside the occupied West Bank.
  • When finished, the wall, along with the settlements, Israeli-only highways and closed military zones, are projected to cover 46% of the West Bank, effectively annexing it to Israel.
  • Critics have accused Israeli authorities of designing the wall’s route to envelop as much Palestinian land and as many Israeli settlements as possible on the western, or Israeli side, while placing as many Palestinians as possible on the eastern side. In total, about 85% of the Israeli settler population is expected to end up on the Israeli side of the wall.
  • The wall also surrounds much of occupied East Jerusalem, cutting its more than 200,000 Palestinian residents off from the rest of the occupied West Bank.
  • During construction of the wall, Israel has destroyed large amounts of Palestinian farmland and usurped water supplies, including the biggest aquifer in the West Bank.

 

RESTRICTIONS ON PALESTINIAN MOVEMENT

(Click here for 2011 UN map of barriers to movement in the West Bank)

  • At any given time, there are upwards of 500 checkpoints, roadblocks, and other barriers to Palestinian movement inside the West Bank – an area smaller than Delaware – hindering Palestinians from moving between their own towns and cities and the outside world.
  • Palestinians are prohibited from driving on the vast network of settler roads built inside the West Bank, which are restricted to Israeli citizens.
  • In addition to limiting movement of individual Palestinians, Israeli restrictions also impede the flow of commercial goods and commerce, with adverse effects on the Palestinian economy and development.
  • According to a September 2011 report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
    • 522 roadblocks and checkpoints obstruct Palestinian movement in the West Bank, compared to 503 in July 2010.
    • 200,000 people from 70 villages are forced to use detours between two to five times longer than the direct route to their closest city due to movement restrictions.
    • One or more of the main entrances are blocked to Palestinian traffic in ten out of eleven major West Bank cities.
    • 4 of the five roads into the Jordan Valley are not accessible to most Palestinian vehicles.
    • Almost 80 percent of land in the Jordan Valley is off-limits to Palestinians, with the land designated for Israeli settlements’ ‘firing zones’ and ‘nature reserves.’ (See here for 2012 UN map)
    • Palestinian access to their private land around approximately 55 Israeli settlements is highly restricted.

GAZA RESTRICTIONS ON MOVEMENT

(Click here for December 2011 Gaza access and closure map)

– SIEGE & BLOCKADE –

‘The prolonged blockade of Gaza, which had already been in place for some 18 months before the current fighting began, amounts to collective punishment of its entire population.‘The Fourth Geneva Convention specifically prohibits collective punishment. Its Article 33 provides: “No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.”’

‘Israel’s punitive closure of the Gaza Strip, tightened after Hamas’s takeover of Gaza in June 2007, continued to have severe humanitarian and economic consequences for the civilian population.‘Gaza’s economy grew rapidly, but the World Bank said the growth depended on international assistance. The economy had not returned to pre-closure levels; daily wages, for instance, had declined 23 percent since 2007. Israel’s near-total restrictions on exports from Gaza hindered economic recovery. Due to low per capita income, 51 percent of the population was unable to buy sufficient food, according to UN aid agencies.

‘Israel allowed imports to Gaza that amounted to around 40 percent of pre-closure levels, the UN reported. Israel continued to bar construction materials, like cement, which it said had “dual use” civilian and military applications. Israel allowed shipments of construction materials for projects operated by international organizations, but as of September Gaza still had an estimated shortage of some 250 schools and 100,000 homes.’

  • Since the early 1990s, Israel has restricted passage to and from Gaza, but in 2006, following Hamas’ victory in Palestinian elections, Israel tightened its restrictions severely and imposed a total naval blockade on the tiny coastal enclave.
  • Israel’s siege and naval blockade of Gaza are acts of collective punishment, which is illegal under international law, and is considered as such by the United Nations and human rights organizations such as Amnesty International.
  • A 2009 Amnesty International report following Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s devastating military assault on Gaza in the winter of 2008-9, stated:
  • In 2011, the UN released the so-called Palmer Report on Israel’s attack against the Freedom Flotilla in May 2010 that killed nine Turkish activists (one of them a US citizen). The report deemed Israel’s blockade legal, however it was widely considered a politicized whitewash, containing the important caveat that “its conclusions can not be considered definitive in either fact or law.”
  • Shortly after the Palmer Report was released, an independent UN panel of experts released a report concluding that Israel’s blockade of Gaza does violate international law, stating that it amounts to collective punishment in “flagrant contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law.” The International Committee of the Red Cross and a UN fact-finding mission into Israel’s attack on the Freedom Flotilla reached the same conclusion in 2010.
  • Israeli officials have admitted that the siege is not motivated primarily by security concerns, but is part of a strategy of “economic warfare” against the people of Gaza. In 2006, senior advisor to then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Dov Weisglass, said the goal of the Gaza siege was to put the 1.6 million people of Gaza “on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”
  • Despite the fact that Israel loosened restrictions under international pressure following the assault on the Freedom Flotilla in 2010, the siege and blockade continue to strangle Gaza economically. According to a 2012 Human Rights Watch report:

‘NO-GO’ ZONES –

(Click here for UN map showing no-go zones)

  • In May 2010, Israel declared “no-go” zones within 300 meters (328 yards) from the wall that surrounds Gaza. In practice, however, the UN has concluded that the no-go zone is actually 500 meters (546 yards). Palestinians who venture into this area risk being shot by Israeli soldiers without warning. Numerous Palestinian civilians, including children and the elderly, have been wounded and killed in these areas.
  • Human rights organizations such as B’Tselem have documented dozens of cases of cases in which Israeli soldiers opened fire at people who posed no threat and were much farther than 300 meters (328 yards) from the wall – up to 1,500 meters (1640 yards) away.
  • According to UN statistics, the area of the official no-go zones, together with the area in which entry is effectively restricted due to a real risk of gunfire, covers about 39 square miles, or 17% of the total area of Gaza.
  • The no-go zones affect some 113,000 Palestinians (7.5% of Gaza’s population), causing harm to their homes, land, workplaces, and schools. Seven schools are located in these areas.

RESTRICTIONS ON FISHING –

(Click here for UN map showing nautical fishing limit)

‘In addition to the harsh restrictions on fishing, B’Tselem has documented cases in which naval forces have attacked and harassed fishermen. The documented cases include, for example, gunfire, detention, delay, and confiscation of boats and fishing equipment.‘The prohibition on entering deep waters and the danger now inherent to every excursion to sea deny fishermen access to areas abundant with fish, limiting their catches [to] small fish of poor quality. As a result, it is extremely hard to earn a living from fishing, or even cover fishing expenses. Given the lack of other sources of income in the Gaza Strip, some fishermen are left no option but to violate the prohibition and endanger their lives.

‘The fishing sector in Gaza has suffered a sharp blow. According to various estimates, the livelihood of some 3,000 families in Gaza, comprising some 19,500 people, depends directly on the fishing industry, and another 2,000 families make a living from affiliated industries, such as building and maintenance of boats and sale and maintenance of equipment. The imports also raise the cost of fish, preventing many families from obtaining an important source of protein. Because of the short supply, the price of fish has risen.’

  • In the Interim Agreement signed by Israel and the PLO as part of the Oslo Accords during the 1990s, Israel agreed to allow fishing boats from Gaza to travel some 20 nautical miles from shore, except for several buffer zones near the borders with Israel and Egypt to which they were denied entry altogether. But according to a 2011 report from B’Tselem: “In practice, however, Israel did not issue permits to all the fishermen who requested them, and allowed fishing up to a distance of 12 nautical miles.”
  • Since Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s devastating military assault on Gaza in the winter of 2008-9, the Israeli navy has reduced that limit to three nautical miles.
  • According to the aforementioned 2011 B’Tselem report:

PRISONERS

– FACTS & FIGURES –

‘Israeli military justice authorities arbitrarily detained Palestinians who advocated non-violent protest against Israeli settlements and the route of the separation barrier. In January a military appeals court increased the prison sentence of Abdallah Abu Rahme, from the village of Bil’in, to 16 months in prison on charges of inciting violence and organizing illegal demonstrations, largely on the basis of coerced statements of children.’

  • According to the Israel Prison Service, there were about 4424 Palestinian prisoners and security detainees being held in Israeli prisons as of the end of April 2012. According to prisoners’ rights organization Addameer, there were 4653 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel as of May 1, 2012.
  • Since 1967, Israel has imprisoned upwards of 700,000 Palestinians from the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, or about 20% of the total population of the occupied territories.
  • Those who are charged are subjected to Israeli military courts that human rights organizations have criticized for failing to meet the minimum standards required for a fair trial.
  • According to Amnesty International’s 2011 Annual Report on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories: “Palestinians in the [occupied territories] subject to Israel’s military justice system continued to face a wide range of abuses of their right to a fair trial. They are routinely interrogated without a lawyer and, although they are civilians, are tried before military not ordinary courts.”
  • According to Human Rights Watch’s 2012 World Report:

TORTURE & ABUSE –

  • Until 1999, the use of torture by Israeli military and security forces was both widespread and officially condoned under the euphemism of “moderate physical pressure.” Methods included beatings, forcing prisoners into painful physical positions for long periods of time, and sleep deprivation.
  • In 2000 it was revealed that between 1988 and 1992 Israel’s internal security force, the Shin Bet, had systematically tortured Palestinians during the first, mostly nonviolent, uprising against Israel’s occupation, using methods that went beyond what was allowable under government guidelines for “moderate physical pressure.” These methods included violent shaking, tying prisoners into painful positions for long periods, subjecting them to extreme heat or cold, and severe beatings, including kicking. At least 10 Palestinians died and hundreds of others were maimed as a result.
  • In 1999, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the use of “moderate physical pressure” was illegal, however reports of torture and abuse of Palestinian prisoners continued unabated. Amnesty International’s 2011 Annual Report on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories states:

    Consistent allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, including of children, were frequently reported. Among the most commonly cited methods were beatings, threats to the detainee or their family, sleep deprivation, and being subjected to painful stress positions for long periods. Confessions allegedly obtained under duress were accepted as evidence in Israeli military and civilian courts.”

  • Other abusive practices employed by Israel against Palestinian prisoners include the use of solitary confinement, denial of family visits, and forcing prisoners to live in unsanitary living conditions.
  • The harsh conditions endured by Palestinians in Israeli prisons prompted a series of hunger strikes, including a mass hunger strike by more than 1500 prisoners in early 2012 leading to some concessions from Israel. The concessions reportedly included an end to the use of solitary confinement as a punitive measure and allowing family visits for prisoners from Gaza.

ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION –

  • Israel uses a procedure known as administrative detention to imprison Palestinians without charge or trial for months or even years. Administrative detention orders are normally issued for six-month periods, which can be extended indefinitely.
  • Administrative detention was first instituted by the British during the Mandate era in 1945, prior to the creation of Israel.
  • There are currently as of May 29, 2012,approximately 308 Palestinians being held in administrative detention.
  • Since 1967, some 100,000 administrative detention orders have been issued by Israel.
  • Although there are none currently being held in administrative detention, Israeli authorities have in the past used the procedure against Palestinian children as well as adults.
  • Israel’s frequent use of administrative detention has been condemned by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as Israeli human rights groups like B’Tselem.
  • An end to the use of administrative detention was one of the main demands of a recent wave of hunger strikes by Palestinians in Israeli prisons.
  • In May 2012, Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch implicitly admitted that Israel uses administrative detention for reasons other than stated urgent “security” concerns, urging authorities to “use it only if there’s a need.”

CHILD PRISONERS

  • As of April 2012, there were 220 Palestinian minors in Israeli prisons.
  • Since September 2000, Israel has arrested and imprisoned more than 7000 Palestinian children.
  • Like all Palestinians from the occupied territories, Palestinian children are subject to Israeli military tribunals.
  • Palestinian minors are frequently arrested in the middle of the night by Israeli soldiers, taken away without their parents and harshly interrogated without a guardian or lawyer present.
  • According to a recent report by the Israeli NGO No Legal Frontiers, which followed the cases of 71 Palestinian children as they made their way through the Israeli military court system:
    • The most common offense was throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. In most cases the object was not actually thrown, did not hit a target, or cause any damage. In no case was serious harm caused.
    • In 94% of cases the children were held in pre-trial detention and not released on bail.
    • In 100% of cases, the children were convicted of an offense.
    • 87% of them were subjected to some form of physical violence while in custody.
  • Under pressure from human rights organizations and children’s rights advocates, the Israeli army announced in 2011 that it would raise the age that Palestinians are treated as adults from 16 to 18 years of age, however, critics complain that they are still subject to the same unjust and abusive treatment accorded Palestinian adults.

HOME DEMOLITIONS

‘Israel usually carries out demolitions on the grounds that the structures were built without permits, but in practice such permits are almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain in Israeli-controlled areas, whereas a separate planning process available only to settlers grants new construction permits much more readily.’

  • Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.”
  • Israel has demolished approximately 27,000 Palestinian homes in the occupied territories since 1967.
  • Demolitions are carried out for three stated reasons: military purposes; “administrative” reasons (i.e. a home or structure is built without difficult to obtain permission from Israel); and to deter or punish militants and their families, a violation of provisions of international law that prohibit collective punishment.
  • According to Human Rights Watch’s 2012 World Report:
  • Since 1967, some 2,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished in occupied East Jerusalem. According to official Israeli statistics, from 2000 to 2008 Israel demolished more than 670 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem. The number of outstanding demolition orders is estimated at up to 20,000.
  • Palestinians in East Jerusalem are often forced to choose between demolishing their own homes and paying for Israeli authorities to do it.

THEFT & DESTRUCTION OF NATURAL RESOURCES

After taking control of the occupied territories in 1967, Israel began to exploit their natural resources. Most critically in the semi-arid region, Israel began to exploit aquifers and other water sources.

According to international law, including Article 55 of the Hague Regulations, an occupying power is prohibited from using an occupied territory’s natural resources for its own benefit. An occupying power may only use resources in an occupied territory for military necessity or for the benefit of the occupied population. Thus, Israel’s exploitation of Palestinian resources such as water for use in Jewish settlements and inside Israel proper is a clear breach of international law, a position supported by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International.

Despite this clear prohibition, in December 2011, in response to a petition filed by Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that Israeli companies could continue exploiting Palestinian resources in the occupied territories.

WATER –

‘In the Gaza Strip, 90 to 95 per cent of the water from its only water resource, the Coastal Aquifer, is contaminated and unfit for human consumption. Yet, Israel does not allow the transfer of water from the Mountain Aquifer in the West Bank to Gaza.‘Stringent restrictions imposed in recent years by Israel on the entry into Gaza of material and equipment necessary for the development and repair of infrastructure have caused further deterioration of the water and sanitation situation in Gaza, which has reached [a] crisis point.’

‘According to Amnesty International, Palestinians received on average of 18.5 gallons of water per person per day, falling short of the World Health Organization’s standard of 26.5 gallons per person per day, the minimum daily amount required to maintain basic hygiene standards and food security.’

‘Between January and July, according to the UN, the Israeli military destroyed 20 water cisterns, some of which were funded by donor countries for humanitarian purposes.’

‘Palestinian residents reported that water supplies were intermittent, and settlers and their security guards denied Palestinians, including shepherds and farmers, access to the springs.’

  • While Israeli settlers water their lawns and fill swimming pools, Palestinians living nearby often cannot access an adequate amount of water for drinking, cooking, or proper hygiene.
  • In the West Bank, Israeli settlers consume on average 4.3 times the amount of water as Palestinians. In the Jordan Valley alone, some 9000 settlers in Israeli agricultural settlements use one-quarter the total amount of water consumed by the entire Palestinian population of the West Bank, some 2.5 million people.
  • A 2012 UN report documented the rising use of threats, violence and intimidation by settlers to deny Palestinians access to their water resources in the West Bank. It found that Israeli settlers have been acting systematically to gain control of some 56 springs, most of which are located on private Palestinian land. The report also criticized Israeli authorities for having “systematically failed to enforce the law on those responsible for these acts and to provide Palestinians with any effective remedy.”
  • According to a 2010 Human Rights Watch report, 60,000 Palestinians living in Area C of the West Bank (which is under full

Christians in Iraq?  Christians in Syria? Where to? Why this exodus?

ISIS and Al Nusra extremist wahhabit factions (the main fighting forces in Syria and Iraq) have been forcing Christians sects and other ethnic minority ethnic communities in Iraq and Syria to leave their houses and leave the country.

Christian sects in this region are the oldest Christians in the history of time.

In the first century they formed dozens of sects, which were later dubbed heretics by Byzantium Empire in the 4th century. Most of them had to flee to Persia, Egypt and inaccessible mountain regions to get away from persecutions.

These terrorist Wahhabi factions are displacing entire population and communities from locations they lived there for centuries.

This photo of an 8th Century BC Assyrian statue excavated from Tell Ajajah, near Hasakah on the Khabour River, was taken in May.

Isis has also bulldozed statues of lions along with Sufi and Shia shrines in the Raqqa province, the militant group’s headquarters.

Do you know that ISIS are doing this in the name of – again – Islam? Deja vu ah? Seriously it’s all on you now to force your governments to get the hell out of our countries and let us live in peace and in justice.. Our kind of justice not yours! Enough is enough!
‎لا اكـراه في الـديــن ...<br /> أهلنــا المسيحيون .. بـل قـُل أنـفُـسنـا المسيـحيـون .. رحيق الشرق غادروا الارض التي حَوتّ احلامهم وعـَمروها بكل مايحفظه التاريخ لهم من ابداع ليخرجوا صفر اليدين من ديارهم وتصبح نهبا للاوباش وشذّاذ الآفاق الدواعش .. تهـجيـر اهلنـا مسيحيوا الموصل نقطة سوداء في تاريخ العــراق المعاصـر<br /> .. تحية بحجم الكون لكل مظلوم عراقي وأخر المظلومين نكهة الشرق<br /> وتراثه واحدى أجمل فسيفسائة المسيحيون العراقيون.‎
 من ابداع ليخرجوا صفر اليدين من ديارهم وتصبح نهبا للاوباش وشذّاذ الآفاق الدواعش .. تهـجيـر اهلنـا مسيحيوا الموصل نقطة سوداء في تاريخ العــراق المعاصـر
.. تحية بحجم الكون لكل مظلوم عراقي وأخر المظلومين نكهة الشرق
وتراثه واحدى أجمل فسيفسائة المسيحيون العراقيون.

adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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