Thoughts and Truth from the Impossible Life

Accused of being anti-Palestinian

Accused of being anti-Palestinian.

 

December 27, 2011 Posted by | Christianity / God, Politics/Government/Freedom, Societal / Cultural Issues, Understanding Islam, World Affairs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Real Palestine IS Israel

The Real Palestine IS the “Land of Israel” is a direct translation of the Hebrew phrase ארץ ישראל (Eretz Yisrael), found in the Five Books of Moses known as the Torah)

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the geographic term “Palestine” was predominantly associated – from biblical times until the 1948 establishment of Israel – with the Jewish people, Jewish history and Jewish geography. It was the crux of Jewish national aspirations, the Jewish homeland.

In 135 A.D., Judea was renamed “Palestina” by the Roman Emperor Hadrian following the suppression of the Jewish uprising, in order to eradicate Jewish nationhood and to uproot the inherent Jewish attachment to the Land of Israel. Similarly, Jerusalem was renamed “Aelia Capitolina,” in honor of Aelius Hadrian and the Roman Capitol, in an attempt to obliterate Jewish association with the spiritual and physical core of Judaism.

Since 1949, and increasingly since 1967, the term “Palestine” has been employed by Israel’s enemies in order to delegitimize the existence of the Jewish state. In April 1950, Judea and Samaria were renamed “the West Bank” by the Jordanian occupation, in order to assert Jordanian rule and expunge Jewish connection to the cradle of Jewish history. Until 1950, all official Ottoman, British and prior records referred to “Judea and Samaria” and not to the “West Bank.”

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“Palestine” is a derivative of the Hebrew term “Plishtim” (invaders), the Biblical name of the Philistines, non-Semites from the Greek islands and from Phoenicia, who migrated in the 12th century B.C.E. to Pleshet, along the Mediterranean. The term “Palestine” was established, in the 5th century B.C., by the Greek historian Herodotus and adopted in 135 A.D. by the Roman Empire in an attempt to erase “Judaea” from human memory.

According to Professor Bernard Lewis, the icon of Middle East historians (International History Review, January, 1980), “the earliest attempts at a territorial definition of the country later known as Palestine are in the Bible.” In its attempts to devastate Jewish national aspirations, the Roman Empire attached Palestine to the province of Syria. In 400 A.D., Palestine was split into Palestina Prima – with its capital in Caesarea – and Palestina Secunda – with its capital in Bethshean, further diminishing the stature of Jerusalem.

Lewis notes that the 7th century Arab conquest of Palestine perpetuated the neglect of Jerusalem, while elevating the status of Lydda, Ramla and Tiberias:

In the early medieval Arabic usage, Filastin [Palestine] and Urdunn [Jordan] were sub-districts forming part of the greater geographical entity known as Syria … Under Roman, Byzantine and Islamic rule, Palestine was politically submerged. It reappeared only under the Crusaders … the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem …

“Under the successors of Saladin, and still more under the Mamluks, the country was redistributed in new territorial units … with its capital in Damascus…. After the Ottoman conquest in 1516-17, the country was divided into Ottoman administrative districts … subject to the authority of the governor-general of Damascus … [The term Palestine] was no longer used by Muslims, for whom it had never meant more than an administrative sub-district and it had been forgotten even in that limited sense …

With the British conquest in 1917-18, Palestine became the official name of a definite territory for the first time since the early Middle Ages…. Palestine at this moment included both banks of the Jordan … On November 29, 1947, the General Assembly of the U.N. adopted a [non-binding] resolution approving the partition of mandatory Palestine into three components: a Jewish state, an Arab state and an international zone … [The Arab] rejected the partition resolution and went to war to prevent its implementation … The Palestine entity, formally established and defined by Britain, was formally abolished in 1948 with the termination of the Mandate.

The Land of Israel (Palestine) has played a critical role in Jewish history, religion, nationalism, culture, language and personal and communal relationships, compared with the marginal role played by Palestine in Arab and Muslim history. Hence the moral high ground for mandating the establishment of a Jewish state by the 1917 Balfour Declaration (on both sides of the Jordan River) and the 1922 League of Nations’ British Mandate for Palestine (from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean). Article 80 of the U.N. Charter upholds the “Mandate for Palestine” which has not been overruled until today.

The fact that most Arab towns and villages in Judea and Samaria have retained their original Biblical Jewish names highlights Jewish roots in the Land of Israel (Palestine). For example, Bethlehem, Hebron, A-Dura is Biblical Adora’yim, A-Ram is Haramah, Anata is Anatot, Batir is Beitar, Beit-Hur is Beit Horon, Beitin is Bethel, Mukhmas is Mikhmash, Seilun is Shilo, Tequa’ is Teqoah, etc.

These sites are not occupied by the Jewish state. They are the epitome of the Jewish moral high ground and statehood in the Land of Israel, Palestine.

December 26, 2011 Posted by | Christianity / God, Politics/Government/Freedom, Societal / Cultural Issues, Understanding Islam, World Affairs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bed Bath and Beyond Support Israel

I have posted this to Bed, Bath & Beyond Facebook page and emailed it to their corporate office:

I formally request that Bed Bath & Beyond not give in to the insane pressure of CODEPINK to remove Ahava and SodaStream products from your stores. CODEPINK completely is wrong in the position about the Israeli issues in the Middle East and these companies provide good jobs for their employees, both Israeli and non-Israeli which provides stability to the area.

(I purposesly didn’t put Palestinian employees since there is no such people as Palestinian, but rather displaced Arabs from Jordan, Syria, etc. when they were disenfranchised from those countries of which they had previously been members. It is a recent invention to talk of Palestinian people. This identity didn’t previously exist prior to the Arab War of Aggression against Israel, also know as the Six-day War.)

March 31, 2011 Posted by | Politics/Government/Freedom, Societal / Cultural Issues, Understanding Islam, World Affairs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Middle East Christians Under Attack

A few years ago I was in the West Bank with a Christian missionary who worked among Jews and Muslims. The Jewish converts came to his home for Sunday services that were held in both English and Hebrew. But to gather with Arab converts he had to meet them secretly on the outskirts of their town lest his mere presence put their lives in jeopardy.

“My brother became a Christian at the same time as I did,” one Palestinian told me. “But neither of us knew of the other’s conversion for many years. It would have been too dangerous, until the missionary was certain of our conviction.”

We were sitting in a clearing in the brush that was one of the converts’ meeting places. I imagined that Jesus and his disciples must have prayed in places like this, maybe even here. An Israeli Defense Forces patrol passing on the nearby road stopped to see what was going on. The missionary explained to the officer in charge, who nodded and went on his way.

“My brother and I converted because we knew we needed love in our lives,” the Palestinian continued. “I think that Jesus is going to bless the Palestinian people by spreading his gospel of love here.”

Perhaps someday, but for now the Christians of the Middle East are facing danger. Both recent converts and ancient congregations—the Assyrians in Iraq, the Copts in Egypt, Lebanon’s Maronite Catholics, and more, long antedating Islam—are under fire. The land where Christianity began is being cleansed of Jesus’ followers. It is possible that we will soon see an event without precedent: the end of a living Christian witness in this region after more than 2,000 years.

So why now? And how did Christians manage to thrive here in the past?

“We survived, but not the way we wanted to,” says Habib Efram, president of the Syriac League of Lebanon, which represents some 60,000 Syriac Christians. Efram often visits the much larger Syriac Christian community in Iraq, which is under siege. “Some were forced to leave the country, and there have been massacres,” Efram tells me on the phone from Beirut.

“The Christians have always been under attack,” explains Lebanese political analyst Elie Fawaz. “Our numbers used to be much higher throughout the Middle East. We were here centuries before the Muslims, so there used to be many more Christians, until the raids and conversions to Islam.”

In Mt. Lebanon, the country’s Christian heartland, there’s a valley called Wadi Qadisha where the Maronites held off the Mamluk sultans in the 13th century. It was partly geography that ensured the survival of Lebanon’s Christian community. The Mediterranean coast provided access to European powers—the Vatican and France—that have long seen themselves as the protectors of Lebanon’s Christians; and the high mountain passes afforded a vantage point that turned hostile incursions into suicide missions as the Christians picked off intruders one by one. It is no coincidence that Hezbollah has bought and expropriated property in Lebanon’s mountains. There the party can survey not only its Israeli enemy, but its local Christian foes as well, whom Hezbollah and its pro-Syrian allies have targeted in a series of assassinations over the last six years.

“The Maronites are politicized,” says Fawaz. “You cannot compare them to Iraqi Christians.” That is, Lebanon’s Christians are under attack from rivals who wish to take their power, while Iraq’s and Egypt’s besieged Christian sects are powerless to defend themselves against superior numbers, and no one is willing or able to protect them.

Even rhetorical defenses of the Christians are cautious. Pope Benedict, like popes before him, chooses his words carefully when addressing the situation of Middle Eastern Christians, lest they be made to pay for perceived slights. Arab nationalists and Sunni Islamists assume that any discussion of regional minorities—whether Christians, Jews, or even Shia—by outsiders is coded language for a project to colonize the Middle East on behalf of the great powers. To be sure, the French did come to the aid of the Maronites in Lebanon in 1860 to end the war between them, the Druze, and their Ottoman overlords. And after the First World War, France held the mandate for Lebanon and rewarded what was then a Christian majority with a constitution that gave most of the power to the Maronites.

Lebanon’s civil war from 1975 to 1990 was largely a product of shifting demographics and a changing political culture. While the Christian community fought to preserve the state’s territorial integrity and avoid war with Israel, the country’s increasingly numerous Sunnis wanted to attach themselves to the great Arab cause—Palestine—and open the border with Israel to the Palestinian resistance. After the war, the Taif Agreement of 1989 gave more political say to the Sunnis and Shia. It made official what everyone knew: Lebanon’s Christians had lost.

“We don’t want foreign support,” says Habib Efram, by which he means a Western military adventure on behalf of the Christians. “We don’t want the West thinking of Christians as puppets of the West, using us for their agenda. We are from the Middle East and belong here.”

What they want, he says, is something like a Marshall Plan for Middle East Christians—“Some money to build schools and other programs.” “The United States,” he continues, “can also ensure that Christian minorities are fairly represented in their parliaments. The Copts make up 10 percent of Egypt’s population, and yet there are only 2 or 3 elected Coptic representatives and another few named by the government. The Copts should have at least 40 seats out of the 500-seat parliament. In Iraq, even with only 3 percent of the population the Christians should have 14 members of parliament.” Instead, they have only 2.

It is a fantasy of U.S. omnipotence familiar in the region. It would take U.S. troops, of course, to ensure the safety of U.S.-backed programs; nor could a more robust representation of Christians in weak Arab assemblies—even if the United States had a way of bringing it about—prevent the murder of Christians by mobs or terrorists. Efram’s hazy plan seems the wishful thinking of a minority under fire with nowhere to turn.

Efram attributes the rise in anti-Christian violence to the virulent strain of radical Islam that began with the Muslim Brotherhood and now comes in both Sunni and Shia variants. Arab security services fight Islamist groups when it suits regime interests—and it is dangerous for regimes to be perceived as siding with Christians against the Muslim majority. Thus, every day brings a fresh outrage against Egypt’s Copts, while the Cairo government’s notoriously active, and vicious, security services sit idly by. In Iraq, some Christians even long for the reign of Saddam Hussein and his Christian deputy, Tariq Aziz, who protected them.

That notion of “protection” has a particular history. Since the Arab conquests beginning in the mid-seventh century, Christians and Jews under Muslim rule were recognized as “people of the book.” In theory, they were protected minorities, or dhimmi. But they could not enjoy equality with the Muslim, typically Sunni, majority, and the lot of dhimmis varied with the disposition of the rulers. That Saddam, for instance, “protected” Christians to some degree did not ensure that his sons would have done the same.

And as for the glory days of Middle Eastern coexistence that supposedly preceded the rise of the present extremists, the Ottomans’ slaughter of the Armenians and other Christians belies it. As long as believers are without legal rights guaranteed by governments willing and able to enforce them, the Christian presence in the region will be in peril.

Lee Smith is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard.

Original Article Here:

January 20, 2011 Posted by | Christianity / God, Politics/Government/Freedom, Societal / Cultural Issues, Understanding Islam, World Affairs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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