As expected, the mainstream media ran its usual number of “Bethlehem stories” over the Christmas holiday, but I’ll post one of the articles that caught my eye that I believe represents (pretty much) the pandering of the international media to the Palestinians’ “victimhood industry”, that helps feed the wrong perception of Israel being always to blame. Also an article that depicts the intimidation/persecution of Christian communities within Muslim societies, something which usually receives little media attention at all.
One is by Aron Heller, titled “Bethlehem Christmas Pilgrims Scarce“, in which he describes the holiday festivities as being somewhat out-of-place in the ME, that featured parades that included bag pipes, kilts and Santa, but when it comes to Israeli security measures, all is strangely familiar and “indigenous”.
“To get to the West Bank town, Michel Sabbah, the Roman Catholic Church’s highest official in the Holy Land, rode in his motorcade through a huge steel gate in the Israeli barrier that separates Jerusalem from Bethlehem.”
Heller then reverts to the familiar habit of referring to the security fence in a symmetrical way;
“Israel says it built the barrier to prevent Palestinian suicide bombers from reaching Israeli population centers”, Israel says – The Palestinians view the structure, which dips into parts of the West Bank, as a land grab.”
Excuse me but..”Israel says”..? A brief look at the statistics prove beyond a shadow of a doubt the effectiveness of the security fence. Homicide terrorism is all but defeated, as well as car theft and a host of other forms of Palestinian terrorism inside Israeli population centers. When it comes the Arab claim of “land grab”, one only has to look at the number of times Israel has moved it’s border fences with Syria, Lebanon and Jordan (at their own expense), to abide by international rulings. Clearly Heller is guilty of falsifying/watering down the facts so as not to present the Arabs in to bad of a light.
Since it’s only Israel’s “say so”, the Catholic clergy then, could possibly be experiencing a “humiliation”, when the evidence speaks otherwise.
The real humiliation that I noticed in the article (that was noted but not expounded upon) was in the following:
“But most of those in Manger Square on Sunday were locals. The sprinkling of foreign tourists included a Polish choir and a handful of South Korean pilgrims who gathered to sing carols in a corner of the square, interrupted briefly by the call to prayer from a nearby mosque.”
It is reminiscent of the time when the late Pope John Paul was officiating at a Catholic Mass being held in an open square in the Palestinian Authority controlled West Bank. The representative of St. Peter on earth for hundreds of millions of Catholics around the world, was forced to witness his prayer of silence being interrupted by the call to prayer by the muezzin. Christian dhimmitude could not have been more openly on display than in that moment.
The article goes on to quote Sabbah saying:
“God wants us all to be peacemakers. He wants every believer who has faith in God – Jewish, Muslim or Christian – to work to make peace,” Sabbah said in his annual Christmas address at his Jerusalem office before going to Bethlehem. “Our leaders so far have only made war, they haven’t made peace.”
This is of course the same type of symmetrical “mish mash” that Heller himself had used earlier. It’s simplistic naivety to believe that peace can be achieved with a side demanding your destruction, as well the effectiveness of barrier against terrorism being depicted as someone’s “say so” . This article by Heller is a disgrace and a sham.
The other article titled “Pope Makes Christmas Appeal for Children“, centers on the Catholic Pontiff’s Christmas message, while offering a window into the plight of Christians around the world that live within a Muslim majority society.
“Speaking from a window overlooking the square, the pope said people should strive to “overcome preconceived ideas and prejudices, tear down barriers and eliminate contrasts that divide – or worse – set individuals and peoples against each other, so as to build together a world of justice and peace.” Those barriers loomed large in the predominantly Muslim countries of Pakistan and Indonesia, where minority Christians attended church under tight security.
There are 31 churches in and around Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, and “we have given security cover to all of them,” said Sikandar Hayat, a senior police officer. Church officials said metal detectors were set up for most services and armed guards watched over worshippers. Authorities were taking no chances: two assailants used a grenade to kill three girls at a tiny Protestant village church in 2002. “I visited Liberty market last night to buy some gifts,” said Masroor Raza, 19, a student at Forman Christian College in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore. “I completed my shopping at earliest and hurried away from the market. You know the security reasons; it’s Christmas Eve.”
In Jakarta, Indonesian police checked worshippers and searched for bombs at churches after warnings by Western nations that Islamic militants might be plotting Christmas attacks. Indonesian officials played down the alerts, common since Christmas Eve bombings across the country killed 19 people in 2000. Still, 18,000 officers were deployed at churches as a precaution, police spokesman Col. I Ketut Untung Yoga Ana said.”
Truth be told, Muslims living in a Christian society have little to fear from the majority population, while Christians (most Jews being already driven out) have to tread lightly and take security measures.
“Most of the crowd gathered in Bethlehem’s Manger Square were local Palestinians with a sprinkling of foreigners. The Islamic militant group Hamas now controls the Palestinian government, and some Christians worried about open celebrations. There were fewer Christmas decorations in Bethlehem than in the past. For the first time, no Christmas carols were broadcast over a loudspeaker system.”
But in Afghanistan the situation in Kabul is different:
“The day was more upbeat on Flower Street in Kabul, capital of the overwhelmingly Muslim nation of Afghanistan, where vendors were selling Christmas trees already decorated with lights and tinsel to foreigners. After the Taliban, we started to make Christmas trees because lots of foreigners are around, and they are asking for them,” said Eidy Mohammad, owner of the Morsal Flower Store. “Business is growing – we had only the wedding season before, but now we have Christmas as well.”
Lets see here, …..Hamas takes control of the PA government and the Palestinian Christians are denied a loudspeaker for their Christmas carols, as well as decorations, while the Afghanis get rid of the Taliban, and do well in marketing Christmas. *L* KGS