Muslim Clerics Call to Destroy Egypt’s Great Pyramids

Waiting for the outrage from liberals, Jew-haters, the UN, NGOs, guardians of historical antiquity, Barack Hussein Obama, the Brits, Egyptians, non-Islamists, the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church, palestiniasts, Hanan Ashwari, the Human Rights Council, Israeli leftists, Jewish frauds, Mahmoud Abbas, museum curators, Egyptologists, Samantha Power, the Vatican, and others, but nope, I am not hearing a single peep.  Via FrontPageMag:

According to several reports in the Arabic media, prominent Muslim clerics have begun to call for the demolition of Egypt’s Great Pyramids—or, in the words of Saudi Sheikh Ali bin Said al-Rabi‘i, those “symbols of paganism,” which Egypt’s Salafi party has long planned to cover with wax.    Most recently, Bahrain’s “Sheikh of Sunni Sheikhs” and President of National Unity, Abd al-Latif al-Mahmoud, called on Egypt’s new president, Muhammad Morsi, to “destroy the Pyramids and accomplish what the Sahabi Amr bin al-As could not.”

Home Game – the movie

Home Game, the movie, takes place June 21, 2005 three weeks before the Israeli government closes Gush Katif in preparation for the disengagement plan.

Home Game, the movie is about the last youth basketball tournament during the Gaza disengagement and it will be online for FREE, for the three weeks from the July 8th, until July 29th.

Click here to watch it.

Beirut banks funneling illicit funds for Hezbollah

Via JPost:

In a move that could destabilize Beirut’s financial position, a US pressure group urged international financial firms on Tuesday to ditch Lebanese debt and securities, saying that Hezbollah is using Lebanon’s banks in a large scale money-laundering scheme that is also helping Iran evade banking sanctions.

New York-based United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI) made public the results of a three-month, confidential investigation into the influence of Iran and Hezbollah on Lebanon’s banking system and its sovereign bond market. The group says Lebanon’s financial system – including Banque du Liban, the country’s central bank – is being used to funnel massive amounts of illicit cash from Hezbollah and its state sponsor, Iran.

Lebanon’s banks then use the laundered money to buy Lebanese sovereign debt, which has the effect of making the country appear far more financially stable than it actually is, UANI claims.

Muslim Persecution of Christians: May 2012

Via Gatestone Institute:

Unlike those nations, such as Saudi Arabia, that have eliminated Christianity altogether, Muslim countries with significant Christian minorities saw much persecution during the month of May: in Egypt, Christians were openly discriminated against in law courts, even as some accused the nation’s new president of declaring that he will “achieve the Islamic conquest of Egypt for the second time, and make all Christians convert to Islam;” in Indonesia, Muslims threw bags of urine on Christians during worship; in Kashmir and Zanzibar, churches were set on fire; and in Mali, Christianity “faces being eradicated.”

Elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa—in Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, the Ivory Coast—wherever Islam and Christianity meet, Christians are being killed, slaughtered, beheaded and even crucified.

Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes, but is not limited to, the following accounts:

Church Attacks

Indonesia encountered several church-related attacks:

  • A mob of 600 Muslims threw bags of urine, stones, and rotten eggs at the congregation of a Protestant church at the start of Ascension Day service; they shouted profanities and threatened to kill the pastor. No arrests were made. The church had applied for a permit to construct its house of worship five years ago. Pressured by local Muslims, the local administration ordered the church shut down in December 2009, even though the Supreme Court recently overruled its decision, saying that the church was eligible for a permit. Local Muslims and officials are nevertheless demanding that the church shut down.
  • After protests “by hard-line groups including the Islamic Defenders Front,” nearly 20 Christian houses of worship were sealed off by authorities on the pretext of “not having permits.” The authorities added that, to accommodate the region’s 20,000 Christians, only one church may be built in the district in question.
  • The Muslim mayor who illegally sealed the beleaguered GKI Yasmin church, forcing congregants to worship in the streets, has agreed to reopen it—but only if a mosque is built next door, to ensure that the church “stays in line.” “As well as opposition from the mayor, the church has faced hostility from local Muslims, who have rallied against them [the Christians], blocked them from accessing the street where the church is situated and disrupted their outdoor services. It is unlikely that they will suddenly embrace the Christians,” according to the report.

France: Prior to celebrating mass, “four youths, aged 14 to 18, broke into the Church of St. Joseph, before launching handfuls of pebbles at 150 faithful present at the service.” They were chased out, although, according to the report, “the parishioners, many of whom are elderly, were greatly shocked by the disrespectful act of the youths of North African origin.”

Kashmir: A Catholic church made entirely of wood was partially destroyed after unknown assailants set it on fire. “What happened,” said the president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, “is not an isolated case,” and follows the “persecution” of a pastor who baptized Muslims. “With these gestures, the Muslim community is trying to intimidate the Christian minority.”

Kuwait: Two months after the Saudi Grand Mufti decreed, in response to a question on whether churches may exist in Kuwait, that all regional churches must be destroyed, villa-churches serving Western foreigners are being targeted. One congregation was evicted without explanation “from a private villa used for worship gatherings for the past seven years;” another villa-church was ordered to “pay an exorbitant fine each month to use a facility it had been renting…. Church leaders reportedly decided not to argue and moved out.”

Zanzibar: Hundreds of Muslims set two churches on fire and clashed with police during protests against the arrest of senior members of an Islamist movement known as the Association for Islamic Mobilization and Propagation. Afterwards, the group issued a statement denying any involvement of wrongdoing.

Pakistan: Apostasy, Blasphemy, Rape, Forced Conversions, and Oppression

  • A 20-year-old Christian man was arrested and charged with “blasphemy”—a crime “punishable with life imprisonment”—after vengeful Muslims accused him of burning a Koran soon after a billiard game. The Muslims kept taunting and threatening him, to which the Christian “dared them to do whatever they wanted and walked away.” Days later came the accusation and arrest, which caused Muslim riots, creating “panic among Christians,” who “left their houses anticipating violence.”
  • Two years ago, after a Muslim man converted to Christianity and told his wife, she abused and exposed him, resulting in his being severely beaten. “No one was willing to let me live the life I wanted [as a Christian]—they say Islam is not a religion of compulsion, but no one has been able to tell me why Muslims who don’t find satisfaction in the religion become liable to be killed.” He eventually divorced, escaped, and remarried a Christian woman. Now that his family has again discovered his whereabouts, they have resumed threatening him. According to his wife: “Every other day, we receive threatening phone calls…They are now asking him to abandon us and renounce Christianity, threatening that they will kill me and our child.”
  • A new report indicates that “on average, eight to ten Christians are being forced every month by fanatic Muslims to convert to Islam, mostly in the provinces of Sindh and Punjab. The victims of forced conversions are often girls from poor backgrounds who are then subjected to harrowing and traumatic ordeals. Most of the girls are vulnerable and unable to defend themselves against extremists because their community is deprived, defenseless and marginalized. Christians, who constitute about two percent of the Pakistani population, are paying a high price for being a part of the minority community.” Two such cases from May follow:
  • In an attempt to force her to drop charges against them for raping her 13-year-old niece, a band of Muslims severely beat a pregnant Christian woman causing her to lose female twins to miscarriage. The rapists came when all male members of the Christian household were out working and beat the women “mercilessly.” “They murdered our children, they raped our daughter. We have nothing left with us,” lamented an older family member. As usual, police ignored both cases: both the raped Christian girl and her beaten family.
  • A 14-year-old Christian girl was abducted and forced to convert to Islam by her uncle, who himself had earlier converted. Pakistani police refused to liberate her, and said she converted of her own free will. According to her father: “After converting, my brother is conspiring against our family and kidnapped Mary with deception.”
  • The investigation into the murder of the nation’s only cabinet-level Christian, Shahbaz Bhatti, has become mired amid suspicions of a possible cover-up. Lax investigations, a series of freed suspects, and lack of coordination across law enforcement organizations have stalled the case after the March 2, 2011 slaying of the federal minister for Minority Affairs, who was an outspoken critic of, and targeted by, those who support Pakistan’s “blasphemy” laws.
  • Christians are being threatened and abused for trying, since 1947, to save their community’s graveyard. Despite failing to produce any proof, a retired Muslim official who claims he “recently discovered” that the land really belongs to him has already built a boundary wall, reducing the graveyard to less than a third of its original size, and turned the seized land over to agricultural use. Police, as usual, are failing to react.

Dhimmitude

[General Abuse, Debasement, and Suppression of non-Muslims as "Tolerated" Citizens]

Egypt: A court verdict that was criticized by many human rights groups as “unbelievable” and “extremely harsh” towards Christians was decided according to religion: all twelve Christians were convicted to life imprisonment, while all eight Muslims—including some who torched nearly 60 Christian homes—were acquitted, all to thunderous cries of “Allahu Akbar!” ["Allah is the Greatest!"] in the courtroom. Another Muslim judge in Upper Egypt dismissed all charges against a group of Muslims who terrorized a Christian man and his family for over a year, culminating with their cutting off his ear in a knife attack while trying to force him to convert to Islam after they “falsely accused him” of having an affair with a Muslim woman. And a new report describes the plight of Coptic girls: “hundreds of Christian girls … have been abducted, forced to convert to Islam, and forced into marriage in Egypt. These incidents are often accompanied by acts of violence, including rape, beatings, and other forms of physical and mental abuse.”

Eritrea: Activists taking part in a protest outside the Eritrean embassy in London revealed that “Some 2,000 to 3,000 Christians are currently detained in Eritrea without charge or trial… Several Christians are known to have died in notorious prison camps,” and “thousands of Eritreans flee their country every year,” some falling “into the hands of abusive traffickers, and are held hostage in torture camps in the Sinai Desert pending payment of exorbitant ransoms, or the forcible removal of organs.”

Ethiopia: A Christian man accused of “desecrating the Koran” spent two years in prison, where he was abused, pressured to convert to Islam, and left paralyzed. Now returning home, he has found that his two young children have been abducted by local Muslims: “My life is ruined—I have lost my house, my children, my health. I am now homeless, and I am limping.”

Greece: Abet Hasman, the deputy mayor of Patras who recently passed away, left a message to be revealed only in his obituary—that, although born to Muslim parents in Jordan, he was “secretly baptized” a Christian (demonstrating how some Muslims who convert to Christianity, knowing the consequences of apostasy, choose secrecy).

Indonesia: A predominantly Christian neighborhood was attacked for several days by “unidentified persons,” who set fire to homes and cars. Dozens of Christian families fled their homes, “many fear[ing] the involvement of Islamic extremist groups.”

Iran: A prominent house church pastor remains behind bars, even as his family expresses concerns that he may die from continued abuse and beatings, leading to internal bleeding and other ailments; authorities refuse to give him medical treatment. Also, the attorney of Youssef Nadarkhani—the imprisoned Christian pastor who awaits execution for apostasy—was himself “convicted for his work defending human rights and is expected to begin serving his nine-year sentence in the near future.” Meanwhile, in a letter attributed to him, the imprisoned pastor wrote: “I have surrendered myself to God’s will…[and I] consider it as the day of exam and trial of my faith…[so that I may] prove my loyalty and sincerity to God.”

Jordan: After the Jordanian Dubai Islamic Bank decreed that all females must wear the hijab, the Islamic veil or be terminated, it fired all female employees who refused to wear the hijab—mostly Christians, including one Christian woman who had worked there for 27 years. There are suspicions that this new policy was set to target and terminate the Christian employees, as it is they who are most likely to reject the hijab.

Lebanon: A 24-year-old woman, the daughter of a Shiite cleric, who was “physically and psychologically tortured by her father for converting to Christianity three years ago,” managed to escape and be baptized by a Christian priest—who was himself then abducted and interrogated to disclose the whereabouts of the renegade woman. In like manner, Muslim assailants fired gunshots at the house of another priest and at a church — “part of an escalating pattern of violence against local Catholics,” in the words of the region’s prelate.

Macedonia: After some Muslims were arrested in connection to a “series of murders of Christians,” thousands of fellow Muslims demonstrated after Friday prayers, shouting slogans such as “death to Christians!,” and calling for “jihad.”

Mali: Ever since the government was overthrown in a coup, “the church in Mali faces being eradicated,” especially in the north, “where rebels want to establish an independent Islamist state and drive Christians out….there have been house to house searches for Christians who might be in hiding, church and Christian property has been looted or destroyed, and people tortured into revealing any Christian relatives.”

Nigeria: Muslim gunmen set fire to a home in a Christian village and then opened fire on all who tried to escape the inferno, killing at least seven and wounding many others, in just one of dozens of attacks on Christians.

Sudan: Without reason, security officials closed down regional offices of the Sudan Council of Churches and a much needed church clinic for the poor; staff members were arrested and taken to an undisclosed location: “Their families are living in agony due to the uncertainty of their fate.”

Syria: Jihadi gunmen evicted all the families of a Christian region, “taking over all the homes of the village, occupying the church and turning it to their base.”

Uzbekistan: Police raided a Protestant house-church meeting, claiming “that a bomb was in the home.” No bomb was found, only Christian literature which was confiscated. Subsequently, 14 members of the unregistered church were heavily fined—the equivalent of 10-60 times a monthly salary—for an “unsanctioned meeting in a private home.” Between February and April, 28 Protestants were fined and four were issued warnings for the offence. Three Baptists were also fined for not declaring their personal Bibles while crossing the border from Kazakhstan into Uzbekistan. Fines and warnings were accompanied by the confiscation of religious literature.

About this Series

Because the persecution of Christians in the Islamic world is on its way to reaching epidemic proportions, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that surface each month. It serves two purposes:

  1. To document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, Muslim persecution of Christians.
  2. To show that such persecution is not “random,” but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Sharia.

Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam; apostasy and blasphemy laws that criminalize and punish with death to those who “offend” Islam; theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed dhimmis, or second-class, “tolerated” citizens; and simple violence and murder. Sometimes it is a combination.

Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to India in the East, and throughout the West wherever there are Muslims—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it.

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Previous Reports:

April, 2012

March, 2012

February, 2012

January, 2012

December, 2011

November, 2011

October, 2011

September, 2011

August, 2011

July, 2011

Radical Islam Spreading in Spain

The report, from The Gatestone Institute, which examines some of the main Islamist groups operating in Spain, shows that the common thread linking all the groups together is their mutual desire to establish an Islamic Caliphate.

Two Islamists have been arrested in Spain on charges of torturing and murdering two fellow Muslims for “abandoning radical Islam.”

The arrests came just days after Spanish newspapers reported that jihadists in Spain are travelling to Syria to help overthrow the government there.

Spanish authorities say the incidents — on top of many others in recent months — point to the accelerating spread in the country of radical Salafi Islam, which Spain’s National Intelligence Center, the CNI, in a leaked secret report — corroborated by the Spanish Institute for Strategic Studies, an organization tied to the Spanish Ministry of Defense, in its own recently published a 43-page report entitled, “Islamist Movements in Spain” — states is increasingly posing the greatest threat to national security.

Greeting by PM Netanyahu to Americans on July 4th, 2012

Via The Prime Minister’s Office, 03/07/2012
 

Ambassador Shapiro, Dan and Julie,
President Peres,
Members of the Israeli Government,
Member of the Knesset,
Distinguished Diplomats
Honored Guests,
And especially the members of the United States Armed Forces,

I’m really thrilled each year to see those wonderful drills that you do with the flags, and that’s another reason I really wanted to be with you tonight.

But I got hurt playing football.

No, not the football with helmets, shoulder pads and the funny shaped ball. How do you throw that thing, anyway?

Well, I was playing a different kind of football. What Americans call “soccer”. But whatever they call it, it hurt, especially in my pride.

But I wanted to express my appreciation to you, Dan, for the wonderful job you are doing as America’s Ambassador to Israel.

And Sara and I also wanted to wish you and Julie a Mazal Tov on the Bat Mitzvah of your daughter, Liat.

Even though I can’t be there in person, I wanted to express my appreciation to President Obama and to the American people as you celebrate Independence Day.

You see, because as Israel’s Prime Minister, I appreciate deeply all that America has done for Israel.

And as the leader of one of the world’s most vibrant democracies – you know how vibrant – I appreciate all the great sacrifices that America has made in order to advance liberty and democracy throughout the world.

America’s revolution was founded on two very powerful ideas.

First, that people should have the right to elect their own leaders and be sovereign over their own destiny.

And Second, that the power of those leaders, the power of governments, must be checked so that individual rights will be protected.

I’m always moved, no matter how many years pass, I’m always moved when I read Thomas Jefferson’s words:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident.
That all men are created equal.
That they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights.
That among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

Precisely.

The American Revolution brought these two powerful ideas together and they made America a beacon of liberty for all humanity.

Now, you know that the Middle East is undergoing a profound and historic transformation, and the question arises: will these twin ideas, will they become rooted in our region too?

All those who value freedom should remember that to be a real democracy, it is not enough to have a government that represents the majority of the people.

Real democracy also means having a government that respects the rights of each and every individual in it.

Real democracy is not merely about holding popular elections.

It is about what happens between elections.

It means ensuring that no one is above the law.

It means protecting free speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion.

It means upholding the rights of women, minorities, gays, children, everyone.

By ensuring both popular sovereignty and individual rights, the nations of the region can join America and Israel in being genuine democracies.

Now, will this happen?

In the near term, I think we’ll all agree, there’s ample reason for skepticism.

The forces currently throughout the region that are rising are not exactly…how shall I put it? They’re not exactly Jeffersonians.

But in the long term, in the long term I believe there’s reason for hope.

Because with the spread of information technology, it will become increasingly difficult to keep young minds closed, cloistered in darkness.

Ultimately, the power of freedom is bound to prevail.

Ultimately, people throughout the Middle East will enjoy the rights that we in free societies too often take for granted.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

July 4th is a time to not take freedom for granted.

It’s a time to be thankful that history granted America the power to match its ideals with action.

It’s a time for free people everywhere to send their best wishes to the United States of America, to the country that has done so much to make the world a safer, freer and more peaceful place.

So on behalf of the people of Israel, let me wish President Obama and all the American people a Happy Independence Day.

Or as they say in small towns across America: Chag Sameach.

The Church of the Nativity has been hijacked

UNESCO has listed the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem as a World Heritage Site under the name “Palestine.”  Via CSMonitor:

The Palestinians on Friday persuaded the U.N. cultural agency to list the Church of the Nativity — the place where Christians believe Jesus was born — as an endangered World Heritage site despite misgivings by churches in charge of the basilica.

“We are ecstatic,” Palestinian spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi said of Friday’s 13-6 by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The Palestinians had argued that the shrine ( Smooth:  Notice usage of the word “shrine” as opposed to  “Christian Holy Site”) faces imminent danger, both because of overdue repairs and Israel’s continued occupation of the West Bank.

Israel and the U.S. strongly opposed the emergency bid, arguing that the church is not under threat, a position backed by a U.N. experts committee.

Anti-Israel Christians Pray for Divestment

Via FrontPage Mag:  In July, the 2 million member Presbyterian Church (USA) will ponder divestment  against Israel.  The head of the Presbyterian committee of the Israel/Palestine Mission Network, Carol Hylkema, is contacting Methodist delegates encouraging them to sound the anti-Israel trumpet.

Contact Carol Hylkema, membership@theIPMN.org, on behalf of the Steering Committee of the Israel Palestine Mission Network and let her know that you are amazed that she can sleep well at night while palestinians send thousands of rockets into Israel almost on a daily basis.

 

 

Mahmoud Abbas: Jerusalem only has Islamic and Christian history

Mahmoud Abbas:
Jerusalem only has Islamic and Christian history,
Israel’s “Judaization” is stealing Jerusalem’s
“cultural, human, and Islamic-Christian
religious history”
Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor:
Israel is creating “artificial heritage
with a Jewish spirit at the expense
of its [Jerusalem's] true and authentic [identity]
as an Arab, Islamic and Christian city”
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority continue to deny Israel’s 3,000 years of history in Jerusalem, claiming it is solely an Arab, Muslim and Christian city. Earlier this month, Abbas referred to Israel’s presence and activities in Jerusalem as “Judaization” and stated that Israel is stealing what he called the “cultural, human, and Islamic-Christian religious history.”
Last month, Abbas’ advisor for Jerusalem said that Israel is trying:
“to create an artificial heritage with a Jewish spirit at the expense of its true and authentic [identity] as an Arab, Islamic and Christian city.”
This is not the first time that Abbas has denied Jewish history in Jerusalem and claimed the city for Islam alone. Palestinian Media Watch has reported that Mahmoud Abbas said that taking Jerusalem from Israel is a religious Islamic obligation of the highest level, a “fard ayn” – a personal Islamic commandment incumbent on every Muslim:
“I say to the leaders of our Arab nation and to its peoples: Jerusalem and its environs are a trust that Allah entrusted to us. Saving it [Jerusalem] from the settlement monster and the danger of Judaization and [land] confiscation is a personal [Islamic] commandment [Arabic: fard ayn] incumbent on all of us. Therefore, I call all of you to serious and urgent action to save [Jerusalem] and to make available all possibilities in order to strengthen our resolve and to maintain its historical, cultural and religious character.”
[Al-Jazeera TV, March 27, 2010]
In a different speech, Abbas said in 2010:
“The oppressor will not last in Jerusalem; the oppression will not endure. Victory will come, Allah willing. This land is Allah’s best land, for which He chooses the finest of His believers, as it is written in the words of the Prophet [Muhammad].”
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 11, 2010]
Abbas’ Minister of Religion Mahmoud Al-Habbash claimed that Jerusalem has been:

“throughout history, the capital of the Palestinian state and the capital of the Palestinian people.”

[PA TV (Fatah), Aug. 20, 2010]
Neither claim is correct. There has never been a Palestinian state and Jerusalem was never the capital of an Arab or Muslim state. Nonetheless, the minister warned there would be religious war over Jerusalem:
“The term ‘war’ cannot be erased from the lexicon of this region as long as Jerusalem is occupied.”
[PA TV (Fatah), Aug. 20, 2010]
The Palestinian Authority Mufti Muhammad Hussein likewise recently denied Jewish history in Jerusalem:
“They [Jews] want to say or suggest that this place (i.e., the Temple Mount) was once, according to their claim, a Temple. However, in truth, there never was a Temple in any period, nor was there, at any time, any place of worship for the Jews or others at the Al-Aqsa Mosque site (i.e., which was built on the Temple Mount, 705 CE).”
[PA TV (Fatah), Jan. 5, 2012]
The following are the recent statements by Mahmoud Abbas and his advisor on Jerusalem, followed by Abbas’ earlier comments and the remarks of the Minister of Religion:
“President Mahmoud Abbas held a series of meetings in Tunis… the President met with the Arab ambassadors to Tunisia… He explained to the guests the policies that are being adopted by the occupation authorities (i.e., Israel) – Judaization, destruction of homes, causing the emigration of Palestinian inhabitants, and imposition of high taxes; the continued excavations under the Al-Aqsa Mosque; [and he explained] the need for Arab cohesion in order to protect what remains of the holy city, and the [Israeli] attempts to steal its cultural, human, and Islamic-Christian religious history.”
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 1, 2012]
“Advisor on Jerusalem affairs to the Palestinian President’s Office, Ahmed Al-Ruweidi… said: ‘Israel is managing to seize the land in the city; at the same time, the chances of maintaining its Arab and Islamic identity are small, since the occupation authorities are carrying out the 2020 plan, which is meant to establish the Jewishness of Jerusalem and to create a new and fabricated facade with an artificial heritage… about Jewish existence in Jerusalem… It is not befitting a city with the importance of Jerusalem, with what it represents, that it should continue to be subject to occupation… and that there should be repeated, ongoing attempts to change its geographical, demographic and cultural characteristics, and to create an artificial heritage with a Jewish spirit at the expense of its true and authentic [identity] as an Arab, Islamic and Christian city.’”
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 25, 2012]
Mahmoud Abbas, addressing the leaders of Arab countries at the Arab League summit in Libya, on March 27, 2010:
“I say to the leaders of our Arab nation and to its peoples: Jerusalem and its environs are a trust that Allah entrusted to us. Saving it [Jerusalem] from the settlement monster and the danger of Judaization and [land-] confiscation, is a personal [Islamic] commandment [Arabic: fard ayn] incumbent on all of us. Therefore, I call all of you to serious and urgent action to save [Jerusalem] and to make available all possibilities in order to strengthen our resolve and to maintain its historical, cultural and religious character.”
[Al-Jazeera TV, March 27, 2010]

Click to view

Mahmoud Al-Habbash, PA Minister of Religious Affairs with Mahmoud Abbas in the audience:
“Jerusalem is not just a city. Al-Aqsa is not just a mosque. Jerusalem is the key to peace, and Jerusalem can ignite a thousand and one wars. Unless the issue of Jerusalem is solved, so that it returns to its owners; unless Jerusalem will be Palestinian, as it was throughout history, the capital of the Palestinian state and the capital of the Palestinian people, the place which is the object of heartfelt longing and which all Muslims aspire to reach; unless Jerusalem is like that way, there is no peace. There is no peace without Jerusalem. There is no stability without Jerusalem. If Jerusalem is dishonored, if Jerusalem is disgraced, if [Jerusalem] is lost, it may leave the door open to all possibilities of struggle, all possibilities of war. The term ‘war’ cannot be erased from the lexicon of this region as long as Jerusalem is occupied, as long as Jerusalem is disgraced, as long as the residents of Jerusalem are being targeted. It’s not possible; Jerusalem has to return to its owners. And we are its owners.”
[PA TV (Fatah), Aug. 20, 2010]

Click to view

“Eventually, All Humans Will Be Palestine Refugees”

by Daniel Pipes
The Washington Times
February 21, 2012

http://www.danielpipes.org/10695/unrwa-palestine-refugees

Of all the issues that drive the Arab-Israeli conflict, none is more central, malign, primal, enduring, emotional, and complex than the status of those persons known as Palestine refugees.

The origins of this unique case, notes Nitza Nachmias of Tel Aviv University, goes back to Count Folke Bernadotte, the United Nations Security Council’s mediator. Referring to those Arabs who fled the British mandate of Palestine, he argued in 1948 that the UN had a “responsibility for their relief” because it was a UN decision, the establishment of Israel, that had made them refugees. However inaccurate his view, it still remains alive and potent and helps explain why the UN devotes unique attention to Palestine refugees pending their own state.

 

Folke Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg (1895-1948), whose legacy still guides United Nations policy vis-à-vis Palestinians.

True to Bernadotte’s legacy, the UN set up a range of specialinstitutions exclusively for Palestine refugees. Of these, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, founded in 1949, stands out as the most important. It is both the only refugee organization to deal with a specific people (the United Nations High Commission for Refugees takes care of all non-Palestinian refugees) and the largest UN organization (in terms of staff).

 

UNRWA seemingly defines its wards with great specificity: “Palestine refugees are people whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict.” The ranks of these refugees (who initially included some Jews) have, of course, much diminished over the past 64 years. Accepting UNRWA’s (exaggerated) number of 750,000 original Palestine refugees, only a fraction of that number, about 150,000 persons, remain alive.

UNRWA’s staff has taken three major steps over the years to expand the definition of Palestine refugees. First, and contrary to universal practice, it continued the refugee status of those who became citizens of an Arab state (Jordan in particular). Second, it made a little-noticeddecision in 1965 that extended the definition of “Palestine refugee” to the descendants of those refugees who are male, a shift that permits Palestine refugees uniquely to pass their refugee status on to subsequent generations. The U.S. government, the agency’s largest donor, only mildly protested this momentous change. The UN General Assembly endorsed dit in 1982, so that now the definition of a Palestine refugee officially includes “descendants of Palestine refugee males, including legally adopted children.” Third, UNRWA in 1967 added refugees from the Six-Day War to its rolls; today they constitute about a fifth of the Palestine refugee total.

These changes had dramatic results. In contrast to all other refugee populations, which diminish in number as people settle down or die, the Palestine refugee population has grown over time. UNRWA acknowledges this bizarre phenomenon: “When the Agency started working in 1950, it was responding to the needs of about 750,000 Palestine refugees. Today, 5 million Palestine refugees are eligible for UNRWA services.” Further, according to James G. Lindsay, a former UNRWA general counsel, under UNRWA’s definition, that 5 million figure represents only half of those potentially eligible for Palestine refugee status.

In other words, rather than diminish 5-fold over six decades, UNRWA has the population of refugees increase almost 7-fold. That number could grow faster yet due to the growing sentiment that female refugees should also pass on their refugee status. Even when, in about 40 years, the last actual refugee from mandatory Palestine dies, pseudo-refugees will continue to proliferate. Thus is the “Palestine refugee” status set to swell indefinitely. Put differently, as Steven J. Rosen of the Middle East Forum notes, “given UNRWA’s standards, eventually all humans will be Palestine refugees.”

Were the Palestine refugee status a healthy one, this infinite expansion would hardly matter. But the status has destructive implications for two parties: Israel, which suffers from the depredations of a category of persons whose lives are truncated and distorted by an impossible dream of return to their great-grandparents’ houses; and the “refugees” themselves, whose status implies a culture of dependency, grievance, rage, and futility.

 

A giant key (said to be the world’s largest) sits atop the entrance to the Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, reminding residents to insist on their “right of return.”

 

All other refugees from the World War II era (including my own parents) have been long settled; the Palestine refugee status has already endured too long and needs to be narrowed down to actual refugees before it does further damage.

Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. This article is based on a recent MEF seminar in Jerusalem on UNRWA.© 2012 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.