THE POPE GOES VISITING
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THE POPE GOES VISITING

May 9, 2001

THE POPE VISITS THE EASTERN CHURCH AND A ONCE-CHRISTIAN MOSQUE

SEEDS OF HISTORIC RELIGIOUS WAR NOW PLANTED?

MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 5/08: With the creation of a "Jewish State" in the Holy Land, in a sense a new era began twisting the modern-day concept of nationality back to one of ethnic and religious identification. Whereas the old Ottoman Empire turned into Turkish secularism, the creation of a "Jewish State" in the 20th century has in turn fostered a major historical twist toward "Muslim" political power, best represented by the Iranian revolution in 1979 and the rise of Hizbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in occupied Palestine, and other movements spreading the Muslim reach for state authority from Algeria to Indonesia. Last month's gathering of forces from some 30 countries in opposition to both Israel's "peace process" and Israeli power noteably took place in Tehran, presided over by the leading Muslim as well as State authorities of that important State.

Now in his final years the Pope of Rome, no doubt seeing the dangerous turns that if unchecked could lead to renewed religious schisms and possible religious wars in the future, is taking some desperate steps to try to head off such developments. First he tried to open a dialogue with the Jewish faith by reversing church doctrine and then visiting the shrines of the Jewish Israeli State, but it has been rough going and there are doubts the rapproachment will bear much fruit other than among a small group at the top. Even so the Zionist movement is thrilled because the Pope's very visit to Israel has further legitimized the very concept of "Jewish" Statehood in their eyes.

And now before all of our eyes the Pope of Rome is attempting to breach the thousand year-old schism with the Orthodox Church as well as the even longer one with the the Muslim faith -- taking historic symbolic steps against centuries encrusted and nearly locked in place by confused myths and theological abstractions.

Even so, these symbolic steps may not be sufficient to reverse the tide toward renewed religious conflict; especially as other political and social forces push apart at the grassroots even while the leaders at the top, the Pope in the forefront, desperately attempt to heal the deep breaches of the past before they erupt again in the era of weapons of mass destruction.

This said, let's not forget the miserable history of this and previous Popes of Rome when it comes to the Palestinian refugees and Palestinian Statehood. No Pope had ever visited a Palestinian refugee camp until it appeared the Israelis were in favor of a mini-and quasi Palestinian State and a Palestinian leader was about to pay the huge price in concessions demanded by Israel to get it. At the time of the Pope's visit to Deheishe Refugee Camp near Bethlehem, it appeared he was doing so as a tag-on to his visit to Israel and as an endorsement of the disengenuous "Peace Process" on the road to the Camp David entrampment. Furthermore, the Pope didn't seem to pay much attention to the fact that within minutes of his departure from Deheishe the very "Palestinian Authority" he came to legitimize was busy shooting and beating the very same refugees in the very same "camp".

This particular article from the right-wing pro-Israeli Daily Telegraph highlights the bitterness and divisions the Pope's recent visits and acts have brought to the surface and which may already be beginning to spiral out of control transforming a heretofore largely political and territorial conflict into one defined far more by religious identification.

POPE REJECTS CALL BY SYRIAN LEADER TO OPPOSE ISRAEL

By Alan Philps in Damascus

[The Daily Telegraph, UK, 7 May] THE Pope yesterday rebuffed a call by President Bashar Assad of Syria to join his struggle against Israel on the grounds that the Jewish state was "killing the principles of all divine faiths".

The Syrian leader's tirade, made in a welcoming speech to the Pope on Saturday, was condemned by Israel as anti-Semitic and harking back to a past era when the Roman Catholic Church officially blamed the Jews for the death of Jesus Christ. Mr Assad, who took power from his father less than a year ago, did not mention Israel or the Jews by name. But he said Palestinians were being murdered by "those who killed the principle of equality when they claimed God created a people distinguished above all other peoples".

He added: "They try to kill all the principles of divine faiths with the same mentality of betraying Jesus Christ and torturing Him, and in the same way that they tried to commit treachery against the Prophet Mohammed." Mr Assad urged the Vatican to join the Islamic struggle against Israeli "oppression and persecution", saying: "The application of heavenly tenets requires taking a stand against those who oppose them."

Mr Assad's stance will not have surprised the Pope, as the new Syrian leader has twice denounced the Israelis as "more racist than the Nazis".

While the main purpose of his visit to Syria is spiritual - to follow in the steps of St Paul and bring Muslims and Christians together - the Pope is under no illusion that he could avoid the blood-soaked politics and hatred of the region.

In a homily to 45,000 Christians of various rites at a stadium in Damascus, the Pope stressed that, despite his criticism of Israel, he would not join any ostracism of the Jews.

"In this holy land, Christians, Muslims and Jews are called to work together, with confidence and boldness," he said.

"They must work to bring about without delay the day when the legitimate rights of all peoples are respected and they can live in peace and mutual understanding."

The Pope said he hoped that in the region, "fear will turn into trust and contempt to mutual esteem, that force will give way to dialogue, and that a genuine desire to serve the common good will prevail". In view of the Pope's frail health and visible fatigue, most of the homily was read out by a senior cleric, with the Pontiff delivering only the opening and closing passages.

In Israel, Avi Pazner, a diplomatic adviser to the Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, condemned the Syrian president's remarks as "ignoble and clearly demonstrating anti-Semitism".

In advance of the Pope's visit, Syria has adopted a new slogan for the country as "the cradle of faith and civilisation" in contrast to Israel which, the Syrians say, has no historic right to exist in the region. Mr Assad said Syria had protected St Paul after he was baptised in Damascus and allowed him to spread the Christian faith all over the world. Similarly, he said, Islam spread from Syria throughout the world.

The harsh words about Israel contrasted with the otherwise festive atmosphere of the papal visit, with Christians of all rites joining together to welcome the Pope.

Syria has about two million Christians in an overwhelmingly Muslim population of 17 million. Although it has many problems - economic stagnation and a stifling lack of political freedom which Mr Assad is just beginning to ease - communal strife is not one of them. Under the iron rule of the Ba'ath party, the security forces smashed the power of the Islamic fundamentalists in the 1970s and 80s, allowing the Christians to live in greater freedom than in any other Muslim-majority country in the Middle East.


May 2001


Magazine



FEISAL HUSSEINI - DEAD AT 60 IN KUWAIT
(May 31, 2001)
Feisal Husseini will be buried tomorrow in Jerusalem with great circumstance. However whatever else he was, and many think he was a good and committed man, he was a fairly simple man and he certainly was not a great man.

SHARON SHOULD SURRENDER TO HISTORY
(May 25, 2001)
Like many nation states born out of war, Israel must re-evaluate its past in order to move forward, argues Mark Mazower*

THE GAZA GHETTO/PRISON
(May 25, 2001)
The "Gaza Strip" is a huge ghetto; created of course by the Israelis. In a sense it is also the largest prison in the world as the great majority of those who reside in Gaza are unable to leave and return through any of the handful of Israeli army checkposts which control who comes and goes.

APARTHEID ISRAEL
(May 24, 2001)
"There is a huge gap between us (Jews) and our enemies -- not just in ability but in morality, culture, sanctity of life, and conscience. They are our neighbors here, but it seems as if at a distance of a few hundred meters away, there are people who do not belong to our continent, to our world, but actually belong to a different galaxy."

WATER WARS
(May 24, 2001)
In the end its not really the "settlements" that will determine which civilization will prosper in the once Holy Land now so fought over by the descendants of Abraham. Control and use of WATER is even more at the heart of the conflict between the two competing societies.

CONTINUE THE INTIFADA
(May 23, 2001)
It's a terrible deal for the Palestinians actually -- they expected to give up their very justifiable struggle against the occupier in exchange for another promise to "freeze settlements". Gee...it was just last year that Yasser Arafat was proclaiming ad infinitum that no matter what there would be a Palestinian State by the end of the year!

WHAT THE "MITCHELL COMMISSION REPORT" REALLY SAYS
(May 23, 2001)
"Here's your lifeline Yasser, Nabil, Jabril, and all you Palestinian VIPs -- and you better grab it because it may be the last one you get".

THE MITCHELL COMMISSION REPORT -- A LONG SORDID HISTORY
(May 22, 2001)
The big fix is on of course with the "Mitchell Commission Report". Other madmen desperately scampering from one TV studio to the next are "Ambassador" Dennis Ross, now back at the Israeli/Jewish lobby from whence he came, and of course Senator Mitchell, himself retired from the most pro-Israeli political body on the planet ...

ARAFAT AND THE WORLD FORCED TO DANCE TO SHARON'S WAR TUNES
(May 21, 2001)
The Israelis are pushing their lies, schemes, deceptions, and brutality more than ever these days. It's all designed of course to demoralize and confuse the Palestinians, to twist and torture them into submission.

BREAKING NEWS - RAJOUB HIT
(May 20, 2001)
Jibril Rajoub is a favorite of the CIA, the headquarters of which he has personally visited numerous times in recent years on his visits to Washington. His force is the main one trained by the CIA in order to keep the Arafat Regime in power ...

TRUE MARTYRDOM
(May 20, 2001)
Mahmoud Ahmed Marmash -- 21 and now departed -- never knew anything other than Israel's brutal military occupation. He never knew anything other than Arab "client regimes" and the Arafat "Authority". He never knew anything other than a savage Israeli army, fueled by an increasingly racist ideology, armed and financed by America.

ISRAEL - APARTHEID IN THE MIDDLE EAST
(May 20, 2001)
A little trip back in history's lane will result in all kinds of close connections between Israel and South Africa in the days of Apartheid. And during that trip one will discover that Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin were at the top of the list of those promoting those relations.

THE ARAB AMERICANS and their "CLIENT ORGANIZATIONS"
(May 19, 2001)
There are many desperate and depressed people out there these days, especially among Palestinians, their friends, and the Jewish left that is mortified to awaken to find itself with Ariel Sharon as Prime Minister, the hoped for salvation of the Oslo "Peace Process" destroyed, and one of their false prophets, Shimon Peres, at Sharon's side.

SUICIDE BOMB, ISRAELI AIR STRIKES CAUSE NEW CARNAGE
(May 18, 2001)
A suicide bombing followed by retaliatory Israeli air strikes killed 16 people and injured 200 on Friday in one of the bloodiest days since a Palestinian uprising erupted nearly eight months ago.

ISRAEL'S ARMY - A NEW, PERHAPS DANGERSOUS, FREEDOM
(May 18, 2001)
TRIGGER-HAPPY troops set loose? Questions about the response of Israeli soldiers facing Palestinian demonstrators are being asked, and not just by Palestinians. But suspicions about individual behaviour are less relevant than the clear fact that the army, given its head by Ariel Sharon, has made a deliberate decision ...

SEVEN KILLED, OVER 50 INJURED IN SUICIDE BOMB ATTACK
(May 18, 2001)
A Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance to the Hasharon shopping mall in the center of the coastal town of Netanya at around 11.30 A.M on Friday morning. Seven people were killed in the blast, one of them most likely the bomber himself.

ISRAELI ARMY ON THE RAMPAGE
(May 17, 2001)
The Israelis are more and more specifically targeting children, journalists, and Palestinians at all levels. The goal is to create such fear, such intimidation, such apprehension, that ...

MORE BLOOD AND MEMORIES FLOW ON "DISASTER DAY"
(May 16, 2001)
Yesterday was the 53rd anniversary of what the Israelis believe was the start of their independence and the Palestinians believe was the start of their ongoing and tortuous "disaster", the "nakba".

"SCHOLARS, INTELLECTUALS, EXPERTS BETRAY THEIR VOCATIONS..." - MER FLASHBACK
(May 15, 2001)
The recent orgy of 'activism' surrounding the new "Har Homa" settlement has given 'peace groups' and various Arab Americans groups something to do again.

THERE WERE WARNINGS THEN, THERE ARE WARNINGS NOW
(May 15, 2001)
It's 53 years now since Palestine was fractured, a Jewish State was born, the Palestinian refugee crisis created. There were warnings from both Arab and Jewish leaders what would result if a "Jewish State" were declared when the British withdrew from Palestine in 1948.

NO JUNITY, NO ALLIES, NO FUTURE
(May 14, 2001)
Let's get right to the bottom line here first. Those American Jews, and whoever else for that matter have been looking to what is called "JUNITY" (that's "Jewish Unity For a Just Peace" so they say) ...

AN AFFRONT TO CIVILISATION
(May 13, 2001)
I was on my way to Khan Yunis, a desperately poor Palestinian refugee town in the Gaza Strip, when we learned it was under heavy bombardment. Please, urged my Palestinian guides, could I postpone my visit to the next day?

IN MEMORY OF PROF. CHARLES BLACK
(May 12, 2001)
"Against hugh odds...they decline to submit, and instead go out on the streets and pick up stones. They are beaten without let or mercy. They are imprisoned under obscene conditions, after kangaroo trials, or no trials at all.

THREATENING WRITERS AND MORE ASSASSINATIONS
(May 12, 2001)
Of course what the Israelis are doing in so many areas to many classes of people is dastardly and deserves widespread condemnation. The first article details what the Israelis are doing to Palestinian writers who are citizens of Israel; the second to Palestinian activists who are struggling against Israel's occupation.

HASHEMITE COLLUSION AND REPRESSION
(May 11, 2001)
The Hashemite Regime of King Abdullah the Second is running more and more scared; and for good reason. After all, the collusion of this regime with the Israelis, going way back to the beginning of the conflict...

MAHMOUD DARWISH ON 53RD NAKBA ANNIVERSARY
(May 11, 2001)
Next Tuesday, 15 May, is the 53rd Anniversary of what the Palestinians call the Nakba, the "Disaster", and what the Israelis call their Independence. In a very unusual move some 250 Arab Professors and Intellectuals have issued a call for their own countries to finally join in a serious way the Palestinian struggle.

FROM HERZL TO SHARON - STEALTH DISPOSSESSION
(May 10, 2001)
"The removal of Arabs bodily from Palestine is part of the Zionist plan to 'spirit the penniless population across the frontier' by denying it employment... Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly."

THE POLITICAL PROSTITUTION OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH IN PALESTINE
(May 10, 2001)
We're talking here about political prostitution; for it too is an age-old profession and it too leads to many other vices.

THE POPE GOES VISITING
(May 9, 2001)
With the creation of a "Jewish State" in the Holy Land, in a sense a new era began twisting the modern-day concept of nationality back to one of ethnic and religious identification.

FROM HELL WITH LOVE
(May 8, 2001)
Ironically, in the early years of this ignoble "Peace Process", Dr. Sarraj himself -- a dignified psychiatrist and recipient of the Physician for Human Rights Award -- was arrested three times, tortured, and threatened with death...not by the Israelis but by the forces of the Arafat "Palestinian Authority".

ISRAELIS SEE THROUGH GLOSS OF LIFE AMID ORANGE GROVES
(May 7, 2001)
When the real estate sharks of California began to coax Americans to Los Angeles early in the last century, they stuck oranges on the trees to make the desert more alluring. The oranges are real enough in the groves on the hills around Jerusalem, but the hard selling is just the same.

WE ARE ACCUSED OF TERRORISM
(May 7, 2001)
The incomparable Nizar Qabbani was buried in Damascus earlier this week. "We Are Accused Of Terrorism" was one of his last poems first published a year ago; key excerpts from that poem follow.

GUNNING DOWN ISRAEL SHAMIR - Part II
(May 4, 2001)
Previously we outlined how the regimes-sponsored Arab American establishment, using the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) to try to control everyone as usual...

SHARON'S RISE TO THE PINNACLE OF POWER - HELPED BY THE ARABS THEMSELVES
(May 3, 2001)
Ariel Sharon's becoming Prime Minister of Israel didn't happen overnight. He pursued the job for a very long time and whatever one thinks of his person and policies he carried out a masterful political coup.

GUNNING DOWN ISRAEL SHAMIR
(May 3, 2001)
The worst thing that happened to the people of the Middle East in recent history was the imposition on them by the Western powers of the "Client Regimes" -- those who read MER regularly know what we are talking about...

ARAB REGIMES COWER AND BEG; ISRAELIS CONTINUE TO KILL AND DESTROY
(May 2, 2001)
Shimon Peres runs around the world, especially to the gullible American media, and especially to CNN and PBS, with soothing rhetorical jibberish while his Generals further demolish Palestinian homes making fools of those who believed in the "Oslo Peace Process" and its associated "agreements".

FORMER SHIN BET HEAD TALKS SOME SENSE IN PUBLIC....BUT WHY?
(May 2, 2001)
Motives are of course a very important aspect of life and politics...as is timing. And when it comes to someone who has been head of the Shin Bet, like Ami Ayalon, and who is saying these things now, at this particular crucial and sensitive time, there are good reasons to have many suspicions, and many questions, and many doubts.

EXTINGUISHING THE INTIFADA
(May 2, 2001)
A major effort is underway to somehow smother and snuff out the Intifada, one way or another. Those heading up the effort, in order of importance, are:

ARAFAT'S FIRST INTERVIEW SINCE THE INTIFADA BEGAN
(May 1, 2001)
Yasser Arafat often describes his struggle as a "long march" to the "spires and minarets" of Jerusalem, capital of his Palestinian state-to-be.




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