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CHRISTIAN LEADERS: WRONG TIME, WRONG ADVICE, WRONG REASONS

June 8, 2001

MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 6/08: Monthly in Washington, on the 22nd day of the calendar month, Christian leaders in the area hold a prayer vigil at this or that church. Many of them mean well. They certainly do pray well. But what they accomplish is practically nothing other than making themselves and their friends feel a bit better with a self-deluding pretense that they are actually doing something. As for the moral and political crisis of our time taking place in the once Holy Land; what they are willing to do, as opposed to what they are able, is actually of very little consequence.

So it has been for a very long time when it comes to the Christian churches in the United States. So it continues to be despite the occasional letter to this or that President or Secretary of State, like the one delivered yesterday at Foggy Bottom. Like the Pope himself -- who didn't personally get involved with the plight of the Palestinian people until the 11th hour, then visiting a refugee camp near Bethlehem at a time when it appeared an "agreement" was about to be imposed on the Palestinian people against their popular will and against their long-term interests in the context of a rump "Palestinian State"-- the leaders of the Christian churches in the U.S. have shown much more opportunism than courage, much more weakness than strength, much more deference to the powerful Jewish interests who have sandbagged them than allegiance to their own basic moral teachings.

For decades in fact the Christian Churches collectively in the U.S. have been extraordinarily weak and cowardly in how they have dealt with the situation in the Middle East and any issue that involves the Jewish State of Israel. They have repeatedly failed the political call to action, though they have occasionally spoken up, always after the fact, with moral righteousness never backed by solid and sustained actions. They have repeatedly listened to bad advice, repeatedly refused the anguished calls for serious action, and constantly shunned those who have spoken up about their failings and hypocrisy.

Indeed, they have cowered before their Jewish friends, most of whom have repeatedly urged them into silence and at times played the "Holocaust card" against them to mute their words even more than their deeds. Yesterday, it but another example of this far-too-little far-too-late far-too-lacking in real action approach, the Christian leaders attempted to assuage some of their constituents and their own consciences by writing a little letter to former General of the Joint Chiefs now Secretary of State Colin Powell. What others have said and done a decade even two ago, what was in fact agreed to at Camp David in 1978 and articulated by a President of the United States before a joint session of Congress at that time, the Christian "leaders" are finally getting around to repeating once again today. But they are still getting bad advice, their timing is wrong, their suggestions are largely not much more more than what has already been said in the "Mitchell Report" and by intellectuals and human rights groups all around the world for a very long time. Indeed, there are many Jewish writers, professors, rabbis, who have spoken up far more boldly and for a long time now calling for suspending American aid to Israel, recognizing a real Palestinian State, and the return of the refugees to their rightful country.

But the Christian church leaders think they can utter a few slogans and be done with it. It's a cheap and easy way out for them; and they have mastered that approach to matters Israeli and Middle Eastern over the long years. They will not act in any serious and sustained way, they will not either advocate or engage in the urgently needed civil disobedience, they will not step up to the plate and call for suspending American aid to Israel, they will not loudly call for justice for the millions of destitute Palestinian refugees. And most tragically of all they will not squarely even face the basic contradictions of what they do advocate -- i.e., a return to the very same "peace process" which is so rife with apartheid-like formulations and realities and which attempts to trap the Palestinian people in perpetual servitude.

CHURCH DELEGATION PRESENTS LETTER TO SECRETARY OF STATE POWELL

June 7, 2001

The Honorable Colin Powell Secretary of State United States Department of State

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We are grateful that you have given us this opportunity to meet with you and are mindful of the additional heads of U.S. churches who joined us in signing this letter. We come with thanks for the wise and strong leadership you are giving to our government's State Department. We come with support for your effort to end the Israeli-Palestinian cycle of violence and rebuild the trust and mutual confidence that are critical for a negotiated settlement.

There is no higher priority for peacemaking in the world today than that between Israel and the Palestinians. This long and tragic conflict is a cancer that threatens the health of the whole region, U.S. relations with Arab and Muslim countries, and interfaith relations worldwide. We, particularly those of us who have precious partnerships with our sister churches in the Holy Land, offer our prayers and encouragement to our government in this crucial work.

Along with many others, we are deeply concerned that the peace process has broken down so violently and tragically between the government of Israel and the Palestinian leadership. The sobering current reality compels us to take a higher profile in advocacy of U.S. policies conducive to peace.

Few things have done more to destroy the hope and pursuit of peace through negotiations than Israel's unrelenting settlement activity. Over these recent years, we have heard from our Palestinian Christian partners, and seen for ourselves, the destructive impact of Israel's settlement policy -- separating village from village, confiscating more and more Palestinian land, creating friction with its military checkpoints. For over twenty years our churches have appealed to the U.S. government to require Israel to cease this transfer of its civilian population into occupied territory, a clear violation of international law and United Nations resolutions. Each administration has spoken in opposition to the settlement activity, only to watch the settlements increase and expand as Israel ignores the advice.

It is time for the United States to do what it must to bring Israel's settlement activity to an end. We urge you to make clear to Israel and the Palestinians that the United States is committed to a negotiated end of Israel's military occupation of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem as called for in U.N.S.C. Res. 242 and that an immediate freezing by Israel of its settlement activity including "natural growth" is imperative. It will likely require considerable diplomatic pressure, and possibly economic pressure as well, to convince the government of Israel to recognize that this is a major policy concern of the United States.

Breaking the cycle of violence is fundamental to restarting the peace process and rebuilding the hope and will for peace. While we condemn the violent words and actions of Palestinians, we understand the rage that comes from decades of occupation, dislocation and the feeling of having been betrayed by the peace process. We appeal to the Palestinians, as have you, to abandon violence as a means to end the occupation.

We understand as well Israel's quest for security for the state and its people, but condemn the disproportionately violent and destructive means it is using. Israel's practice of assassination and the economic strangulation of the fledgling Palestinian state are counterproductive to either security or peace. We hope that Israel is responsive to your appeal that it lift the siege of Palestinian towns and pay the taxes owed to the Palestinian Authority. We call upon Israel to abandon military force and return to negotiations as the path to security.

A delegation of church leaders on a December pastoral visit saw the destruction wrought by Israel's military might on the homes and livelihood of the Christian towns of Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Beit Sahour. The delegation urged that the United States suspend the current sales of attack helicopters to Israel pending investigation of their use against civilian targets as well as assurances that they will be used in conformity with United States law covering "end-use" in our weapons sales. We ask you to place a hold on any pending delivery of attack helicopters or fighter jets to Israel and to reconsider the promise made by the Clinton Administration that the United States will increase military aid to Israel for each of the next eight years. While we recognize that it has been U.S. policy to support Israel militarily in order to insure its security and to encourage it to move forward with confidence in negotiations, the use of F-16 fighter jets against civilian populations is unacceptable and must be challenged by the U.S. government. Like the U.S. effort to stop settlement activity, stopping the use of these heavy weapons against civilians will require considerable diplomatic pressure and possibly economic pressure.

Although our concern extends to each person suffering from this conflict, we are extremely worried about our Palestinian Christian brothers and sisters. Facing daily threats from violence and economic deprivation and lacking hope for peace and a viable Palestinian state, many feel the pressure to emigrate. The demise of the living Christian community from the birthplace of the Christian religion would certainly be an irreparable tragedy for the Middle East and the Christian community internationally. For their sake, and for the sake of all, we seek a restoration of hope for a negotiated sharing of the Holy Land and the city of Jerusalem, holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims. We tremble to consider the destructive consequences that would follow the premature moving, as called for by Congress, of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

We have heard the cries of fear and mourning of Palestinian Christians and Muslims and of Israeli Jews and pray for their healing and the reconciliation of the Abrahamic family. Be assured of our prayers for you and the President and all others in the Administration as you seek to forge a fair and just policy for the two peoples and three faiths who share a common religious heritage in the land we hold as holy.

Sincerely Yours,

The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold Presiding Bishop and Primate The Episcopal Church

Bishop Vicken Aykazian Diocesan Legate and Ecumenical Officer The Armenian Orthodox Church

The Very Rev. Brother Stephen Michael Glodek, S.M. President Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Mens' Institutes

The Rev. John L. McCullough Executive Director Church World Service

Bishop Donald J. McCoid Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod Chair, Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos Ecumenical Officer The Rev. Alexander Karloutsos Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Bishop William B. Oden Immediate Past President The Council of Bishops The United Methodist Church

The following heads of churches and faith-based organizations join the delegation in this expression of concern and appeal to Secretary of State Colin Powell:

Bishop McKinley Young Presiding Bishop, 10th Episcopal District African Methodist Episcopal Church

The Rev. Dr. Robert H. Roberts Interim General Secretary American Baptist Churches USA

Mary Ellen McNish General Secretary American Friends Service Committee

Metropolitan PHILIP, Primate Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

The Rev. Dr. Richard L. Hamm General Minister and President Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada

The Rev. Judy Mills Reimer Executive Director Church of the Brethren General Board

The Rev. H. George Anderson Presiding Bishop The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Michael E. Livingston Executive Director International Council of Community Churches

The Rev. Dr. Seung Koo Choi General Secretary of Korean Presbyterian Church in America

Dr. Ron J. R. Mathies Executive Director Mennonite Central Committee

The Rev. R. Burke Johnson President Moravian Church - Northern Province

The Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar General Secretary National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA

The Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick Stated Clerk Presbyterian Church (USA)

The Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson General Secretary Reformed Church in America

Archbishop Cyril Aphrem Karim Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch for the Eastern USA

The Rev. John Buehrens President Unitarian Universalist Association

The Rev. John H. Thomas General Minister and President United Church of Christ

Bishop Melvin G. Talbert Ecumenical Officer Council of Bishops The United Methodist Church


June 2001


Magazine






TURKEY HEADING TOWARD "SOCIAL EXPLOSION"...i.e., "REVOLUTION"
(June 30, 2001)
In geostrategic and military terms, the unnamed U.S.-Israel-Turkish military alliance that emerged full-blown during the last decade -- of course with the Turks using the "peace process" as the excuse for such close relations between Turkey and Israel -- was one of the most important developments.

WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTIONS EMERGING
(June 29, 2001)
In a sense there is an arms race under way at this time of a different kind -- a race for whether weapons of mass destruction will be used in a serious and ongoing way should a new war break out first in the Subcontinent over Kashmir or in the Middle East over Palestine.

LABOR AND LIKUD MORE ALIKE THAN DIFFERENT - MER FLASHBACK
(June 29, 2001)
Long before what was to happen with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (remember him?), MER was informing who he really was and what to really expect. Same with regard to Shimon Peres. Expect the same cutting-edge information and analysis in the months ahead.

Washington Scene: THE HISTORICAL MOMENT
(June 27, 2001)
The Middle East region totters now between further repression and oppression, terrorism and war. The outcome in the short term is indeterminate of course. But the winds and directions are clear; however much camaflouged by the politicians and the usually gullible mass media.

THREATCON DELTA ORDERED TODAY
(June 22, 2001)
One day they will probably get Osama bin-Laden, former confident of King Fahd in Saudi Arabia, former CIA asset against the once mighty Soviet Empire, now arch nemesis of the American Empire.

"ALGERIA IS IN CRISIS"
(June 22, 2001)
"The Battle of Algiers" left North Africa biggest country terribly bloodied and traumatized. This time it was French imperialism and the French military that did the dirty horrifying deeds.

EGYPT ARMING WHILE REGIME IS SHAKING
(June 21, 2001)
Arab States, including Egypt, are arming at a growing pace. Even combined they are still no match to defeat Israel. But their detterence capabilities are growing, they might be able to seriously bloody Israel in years ahead...

ARAFAT'S FLUNKIES
(June 20, 2001)
There are many reasons the Palestinian people are suffering so terribly, worse by the year in fact, and are now endangered by the possibility of a second "nakba" (disaster).

"THE SECOND HALF OF 1948"
(June 20, 2001)
Official declarations and many reports in the Israeli media indicate that the Israeli military and political leadership are aiming, eventually, at a total destruction of the Palestinian authority, and, with it, the process of Oslo, which is now dominantly considered by them a 'historical mistake'.

TELEGRAPHING WHAT I S TO COME
(June 19, 2001)
Arafat had two roles he had been assigned. That's why none other than former "terrorist" Arafat was the most frequent visitor to the White House during the years 1993 through 2000.

SHARON'S LONG MARCH: NEXT TO WASHINGTON THEN TO THE ATTACK
(June 19, 2001)
Ariel Sharon is proving what others before him, including Generals Patton and MacArthur of American legend, learned about modern warfare. There's a heavy messure of political theatrics and personal legend involved in making war, more so now than ever in this age of instant TV and the Intenet.

SHARON Coming To US Again To Coordinate War Plans
(June 19, 2001)
Sharon is coming to the States again next week. Only a firm "absolutely not" from the Americans is likely now to prevent much further brutal subjugation of the Palestinians; quite possibly the exiling again of Yasser Arafat.

SON OF IMPORTANT ISRAELI FAMILY REFUSES OCCUPATION MILITARY SERVICE
(June 17, 2001)
Coordinated non-violent but serious civil disobedience -- there in the Middle East, in Europe, and in the United States -- that is what today's situation desperately calls out for.

ARIEL SHARON - WAR CRIMINAL?
(June 15, 2001)
Years ago the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kurt Waldheim, was brought before a mock international court through a joint effort of Home Box Office (HBO) in the USA and a major British TV network. The question before the court was whether Kurt Waldheim was possibly guilty of war crimes ...

PREPARING FOR DESTRUCTION
(June 15, 2001)
"If a cease-fire does indeed take hold, then all the better... If Arafat rejects the document or professes to accept it, but does not fulfill his part of the bargain, Israel will win more points in the court of world opinion and a more conducive political backdrop will be created for a military response to Palestinian violence."

ALGERIANS FIRE INTO DEMONSTRATING CROWDS TODAY
(June 14, 2001)
The Berbers in Algeria, the brutal civil war in Sudan, the Palestinians in the once Holy Land, the Kurds in Iraq and Turkey, the ongoing Kashmir crisis -- all conflicts exploding throughout the greater Middle East region today in 2001, all conflicts the legacy of Western colonial policies of yesteryear and American imperial policies of today.

MARCH TO WAR CONTINUES: ISRAEL WARNS IRAN AGAIN
(June 14, 2001)
There are major historical and military reasons why Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton (representing of course huge constituencies who at the time pushed them to pursue the policies they did) pressed Yasser Arafat so hard to sign an agreement at Camp David.

THE SO-CALLED "AGREEMENT"
(June 13, 2001)
There is no real "agreement". There is a dictate. Yasser Arafat is in no position anymore to do much other than what his American handlers tell him to do; a day of reckoning he brought on himself by so many mistakes and so much corruption over such a long time.

Another Muslim Rep Foolishly Plays To The Cameras On Behalf of the Regimes
(June 13, 2001)
A week ago outside the State Department one of the latest Muslim organization reps to grab for the cameras -- Khalid Turaani -- declared in loud tones how the time had finally come for "civil disobedience" and how he and the other leaders of the assembled Muslim "client organizations" were going to get arrested in a peaceful protest ...

HASHEMITE KINGDOM CLOSES BORDERS TO PALESTINIANS
(June 13, 2001)
The Hashemite Regime has always, right from the start, been in deep collusion with the Israelis and since World War II with the CIA. This latest step to close off Jordan to Palestinians -- to essentially put a seal on the jar which now contains the Palestinians ...

CIA TELLS ARAFAT WHAT HE HAS TO DO AND WHAT IT WILL DO FOR HIM
(June 12, 2001)
When the Director of the CIA is himself involved so extensively, goes on site half way around the world for a lengthy stay, and the situation is so critical he has to publicly acknowledge his role ...

CLOVIS MAKSOUD DID IT TWENTY YEARS AGO, APPEARING WITH SHIMON PERES
(June 11, 2001)
Those who know Raghida Dergham know what she is, and its certainly not a truly independent journalist. She's been an opportunist for a very long time, and she's used her sexuality to climb the ladder with backing from one influential Arab diplomat or royal along the way for a long time now.

CALAMITY AHEAD
(June 10, 2001)
"A whole nation is now huddled around one tribal bonfire to lament its bitter fate, mourn its dead and ignore the dead of the other side. As usual, it views itself as the victim, turns the enemy into Satan and waits, inactive and bravely unthinking, for the calamity that is about to befall it and for which it is in no small measure to blame."

WAR POSSIBLE WARNS TOP SAUDI
(June 10, 2001)
Normally one of the last places one would turn for truthfulness, integrity, and information would be the Saudi royal family. Currently headed by a former playboy who drank, gambled, and womanized his life away in Beirut and London -- before assuming the throne -- it is the Saudi "royal family which epitomizes the "client regime" realities that have so fractured, weakened, and prostrated the whole region once known as "the Arab world."

CHRISTIAN LEADERS: WRONG TIME, WRONG ADVICE, WRONG REASONS
(June 8, 2001)
"Be assured of our prayers for you and the President and all others in the Administration as you seek to forge a fair and just policy for the two peoples and three faiths who share a common religious heritage in the land we hold as holy."

THE CRUEL REGIMES OF ARABDOM
(June 7, 2001)
There are huge cultural gulfs between East and West, old world and new world. And of course the West is extraordinarily dominant these days not only it terms of financial and military might, but also in terms of cultural influence and "moral" standards.

SHARON'S RISE
(June 7, 2001)
"In reality the Zionist and Hashemite leaderships continue to plot how to control and repress the Palestinians in ever more crafty and ever more duplicitous ways."

ARAFAT 4 YEARS AGO - MER FLASHBACK
(June 6, 2001)
Last year MER first carried information about the increasingly close CIA, Shinbet, and Mossad connections with Yasser Arafat's "Palestinian Authority".

MUSLIM ORGS EMBARRASS THEMSELVES AT STATE DEPT
(June 5, 2001)
With much press fanfare (they just love to play to the cameras) leaders of half a dozen Muslim American groups held a press conference gathering across from the State Department today.

DESPITE THE LULL, WAR CLOUDS LOOM
(June 4, 2001)
Despite the lull, there are many ominous signs of impending major attacks against the occupied Palestinians about to take place; and there is a real possibility of regional war.

EGYPTIANS THREATEN WAR!
(June 4, 2001)
When the American Secretary of State cancels long-planned foreign travel and publicly warns of the "abyss" from which "there may no return" you can bet the situation behind-the-scenes is far more dangerous and explosive than is publicly realized.

SHARON'S HAWKS PLAN FOR WAR
(June 3, 2001)
Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor, reports on Israel's growing mood for full-scale hostilities in the aftermath of 17 deaths in a nightclub suicide bomb attack

24-HOURS AND COUNTING
(June 2, 2001)
"Americans should not travel to Gaza at the present time and those who live there should depart to a safer location when they can do so." U.S. Embassy, Israel

HATED RAJOUB GETS READY
(June 2, 2001)
With the days of Yasser Arafat maybe coming to an end one way or another, with Feisal Husseini passed from the scene, with the other Palestinian tough guys bottled up in Gaza, the frontrunner strong man to "control" the Palestinian people throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem appears to be Jibril Rajoub.

ARAFAT'S LEGACY
(June 2, 2001)
Yasser Arafat was hired, courted, and well-paid to control his own people and lead them, however much they tried to resist, to the Apartheid-style arrangement the Israelis always had in mind with the so-called "Oslo Peace Process".

ISRAELIS PLANNING BLITZKRIEG?
(June 1, 2001)
For a long time now we have been desperately warning about what the true Israeli intentions are. We have also been warning that the Palestinians are not at all prepared for these eventualities, neither with the terrible leadership provided by the "Palestinian Authority" nor for the world-wide information and public relations battle that accompanies all major developments in our world these days.




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