Updates November 2010



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  We seek to keep you literally "updated" on movement in terms of truth and justice in the Middle East in general with a particular eye on Palestine.  The links below will take you to various articles and websites that offer the perspective of leaders in the religious, NGO, and human rights communities. Additionally, Al-Bushra, ever vigilant, provides links to regular reporting as well as opinion pieces by journalists. The dates given here indicate when the link was posted; the most recent posting is at the top. Check the article itself for the date of publication.  

Comments made over the years by Israeli leaders


12 November 2010 22:35:36 -0800


Nov. 12, 2010

United Methodist Church | Voices in Conversation: Israel-Palestine

Conversation does not come easily on the subject of Israel-Palestine.

On October 5, the Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns (CCUIC) invited United Methodist, Jewish, Muslim, and Orthodox Christian representatives to a round-table discussion at the Conference Center in West Sacramento.

The purpose of the meeting was clearly stated: for individuals to share, from their faith perspective, what are the most important issues for United Methodists to consider when discussing Palestinian-Israeli concerns. Speakers were asked to recommend how UM congregations might become better informed.

18 persons participated – representing the Jewish Community Relations Council (San Francisco and Sacramento offices), St. Nicolas Orthodox Church (San Francisco church with Palestinian members), The Rebuilding Alliance (a group which works with all faiths to rebuild schools in Israel-Palestine), and the California-Nevada Annual Conference's Office of Connectional Ministries, Board of Missions, Israel-Palestine Task Force, and Board of Church and Society (in addition to CCUIC).

No Muslims accepted the invitation to attend.

Though the meeting began and ended in prayer, in between emotions ran high, as individuals shared the missions of the organizations and committees they represent.

Read more


Nov. 12, 2010

America Magazine, the Catholic Weekly| A sad case of the hostility that faces Arab-Americans By Drew Christiansen, SJ

Jim Zogby is a friend. He, his wife, Eileen, and I were members of the same Christian Family Movement group. I have witnessed the marriages of their children, baptized their grandchildren and celebrated Mass for their 25th wedding anniversary. We are colleagues, too. We served together on the board of the American Committee on Jerusalem and took counsel together on supporting Christians in the Middle East, ending conflict in the region and defending the human rights of Palestinians—for which we both have paid a price.

Jim and I have worked for justice with different and overlapping communities, have faced common difficulties and bear the psychic scars inflicted by the organized defenders of injustice. The high points of his life story are fairly well known in Catholic Washington and among political activists, but until I read his new book, Arab Voices: What They Are Saying to Us and Why It Matters (Palgrave Macmillan), I had not realized how much he and his fellow Arab-Americans have endured from their fellow Americans.

Arab Voices presents an overview of Arab public opinion intended to correct Americans’ stereotypes and redress our ignorance of the Arab peoples.

Read more


Nov. 12, 2010

America Magazine, the Catholic Weekly| Cathedral Attack Devastating, Says Ambassador

Catastrophe is the term Samir Sumaida’ie, Iraq’s ambassador to the United States, used to describe the attack on Baghdad’s Syriac Catholic Cathedral on Oct. 31, not only because of the loss of life at Our Lady of Salvation, but what the assault could mean in the near term for the nation. Fifty-two people were killed (along with six attackers) and 78 were wounded when Iraqi Security Forces stormed church offices where Al Qaeda-linked terrorists had trapped about 100 Mass-goers.

“It is an extremely painful experience not only for the Christians of Iraq, but for all Iraqis,” the ambassador said. “Personally I was very shocked and saddened,” he said. Ambassador Sumaida’ie fears that the steady departure of Iraq’s Christians over years of conflict could now accelerate into an outright “stampede.”

Read more


Nov. 9, 2010

Zenit | Vatican: Mideast Christians Are Victims of Crime

Urges Interpol to Address Baghdad Attack, Globalization

DOHA, Qatar, NOV. 9, 2010 (Zenit.org).- A Vatican spokesman is asking the international police organization Interpol to pay more attention to the crimes committed against Christians in the Middle East, and to the problems associated with the phenomena of globalization.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, secretary of the Governorate of Vatican City State, said this Monday in an address to the 79th General Assembly of Interpol, which is under way in Doha through Thursday.

The four-day conference has brought together some 650 police chiefs and senior law enforcement officials from 141 countries to reflect on the theme: "Challenges to Fighting Crime in the 21st Century."

The Vatican's security forces joined Interpol -- the International Criminal Police Organization -- in 2008. The organization has its headquarters in Lyon, France, but an Interpol Global Complex in Singapore is in the works and expected to open in 2014.

Archbishop Viganò said that he spoke not as "an expert in criminology," but rather as one who wanted to offer a reflection on "crime itself, or more properly, criminal behavior grounded in various motivations, at times even ascribed to religious convictions."

Read more


Nov. 8, 2010

Zenit | Living in an Islamic World

Interview With Human Rights Coalition Director

FREDERICKSBURG, Virginia, NOV. 8, 2010 (Zenit.org).- For Reverend Keith Roderick, the story of Vivian comes to mind when he thinks of religious persecution.

Reverend Doctor Roderick is an Episcopalian minister who is the secretary-general of the U.S.-based Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights.

He told the story of 15-year-old Vivian in this interview with "Where God Weeps" of the Catholic Radio and Television Network (CRTN) in cooperation with Aid to the Church in Need.

Vivian was kidnapped as she was walking home from school in her native Iraq; her assailants told her mother, "We don’t want your money. We want to break your heart."

In this interview, Roderick speaks not only of Vivian's case but of the fundamental problems for Christians living in an Islamic world.

...Christians have to assert themselves in defense of their brothers and sisters, and as much as we decry what has happened to the Christians in the Middle East, part of the responsibility lies upon the Christians in the West. Have they undertaken any initiatives? Why aren’t they the voice? Why don’t they come out and protest? Why is it that you hardly ever hear from the pulpit or in the bulletins prayers being asked for the Christians who are being persecuted in the Middle East?

Read more


Nov. 8, 2010

Zenit | Holy Land Is in Need of Pilgrims

Interview With Bishop Hanke of Eichstätt, Germany

By Gabriela Maria Mihlig

ROME, NOV. 8, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The recent Mideast synod had as a main goal to strengthen the presence of Christians in the region, and one important way to do that is to promote pilgrimages to the Holy Land, says Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke of Eichstätt, Germany.

Bishop Hanke was a participant in the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which took place last month in the Vatican. He is the former Abbot of the Benedictine Abbey of Plankstetten, and he was named bishop of Eichstätt in 2006.

In this interview, Bishop Hanke comments on the importance of pilgrimages to the Holy Land,

Q: Excellency, please provide a survey concerning the request of the Fathers of the synod for reactivating the pilgrimages to Holy Land!

Bishop Hanke: The target of the synod was to strengthen the presence of Christians in the Middle East, and it is still a target of particular importance! This target has been looked at from different angles. One way to reach this target is to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Places, where Jesus lived.

Read more      


Nov. 5, 2010

America Magazine, the Catholic Weekly | Two Peoples, One State by Raymond A. Schroth, S.J.

What began in September as hope for a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine has fizzled. Palestinians will not negotiate while Israel builds settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, which in international law are occupied territory; Israel will not extend the “moratorium” on construction, during which Israel continued to build settlements and segregated highways and to demolish Palestinian homes.

The United States offered Israel concessions to renew the moratorium, but Mr. Netanyahu proposed a law demanding that all would-be Israeli citizens, including Israeli Arabs (20 percent of Israel’s population), swear allegiance to Israel specifically as a Jewish state—in effect, a forced commitment to beliefs they do not hold. Now Palestinians should consider alternatives. Should they unilaterally declare themselves a state and ask for U.S./U.N. recognition? Merge with Jordan? As the situation deteriorates, it is time for new ideas.

...About 25 years ago, when I was swimming in the Dead Sea, two young men who saw my camera asked me to take their picture. As I wrote down their address to send them the shot, I couldn’t help asking, “Are you Israelis or Arabs?”

They replied: “What difference does it make? We are all brothers.” Where are they now?

Read more


Nov. 4, 2010

Christians and Muslims: Christian-Muslim conference condemns attack on church in Iraq

Christian and Muslim leaders and scholars meeting at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, site of the World Council of Churches (WCC) central offices today issued a joint statement of condemnation for the criminal attack on the The Church of Our Lady of Najat, in Baghdad this past Sunday, 31 October.

Fifty-eight people were killed after gunman seized hostages in the churches and government security services later stormed the church to end the siege.

The group is participating in a 4-day international consultation on “Transforming Communities: Christians and Muslims Building a Common Future.”

In the statement the group expressed “condemnation of all acts of violence that target places of worship and other sacred places, defile them, or threaten the safety and security of worshippers.”

The group called on “the United Nations and its Security Council and all groups that call for just peace, and especially Iraqi officials, to intervene for the purpose of putting an end to all terrorist attacks aimed at degrading the Iraqi people, irrespective of their religious affiliation, and defiling Christian and Islamic sacred places.”

Read more


Nov. 3, 2010

Holy See Mission | Statement by H.E. Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly

Before the Special Political and Decolonization Committee

(Fourth Committee) on item 51:

United Nations Relief and Works Agency

for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

New York, 2 November 2010

...The Holy See calls upon the members of the Quartet to use all strategies available to them to assist the peoples of the region to reconcile their substantial differences, to compromise where necessary with fairness and to guarantee peace for generations to come.

Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains key to resolving so many of the situations that bring chaos to the region of the Middle East. Many of these have serious worldwide implications. It would seem that for six decades there has been a failure on the part of both concerned parties to resolve their differences. But, the time is now to substitute this failure with determination that resorts to negotiation rather than violence. The Holy See exhorts all legitimate interests to engage in significant and substantive dialogue in order to bring stability and peace to the Holy Land. More than ever before, the international community is needed to continue its efforts to facilitate with haste the rapprochement of the two parties which my Delegation knows is in the hearts and minds of so many people of good will.

...Finally, my Delegation reiterates the call to the international community to facilitate meaningful negotiations between all parties. Only with a just and lasting peace – not imposed but secured through negotiation and reasonable compromise – will the legitimate aspirations of all the peoples of the Holy Land be fulfilled.

Read the statement


Nov. 3, 2010

Zenit | Aide: Mideast Synod Marked by "Realism of Hope"

Father Lombardi Reflects on Fruits of Assembly

ROME, NOV. 2, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The recent Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops was characterized by the "realism of hope," said a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican Press Office, said this in his most recent editorial for Octava Dies, the weekly news program of the Vatican Television Center.

The priest reflected on what the synod asked of the political leaders in the Middle East, and that the main concern was that "Christians be able to enjoy the rights of citizenship, of liberty of conscience and worship."

He also added that Christians should also have "liberty in the field of teaching and education and in the use of the media."

"They are original and authentic citizens," Father Lombardi underlined, "loyal to their homeland and faithful to all their national duties."

They spokesman said the synod also had a message for the international community regarding the Church's stance on violence and terrorism.

Read more


Nov. 3, 2010

Zenit | Pope Prays for Iraqi Victims of "Absurd" Violence

3 Priests Among Scores Killed in Baghdad

BAGHDAD, Iraq, NOV. 2, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Three priests were killed along with 58 others in an attack on a Catholic church in Baghdad. Benedict XVI is offering prayers for the victims and is pleading for peace.

On addressing the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square on Monday, the Solemnity of All Saints, the Pope said that he is praying "for the victims of this absurd violence, which is even more ferocious as it struck defenseless persons, gathered in the house of God, which is a house of love and reconciliation."

Some 58 people were killed when gunmen stormed the Eucharistic celebration on Sunday in Baghdad's Church of Our Lady of Salvation. Another 75 were wounded.

Read more


Nov. 3, 2010

Zenit | Attack on Iraqi Cathedral Highlights Anti-Christian Violence

US Bishops Say Their Country has Moral Obligation to Help

WASHINGTON, D.C., NOV. 2, 2010 (Zenit.org).- At the conclusion of the recent Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishop, Benedict XVI said: "Peace is possible. Peace is urgent. Peace is the indispensible condition for a life of dignity for individuals and society."

Yet, on Sunday, the Syrian Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad was attacked, leaving 58 dead and 75 wounded. The event has shocked and horrified the people of Iraq, as well as Christians around the world.

At the synod, the Iraqi bishops told of the terrorism and violence Christians, as well as other minorities, are facing: kidnappings, bombings of churches, schools and other Christian properties, and threats to Christian businesses, as well as to their lives. Combined with the attack on the cathedral, these all point to the fact that there is a basic lack of security in the area.

Read more


Nov. 3, 2010

Zenit | Man Recalls How Pius XII Hid Jews in the Vatican

Says Nazis Planned to Annihilate Catholics Next

NEW YORK, NOV. 2, 2010 (Zenit.org).- A Jewish man is giving testimony to how his father was saved from the Nazis by being hidden in the Vatican by Pope Pius XII.

This testimony is the latest collected by Pave the Way Foundation, which has been compiling documents and reports regarding the actions of Pius XII during World War II.

Gary Krupp, the foundation's president, announced the latest testimony by Robert Adler, a member of the Alabama Holocaust Commission.

Adler recalled how his father, Hugo Adler, was taken into the Vatican in 1941 and was hidden for five weeks. During that time, he met personally with Pope Pius XII on several occasions.

Hugo was then sent through a Vatican network through France, into Spain, and then to Sosua, Dominican Republic.

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