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October 28, 2010

Israel: No 'promised land’ or ‘chosen people,' says Vatican

Dr. Mohamed Elmasry

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"We Christians cannot speak about the promised land for the Jewish people. There is no longer a chosen people. All men and women of all countries have become the chosen people," Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros of the Greek Melkite Catholic Church last week. "The concept of the promised land cannot be used as a base for the justification of the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of Palestinians. The justification of Israel's occupation of the land of Palestine cannot be based on sacred scriptures."

After two weeks of meetings, bishops from the Middle East also said in a statement they hoped a two-state solution for peace between Israel and the Palestinians could be made a reality.

“We have meditated on the situation of the holy city of Jerusalem. We are anxious about the unilateral initiatives [ethnic cleansing by Israel] that threaten its composition and risk to change its demographic balance,” the statement said.

“Recourse to theological and biblical positions which use the Word of God to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable,” the document said.

The Vatican document said Palestinians are suffering the consequences of the Israeli occupation:  lack of freedom of movement, separation wall, military checkpoints, political incarceration, home demolition, disturbance of socio-economic life, and living as refugees.”

Zionist Jews claim a biblical birthright to the occupied West Bank, which they call Judea and Samaria, and regard it as part of ancient Israel given to the Jews by God. This is not only a theological lie as the Vatican rightly stated, but also a historical lie.

In the Middle East, any given area of territory has almost always been shared by a number of different peoples and religions. Each group was distinct, possessing its own rights, laws, schools, judges and leaders. This state of affairs has historically been the norm, rather than the exception.

Palestine, so near to the junction of Europe, Asia and Africa, has always been a crucible in which many elements have melted and fused. The native “Arabs” of Palestine are the descendants of Philistines, Canaanites, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Crusaders, Mongols and Turks. The fact that Palestinians now speak Arabic and live within a Muslim culture has resulted in their being loosely termed “Arabs.”

When the Zionist idea of a national home for Jews was introduced toward the end of the 19th century, several alternative sites were suggested, Uganda being one of them. But in the end, it was agreed that only Palestine would be equally acceptable to all Jews. But Palestine was already populated, so a plan of ethnic cleansing was put in practice to create a Jews-only state.

During the First World War, Zionists saw and seized their opportunity. A single-minded focus on the war, and widespread anti-Jewish sentiment caused the British government to issue the vaguely worded Balfour Declaration in November 1917. In it, the government stated that His Majesty’s Government “viewed with favour” (not “would establish by force”) a national home for the Jews in Palestine. The word “national” here is significant, for the Jews are not, in the commonly accepted sense, constitute a nation.

The following phrase qualified this position: “…it being clearly understood nothing should be done that might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”

Whatever the British government meant by issuing this document, the Zionists were in no doubt about what they wanted.

Dr. Chaim Wiezmann stated that the objective was to make Palestine as Jewish as England is English, but this has never been a Middle Eastern conception. Even at the time of the Kingdom of David, the Golden Age of Israelite political power, Palestine was not inhabited solely by Israelis. For that matter, England has never been inhabited solely by the English.

The Zionist objective from 1920 to 1939 was to force more and more Jews into Palestine. The British, with no clear idea of what they were doing, found themselves using armed force against the native Palestinian Arab, who rose in revolt against this influx of foreigners.

Rarely if even mentioned is the fact that opposition to the Zionist-inspired Balfour Declaration came almost exclusively from British Jews, like Edwin Lord Montagu, the only Jew in David Lloyd-George’s government, who foresaw what would happen to the native Arabs.

The ethnic cleansing of Palestine continues to this today, and justifying by recourse to a holy book and false history is a double wrong.

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