|Green portions show loss of Palestinian territory since 1946.|
(Breitbart) - Priests in the Holy Land used their sermons on Sunday to give their blessing to the Palestinians' bid for United Nations membership.THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: I know this position will be highly unpopular among Americans and Israelis, but The Catholic Knight supports this move, and here are the reasons why.
The retired Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, the first Palestinian to hold the post since the Crusades, was to preach in the Roman Catholic church in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
A joint statement by Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran priests pledged their "support for the diplomatic efforts being deployed to win international recognition for the State of Palestine... on the June 1967 borders with Jerusalem as our capital."
The priests went further than their bishops, who in a statement this week confined themselves to a call for intensified prayer and diplomatic efforts ahead of the Palestinian membership request, to be sent to the UN Security Council on Friday.
"Palestinians and Israelis should exercise restraint, whatever the outcome of the vote at the United Nations," the bishops said.
"We call upon decision-makers and people of good will to do their utmost to achieve the long-awaited justice, peace and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians....
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First, the Palestinians (both Muslim and Christian) have been jerked around by Israel for two decades now. They've been told repeatedly they will get their independence, but for every one step forward, two are taken back. All the while Israelis continue to build illegal 'settlements' (i.e. 'colonies') on land promised to the Palestinians. Look, I am partially Native American. I fully understand what colonization is. This is how Europeans take land away from indigenous people. Every time a new 'settlement' ('colony') is built on disputed occupied territory, Israel renegotiates the terms of the peace process, proposing a smaller territory for Palestine and a larger portion for Israel, saying 'look, we already have people living there, we can't kick them out of their homes.' This is a joke, but not the funny kind, and it reminds me a great deal of what happened to my Cherokee ancestors a century and a half ago. The Palestinian people (both Muslims and Christians) have been living there for centuries. They've gone under various rule. Once they were part of Jordan. Before that they were part of the British Empire. Before that they were part of the Ottoman Empire, and before that the Mamluks and Crusaders. Ethnically they are Arab and Egyptian, culturally they are a mixture of Muslim and Eastern Christian. After the fall of the Roman Empire, they were primarily Christians, until the 14th century. A small minority of Palestinian (non-Israeli) Jews have always lived in the region, numbering about 4% of the population. Many of the Jews from antiquity fled this region after a revolution gone bad in 136 AD. Of those that stayed behind, many converted to Christianity. Only a tiny minority (about 4%) continued to practice Judaism.
Second, the Palestinian people (i.e. people directly descended from those who lived in this area prior to the establishment of the State of Israel), are culturally and politically distinct from the Israeli citizens. Israelis are primarily Jews of European and Russian descent, who immigrated to the region after the horrible events of World War II. They are culturally European and Russian. Their politics reflect this as well. About 80% of Israeli citizens are Jews (European or Russian descent), and a little under 20% are Arabs (Muslim or Christian). In contrast, the Palestinian territories consist of 80% Arabs (Muslims and Christians), 17% Jewish and 3% Other. What we have here are two completely different nations, and they have demonstrated for decades that they cannot live together. We can point fingers and blame all we want, but it doesn't change the fact that so long as Israel rules this occupied region, there will be endless conflict. This era of perpetual violence between Israelis and Palestinians must end.
Third, political secession has always been the most reasonable and practical solution to problems such as these. The United States of America seceded from the British Empire and established itself as an independent Union over issues less than these. Norway peacefully seceded from Sweden over issues far less than these. Political secession of the State of Palestine from the State of Israel makes the most logical and effective path toward peace. Only paranoid empires, filled with greed, will stop a peaceful democratic secession through military aggression. Two examples of this being the British Empire in 1776 and the American Empire in 1861. The question is; will Israel follow the British and American example of ruthless imperialism, or will she behave in a more civilised manner like Sweden?
Fourth, the State of Israel itself was fully recognised by the U.N. on May 11, 1949, the exact same process being requested by the Palestinian people for a Palestinian state.
Fifth, the pope himself has acknowledged that the Palestinian people have a right to their own homeland, just as much as the Israeli people.
Sixth, Catholics and Orthodox around the world are supporting this measure, if for no other reason than divine justice mandates it.
Seventh, the sole reason for overwhelming American support of Israel is the popular Evangelical Christian heresy called 'Dispensation Theology' (or 'Dispensationism') which asserts that God has two covenants running simultaneously -- one for the Christians and another for the Jews. Because of this, Dispensationism asserts that the Old Testament promises made to the genetic descendants of ancient Israel are still in full force. Dispensationism does not recognise those promises as having been fulfilled a thousand-fold in the Church. Dispensationism does not recognise the New Testament teaching that the Church is Israel, and Israel is the Church. Dispensationism does not recognise that the divine promise given to Abraham, ('I will bless those who bless you' Genesis 12:4) extends to all of his descendants (physical and spiritual), which includes not only Jews through Isaac, but also Arabs through Ishmael, and Christians through Jesus Christ. Dispensationism only applies this passage to the Jews. Therefore, many American Evangelicals (and some misguided Catholics) are under the impression that the modern State of Israel represents 'the Jews' in the most literal sense, and therefore we must 'bless' Israel in order to be blessed by God, otherwise according to the passage of Scripture, we shall be cursed by God. This is a gross perversion of the Biblical text. Nowhere in the entire Bible does God command Christians to bless a political secular state, made entirely by UN recognition, and any abuses of power it may commit against Christians and others, for the purpose of artificially creating an ethnically Jewish nation. Dispensationism is heresy! It is almost an exclusively American doctrine, promoted almost exclusively by American Evangelical televangelists. The Catholic Knight CONDEMNS it.
Eighth, I suffer from no illusions. The United States of America has painted itself into a corner. We should have remained neutral in this matter, and politically distanced ourselves from Israel decades ago. That didn't happen. While the presidency of Barack Obama did not help this situation, let us not forget that the road to Palestinian statehood was supported by both President Clinton and President G.W. Bush. We have supported political secession of the Palestinians from Israel, and we have promoted it, under all three presidents. Now our chickens have come home to roost. We can either man up to it, and vote in favour of a Palestinian State, or else we can continue to weasel around, fearing the political backlash of American Evangelicals and Jews. The time has come to put our vote where our mouth is. Either we support a Palestinian state or we don't. Guess what America! IT'S TRUTH TIME.