Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem

CHAPTER FOURTEEN —— Part 1 of 3

DESTRUCTION AND DESECRATION OF CHRISTIAN HOLY PLACES AND THE VIOLATION OF CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS RIGHTS

A major scandal within American Christianity today is the idolatrous support of Israel by the false prophets of American evangelism who are misguiding millions of unwitting Americans into aiding and abetting the persecution of their fellow Christians in the Holy Land. The sex scandals that have devastated two of these evangelists, Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart, pale in comparison to the scandal of their sacrilegious support of the Zionist persecutors of Christianity who have gone so far as to even officially burn the New Testament!

American Christians, as well as Christians everywhere, would be totally horrified if they realized that the Zionist leaders so hate Christianity and Christians that they would burn the word of God. Yet their leaders, such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, as well as the deposed evangelists Bakker and Swaggart, among others, trumpet the Israeli Army as an idol and as an alleged ally of America.

Yet no less a figure than Professor Yehoshafat Harkabi, former Head of Israeli Military Intelligence, has revealed the facts surrounding Israel's official burning of the Gospels so cherished by all Christians, and above all by the fundamentalist Christians who have been misled by the televangelist accomplices of Zionist persecution of Christianity. General Harkabi writes:

Chief Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, who is considered to be a moderate ...( in 1979) issued a ruling that copies of the New Testament should be burned. This ruling did not remain a dead letter. An item in the newspaper Ma'ariv (14 June 1985) reported the burning of a copy of the New Testament found in the library at the base of the chief educational officer of the Israeli army ....

These manifestations of hostility - the designation of Christians as idolators, the demand to invoke "resident alien" ordinances, and the burning of the New Testament - are distressing. Outside the Land of Israel Jews never dared to behave in this fashion. Has independence made the Jews take leave of their senses?(1)

In such words an Israeli leader admits the truth about Zionist persecution of Christianity. Yet even such admissions are swept under the rug by the alleged Christian supporters of Israel.

It is a great irony that those Christian leaders who have created a false idol out of the State of Israel are themselves, as purported Christians, condemned by the Zionists as idolators!

Examples of the idolatrous support of the Zionist per- 1 secutors of Christianity by leading American fundamentalist pastors follow:

Jerry Falwell says: "Right at the very top of our priorities must be an unswerving commitment and devotion to the State of Israel."

Pat Robertson says: "The future of this Nation (America) may be at stake, because God will bless those that bless Israel."

And Jimmy Swaggart, before being deposed for becoming involved with a prostitute in a notorious sex scandal, said: "God will bless those that bless Israel, and God will curse those that curse Israel."(2)

Another notorious televangelist, Mike Evans, produced a television special entitled "Israel: America's Key to Survival." "Although his mother came from an Orthodox Jewish Background," Mike Evans attended a Christian Bible school as a child. In 1970 he began what he calls a "Ministry for Israel."(3) Considering the long history of Zionist persecution of Christianity, one can only wonder at the shameful support for the persecutors of the followers of Christ in the native land of Christ.

UPROOTING CHRISTIANITY FROM THE HOLY LAND

As far back as 1920 Zionists had declared their objective regarding Christian holy places in Palestine. In 1920 the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem denounced Zionist objectives in an address later published in the Church Times, London, in which he stated:

The Zionist Commission had been a very strong body; but it was not strong enough to control all its members, many of whom were extremists ... They had behaved and spoken as if the country had already been given to them and was theirs to dispose of as they would. In ordinary conversation among Zionists at Jerusalem it had been asked "What shall be done with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre? Shall it be burned or razed to the ground?"(4)

During the 1948 war, Zionists destroyed, desecrated and profaned Christian churches, convents and institutions throughout the occupied area of Palestine. These acts, together with the campaign against Christian missionaries, continue until today. Now that the Zionists occupied Jerusalem in the 1967 war, the last stage of their plan will be carried out when they are assured of their complete domination of the Holy City. Hundreds of Christian families were expelled from Jerusalem. In spite of the fact that the Zionist propagandists constantly proclaim their good intention towards Christian and Muslim holy places in Jerusalem, nothing will deter the Zionists from carrying out their fanatical program of ultimately eradicating Christianity from the Holy Land.

In July 1968, His Beatitude Maximos V Hakim, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, made a declaration in New York in which he expressed his apprehension that Christianity could not survive in the Holy Land under existing conditions. He recalled certain events which he had witnessed since the creation of Israel in 1948. The Patriarch stated:

The Melchite church has suffered many losses at the hands of the Israelis. We lost churches in Damound, Somata, Kafr- Bur'om and Ikret, a village which the Israeli army destroyed on Christmas Day 1952.. Many churches were damaged in the 1967 war, and many churches were desecrated by soldiers and men and women entering these Holy Places indecently dressed and with their dogs. My encounters with the Israeli government officials, particularly since the last war, have been completely disheartening ... On June 21,1967,I met with Pope Paul at the Vatican to discuss the Vatican stand on the situation and the problems facing the Christian community within Israel and the occupied territories. From the discussion I learned the Vatican offers 100% support for the U.N. resolutions on Jerusalem, particularly that the city's status should be international rather than the object of any further discussions. Upon my return to Israel, I presented this stand to the government, and a high Israeli spokesman whom I prefer not to name for my own sake, made this remark: "Your Pope is a foolish man. He is the only one who believes in the United Nations. If the Pope has an army, let him send it. -We will give up Jerusalem only in defeat." Such an Israeli attitude combined with their restrictions upon the indigenous Arab Christian population cannot help but doom Christianity in the Holy Land.

The remarks made to His Beatitude Maximos V Hakim by the Israeli spokesman are almost a carbon copy of Stalin's notorious question, "How many divisions has the Pope?"

The Christian population of Palestine, the descendants of the earliest followers of Christ, were the first Christians to recognize the anti-Christian bigotry built into the Zionist ideology. Having long dwelt in peace with

Muslim and Jewish fellow citizens of Palestine, Palestinian Christians recognized that the Zionist colonists were a different breed, lacking the piety of Palestinian Jews. The peaceful cohabitation of Christians, Muslims and Jews in Palestine was disrupted by the militant ideologues propagating Zionism, and Palestinian Christians feared the growth of the Zionist presence in their native land and united with Muslims in opposing Zionism and the Zionist invasion of Palestine.

PALESTINE CHRISTIANS OPPOSE PARTITION AND CREATION OF A JEWISH STATE

In 1947, there were 350,000 Christians in Palestine. Jointly with Muslims they opposed the partition of Palestine, and called for the independence of Palestine as a democratic state where all its citizens, Muslims, Christians and Jews, could participate in the government of the country. On March 3, 1948, representatives of the eleven Christian denominations in Palestine, namely, the Orthodox Patriarchate, the Latin Patriarchate, the Armenian Orthodox Patriarchate, the Custodian de Terra Santa, the Coptic Patriarchate, the Vicar of the Melkite Patriarchate, Metropolitan of the Syriac Orthodox Community, the Vicar of the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate, the Arab Evangelical Episcopal Community, the Vicar of the Syriac Catholic Patriarchate, and the Arab Lutheran Community in Palestine, made an appeal to the United Nations and to the world religious and political bodies in which they stated:

It is our firm conviction that peace will not be restored nor would any endeavours made for the promotion of the "peace of Jerusalem" be crowned with success, unless those bodies who undertake the determination of the future of Palestine would remove the causes which have made a battlefield of the Holy Land, reestablish the principles of justice and maintain the right of self-determination as envisaged in the Charter of the United Nations Organization.

The Christian Union wishes to declare, in unequivocal terms, that they denounce the partition plan, being of the strong conviction that this plan involves a violation of the sacredness of the Holy Land which, by its nature and history, is indivisible, and represents an encroachment on the natural rights of the Arabs, the people of the country.(5)

DESECRATION AND PROFANATION OF CHRISTIAN HOLY PLACES IN 1948

During the Palestine war of 1948-49, Zionist forces desecrated, profaned, destroyed and looted Christian Holy Places. The following are quotations from the authoritative Christian clergy who witnessed these atrocious acts:

On May 31, 1948, the Committee of the Christian Union of Palestine issued an important statement in Jerusalem denouncing the destruction, profanation and desecration of Christian Holy Places in Palestine. The following is the full text of that historic statement:

STATEMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN UNION OF PALESTINE

The war which started in the Holy City of Jerusalem was for all of us a real surprise and beyond our expectations. The Security Council, the United Nations Organization and the Consular Committee of Armistice had given us hope that the Holy City and its sanctuaries would be spared the horrors of war and its consequences of destruction and ruin, both belligerent parties having signed before the Consular Committee of Armistice and the representative of the International Red Cross an undertaking to cease fire for a duration of eight days starting from 9 p.m. on May 14,1948.

In compliance with this signed promise the Arab Command issued formal orders through loudspeakers to all its posts to cease fire, and complete peace prevailed on all Arab sectors.

But the Jews took advantage of this opportunity and immediately occupied the main strategical points from where they tried to attack the Arabs and to launch their attack on the Holy City. We immediately informed the Consular Committee of Armistice and the representative of the International Red Cross of this infringement of agreement by the Jews. The reply received was that the Jewish Agency declared that the Stern gang, which is working separately, broke the cease fire agreement and that the Jewish Agency had no control over this group. We then realized that the terrorists are controlling the Jewish movement. In consequence of which the International Red Cross and the Committee of Armistice declared that it was beyond their power to enforce the respect of the undertaking. In this way the Holy City was turned into a battlefield where severe fighting is taking place, accompanied by destruction on a large scale. In consequence, churches, convents, religious and charitable institutions have become the targets of mortar shells and bullets. Some of these buildings were destroyed and set on fire and many of the innocent civilians comprising of women, children, priests and nuns were injured by the explosion of bombs which were fired from all sides and in all directions.

Because of this dreadful situation, We, the representatives of the Christian Communities, deem it our solemn duty to raise our voice in protest against the violation of the sanctity of our churches, convents and institutions.

We herewith enumerate some of the damages sustained by our institutions and injuries inflicted on their administrators and refugees sheltered therein.



I. CONVENTS AND INSTITUTIONS OCCUPIED BY THE ZIONISTS

1. The Convent of St. George of the Greek Orthodox was occupied on May 14, 1948.

2. The Hospice "Notre Dame de France" of the Assumptionist Fathers was occupied on May 15, 1948, fortifying and using it as main base to attack the Holy City,

3. The Convent of Reparatrice Sisters was occupied on May 15, 1948 and used in the same manner as that of Notre Dame de France.

4. The French Hospital was occupied militarily by Jews on May 15, 1948, regardless of the presence of the Sisters of St. Joseph, its sick occupants and in defiance of the International Red Cross flag and that of the French colors.

5. The Italian Hospital which the International Red Cross had placed under its protection on May 15,1948. Armed Jews occupied this building by force and replaced the flag of the Red Cross, which was trodden on, by the Jewish flag, in spite of the protest of the Italian Consul General. They have since used this building as a front post to fire on the city.

6. The Apostolic Delegation protected by the flag of the Holy See, was occupied on May 18, 1948.

7. The Monastery of the German Benedictine Fathers (Dormi tion), was occupied on May 1 8,1948. The Jews turned it into a strong strategical post and one of the main bases for their military operations against the Holy City.

8. The English School on Mount Sion, and the convent of St. John, of the Greek-Orthodox were occupied on May 18, 1948.

We have to point out as well that some of the Holy Places were hit and damaged by mortar shells fired by the Jews from the Hebrew University, Hadassah Hospital and from the two big synagogues located in the Old City.



II. CHURCHES, CONVENTS AND INSTITUTIONS DAMAGED BY ZIONISTS

1. The Hospice "Notre Dame de France," a large part of which was destroyed as a result of the Jewish occupation.

2. The Convent of Reparatrice Sisters was set on fire and almost completely destroyed.

3. The tower and church of the Monastery of the Benedictine Fathers were damaged as a result of having been occupied.

4. The Seminary of Ste. Anne was hit by two mortar bombs: the first on May 17, 1948, the second on May 19, 1948, destroying walls and wounding the refugees sheltered therein.

5. The church of St. Constantin and Helena which is contiguous to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was damaged on May 17,1948, by a bomb, the fragments of which damaged also the dome of the Holy Sepulchre.

6. The Armenian Orthodox Patriarchate was hit by about one hundred mortar bombs thrown by Zionists from the Monastery of the Benedictine Fathers on Mount Sion, and the bombs damaged St. Jacob's Convent, the Archangels Convent and their two churches, their two Elementary and Seminary schools and their library. Eight persons among the refugees were killed and 120 wounded.

7. The entrance to the church of St. Mark belonging to the Syrian Orthodox, received on May 17, 1948 a mortar shell killing the monk Peter Saymy, secretary to the Bishop and wounding two other persons.

8. The Convent of St. George of the Greek Orthodox which is contiguous to the Greek Catholic Cathedral received on May 18,1948 a mortar shell breaking the tiles and damaging the windows of the cathedral.

9. The convent of St. John of the Greek Orthodox, contiguous to the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, received on its roof a mortar shell on May 23,1948, and St. Abraham convent nearby was hit as well as St. Spiridon Convent.

10. The Convent of the Archangel belonging to the Coptic Patriarchate, situated over the grotto of the Holy Cross, forming part of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, received on May 23, 1948 a mortar shell damaging its roof.

11. The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate was hit by mortar shells on May 23 and 24, 1948, wounding many refugees sheltered therein.

12. The big Franciscan convent (St. Saviour) situated near the Holy Sepulchre received mortar shells on May 19,23,24, and 28, 1948, causing damage to the orphanage, general secretariate, and hitting nearby houses, killing and wounding children sheltered therein.

13. The Latin Patriarchate received on May 23,26,27 and 28, 1948, mortar shells causing damage to the Patriarchal Palace, especially to the Cathedral.

14. The Greek Catholic Patriarchate was hit by mortar bombs on May 16 and 29,1948, damaging the building and wounding some persons.



III. PERSONS KILLED AND WOUNDED BY ZIONIST BOMBS AND BULLETS

Among the numerous victims, women, children, priests and nuns killed or wounded in the Holy City since the Jews started their attack, we would like to enumerate the following:

1. The monk Peter Savmy, secretary to the Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan, killed by the explosion of a mortar shell and two other persons were wounded.

2. Father Mammert Vionnet of the Assumptionists Fathers and Judge of the Latin Ecclesiastical Court, well known in the scientific world, was killed by the Jews when

they attacked his convent and occupied it. 3. Father John Salah of the Passionist Fathers was killed by a Jewish bullet when he was entering the church to celebrate the Holy Mass.

4. Brothers Sigismont and Cyrille of the Christian Brothers were wounded inside their school on May 15, 1948 respectively by Jewish bullets. We have to add in affirmation of truth that the Arabs gave assurance that they would respect the Holy Places, Convents, Red Cross Institutions, and in fact they kept their word till now, and if they entered in a certain convent it was in view of counter defense.

We therefore appeal to all those in power and to the civilized world to compel the Jews to respect the Holy places and the religious institutions and to desist from making them military bases and targets.

Jerusalem, the 31st of May 1948.

Representative of the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate, Signed: Ghiragossian. Representative of the Latin Patriarch, Signed: Rev. Ibrahim Ayad.

Representative of the Greek Catholic Patriarchate, Signed: M. Assaf.

Representative of the Latin Parishes of the Holy Land, Signed: Akiki.(6)


TESTIMONY OF CHRISTIAN CLERGY: PROTESTS TO THE UNITED NATIONS

Monsignor Thomas MacMahon, Secretary of the Catholic Near East Association of New York, wrote to the Secretary- General of the United Nations on August 20, 1948 stating: "There have been constantly some violations and desecrations of Catholic holy places. The Associated Press report of August 19, 1948 confirmed that Jewish forces perpetrated criminal acts against 12 Roman Catholic Institutions in Northem Palestine ... Seven churches, convents, and hospitals have been looted by Jews and others seized by force."(7)

Convent of Franciscan Fathers in Tiberias: The late Monsignor Vergani, General Vicar for the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem for Galilee, reported on July 27, 1948 the following: "The chapel was profaned, the altar overturned, the statues of the Holy Virgin, Saint Francis, and Saint Anthony were broken to pieces."(8)

Church of the Beatitudes and the Italian Hospice at Capernaum: The late Monsignor Vergani also reported: "Jewish soldiers entered thechurch by a window, forcedloose the image from the cross. A grenade had been thrown against one of the door posts of the church and a mark of some size was left in the stone ..."(9)

Church of Mosaic and Hospice in Tabaku: The late Monsignor Vergani also reported: "The chapel was profaned, the door broken open, the statues in pieces, sacred vestments torn and thrown on the floor, the tabernacle opened by force, the chalice stolen, crosses broken."(1O)

Our Lady of France Hostel and Church in Jerusalem: Father Pascal St. Jean, Superior of our Lady of France Hostel reported the following: "Rooms were ransacked, the archives of our Father Superior were plundered, scattered and destroyed. The safe was opened, emptied of all money, and valuables were stolen. Both chapels were desecrated, figures of Christ unfastened from crosses and taken away. In the great chapel we came upon Jewish soldiers of both sexes dancing in the sanctuary to the music of the harmonium. Benches were taken outside and used for profane purposes. We have seen mattresses in the great chapel and Jewish soldiers have certainly been sleeping there. I protest against these acts in particular. They are sins committed on the premises of holy worship."(11)

Greek Catholic Church, Jaffa: Father A. Rezk of the Greek Catholic Church, Jaffa, reported on August 4,1948 the following: "My church has been desecrated by the Jews. Armed Jewish soldiers broke through the Church door. They stole two chalices, and sacred vases containing the Holy Host, three crosses, a patena plate, two altar spoons -They threw away the icons of Jesus Christ and the Holy Virgin in a garden next door"(12)

DESTRUCTION AND DESECRATION OF CHRISTIAN HOLY PLACES AFTER 1948

Following the establishment of Israel, the Israeli authorities continued their destruction and desecration of Christian holy places.

1. Israeli forces seized several Christian convents and churches on Mt. Zion in Jerusalem. They looted the ornaments and church golden and silver objects and transformed those convents and churches into military posts for Jewish armed forces. An eyewitness who recently reported about the Church of St. Saviour on Mt. Zion stated the following:

The interior of the Church of St. Saviour is a scene of total devastation. The carved and gilded altar has been wrecked, and an altar painting lies destroyed on the upper floor. The oil paintings that decorated the upper part of the north and south walls have been torn out of their frames leaving only tattered shreds of canvas. Many of the Kutahya tiles, brought especially from Turkey by Armenian pilgrims in the early eighteenthcentury have been ripped from the walls; those that have not been stolen lie smashed on the ground, along with a tangled mass of broken church furniture. The valuable collection of old church vestments has completely disappeared.(13)

2. Israeli forces desecrated and vandalized the Armenian and the Greek Orthodox cemeteries on Mt. Zion in Jerusalem. Fourteen tombs of Christian patriarchs were smashed open and their contents desecrated. Two were demolished and excavated to a depth of 6 feet. All marble stones were broken.

In the Greek Orthodox cemetery on Mt. Zion, practically every tomb in the cemetery was smashed. Many graves were dynamited or smashed open. Fragments of marble crosses, angels' wings and inscriptions lie inextricably mixed with human skeletons and skulls, blackened tree stumps, and the remains of rockets and shells.

The Catholic cemetery on Mt. Zion received the same treatment from the Zionists. The Very Reverend Father Andres, Procurator-General in the Holy Land since 1962, published an article in the Catholic Journal, La Terra Sainte, March, 1968 in which he described the shocking acts of vandalism and desecration of the Catholic Cemetery. He published several photos showing the evil deeds of profanation. Father Andres states: "The Jews actually dragged the corpses out of the tombs and scattered the coffins and remains of the dead all around the cemetery."

3. On Christmas Day of 1952, the Israelis blew up the Christian village of Ikret in the north of Palestine together with its beautiful church. The Christian inhabitants were scattered into other parts of Galilee.

Monseigneur Hakim, Archbishop of the Greek Catholic Diocese of Acre, Haifa, Nazareth and the rest of Galilee, (now Patriarch Maximos V. Hakim), wrote a letter to Dr. Hertzog, Minister of Religious Affairs in Israel, describing what he saw in the village of Ikret as follows:

I return from my visit to Ikret, a 100% Catholic village, and it grieves me to say, I return heartbroken. The scenes of demolished houses, streets blocked with stones and timber, and tottering walls - these atrocities, added to the memory of my previous visits to this village which was in the past alive with its inhabitants, have filled my heart with anguish and distress. When I reached the summit of the village and stood in its Churchyard, I felt the tears in my eyes as I saw the Vicarage in rubble, that beautiful residence that used to fill our hearts with joy and glory, and which was erected with its three spacious rooms above the school, all were demolished. The Church, I could not gain access to it since its entrances were obstructed with stones; but I do not doubt that the collapse of the adjacent houses has inflicted upon it serious damage. Climbing the ruins surrounding the church, I saw a deep cleft in the upper part of the eastern wall. The cross that was standing erect above the dome was smashed. I cannot tell whether it was accidental or deliberate. The belfry was void of its bell which was pulled down by the inhabitants of the adjacent Jewish colony to be used in announcing the times for their meals.(14)

4. In October 1953, Israeli forces destroyed the Christian village of Kafr Bur'om in Galilee together with its churches, schools, and other buildings and scattered the Christian inhabitants to other parts of Galilee.

5. On April 16th, 1954, the Zionists launched an attack against the cemetery of the Greek Catholic Community in I Haifa. Israeli hysteria against Christians was exhibited in that cemetery by group dancing on the Christian tombs, destruction of many tombs and digging out the remains, 73 crosses and 50 statues of angels were smashed.

6. In July 1954, a group of Israelis attacked a Christian religious procession of the Carmelite Fathers and the Christian community of Haifa near the cave of St. Elijah on Mt. Carmel near Haifa. The Christian religious procession was broken up, many of the crosses carried by the procession were smashed, and many Christians were injured.

7. The New York Times of July 12, 1961 published a dispatch from Jerusalem under the title "Church in Israel Shut By Stonings: Jewish Fanatics Attack Christian Services." The dispatch states:

Services of a Christian Fundamentalist missionary group in Jerusalem had been called off following stone-throwing attacks by Jewish religious fanatics ... Since April 5 every Wednesday night and Sunday night service in the tiny stone church in the former Greek colony here has been disrupted by boisterous crowds outside the church compound.

The crowds were small at first, probably twenty-five or thirty persons the first Wednesday night. They blocked the front and rear gates to the compound and chanted: "Eichmann! Eichmann!" The crowd grew larger and noisier until April 19 when some persons began hurling stones. The stone attacks have persisted since then and most of the windows in the church have been shattered. Various church groups have felt the animosity, especially missionary groups. The Church of Christ has been the least reticent of all about its willingness to convert Jews to Christianity.(15)

8. On January 10, 1963, seventy Jews, mostly Yeshiva students, attacked the Finnish" Christian Mission School in Jerusalem, smashed thirty windows and beat Mr. Risto Santala, the school pastor. Further up the Street of the Prophets, a car belonging to a Hebrew-Christian family was overturned and the plate glass windows of the Zion Mission shop run by the Reverend William Hall, were smashed. The Jewish mobs were incited by an editorial in the Jewish newspaper Yediot Aharonot of December 23,1962 which accused the Christian Mission of converting Jews to Christianity, and calling on Jews to demonstrate outside the Finnish School.

DESECRATION OF CHRISTIAN HOLY PLACES 1967-1969

During the June war of 1967 Israeli forces shelled and damaged many churches in the old city of Jerusalem and the church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Israeli forces opened the church of the Holy Sepulchre to Jews who poured into the holiest place in Christendom indecently dressed, behaving disrespectfully, joking, singing and pouring pharisaic hate and insults against Christianity and against Jesus Christ inside the Holy Sepulchre and next to the tomb of Jesus Christ.

Nancy Nolan of Grosse Isle, Michigan, wife of Dr. Abu Haydar of the American University Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon, in an open letter to the Christians of the Western world, described as an eye witness what she saw in Jerusalem during and after its occupation in 1967 by Israel:

While the Israeli authorities proclaim to the world that all religions will be respected and protected, and post notices identifying the Holy Places, Israeli soldiers and youths are throwing stink bombs in the church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Muslim call to prayer, formerly heard from every minaret five times daily, is no longer heard in Jerusalem, third most sacred city to the hundreds of millions of Muslims all over the world.

The Church of St. Anne, whose crypt marks the birthplace of the Virgin Mary, has been severely damaged and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem also was damaged. The wanton killing of the Warden of the Garden Tomb followed by the shooting into the Tomb itself, in an attempt to kill the warden's wife, was another instance that we knew first-hand which illustrated the utter disregard shown by the occupation forces toward the Holy Places and the religious sensibilities of the people in Jordan and in the rest of the world. The desecration of the Christian churches, especially the Church of the Nativity and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, of which we know personally, includes smoking in the churches, littering the churches, taking dogs inside and entering in inappropriate manner of dress. Behavior such as this cannot beconstrued other than as a direct insult to the whole Christian worId.(16)

Reverend James L. Kelso, the former moderator of the United Presbyterian Church, who lived for many years in Palestine, described the damage and desecration of church property in an article published in Christianity Today, July 21, 1967. Reverend Kelso states:

How did Israel respect church property in the fighting a few weeks ago? They shot up the Episcopal Cathedral, just as they had done in 1948. They smashed down the Episcopal school for boys so their tanks could get through to Arab Jerusalem. The Israelis wrecked and looted the YMCA upon which the Arab refugees had bestowed so much loving handcraft. They wrecked the big Lutheran Hospital, even though this hospital was used by the United Nations. The hospital had just added a new children's center and a new research department. The Lutheran center for cripples also suffered. At Ramallah, a Christian City near Jerusalem, the Episcopal girls' school was shot at and some of the girls were killed. So significant was this third Jewish war against the Arabs that one of the finest missionaries of the Near East called it "perhaps the most serious setback that Christendom has had since the fall of Constantinople in 1453 ... There is a deep horror about all this history in the fact that great numbers of Christians in the United States applaud Israel's crimes against Arab Christians and Arab Muslims. How can a Christian applaud the murder of a brother Christian by Zionist Jews? The Arabchurch is as truly the body of Christ as the American Church."(17)

MURDER OF THE WARDEN OF GARDEN TOMB

Mrs. Sigrid W. Proft of Switzerland was an eye witness to the murder of the Reverend S.J. Mattar, warden of the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem. Mrs. Proft gave the following account:

When the war started on Monday morning the 5th of June, the three of us, Reverend and Mrs. Mattar and I, went to the Tomb for shelter from the constant bombing and shooting, We had to spend all the day and night in the Tomb of our Lord, as the fire never ceased ... About 7 A.M. on Tuesday, the fire seemed to get less and Mr. Mattar decided to go up to the house and get some breakfast. At 7:30 A.M. we suddenly heard voices of soldiers in the lane. They broke the gate and the last thing we heard was Mr. Mattar's voice telling them "good morning" kindly and friendly as he would have received any visitor. We heard several shots immediately afterwards, and they also shot at us in the Tomb, and only through the Lord's protection we were not hurt. When I went up to the house later I found the dear Saint of God (Reverend Mattar) in front of the house with several shots in his head, killed bv Jewish soldiers without anv cause.(18)

DESTRUCTION OF THREE BIBLICAL VILLAGES: BEIT-NUBA, EMMAUS AND YALU

The villages of Yalu, Beit Nuba and Emmaus were known from the time of Jesus. "And they drew nigh to Emmaus: and the unknown pilgrim made as though he would go further. But they constrained him, saying: Stay with us, because it is towards evening and the day is now far spent. And he went in with them. And it came to pass, whilst he was at table with them, he took bread, and blessed and broke, and gave to them. And their eyes opened and they knew him and he vanished out of their sight9'(Luke XXIV 13-31). The Church of Emmaus was reconstmcted in 1902 by the Franciscan Fathers on Crusader Foundations. Emmaus has also a big Catholic Convent and was a great tourist attraction. These three Biblical villages were occupied by the Israeli army on June 9, 1967. All homes and buildings in the three villages, together with the Catholic Church, Convent and two Muslim Mosques were razed to the ground. Twenty two men, women and children were killed in the blasting operations. Over 5,000 people were made homeless.

The well known Jewish writer Amos Kenan was a soldier in the Jewish army unit which demolished these three villages. In an interview with the Jewish magazine Haolem Hazeh, he gave the following account:

The unit commander told us that it had been decided to blow up three villages in our sector; they were Beit-Nuba, Emmaus and Yalu. This was explained by strategic, tactical and security considerations. At noon the first bulldozer arrived and pulled down the first house at the edge of the village. Within 10 minutes the house was turned into rubble, The olive trees and cypresses were all uprooted. After the destruction of three houses the first refugee column arrived from the direction of Ramallah. We told them to go to Beit Sum. They told us that they were driven out everywhere, forbidden to enter any village, that they were wandering like this for four days, without food, without water, some dying on the road. They asked to return to the village, and said we'd better kill them. Some had a goat, a lamb, a donkey or camel. A father ground wheat by hand to feed his four children. On the horizon we could see the next group arriving. The children cried. Some of our soldiers started crying too. We went to fetch them water. We stopped a car with a major, two captains and a woman. We took a jerrican of water and distributed it to the refugees. We also handed out cigarettes and candy. More soldiers burst out crying. We asked the officers why are these refugees sent from one place to another and driven out of everywhere. They told us this was good for them. Let them go. Moreover, said the officers, why do we care about the Arabs anyway. We drove them out. They go on wandering in the south like lost cattle. The weak die. In the evening we found out that we had been deceived, for in Beit-Sura too, bulldozers commenced destruction and they were forbidden to enter. We found out that not only in our sector was the border straightened out for security reasons but in all sectors. Our unit was outraged. At night we were ordered to guard the bulldozers, but the unit was so outraged that no soldier was willing to carry out such duties. None of us understood how Jews could behave like this. The chickens and doves were buried in the rubble. The fields were turned into wasteland in front of our eyes. The children who went on crying on the road will be Fedayeen in 19 years, in the next round, Thus have we lost on that day the victory.(19)

A CAMPAIGN AGAINST CHRISTIAN MISSIONARIES

Since the creation of Israel a continuous campaign of hate and incitement has been carried out by Jewish secular and religious authorities against Christians, Christian clergy, Christian churches, and Christian missionaries. This campaign fanned hatred and fanaticism, and encouraged Rabbis, Zealots and Jewish mobs to commit acts of violence against Christians, Christian missions, churches and institutions.

The Jewish paper Badi-ot Khadeshot of December 21, 1952 published a declaration by the Supreme Council of Rabbis in Israel, released on December 20, 1952, attacking the activities of Christian missionaries. The declaration was signed by two leading Rabbis, Dr. Hertzog and Dr. Oziel, and the Secretary-General of the Council. It was directed to all Rabbis and those concerned with religious affairs, calling upon them to combat the activities of Christian missionaries. The declaration stated: "More than four hundred of the apostles of Satan - the missionaries, among whom are some baptized Jews, who are traitors to their people -have fallen on the country like the swam of locusts~"20

The Tel Aviv newspaper Ha'aretz published on July 20, 1954 an article written by Rabbi J.L. Maimon, member of the executive Board of the Jewish Agency, first Minister of Religious Affairs, and Chief of the Mizrhi Party. He wrote:

I want to admit that I sinned against my people. When I accepted the post of Minister of Religions I can say that I tried to defend and to guard the Holy Places of Christians and Muslims, even though I know that these places were sacred only by virtue of certain traditions devoid of any historical foundation. I was hoping that heads of these religions would appreciate and would defend our Holy Places, as if I did not know that one cannot have confidence in the uprightness and sense of justice of Christian and Muslim religious authorities. I knew that robbery and murder are their methods, but I hoped that in our time, a period of civilization and progress, the followers of these two religions, would overcome their cruelty and would adopt towards our sacred places some sentiments of respect. However, I am obliged to say, to my regret, that I have been completely fooled, and that I did not take advantage of an advice of agreat Zionist who told me 25 years ago "the best of Goyim has in the bottom of his heart the germ of hate against the Jewish peopIe."(21)

The National Jewish Post and Opinion published in its issue of February 8,1963 that the Israel Minister of Religious Affairs had come out strongly in favor of anti-missionary (Christian missionary) activity, following widespread reports of over-zealous missionary work. Dr. Zarah Wahrhaftig said that Israel's Jewish population had to overcome its indifference to missionary work if there was to be any hope of its being stopped. Speaking at the founding meeting of the Council to Combat the Christian Missions, he said that while he did not advocate violence of the sort that resulted in the stoning of the Finnish mission, more voluntary activity in the anti-missionaq field was vitally necessary. Resolutions adopted at this meeting expressing "Abhorrence at the despicable methods of the Christian missions and regret at the forgiving attitudes of the authorities, pmiculaly in the lack of any legislation which would prohibit missions."(22)

THE PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS IN ISRAEL

In 1947 the Christian population of Palestine was 350,000. Wen Israelis usurped 80% of Palestine in 1948, they espelled 800,000 Muslim and Christian Arabs. The Christian population of Israel in 1969 was less than 45,000. They are treated as second-class citizens, deprived of their lands, discriminated against in employment and education, and restricted in their movements by military regulations applied to Arab areas. Jews who adopted Christianity, as well as European Christians, are subjected to vicious fonns of harassment, discrimination and persecution. The following incidents illustrate the nature of persecution of Christians in Israel.

1. ZIONISTS ATTACK JEWISH-CHRISTIAN MEETINGS

On the 12th of July 1954, a Protestant Minister in Tiberias went to a house where some families of Christims and Jews had gathered. A Rabbi provoked Jews to riot by spreading the rumor that many Jews were to be baptized in that house. Hundreds of Jews gathered and attacked the house. The police were rushed to disperse the mob, and it was only the presence of the police yhich saved the Protestant Minister from being lynched.

2. PERSECUTION OF PARENTS FOR SENDING THEIR CHILDREN TO CHRISTIAN SCH00LS

Governmental and Religious authorities carry on a constant campaign of persecution against parents who send their children to Christian schools. As an example of this cmpaign the magazine Proche-Orient Chretien of January-March 1954 published the following:

The Grand Rabbinate supported this campaign by an appeal in which it denounced the misdeeds of the Christian Missions. According to Hatsofe newspaper December 2, 1953 the Grand Rabbinate appeal states: "The Christian Missions open under the feet of Jewish children the precipice of assimilation and of change of religion. Those who by attending these schools let themselves be drawn to change their religion become the enemies of our national existence. We want this appeal to reach a11 families in Israel. We proclaim a special week for action and for information. We launch an appeal in order to collect the necessary funds for the realization of this action."(23)

Go to part 2