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Palestine's 'Turbulent Priest' Delivers Blistering Easter Message

By Stuart Littlewood – London

Fr Manuel Musallam recently retired at the age of 71 after serving as the parish priest of the Holy Family Church in Gaza for 14 years. For most of that time the Israelis would not allow him to visit his family and friends in the West Bank. So, in spite of failing health, he soldiered on through the devastating siege and the murderous blitzkrieg.

I was privileged to meet a couple of years ago and I just love the way this man speaks out. He doesn't mince words. He tells it the way it is, with truth and style.

Retirement hasn’t silenced him or dimmed his perceptions.

This Easter he's concerned, as always, about the Occupation and how it robs those in the Holy Land of Easter's message of hope and joy. "We Christians of Palestine have been under Occupation for many long years. We’ve been suffering with bitterness being kept away from the Holy Sites. We’ve been denied our right to worship in Jerusalem. Many Christian generations have never been able to reach Jerusalem to visit its holy places.

"The Occupation has been continuously imposing unlawful obstacles. This year, we are confronted by the Israeli Apartheid Separation Wall, checkpoints, and roadblocks guarded by Israeli soldiers denying us movement and access to Jerusalem.

"All these measures not only suffocate the Palestinian people, but also asphyxiate peace in Israel and Palestine."

Fr Manuel explains how Palestinians are denied the freedom to worship as and where they please, even at Easter. In particular they are prevented from going into Jerusalem. The Zionist claim that Palestine was 'a land without a people for a people without a land' has had a disastrous impact on the Palestinians. "It does not mean that Jerusalem is without a people, but rather it should be evacuated to be handed over to another people. David Ben Gurion himself articulated the plan in 1937 when he declared: 'We must expel Arabs and take their places.'

"Every stone built in the Apartheid Wall, every axe strike digging under the Al-Aqsa Mosque and every house destroyed by Israel will increase the intensity of resistance and resentfulness. However, cooperation with Palestinians will give Israel the hope for a future, dominated by serenity and peacefulness."

“We lament Jerusalem…”

He warns of the relentless Zionist programme to completely Judaise Jerusalem, alter its features, expel its people, destroy its houses, seize its land and build numerous settlements. "We lament Jerusalem, and miss its beautiful ceremonies. This year thousands of tourists will weep with us. They will not be able to march the 'Way of the Cross' with Palestinians. There will be no national Palestinian Folklore to discover or Arab religious crafts to take with them as gifts, and no local prayers, hymns and music to experience in the warm faith of believers in Palestine. They will be shocked entering the Holy Sepulchre to find Israeli police inside."

Easter symbolizes liberation from sin and slavery but hopes of national liberation are evaporating. The slavery and humiliation of occupation are felt more keenly than ever by Palestinian Christians. "We do not foresee any political settlement, or an end to occupation, or hope for the return of Palestinian refugees, or the forming of our state with Jerusalem as its capital, or the right to self-determination, or the liberation of thousands of prisoners, free access and movement, an end to Gaza siege, and the dismantling of the Apartheid Wall around Jerusalem.

“We are appalled by the continuous threats of more war. And we are distressed by the daily humiliation, hunger, thirst, unemployment and the absence of sustainable development in our country."

The world's silence is perplexing, he says, and the international community seems unable to implement the resolutions it used to create the State of Israel. Recent events only to lead closer to the abyss.

He reminds us that Palestinians have been building and enhancing Jerusalem for 5000 years and never stopped... except during the Occupation, which has practically destroyed everything they had accomplished. Unable to find any traces of their own heritage, he observes, the Occupiers have annexed some of the Palestinians’ holy places.

"Jerusalem was the city of God, peace, and prayer but has been converted into a city of man, war and hatred. Instead of becoming the key to the doors of heaven, it has become a key to war and blood."

“Protect our holy sites”

Jerusalem, the holiest place on earth, is now the focus of sin and crime, he says, because one man is killing another, insulting him and trampling his dignity and his right to live. "Jerusalem is ours. It is not a disputed land. We are not soliciting to share the legacy and heritage of Jerusalem with Israel or with anyone else.

“We do not accept the speech of Israeli leaders that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that building in it is no different from building in Tel Aviv. Occupation is a sin and a form of terrorism, and when relying on the texts of the Torah to kill people or expel and remove them from their land it rises to the level of a crime against humanity. All perpetrators should be judged by the International Criminal Court before being judged by the just court of God.”

Supporters of Netanyahu's remarks, and those who fail to condemn them, simply give Israel more time and excuses to intensify its crimes against the Palestinian people. Hence they become accomplices in a “sin against the nations”.

In his appeal to the world this Easter, what seems to worry Fr Manuel most is how the dwindling numbers that are now allowed to reach the Holy Sites might cause them to be turned into historic monuments or even destroyed. In the eyes of Israeli leaders, these places are 'pagan sites' and whoever destroys them is brought closer to God. "A long time ago," he says, "the Zionist Jewish leader Theodore Herzl said: ‘If one day we recover Jerusalem and I am still able to do anything when we do so, my first action will be to cleanse it thoroughly. I will remove everything that is not holy and burn the monuments that are centuries old.'

"Israel has devastated and tortured us in their many wars. We ask you to see the wounds of innocent Palestinian people and to be compassionate towards the Palestinian holocaust that you witness with your own eyes and touch with your own hands, and to know those who perpetrated this crime against our children. Search with us for justice that is the mother of peace. Protect us and safeguard our Holy Sites."

I recall that in 2008 Fr Manuel was with his Christian community during their darkest hour when Israel, with a nod from America and the EU, unleashed a deadly onslaught intended to finally crush the half-starved Gazans.

At the height of the killing spree, Fr Manuel sent this message from the smoking ruins to anyone who would listen: "Our people in Gaza are treated like animals in a zoo. They eat but remain hungry, they cry, but no one wipes their tears. There is no water, no electricity, no food, only fear, terror and blockade... Our children are living in a state of trauma and fear. They are sick from it and for other reasons such as malnutrition, poverty and the cold... The hospitals did not have basic first aid before the war and now thousands of wounded and sick are pouring in and they are performing operations in the corridors. The situation is frightening and sad.”

In exasperation he added: “May Christ's compassion revive our love for God even though it is currently in 'intensive care'."

Was anyone listening?

Wimpish churchmen and politicians in the West would wet their pants at the very thought of speaking plainly against Zionist lawlessness and cruelty the way Fr Manuel does, which is why the Holy Land is such an unholy mess. Their inaction ensures that nothing changes for the better. Indeed, the situation gets progressively worse. Some will no doubt be muttering, “Will nobody rid us of the turbulent priest?” as did King Henry II in 1170 referring to Thomas Becket who rebelled against his unjust reforms.

But we need many more good and turbulent priests. They inspire. They might even succeed in goading the cowardly international community to action. Meanwhile it seems God still has work for Fr Manuel, even in retirement.


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Added: Mar-31-2010 Occurred On: Mar-31-2010
By: kanns01
In:
Middle East
Tags: Palestine, Israel, Christians, occupation, suffering
Views: 9653 | Comments: 41 | Votes: 1 | Favorites: 1 | Shared: 1 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 1
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  • Being that in 2008 HAMAS Legalizes the Crucifixion of Christians and other Enemies I doubt they will be part of the intifada, lmfao.

    Posted Mar-31-2010 By 

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    • They already are part of it, its in front of your very eyes in the post, you just can't bring yourself to accept the truth.

      The Catholic church, the largest Christian organisation on planet earth pretty clearly stands with the Palestinians.

      Posted Mar-31-2010 By 

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    • "pretty clearly"?
      you made that one up.

      Posted Mar-31-2010 By 

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    • Nah, I'll post something later to prove it

      sorry, but I'm afraid its true. The churches literature is actually surprisingly explicit in its support for Palestinian self-determination

      Posted Mar-31-2010 By 

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    • paedos of a feather flock together. prove away. dont forget the include those hard to find on your posts sources.

      Posted Mar-31-2010 By 

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    • that was one time, nobber

      Posted Mar-31-2010 By 

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  • the authors name is stuart 'littlewood'...lmfao.

    perfect name for a short dick, racist, neo-nazi, brit.

    Posted Mar-31-2010 By 

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  • with all respect, a load of bull.

    Posted Mar-31-2010 By 

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    • Just look at the source...The Neo-Nazi liveleak tag team has been working overtime...they practically dominate all posts in LL.

      Its getting very boring here.

      Posted Mar-31-2010 By 

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  • "devastating siege and the murderous blitzkrieg"?

    Then he must have been living under the threat of rocket attacks from hamas. Those are the only attacks that happen daily.

    Got to love how terrorist sympathizers try and rewrite history.

    "Palestinians are denied the freedom to worship as and where they please, even at Easter. In particular they are prevented from going into Jerusalem"

    How F'n dumb. Why should Israel allow palestinians free passage throughout Israe More..

    Posted Mar-31-2010 By 

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  • i am an atheist. i also never bought into the indoctrination from a young age. i do however believe that indigenous people from the land of Israel, the Jews, should have their own homeland. the pals are just arabs and not a distinct people that are being used by jordan, lebanon, egypt and most of the other 23 muslim countries as a way to destroy Israel and Jewish people. so i am against so called pals and believe that the arabs should leave Israel or live in peace.

    Posted Mar-31-2010 By 

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    • Comment of user 'timerider2009' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
    • who took whos property now? Israel is the Jewish historic homeland. owned and continuously engaged by Jews before Islam was even thought of. Think of it similarly to the aboriginal first nations of canada attempting to reclaim a small portions of what was once all theirs. canada has a government that recognizes first nations rights and are negotiating land deals with aboriginal peoples. arabs on the other hand deny Jewish rights to the land and want to kill Jews and destroy Israel. Should C More..

      Posted Mar-31-2010 By 

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    • Comment of user 'timerider2009' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
    • indigenous people of that land the JEWS???? i bet those goldman and silverman are the INDIGENOUS people of that land!!!heheheeeee.better come up wiotha better bull shiat next time BROTHA!!!!

      Posted Mar-31-2010 By 

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  • if it wasnt for the Jews you wouldnt even have a religion so STFU

    Posted Mar-31-2010 By 

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  • Since when a bunch of neo-cons supporters and Zionists on this site ever agreed on being wrong?

    They all become intellectual individuals by providing information grasped from sources that supports their ideology. Then they turn around and point the fingers at sources that completely tells the opposite.

    It's the nature of ignorance.

    Haiti had a massive earth quake and their presidents stormed it with concerns and sponsorship, visiting the country to show they people they care - meanwhile th More..

    Posted Mar-31-2010 By 

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    • we pick and chose our enemies as well as our friends ...been doin it since grade school recess...we all play this game to get a better life or the next best friend or toy...life does go on

      Posted Mar-31-2010 By 

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  • "We Christians of Palestine have been under Occupation for many long years. We%u2019ve been suffering with bitterness being kept away from the Holy Sites. We%u2019ve been denied our right to worship in Jerusalem. Many Christian generations have never been able to reach Jerusalem to visit its holy places.

    "The Occupation has been continuously imposing unlawful obstacles. This year, we are confronted by the Israeli Apartheid Separation Wall, checkpoints, and roadblocks guarded by Israel More..

    Posted Mar-31-2010 By 

    (-3) | Report

  • Christian Palestinians are stepping up against the Israeli occupation.
    It looks like they could become a big part of the next Intifada, and no doubt their Intl brethren will help them.

    The thing is for the Israeli's, if they crack down in their usual way with hate and violence, the images will be beamed into American and European homes! ha ha ha

    Posted Mar-31-2010 By 

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    • Why...because you found one or two articles from Christians that have been terrorized and intimidated by Hamass to lie and support them?
      What do you think would happen to these people if they told the truth and condemned HAmas and muslims?
      They would be dead within minutes!

      Posted Mar-31-2010 By 

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    • Yeah right....the Arabs are such peaceful loving people.
      Thats all you jihadists have....propaganda and lies.

      Posted Mar-31-2010 By 

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    • I was wondering the same thing here. Christians in a Muslim world, especially when converting Muslims are not just a target from whatever country, but they are a target from fellow countrymen. It's a huge crime that is a mandatory death sentence should you denounce Islam to accept another religion.

      I was also wondering if this is not pressure from the Muslim communities to say this.

      Posted Mar-31-2010 By 

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    • Ha! Israel has a PR machine that would make Dr Goebbels blush.

      Posted Mar-31-2010 By 

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    • no i assure you they are not being pressured,

      the occupation does not discriminate,

      both muslims and chrisitnas are suffering under the same thing and are uniting,

      as we speak, muslims and christians are holding a protest in Bethlehem to commemorate the daily stuggle they have to go through in order to move around freely,

      this priest said it perfectly,

      %u201CWe do not accept the speech of Israeli leaders that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that building in it is no different from bu More..

      Posted Mar-31-2010 By 

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