lifted from miff.no (really bad google translate). I do urge you to follow the miff link to see pictures of a Jesus like person, presented as a Palestinian. Never mind the awful translation to English…
On the new Facebook page “Speak truth about Bethlehem” different leaders in the Church of Norway have teamed in a petition that was published on 28 November. Among those who have signed the petition we find bishops Solveig Fiske, Tor B. Jørgensen and Erling Pettersen, Berit Hagen Agøy, Secretary General of Inter-Church Council, and a number of priests in the Norwegian Church. Here you will find of course also the signature of the chairman of the Palestine Committee.
Here is a reproduction of the petition in quotation blocks, with MIFF comments highlighted under each section.
“Soon it is Christmas As Christians, we celebrate the miracle of Jesus’ birth in the manger.
We may remember the story of Joseph and Mary traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem, two cities respectively northern Israel and the Israeli-occupied West Bank. ”
Bethlehem is located in zone A of the West Bank, and has been under civil and security control of the Palestinian Authority since 1995.
“This petition insists that we have a calling to ask us in solidarity with all those affected by the conflict in the Holy Land, and to witness to the injustice occupation entails for Christian and Muslim Palestinians. Churches there have long urged Western churches to stand up against injustice, and share their pain. We think it is wrong about the church denies injustice in today’s Palestine when we commemorate the miracle in the then Palestine, and we will emphasize the following:
“Contemporary Palestine” more than suggests that there was a Palestinian state similar unit in Bethlehem area around the year zero. It was of course not. Jesus was born in Bethlehem the town of David, childhood town to a Jewish king who already one thousand years earlier had ruled, first over Judea, and then throughout Israel. David’s capital was Jerusalem.
Jesus was born when Quirinius was governor of the Roman Emperor Augustus in the province Syria. Around Nativity Herod the Great died, the king as the Roman Senate had declared “King of the Jews”, a good indication that neither “Palestinians” or “Arabs” were present in the area for two thousand years ago. In the year 6 AD was the traditional area called Judea, including Jerusalem and Bethlehem, part of a Roman province with the same name.
By using an anachronism that almost becomes a lie, the Church of Norway’s men and women achieve about the same as the Emperor Hadrian made about 130 years after Jesus’ birth in a manger. “Enlisting an old non-Jewish geographic name for the area, “Palestine”, to cover and suppress the Jewish connection to the land.
(The article continues below.)
This is one of the pictures published by the Facebook page “Speak truth about Bethlehem.” MIFF editorial was not aware that Paul thought of the safety barrier in the West Bank, when he wrote a barrier that Jesus had destroyed. But theologians in the Norwegian Church has clearly understood this! (Screenshot from Facebook page)
“We will tell the truth about the city where Jesus was born, a Palestinian city with Christians and Muslims, where the entire population suffers under occupation. The town is encircled by walls, fences and checkpoints. A portion of the wall is listed inside the Bethlehem city streets. We will preach the gospel of the Prince of Peace, and the message of love and justice for all peoples and all believers. ”
Spreading only half-truths usually leads to lies, regardless of how much one insists to be telling the truth. After Israel conquered the West Bank (and Bethlehem) in a lawful defensive war in 1967, was the living standards of the population in the area eventually greatly improved. Water and electricity were installed in housing, health care, educationand life expectancy increased. Just to mention a few examples.
In 1995 the Palestinian Authority control over Bethlehem. After that time has pushed against Christians in the city increased sharply.
Bethlehem is not surrounded by walls, fences and checkpoints. In the city’s outskirts to the west and north there such facilities, to prevent uncontrolled movement of armed terrorists into Israeli-controlled areas. After the plants were in place, the number of suicide terrorists from Bethlehem reduced to a minimum. In the city’s outskirts to the east and south there is no such fence.
“Part of the wall is goes through Bethlehem’s streets.” That’s right. But why? Because Rachel’s Tomb is located in Bethlehem. Rachel’s Tomb has been a key place of prayer for Jews at least 1700 years. The only reason that Israel has been forced to make the Jews third holiest place into a fortress, are local Palestinians repeated attacks. The Palestinian Authority showed zero respect for Jewish holy places, and broke its obligations Oslo II agreement.
We wish the Church of Norway luck with preaching “Prince of Peace Gospel” in neighborhoods of Bethlehem which is dominated by Hamas or supporters of Islamic State. (Hamas won municipal election in Bethlehem as early as 2006.) If the CoN (Hah, my pun!) succeed with its mission, the new converts be in danger. There is good reason to believe that fleeing to Israel will be the only lifesaving solution.
(The article continues below.)
Parish priest at Kampen church in Oslo, Marit Skjeggestad, has published a picture on his Facebook wall with a suffering Christ-figure in Palestinian scarves and the text “Made in Palestine”. Skjeggestad seems to be one of the driving forces behind “Speak truth about Bethlehem.”
“We will protest against a political status quo; that Israeli violence, arbitrary arrests particularly of children and adolescents, closed borders, travel restrictions, trade barriers and other humiliations remains everyday for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Occupation violence also leads to Palestinian violence, and 2014 is a year of increased unrest and several killed than for very long. A lasting political solution must be based on a principle of equality between all peoples and ethnic groups, Jews, Christians and Muslims. ”
To end the symptoms of conflict, Palestinians must be willing to end the conflict. They have not shown willingness. They have rejected Israeli offers of withdrawals, and they refuse to recognize that Israel will remain a Jewish state with a majority and identity.
The claim that “occupation violence also leads to Palestinian violence” turns the matter entirely on the head. The control measures for which Israel now is being condemned, was not necessary when the Palestinians much less used violence. Back then, they were not even in place. Israel ended the occupation of Gaza in 2005, and withdrew at the same time out of four settlements in the north of the West Bank. It did not lead to less violence Palestinian – it led to much more violence. Israel gave Palestinians autonomy in Bethlehem and other major cities in the West Bank in the 1990s. In the aftermath we saw suicide bombers and the second intifada.
The Norwegian Church is committed to equality. When Jews in Israel detects the total indifference Norwegian bishops and priests have the suffering Islamist Jihad and Palestinian nationalism has caused them through centuries, they are very skeptical what “equality” Muslim friends of the Church’s men and women will show them that day Muslims would be in the majority or the Jews no longer able to defend themselves.
When Jews in Israel see the incredible energy forces in the Church of Norway use to demonize Israel, while the indifference, the same powers show to stand up for the millions of Christian brothers and sisters being who are being chased and flee (the lucky ones), while thousands are being massacred and taken as sex slaves by Islamists in Africa and Asia, they are very skeptical of what equality means.
Christians in Bethlehem who dare to be honest, have experienced in recent years what kind of equality Muslim rulers offer them. “Muslims have stolen land from Christians, taken Christian houses and harassed women. The legal system in Palestine does not follow the law. Muslim police sympathize with Muslims. Therefore Christians have no legal security, “said Palestinian Cyrien Khano to the Danish journalist Klaus Wivel in 2006. There are many similar testimonies. The Palestinian Christian elite who carefully tend their relationship with PLO- and Hamas leaders, do not meet this reality, and fail to tell about their fellow brothers’ and sisters’ suffering to Norwegian companions. Everything that could distort the picture of Israel as the only scapegoat disturbs the great and important mission.
“We will pray for the Palestinian Christians who manage the place where Jesus was born and the angels sang to the shepherds. We know that in the Palestinian churches they preach a message of reconciliation. They carry the hope that peace and justice will one day prevail. We encourage all believers in Norway to support a peace and righteousness. To cease the occupation, both occupier and occupied is freed from the yoke of oppression and dignity rebuilt for everyone. ”
Note that bishops and priests use the code word “justice”. Let me explain what it means. Justice for them, meaning, among other things “right to return” for millions of descendants of Palestinian refugees in 1948 in Israel, so that the world’s only Jewish state with majority disappears.
In early December attended Berit Hagen Agøy from Ecumenical Council in a conference with Palestinian Christian leaders.
Have you figured out how participants see the requirement of “right to return”, I asked her on Twitter.
“It has not been an issue here, because Kairos community respects UN and universal human rights,” replied Agøy.
“So what other refugee groups than the descendants of Palestinian refugees does the” Kairos environment “think should have the right to return?” I asked.
It went a whole week without response. When I called for answers wrote Agøy:
“I find the question as diversions from talking about the Palestinian situation today.”
I replied, “I find it difficult to take this talk about” universal “rights seriously, when you can not give a single example.”
“Fairness” for the Palestinian Christians who are the stakeholders in the Church of Israel haters, meaning that millions of Palestinians will have the right to move into Israel, so that Israel we have known in the past 66 years are gone. This they believe is fair, although no other refugee groups have such a “right” to return. If a Finnish person comes to the Church of Norway to request support to return to Karelia, he will be met with full rejection.
Jews in Israel shun the message of “reconciliation” which means a solution with two states both to be Arab. They envisage the kind of “dignity” Arab majority groups offer their minorities in countries such as Syria, Iraq and Yemen. The Church’s men and women know that Hamas has a dominant influence, not only in Bethlehem, but throughout the Palestinian society. They also know what kind of “equality” Hamas gives Jews prospects in its charter. The movement that won elections in Bethlehem in 1996 expresses in its political foundation document a longing for the day when nature will help Muslims to kill Jews.
The Church’s men and women must ponder these words in their hearts. According to the traditions as Luke noted, was the child who was wrapped in the manger called the “consolation of Israel” by one of the first who met him. A church that every Advent attacks the modern state of Israel, has comforted preciously few, apart from Islamists, communists, neo-Nazis and Palestinian nationalists who united in the dream to see Israel fall.
Excerpts of Twitter conversation with Berit Hagen Agøy in Ecumenical Council.