August 2012 Archives


Father Roy writes:

Peers, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has a tangible focal point:Jerusalem.  The word “Jerusalem” means “City of Peace”.  An international debate over the future status of Jerusalem is now in progress, on-line as well as off-line.  To hear from the Palestinian side, read MIFTAH’s latest mailing pasted below.  To learn the extent to which Israeli officials are incensed that the debate has grown international, watch this short video:  BBC Refuses To Name Jerusalem As Israel’s Capital (04:47).

The Rev. Naim Ateek, a Palestinian Christian, states the obvious in the language of diplomacy:  “Jerusalem remains the key to peace.  Ultimately it is what happens to Jerusalem that will determine whether a viable peace is achieved or not.  Unless the International Community can build peace based on a just foundation, it is difficult to imagine a permanent resolution of the conflict.”  Karen Armstrong explains why this is true in an article published in Time Magazine:  Why Jerusalem Was Central To Muhammad.  For additional reading:… and….

President Obama literally caused global warming when he told an AIPAC conference that Jerusalem must remain “undivided” and “Israel’s eternal capital.  America’s President missed a peacemaking opportunity that day which would have been consistent with even his own foreign policy.  All the President needed to say was that Jerusalem must remain “undivided and SHARED”.  Peers, let’s think about the matter.  Let’s think more and more deeply.  It’s not too late for President Obama to correct his mistake.  All he has to do is finish his sentence.  Let’s Contact The White House and insist that he do.  Please read on.

Peace, Roy+

Journey into Oblivion: Silwan and the City of David

Date posted: 08/08/2012

By: Melkam Lidet for MIFTAH


Jerusalem lies at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Having occupied east Jerusalem in the 1967 war, Israel claims it is its “eternal and undivided” capital, something the international community including the United States does not recognize (even though president hopeful Mitt Romney begs to differ). For Palestinians, a future Palestinian state will see east Jerusalem as its capital. Thus Jerusalem is a very controversial city where everything that happens there, be it under the guise of religion or science, is controversial and political as well.

Because it is a center for all three Abrahamic faiths– Judaism, Christianity and Islam, it might be obvious how religion meets politics in Jerusalem or in Israel/Palestine in general. Science however, is considered as objective, as close to the ‘truth’ as one can get. In Israel-Palestine nonetheless, science too can be political. The science I am alluding to is archeology; a science that is most relevant to a city with a history of more than 5000 years. As one of the oldest cities in the world which has witnessed multiple layers of civilizations, Jerusalem is indeed historians’ and archeologist’s paradise. Before the city moved to its current, gated location, ancient Jerusalem or “City of David” was located south of what Jews claim is the Temple Mount (Al Aqsa Mosque Compound), in the village of Silwan where several archeological excavations are underway currently.

The City of David or the Palestinian village of Silwan lies in east Jerusalem based on the 1948 Green Line and lies just a few meters from the Dung and Zion Gates of the Old City. It is part of east Jerusalem under Israeli occupation after the 1967 war; hence Israel is the sovereign power there. Archeological excavations are licensed and supervised by the Israeli government though its ministries and authorities. It is managed however, by a private body – the Elad Foundation which is a right-wing ideological foundation affiliated with settling Jews in east Jerusalem. This makes City of David now part of “Jerusalem Walls National Park” the only national park in Israel managed by a private body.

The problem with the ideological affiliation of the managing body is of course in that it dictates the focus of the excavations and the historical narratives that will emerge from the findings in a way would serve its ideology and purpose. In Silwan, the purpose of the excavations is far from seeking the history of ancient Jerusalem objectively. Rather, it has become a search for evidence of events and figures from biblical Jerusalem where interpretation of the findings is based on popular stories associated with the place rather than the find itself. This is not to say that the stories in the Bible are not real or true but to point out that such a narrow research focused on popular figures such as kings overlooks the cultural, political and social aspects of people who lived in the area at different periods in time.

For example, while no substantial finding in the area mentions King David or Solomon, remains from the Abbasid periods as well as Byzantine or Late Roman were found in the Givati parking lot at the northern edge of City of David. But because there is no commutation with the local residents and since the research doesn’t have the interest of the local residents or overall history of the place in mind, the Muslim Abbasid and Byzantine remains were dismantled in search for remains from the Roman/Second Temple period. The reason of course is to tell a single story – that Jews lived here back in history and that they should live here in the present time. In short, its aim is to legitimize illegal Israeli settlements in east Jerusalem.

The plan to grab more Palestinian land without Palestinians under the pretext of sometimes archeology and other times natural conservation is even more evident in the archeological methods employed in Silwan. While digging horizontal tunnels underground is now considered as an archaic archeological method abandoned for many years now, it still remains to be the method used in Silwan where neighborhoods such as Wadi Hilweh will have to bear the consequences of excavation being carried out underneath their houses.

Further, several houses in the neighborhood of Al Bustan are awaiting their demolition because they were built without a permit (since the Israeli authorities do not give construction permits to Palestinians residing in east Jerusalem). With the aim of recreating the “biblical” City of David, their neighborhood will then be transformed to a garden facing what’s believed to be David’s palace. However, neither the remains in the City of David nor Al Bustan neighborhood in Silwan have been proven to be David’s fortress. More land would also be taken away from the residents in realizing the municipality’s plan to build a parking lot for tourists while the neighborhoods in Silwan are in a clear need for schools and hospitals.

If successful in meeting its goal, the City of David will be a closed site where everything is only Jewish with no mention of the Palestinian residents of Silwan or the political sensitivity of the place: walk into the City of David, past narrow alleys with Jewish settlements through the Gardens of David and Solomon, down to the Shiloah (Hezekiah’s tunnel). It will be a journey of oblivion.

Melkam Lidet is a Writer for the Media and Information Department at the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH). She can be contacted at….



Father Roy writes:   Please, everybody, read the article from American Free Press pasted below.  What we’re witnessing here is a dramatic internal political development in the Middle East Peace Process.  For background reading: bilderburger group – AOL Search Results 

Globalist Group Divided Over Iranian Issue

By James P. Tucker Jr.

Some Bilderberg leaders, exposing a dramatic internal conflict, are trying to persuade world leaders that Iran should be allowed to have nuclear weapons because “balance of power” makes the region safer.

This argument was made by several Bilderberg participants at the meeting in Chantilly, Va. in early June, including Airbus head Thomas Enders of Germany, multinational corporation Saint-Gobain’s CEO Pierre André de Chalendar of France and Microsoft executive Craig Mundie of the United States. Their views were summarized in the July-August 2012 issue of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Foreign Affairs magazine by Kenneth Waltz, an adjunct professor at Columbia University.

“Israel’s nuclear monopoly, which has proven remarkably durable during the past four decades, has long fueled instability in the Middle East,” said Enders. “It is Israel’s nuclear arsenal, not Iran’s desire for one, that has contributed most to the current crisis. Power, after all, begs to be balanced. What is surprising about the Israeli case is that it has taken so long for a potential balancer to emerge.”

“It’s easy to understand why Israel wants to remain the sole nuclear superpower in the region and why it is willing to use force to secure that status,” said de Chalendar. “In 1981, Israel bombed Iraq to prevent a challenge to its nuclear monopoly. It did the same to Syria in 2007 and is now considering similar action against Iran. But the very acts that have allowed Israel to maintain its nuclear edge in the short term have prolonged an imbalance that is unsustainable in the long term.”

“Israel’s proven ability to strike potential nuclear rivals with impunity has inevitably made its enemies anxious to develop the means to prevent Israel from doing so again,” said Mundie. “In this way, the current tensions are best viewed not as the early stages of a relatively recent Iranian nuclear crisis but rather as the final stages of a decades-long Middle East nuclear crisis that will end only when a balance of military power is restored.”



Father Roy writes:  Internationals have new dates to mark on our calendars:  August 11 — 18.   See my highlights in this report.   Peace, Roy

General council meeting not so political, says United Church of Canada

The Israel-Palestine conflict and the Northern Gateway Pipeline are two notable issues up for debate at the United Church of Canada’s general council meeting in Ottawa this weekend, but the church says it’s not all political talk.

Around 600 people from across Canada will attend the 41st general council meeting at Carleton University to debate 130 proposals for action and elect a new moderator.

Approving a report on the church’s core values and enacting changes to the doctrine section of The Basis of Union document are a couple of the in-house items on the agenda, but there are larger socio-political issues on the table.

The $6 billion Enbridge construction project seems to be getting most of the attention in the media, said Rev. Bruce Gregersen, the United Church of Canada’s general council officer of programs. But he maintained the meeting is “profoundly religious.”

Although the resolution calls for the church to reject the project, Gregersen said the church has not yet taken an official stance on it.

“It’s a question of listening to concerns of people who have framed the proposals based on environmental concerns,” said Gregersen. Aboriginal members in the west coast have expressed their concerns about the construction project’s impact on the environment.

With respect to the Israel-Palestine conflict, he said that is a debate about justice, fairness, and peace.

“In no way are these purely political issues,” said Gregersen, rather they are, “fundamental issues.”

Some of the actions are symbolic, while others, he said, require letters and phone calls which can take years to implement.

As with any recommendation, there might be people who disagree.

“(The meeting) becomes an opportunity to speak to the church,” said Gregersen.

The meetings will be held from Aug. 11 to 18 in the Raven’s Nest Gymnasium and will also be streamed live at


If 16 separate intelligence agencies are actually able to AGREE on this (NIE)…what purpose do SANCTIONS serve? Why impose more deprivation on the Iranian people? Is this more of the west’s concept of “humanitarian support”? If Americans ever wake up to the Truth of what/who is behind perpetual war in the region…everything will CHANGE!


Reuters reports: 

“The United States still believes that Iran is not on the verge of having a nuclear weapon and that Tehran has not made a decision to pursue one, U.S. officials said on Thursday.”

“Their comments came after Israeli media reports claimed U.S. President Barack Obama had received a new National Intelligence Estimate saying Iran had made significant and surprising progress toward military nuclear capability.

Later, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak suggested that the new U.S. report, which he acknowledged might be something other than a National Intelligence Estimate, “transforms the Iranian situation into an even more urgent one.”

But a White House National Security Council spokesman disputed the Israeli reports, saying the U.S. intelligence assessment of Iran’s nuclear activities had not changed since intelligence officials delivered testimony to Congress on the issue earlier this year.

We believe that there is time and space to continue to pursue a diplomatic path, backed by growing international pressure on the Iranian government,” the spokesman said. “We continue to assess that Iran is not on the verge of achieving a nuclear weapon.”

U.S. officials would not directly comment on whether there was a new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, which is a compilation of views of the various U.S. intelligence agencies.

The last formal NIE on Iran in 2007, partially made public by the administration of President George W. Bush, became highly controversial because it said Tehran had halted nuclear weaponization work in 2003, although other aspects of the overall program continued. A later update to that report retained that central assessment, sources have previously said.

If we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to interrogate those who tell us that something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then we’re up for grabs.Carl Sagan


Father Roy writes: This one is a good one to circulate. I highlighted three words. Peace, Roy

Source: The Washington Post

By Zahi Khouri, Published: August 9

I am a proud American. I am a hardworking businessman and job creator. I am a faithful Christian.

And I am Palestinian.

Much as my multiple identities might drive Mitt Romney to head scratching, it is he who needs a lesson in, to borrow his recent words, “culture and a few other things.”

Were he to spend a day with me in the Holy Land, I could take him to the Jerusalem neighborhood where my family home has stood for five centuries. I could show him the orange trees in Jaffa that my family helped introduce to the world in the 1930s.

That’s right: Jaffa oranges are a Palestinian, not Israeli, trademark. Yet like so many “cultural” markers claimed by the self-professed Jewish state, even the fruit trees my people have tended for centuries have been expropriated.

Romney might be duped into thinking that oranges, falafel and hummus — staples of Palestinian cuisine for generations — are Israeli products. But how dare he claim that a state built at the expense of another people’s history and accomplishments is guided by “the hand of providence”?

Israel did not make the desert bloom. Instead, thanks to a deal struck with the British viceroys of Mandate Palestine, it made away with a land, a set of institutions and, indeed, a culture that was not its own.

It did so at the expense of my people. Like more than three-quarters of Palestine’s population, my family was forced to leave this land after Israel’s creation in 1948. Even though we had to abandon our successful businesses and centuries-old homes, however, we did not become the “uncultured” victims that Romney’s caricature suggests.

Most of us went to other Arab countries, where Palestinians became known for our business acumen and management know-how, and helped to build nascent private and public sectors. Ask our fellow Arabs in Lebanon, Jordan or elsewhere in the Persian Gulf region and they will tell you: Palestinian culture, with its premium on education and hard work, has been a force for hope, development and prosperity.

Despite their circumstances, Palestinians living under Israel’s brutal occupation share the same culture and proudly claim the same remarkable achievements. I, for one, returned to Palestine in 1993 to launch the first Coca-Cola bottling plant in the West Bank. It was granted a Best Country Bottling Operation award in May by Coca-Cola, a testament to my colleagues’ ingenuity and determination. But these traits alone cannot overcome the stifling effects of Israel’s occupation.

If Romney got one thing right, it’s that Israelis far outdo Palestinians in net wealth. In fact, his estimates of the disparity were too conservative: Israel’s per capita gross domestic product is roughly $32,000 to the Palestinians’ $1,500.

Remarkably, that $1,500 figure is roughly half of what Palestinians claimed in 1993, when the Oslo accords were signed. In other words, the U.S.-sponsored peace process has made us poorer.

How is that possible?

Palestinians have no say in our economic development. Every resource — water, land, soil, minerals, airspace, humans — is controlled and commandeered by Israel, which then deigns to sell us back a small portion.

In the West Bank, for example, Israeli settlers consume on average 4.3 times the amount of water as Palestinians. In the Jordan Valley alone, some 9,000 settlers in Israeli agricultural settlements use one-quarter the amount of water consumed by the entire Palestinian population of the West Bank, about 2.5 million people.

Palestinians have no control over our borders. This means we cannot import or export without being subject to discriminatory measures by our occupier. It also means that, without Israeli permission, we cannot hire experts to enhance our employees’ skills or send employees for overseas training.

Worse, we are restricted within the territories ostensibly under our “control.” At any given time, there are more than 500 Israeli checkpoints, roadblocks and other barriers to movement within the occupied West Bank — an area smaller than Delaware — hindering Palestinians and their goods from moving between their own towns and cities and the outside world.

Palestinian development of all kinds is severely hindered by the Israeli occupation. Yet Palestinians have not given up. Palestine has one of the highest literacy rates in the Arab world. Our youth continue to graduate from our universities, opening businesses and gaining skills. Our private sector innovates and grows.

All of this is happening on the 22 percent of historic Palestine that is the West Bank and Gaza. If Romney had any historical perspective, he would dispose of his racist judgments about Palestinian culture and instead imagine our potential without Israel’s imposed hindrances.