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January 23, 2007

Comments

Josiah

Scary, yes, but not very realistic.

Terry

I'm more concerned about the very real probability of the annihilation of Palestinian Christians than I am about the very slim possibility of the annihilation of Israel.

Tim J.

Not "realistic"? Slim possibility?

Radical Islamist suicide bombers have shown no compunction at all about destroying themselves if they can take out a number of their enemies, yet radical Islamist leaders who have publicly sworn to destroy Israel can be trusted to act rationally with nukes?

You don't think it possible that Ahmadinejad and his ilk might like to go out in a blaze of glory for the Prophet? These folks have amply demonstrated that self preservation is not at the top of their agenda, as it is in the West.

Oddly, we are killing our civilization through contraception and abortion, while they still believe in having babies, so they may not have to resort to nukes at all.

Josiah

Aside from some clear factual mistakes (Ahmadinejad is described as being "in his second or third term" when the Presidency of Iran is term limited, and is described as carrying out the attacks even though it is the Supreme Leader, not the President who is commander in chief), the article is premised on the notion that the Mullahs are willing to all die along with their families and their country. I see no reason to believe that.

Yes, yes, I know, the Mullahs are all crazed religious fanatics, for whom life means nothing, etc. I don't buy it. If these people wanted to go out in a blaze of glory for the Prophet, they've had plenty of chances over the last 30 years. They could have gone out fighting in the Iran/Iraq war. Instead they bought weapons from the U.S. and Israel, and ultimately sued for peace. The guy who is likely to be the Supreme Leader in five to ten years, Rafsanjani, is widely regarded as an opportunist, who is far more interested in making money than in martyrdom or in killing the Jews.

Tim J.

"Yes, yes, I know, the Mullahs are all crazed religious fanatics, for whom life means nothing, etc. I don't buy it. If these people wanted to go out in a blaze of glory for the Prophet, they've had plenty of chances over the last 30 years."

Yes, but the return for dying on the battlefield or in a bus-bombing (as appealing as that might be) would be relatively low, and not fitting for a mullah. The lure of nukes is in the grand, fiery spectacle of millions of deaths at once. Try thinking of Israel as one big bus.

Of course, these guys could be stinking hypocrites who are glad enough to see nameless grunts blow themselves to a fine powder for the cause, but who would cry like a baby and offer bribes if cornered themselves. It could be. I wouldn't make book on it.

You may be right about the kind of leaders coming up in Iran... but the only sure mistake one can make about that part of the world is to try and predict how things will go. A might unstable. What's to prevent Ahmadinejad from granting himself "expanded powers" as Hugo Chavez is doing as we speak?

Sadly, it may very well take a nuke to get the West off their collective can and confront militant Islam.

William

Terry, "I'm more concerned about the very real probability of the annihilation of Palestinian Christians..." I was a Protestant missionary in Jerusalem and lived among Palestinian Christians for two years (I am a Catholic because of their witness.)and I can't understand for the life of me why more American Christians don't agree with you. It is hell for Christians living under the Israeli occupation and most Christians in America turn a blind eye to their plight.

Dr. Eric

Don't put anything past Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollahs those guys are nuts!!!

Tim J.

Okay, straighten me out, because I want to do what I can to support Palestinian Christians.

Exactly what area do you understand Isreal to be "occupying"? Gaza and the West Bank? How much of Palestine is ostensibly under Palestinian control, and aren't they responsible for how Christians are treated in those areas? Don't Palestinians think that Israel is illegally occupying... Israel? How are Christians fairing in Israel proper? Are they persecuted?

I'm sincere. I just want to know.

Josiah

"What's to prevent Ahmadinejad from granting himself 'expanded powers' as Hugo Chavez is doing as we speak?"

Well, for one thing, because Ahmadinejad isn't in charge. The Supreme Leader is in charge. Ahmadinejad doesn't have the power to do must of anything without the Supreme Leaders aquiescence.

Tim J.

Well, technically Chavez doesn't have the power, either, but he has managed to get supporting legislators to vote him expanded powers anyway. His influence goes far beyond the legal bounds of his office. I can't say I know much about how Iran is supposed to work.

Anthony

Do Palestinian Christians tend to support a separate Palestinian state?

Josiah

The Iranian government can be confusing, and sometimes sounds like it was taken from a bad science fiction movie (the Supreme Leader, the Council of Guardians, the Assembly of Experts, the Expediency Council, etc.). The important thing to know is that power rests ultimately with the Supreme Leader, and not with the President.

David B.

"the Iranian leadership sees the destruction of Israel....as a herald of the second coming,"

Unfortunately, isn't that possible? I don't mean it would be THE 'herald of the second coming,' but it could be part of the Anti-christ's plan to try to keep jews from being brought to the True Faith, no?

William

Do Palestinian Christians tend to support a separate Palestinian state? Absolutely. The fact is that Israel will find no peace until they allow the almost 4 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza full control of their own lives. i.e. a Palestinian state. One country simply cannot control virtually every aspect of another peoples’ lives against their will indefinitely. As Michael Ben-Yair Israel’s former attorney general once said, “We enthusiastically chose to become a colonial society, ignoring international treaties, expropriating lands . . . engaging in theft and finding justification for all these activities.” And yes, Christians suffer much under Israeli rule. The Wall has even prevented some Catholic Palestinians from attending Mass in their own parish. I would suggest every American Catholic seek out a Palestinian Christian in their area and take him/her to lunch. It promises to be a real eye opener. In large cities like San Francisco (St. Thomas More) and Detroit there are even Catholic parishes that are predominately Palestinian.

Jamie Beu

There are some (including http://www.nysun.com/comments/9138>this comment poster) who hold that, because the Bible says that God would protect Israel, that it can never be nuked without also nuking the faith of every Christian and Jew. However, this is not true, neither from the viewpoint of Catholic theology, nor from history.

http://jamiebeu.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!6E0753BD56367285!1506.entry>I responded by saying that as a Catholic, our interpretation of the Book of Revelation is that the New Israel (i.e., The Church) is the one that Christ founded and will protect for all time. The nation/land of Israel is not specially protected in this respect, because through Jesus, God has created a New Israel, not built with stone and by human hands, but built on people and by the blood of the Lamb.

Eventually, "heaven and earth will pass away". Does this not also include the real estate known as Israel? In that respect, we expect a new heaven and a new earth to replace this world. However, Christ's Church will continue past the end of the age. His Church starts here on Earth as the Church Militant (still fighting the temptations of the world), but continues in Heaven as the Church Triumphant, the exultant Bride of Christ.

Therefore, there is no promise of protection of a parcel of land, just as there is no promise of protection from bodily harm for the faithful - martyrs have been made at every age and time. The loving care of the Father is that he will protect us from those that "may harm the body but cannot harm the soul". Let us pray for the souls of all those in the Middle East, because eventually, this entire world will pass away - parts of it possibly from nuclear annihilation, but the world in total by Christ's Second Coming. We should be more concerned with saving eternal souls, rather than whether or not temporal real estate belongs to one tribe or another. After all, the nation (or kingdom) of Israel has come and gone several times through human history, but the Jewish people and their faith have been preserved, regardless of location.

What's to prevent Ahmadinejad from granting himself "expanded powers" as Hugo Chavez is doing as we speak?

Because the Supreme Leader would have him killed? It's one thing to arrogate more powers away from the people or from a legislative assembly (we see that on a small scale in America all the time). It's quite another to take power from the Supreme Leader. If Ahmadinejad managed to pull that off, it would essentially be a coup d'etat.

William

Jamie, well said. The 1948 secular state of Israel should not be confused with Biblical Israel.

sdben5

The US would nuke Iran.

Mo

Perhaps an Israeli reprisal contingency would be the destruction of the Kaaba in Mecca. Muslims are commanded to prostrate themselves towards this black meteoric cube 5 times a day.

The problem for most Muslims would be - would Allah allow the sacred stone to be destroyed? if it no longer existed, what are they prostrating towards?

A crisis of faith for Muslims.

A few extremists have suggested nuking the Kaaba anyway to cause a belief crisis and so stop Muslim fanatics.

Esau

People must take into consideration the Christians native to the lands of such areas like the West Bank and Gaza, those who may even be the actual descendents of the original early Christians in that very region, who unfortunately suffer in these lands under Israeli persecution.

I did not know about their terrible plight until I had seen a program on EWTN (I don't have its title -- if someone had actually seen it also, I'd appreciate this info) about a year ago or so that depicted their struggles in that region to the point where the cradle of Christianity is soon to be depleted of the very Christians that had once originally lived there due to the oppression these folks face on a daily basis and have no choice but either to get out of the country or risk their lives should they remain there.

They even showed a Christian family whose house was bombed indiscriminately by Israeli forces in the middle of the night. It was just a good thing that somehow the children of the household were not hurt.

Add to that the fact that several Protestants (not all) usually are so pro-Israeli regardless of policy, neglecting that their fellow Christian brothers and sisters are actually suffering in that region due to a certain of these.

In other words, we need to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters out there and not forget them as if they do not exist or even matter. Remember that these could very well be the descendents of the very Christians we read of within the pages of the New Testament Scripture itself!

Of course, the Jews are our elder brethren and are among the People of God; however, so is our Christian brothers and sisters and their very families, who inhabit those lands and have for many centuries.

Dan Hunter

Christ will not allow this to happen to His worldly boyhood home.
God bless you.

NewTrollObserver

The new movie "Smokin' Aces" (out this Friday) is all about the attempt to destroy Israel -- figuratively speaking, of course. I have a hunch Israel is gonna survive.

Kevin Jones

IS IT SAFE TO PANIC????!?!?!

The nuking of Israel is a lasting, grave, and certain hypothetical scenario. We've already scaremongered ourselves into one destructive war over a hypothetical mushroom cloud, let's not allow ourselves to be psyched into another one.

William

Kevin, Amen!
Esau, Raymond Arroyo and EWTN are to be commended for their excellent coverage of the plight of the Palestinians living under the Israeli occupation. I should be able to come up with the name of the show. I remember it well.

Esau

Esau, Raymond Arroyo and EWTN are to be commended for their excellent coverage of the plight of the Palestinians living under the Israeli occupation. I should be able to come up with the name of the show. I remember it well.

Thanks!

Please provide the info when you can.

As I remember it, there was a Franciscan present in that show (who served as a sort of guide through the program) who discussed the many terrible aspects of the horrible life that the Christians there in that land continue to endure. The onsite footage shown there was quite compelling.

In fact, he and others have been trying their very best to help these Christians out by providing them for their needs with housing and so forth, as many have turned destitute while many others have joined the exodus out of those lands due to the many hardships faced and risk of life to their families.

From what I remember, that Franciscan in that program seemed to be the very same one from another one shown on EWTN called "Path of the Messiah" with Raymond Arroyo and Jeff Cavins.

Tim J.

I'd really like these questions answered, so I will post them again;

"Exactly what area do you understand Isreal to be "occupying"? Gaza and the West Bank? How much of Palestine is ostensibly under Palestinian control, and aren't they responsible for how Christians are treated in those areas? Don't Palestinians think that Israel is illegally occupying... Israel? How are Christians fairing in Israel proper? Are they persecuted?"

Thanks

David B.

Jamie,

In my post I was merely saying that the destruction of a secular state because said state harbors the largest jewish population *might* be something that would appear on the Anti-christ's agenda.

Esau

CRISIS IN THE HOLY LAND

Please watch this Video at Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land:
http://ffhl.org/2006/crisisintheholyland.asp


Tim,

I just found some information on that program I watched a year ago or so. It focussed on the hardships that Christians living in the Holy Land are enduring.

The Program is called: Crisis in the Holy Land

The video can be viewed here:
http://ffhl.org/2006/crisisintheholyland.asp

It shows how the population of Christians in the Holy Land is swiftly dwindling. The reason?

Christians who are being forced out of their homelands; the very lands where they've lived for centuries (many of the present Christian families go back to 1500 years ago) due to government policies and the tremendous hostilities they suffer.


If you watch the video at http://ffhl.org/2006/crisisintheholyland.asp, you will several instances of this for yourself.


For example, they show where during the infamous siege of the Basicilica of the Nativity, the Franciscan community along with a group of other priests, religious sisters, and local Palestinians were held at bay for 39 days by the Israeli army.

Bullet holes from Israeli machine gun are still visible from one side of the Church.

A business two blocks away from the Church, as well as other area shops and kiosks were destroyed by incendiary bombs.

In the program, they show a destroyed home in the midst of a Christian community on the outskirts of Bethlehem that was destroyed by Israeli helicopter gunships. The justification was that they were looking for someone who reportedly fired shots from this neighborhood into a nearby Israeli settlement.

They show the home of a Palestinian Christian that was close to the military zone. Their house hit by several bullets and rockets. 175 bullets have been counted to have penetrated their home.

They tell of many Paltestinian Christians who are now below income. Many who no longer have jobs and can no longer feed their families due to this tragic persecution they face in the form of discrimination and hostility. This forces a growing number of Christians in that region to leave.

Though the Holy Land is the so-called Center of Christianity -- it may only be that in name only.

A Lutheran Bishop, Right Reverend Dr. Munib Younam said that last year, 1300 Palestinian Christians from Bethelehem district left the area. He says that if the trend continues, there will be no Christians left in the Bethlehem area.

According to what Fr. Vasco reports, most church officials say that within 60 years, if nothing is done to stem this Christian exodus, all we'll have is empty religious monuments and museums an no living, woshipping community.

In other words, there will no longer be a Christian community in the Holy Land -- only empty churches and holy monuments.


Here's a website for Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land:

http://www.franciscan-sfo.org/ffhl.htm

These are the folks who are trying to help these Christian families who are severely struggling in the Holy Land.

JohnD

One thing I've noticed about these Muslim despots who claim they have no fear of death, or that they "love death"; they always get some clueless nobody to do their suicide bombings for them.

Bullies are cowards, Muslim or not.

PatrickJ

If I remember correctly, the greater part of the True Cross was destroyed by fire in the Battle of Hattin in 1187.

If the very Cross can be destroyed by willful bloodshed, so too can any other thing on this earth, save only the New Covenant (and all that it entails).

Tim J.

Esau,

Thanks for the info. It still leaves most of my questions kind of hanging out there.

I remember the siege on the Church. I understand it can be nasty to get caught in a military conflict. But, are we saying that Hamas should be able to operate from Palestinian neighborhoods with impunity? Fire a rocket, and if you can make it to a Church before the helicopter gunships can get to YOU, you win!

I'm all for preserving and protecting Christians in the Holy Land - honestly - but these things don't happen in a vacuum. Telling Israel to make twenty unilateral concessions, expecting nothing in return, does not sound very realistic. What are the responsibilities of the Palestinians in all this? Wouldn't recognizing Israel be a good start?

Esau

Tim J.,
Certainly, I despise the actions of Hamas. However, brother, you cannot turn a blind eye to what the Israelis are doing to the Christians in that region. I do not at all agree with what they're doing to our Christian brothers and sisters there whose families are suffering greatly due to the persecution they're enduring under the Israelis.

Watch the EWTN video at:
http://ffhl.org/2006/crisisintheholyland.asp

It isn't that long.

God Bless and hope you understand.

Elijah

Good thing we got that Supreme Leader/President thing straightened out. I feel so much better about Iran having nukes now.

Blaine

http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/israel/nuke/
This is on the website of the Federation of American Scientists, I highly recommend www.fas.org for information on nuclear weapon proliferation, space use, and weapons in general.

Isreal very likely has nukes and has had them since the late 1960's. If provoked they would probably use them in the article's scenario. The article' author acts like Israel is totally defensless against their nieghbors. This is the big difference between the First Holocost and the hypothetical Second Holocost.

I don't trust Iran with nukes, but then, I don't trust anybody with nukes (not even us).

I pray a modern day Saint Francis would head out there and convert everybody - muslums, jews, luke warm christians - every body!

I am glad to see the plight of the Christians in Palastien being dicussed.
+Peace!

William

Tim, “I'm all for preserving and protecting Christians in the Holy Land - honestly - but these things don't happen in a vacuum.” You’re absolutely right. It isn’t happening in a vacuum. It is happening in the context of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
Bottom line...the occupation is the root of the problem. Many Israelis recognize this.
If you’re in a city where you could meet and sit down with Palestinians Christians I would highly recommend it. It is very difficult to understand their plight without seeing their situation first hand as I did or at the very least spending some time with them. BTW, when I arrived in Jerusalem for my two year stint all and I mean all my sympathies were with the Israelis. It didn’t take long to realize that there were indeed two sides to the story.

Tim J.

I understand that the Israeli occupation is the root of the problem. Are we talking about Christians just in the West Bank and Gaza? Again, how are Christians doing in Palestine and in Israel proper? It seems like increased tension with Muslims is causing problems with Christians throughout the Middle East.

I remember seeing coverage (I think in '06, maybe '05) of the Israeli military pulling out of Gaza and forcibly removing Jewish settlers in the area. That seemed, to me, to be one of those unilateral moves that was rewarded with INCREASED hostility from the Palestinians.

If Israel is just arbitrarily and capriciously shelling neighborhoods, churches and mosques, then I am concerned equally about the welfare of both Christians AND Muslims. Injustice is injustice.

If the situation is more complex, then we need to ask also what responsibility the Palestinians bear for the situation. I get the sense that if Israel were to pull completely out of Gaza and the West Bank, the effect would only be to create two new front-line positions for Hamas, allowing them to move their operations that much closer to the heart of Israel.

Basically, Palestinian Christians are living on the front lines of a battlefield, and are stuck between two enemies. It is a terrible position to be in. I just don't know how realistic it is to act as if Israel alone has the power to bring peace just by ending the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

I know Israel's hands are dirty, as well, and that they have used an oppressively heavy hand in their dealings with the Palestinian people. I don't think it can be as simple as saying that Israel just needs to stop being mean. It seems to me that if there are Israeli bullet holes all over Gaza and the West Bank that they were probably shooting AT somebody. At whom are they shooting, and why are they hiding in residential neighborhoods?

William

Tim, “It seems to me that if there are Israeli bullet holes all over Gaza and the West Bank that they were probably shooting AT somebody.” They are firing at the army who killed 10-year-old Huda Ghalia’s step-mother and five of her siblings as they picnicked on a Gaza beach. That’s just one example. Sorry, I have to go teach a class. In the meantime check out this recent article. http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0122/p99s01-duts.html

Seamus

The nuking of Israel is a lasting, grave, and certain hypothetical scenario.

Isn't "certain hypothetical" an oxymoron?

People now can't be any more certain that Iran will nuke Israel than people in the 1960s could be that Red China was going to use its nukes on anyone. Those who recall that era will remember that Chairman Mao was saying things every bit as scary and irresponsible as those that Ahmadinejad has been saying recently. (Such as pointing out that World War I brought about the Bolshevik Revolution and that World War II brought about the spread of Communism over eastern Europe and China, and concluding that there really was no reason to worry about World War III.) In fact, Red China was almost the quintessence of what we'd call a "rogue state" today.

bill912

Except that Red China was deterred from starting a nuclear war by the knowledge that such a war would bring unacceptable consequences to them from US retaliatory strikes. In the case of Iran, we have Ahmadinejad saying that he doesn't fear Armageddon, as he believes that would bring about what he wants. If he's telling the truth(can we afford to assume he's not?), it will be very difficult to deter him from using nukes once he has them.

Josiah

It's not clear that the folks at the Church of the Nativity were "held at bay" by the Israelis so much as that they were held hostage by the Palestinians:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/001/250padps.asp

Josiah

Bill,

Ahmadinejad doesn't control Iran. So whether he could be detered or not is not the issue.

Hypocritical Extremist

Herr Schicklegruber was a puppet too.

William

Josiah, With all due respect, "The Weekly Standard" is not a reliable source on such matters. On an accurate view of the Middle East, it's right up there with CNN and CBS. Maybe you should try the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem on this.

guess

bill912

"Ahmadinejad doesn't control Iran." Okay, it will be very difficult to deter Ahmadinejad and his Ayatollah masters from using nukes once they have them.

Tim J.

I went and read the story of Huda Ghalia and her family, and then I read THIS ARTICLE;

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=730324

Written by an Israeli journalist.

Reading the comments on his article is also an education in itself.

The situation there (Israel/Palestine) is just intractable. There seems to be a good number of Israelis who are sympathetic to the Palestinian people, and many Palestinians who want to live in harmony with their Jewish neighbors.

If these two PEOPLES could somehow get out from under the organizations that claim to be fighting for their interests, they might be okay. The Occupying Forces and Hamas have brought nothing but misery to all involved.

We may be able to give financial help to Palestinians, but I don't know how much help that really is. What they really need is for their situation to change, and if you have an idea how to do that, good luck.

Pray for all these people, Israeli and Palestinian.

William

"Pray for all these people, Israeli and Palestinian." Amen!

Jamie Beu

I pray a modern day Saint Francis would head out there and convert everybody - muslums, jews, luke warm christians - every body!

I wondered about something like this regarding the War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq. We are fighting a war over there with just over 100,000 troops. However, we are a nation of 300 million! We are trying to find a Osama bin Laden in an area the size of California and Nevada (relative sizes of Iraq and Afghanistan). How could we play this massive game of armed hide & seek in an area that large with so few people? Honestly, it reminds me of the Monty Python sketch of the World Hide-n-Seek Championship.

If we, as an entire nation, really wanted to find bin Laden, we should comb the entire area like a giant "Hands Across Afghanistan", starting around the entire border and moving inward.

Yes, I know this is a ridiculous proposal, but my point is not that we need to brute force an answer, but rather that we do not nearly have enough people working over there to find bin Laden and all other terrorists (al Qaida and otherwise).

This is the reason I present all of this - to say that, if we are serious about peace in the Middle East (i.e., Israel/Palestine at a minimum), and we believe that true peace comes from Christ and conversion to Christianity, then why aren't more missionaries over there? If we truly believe that we are to convert all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, why aren't we doing it where it's needed most? If we really want peace over there, why are we sitting here?

Is the reason that we in the West have gotten too comfortable with our short-sighted lifestyles? This is the first war the U.S. has been in (aside from the First Gulf War, which was really just a preamble to this war) that has not required sacrifice on the part of regular U.S. citizens.

- There are no rubber, paper, or nylon drives;
- there are no ration cards for food or gas;
- there are no copper shortages;
- there are no blackout drills;
- there are no tax increases (yet);
- and there is no draft.

Are we so spoiled that we want victory without sacrifice? Let's be honest, here. I know that, for the families of the 3,000+ lost in Iraq, there has been a great sacrifice of brothers/sons/fathers (and even sisters/daughters/mothers) lost. There is also the sacrifice of time lost on the parts of those families with soldiers servings. Still, with an average family size of 4, that's still only 500,000 making sacrifices for 300,000,000! Only 1 out of 600 of us is making a sacrifice for this war effort. And how many fewer are over there armed with the Bible and the Sacraments?

Is it any wonder we haven't won already?

Esau

if we are serious about peace in the Middle East (i.e., Israel/Palestine at a minimum)

Jamie,
The Israel/Palestine situation is more complicated than you think. Please read over my, William's, and Tim J.'s post.

Tim J.'s last post was a very good one at that.

Also, about your other issues regarding why there aren't missionaries there, please watch the following EWTN video:
http://ffhl.org/2006/crisisintheholyland.asp

If you really want to help these folks, here's a website for Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land:

http://www.franciscan-sfo.org/ffhl.htm

These are the folks (franciscans) who are trying to help Christian families in the Holy Land by providing them with much needed housing, employment and other such necessities.


By the way, how do you actually know Bin Laden is still in Afghanistan??? For all we know (now, I'm not actually saying he is but...), he may very well be in Pakistan, as some suspect.

JW

Tim J. Occupation. Are not the illegal Israeli settlers in West Bank territory occupying Palestinian land? For example, look up Bil'in and the news about Matityahu East. This is one of so many examples. Hebron? There is so much that one knows not where to start.

James

This is pretty definite evidence of occupation

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6442.shtml

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