|Father Aridah travels to Germany to continue the legacy of Dr Goebbels|
The Latin Patriarchate must be very proud of Father Aridah , a credit to this catholic institution's overall propaganda effort against Israel.
This effort against Israel is of course mounted from within Israel itself, taking advantage of the protections Israel affords christians and their institutions. No christian order would dare show such ingratitude anywhere else in the middle east for fear of the results.
DUDERSTADT (Germany) – On September 4, 2012, Father Firas Aridah, pastor of Saint Joseph Parish in Jifna, gave a conference about the situation of the Christian Community in the Holy Land. Below is the text of his presentation.I want to thank you for the honor of being able to speak with you this morning at this vibrant gathering here in Duderstadt about the situation of the Christian community in the Holy Land.
My name is Father Firas Aridah from Jordan. I am a Roman Catholic priest of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which serves the Christian community in Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Territories and Cyprus.
It is a land sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims; all three faith communities have existed there for centuries. Historically it was home to many nations, and now, in the modern context, it is a home to Israelis and Palestinians. One land, two peoples, three faiths; each rooted in conviction and vigor for Jerusalem, each who need to be reminded that there can be no exclusive claim which will be accepted.Father Aridah wishes to water down the jewish link with the Land of Israel as just being one of three communities, not even being the uppermost in his order. This priest might know that jews 'existed' there for thousands of years, not centuries, that it isn't 'a' home to Israelis but 'the' home. Palestinian arabs have only been around for a hundred years at most, and their nationality has been variously defined by them as being part of Egypt, part of Jordan or even part of Syria. Now of course palestinian arab leaders claim the whole of Israel under the so-called 'right of return', a euphemism for destroying the Jewish State.
The Land of Israel is not sacred to Islam as the Koran itself accepts ( Koran states (Sura 5:21) that God granted the Land of Israel to the Children of Israel and ordered them to settle there. In addition, it is predicted that before the end of days, God will bring the Children of Israel to retake possession of the Land, gathering them from the different countries and nations (Sura 17:104) ). There is no mention of Jerusalem in the Koran whereas the Bible mentions it over 600 times. Israel and Jerusalem are part and parcel of the jewish prayer service.
What I had in mind when I came to serve in Jerusalem, was to focus all my energy in performing the ‘normal duties’ of a parish priest—tending to the needs of the Christian faithful and the community at large while being able to attract the youth as you are doing here. It was there, in the midst of my ‘normal duties’, where I became unwillingly drawn into this on-going conflict. It was never my intention to get involved in politics – and I am still resolute to leave the politics to the politicians – but my focus is the people. And in my service to the people, I dealt with the occupation.
With the occupation came the confiscation of lands and the demolition of homes. With the confiscation of lands and demolition of homes came the building of walls of separation in the name of security inside the west bank, losing 8 % from our land not the borders of 1967.This Jordanian / palestinian arab priest talks of 'occupation' but he doesn't define it. This definition is deliberately left loose, designed for non specialist western minds who think he is talking about Israelis who settle the ancient biblical lands of Judea and Samaria ('WB'). But he is really talking about the whole of Israel. This priest denies the right of jews to any part of the Land of Israel. To him the whole of Israel is 'occupied'.
The priest's interest is in the destruction of the State of Israel, not of so-called 'occupation' of Judea and Samaria which in any case is mostly controlled by palestinian arabs. Jewish settlements cover only around 3% of the land and has rarely if ever involved confiscation or destruction of palestinian arab property.
The jews settled on the hills, on unproductive land not settled by arabs. This supposedly uninvolved Jordanian talks about "our land ", and "stealing our own water". Another lie by this priest who was anything but an outsider to this conflict. As a Jordanian he sees himself as a palestinian arab, which is only right as Jordan was cut off by Britain from the lands mandated by the League of Nations in 1922 as a homeland for the Jews. 78% of the Mandated lands were given illegally by Britain to an arab sheikh they wished to reward. Jordan with around 50-70% of its population being palestinian arabs is in fact Palestine, and most palestinian arabs possess Jordanian nationality, as does their president, Mr Abbas.
Faridah denies Israel has security concerns. Obviously he is unaware of the hundreds of stonings and other terror attacks against Israelis each month by palestinian arabs. The Security barrier, which is mostly a fence, was built to stop arab terror that killed over a thousand Israelis in the so-called second Intifada in the years 2001- 2002. The barrier has stopped the suicide bombers killing israelis.
With the building of walls of separation came the destruction of olive orchards and stealing our own water. These ‘normal duties’ of a parish priest have been particularly painful in Palestine.Our priest protests he can't remain silent about wrongs supposedly committed by jews, yet he remains silent as to the palestinian arab terror that forced the building of the security fence. The fence was rerouted by Israel's Supreme Court a number of times after appeals by arab villages being not about taking arab land but about shutting out suicide bombers. Every country in the world has a right to defend its citizens but his priest doesn't think jews have that right. Until 2002 and the suicide and other bombings there was no fence and arabs could come and go as they pleased inside Israel.
Olive trees are a main source of livelihood for Palestinians. They are used to derive products such as: olive oil, soap and wood crafts. These trees and this livelihood are thousands of years old, handed down from one generation to the next. The groves are a lifeline with great significance and value in our culture. In the aftermath of the 26 foot high wall that now surrounds most of the West Bank and with new border enforcement, people can no longer get to their farms. Families have been divided; many have lost their jobs or have become deprived of advanced medical care at hospitals which are no longer accessible. As a priest, a pastor of souls, my conscience and my calling drive me to be “a voice for those who have no voice and to defend the weak and the oppressed.” (Patr. Sabbah. Seek Peace and Pursue it. 1998) How then can I say nothing as this tragedy befalls the people who I am serving? How can I remain silent when the Christian community I am serving is disappearing because of this occupation?
And his lies extend to his 'explanation' for the troubles of christians in palestinian controlled territiories. Despite the Jewish state protecting all its minorities, jews get all the blame for christian sufferings at the hands of the muslim contolled Palestinian Authority. There is no mention of those muslims who convert to christianity, of how they are threatened and killed.Abdulla Yusuf a convert to christianity just managed to escape this fate himself.
The current situation we face is this: Today, we have fewer Christians in the Holy Land than we had in 1947 going from 8% to 1.6% in 2000. When at one point we numbered 27,000 Christians in Jerusalem, now we are only 9,000 Christians. Our people are emigrating, our presence is threatened and if the trend continues, our future is moving towards extinction. This is impacted by the fact that there are over 550,000 Israeli settlers living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Many of our villages are under military control, with restrictions on movement from one village to the next, meaning that we have immediate family who have become separated from each other. Our lands are still being confiscated all around us to build more Israeli settlements or to expand settlements that already exist. Recently Israel has confiscated around three thousand acres from 59 Christian families in Beit Jala to continue expansion of the Gilo settlement and the separation wall where we lost more than 9 % from the land of west bank.Our priest talks about Beit Jala without mentioning the firing from there on Gilo by terrorists. Father Aridah mentions that there are 1.6% christians down from 8% in 1947 in the 'Holy Land' (does that include Jordan as well, he doesn't say?). But christians in Israel during that period have risen from 34,000 to 150,000. He also doesn't mention the christians of Bethlehem who are now less than 7,500 down from 20,000 in 1995 when Israel gave the city to the Palestinian Authority. As for Jerusalem's christians decreasing, that has happened whilst the overall muslim population has gone in that time from 35,000 to over a quarter of a million. The reason for a reduction in christians should rather be looked at in relation to their living in the mainly muslim east of the city rather than to Israel's policies which if they had affected the number of christians adversely, would also be expected to adversely affect the numbers of muslims. This has however not happened.
The only conclusion can be that Father Aridah dishonestly twists the figures to blame Israel for a reduction in christian numbers when the opposite has happened. Where the results of Israel's policies can be found, i.e. in the protection of its minorities, this has in fact meant a vastly increased number of christians. Unlike anywhere else in the middle-east, christians are thriving in Israel.
Our lying father Aridah ignores the true reasons for christian suffering in palestinian areas and the middle east, and by this shows that his motivation comes not from a genuine worry for christians but out of hatred for the Jewish People. Why else would he distort the history of discrimination against christians by muslims, of the attacks, the theft of christian property by PA connected thugs, and of the ethnic cleansing of christians from palestinian arab ruled territories?
As our lying catholic priest well knows, Jews aren't the reason for the flight of christians from palestinian arab areas and the wider middle east, but islamic intolerance is. The proof is everywhere, in Iraq where a million christians have fled in the last ten years, in Egypt where a quarter of a million Coptic Christians have fled in the last two years of the so-called Arab Spring alone.
Father Aridah can not find it within him to mention any of this. Attacks on christians by muslims are frequent and even he can not be unaware of them as one of the latest in a series of attacks was reported on the Latin Patriarchate website, albeit without mentioning palestinian muslim arabs by name. Only Israelis and jews will ever be identified for censure, however unfair, however untrue.
The recent development of clashes between settlers and Israeli civil authorities is proof that settlements are a phenomenon which has grown far beyond Israel’s grasp. They violate the laws which have been put in place to protect them and they unquestionably threaten peace and stability in the region. As the book of Proverbs says: “Where there is no hope, the people perish” – an entire generation of Israelis and Palestinians have grown up witnessing and experiencing violence, occupation, separation, and hatred. There continue to be fewer and fewer opportunities to interact. There is heightened suspicion and apprehension on both sides and so, our people deeply feel a sense of hopelessness and despair.This priest dares take the moral high ground, a representative of a Church that was responsible for millions of dead jews throughout the ages? There is no humility from this man just as there is almost no truth in what he says. If he knew anything about the settlements, he would know that they were placed in strategic areas so as to prevent arab countries again threatening the existence of Israel through surprise attack.
In 2006 Ariel Sharon withdrew all Israeli settlements from Gaza and since then Israel has been subjected to wave upon wave of rocket attacks, over 9,000 to date. Parts of the south of Israel are barely habitable because of the indiscriminate volleys of missiles raining down on jews.
If Israel was to dismantle the settlements in Judea and Samaria, we know better than ever, that missiles would be fired at jewish Jerusalem, at Tel-Aviv and Haifa. Israelis want peace. They don't have a death wish. Israelis know that the only reason arabs wish Israel to withdraw from Judea and Samaria is so that the rest of Israel can be attacked all the easier. Once Judea and Samaria was given to arabs, the demands would not stop. The next grievance would be framed and supported by new acts of terror against Israel.
In the midst of this unfortunate reality it falls on us to speak out and remind everyone of the objective truth that is Jesus Christ. In the words of our Patriarch Fouad Twal: “ultimately, Israelis and Palestinians … must work out their differences in a just and righteous manner, in ways that require painful compromises.” No, we the Christian community of the Holy Land, the people of Calvary, will not allow our hope to die. We today live the Gospel – we live the hope it promises.Israel has had its fill of "painful compromises" for peace. All it gets in return is terror. Israel must now offer peace in return for peace, and harsh countermeasures in return for terror. Jews only know peace when they are willing to defend themselves. Israel won't be suckered again by its enemies, even by mealy mouthed catholic priests who distort our history.
We are walking towards our Lord with conviction and with faith not allowing the huge obstacle of war, violence and occupation to hinder our path. Be assured friends we are walking towards Jesus Chrsit and nothing will keep us from him.This Father Aridah surely has some chutzpah to imply Israel is to blame Israel for the suffering of the Christian community in Gaza. He is obviously unaware of the forced conversions to islam, of the christian bookshop owner Rami Ayyad who was murdered after his bookshop was bombed some months earlier. In islamist Hamas run Gaza those responsible for islamist attacks on christians and on moderate muslims are never found.
It is amazing to see that even in Gaza where our small Christian community not only suffers from the occupation and economic sanctions imposed by most of the free world – they also suffer from extremism and fanaticism caused by a lack of education.
Yet this Father Aridah blames Israel every time, with never a glance in the direction of islamic extremism. For shame.
And then the priests adds a lie of economic sanctions against Gaza when the opposite is true. The only limitation on Gaza is that ships can not dock there in order to prevent the mass importation of missiles. Only recently produce was exported from Gaza to Saudi Arabia.
And with all this they are determined to stay, determined to live where Christianity has existed for two thousand years – no friends nothing will stand between us and the Lord. We will not allow others to use our voice. We will not stand for a fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible which seeks to legitimize the infringement of Palestinian rights, nor will we stand for Islamic extremism.Enough said from this lying and hypocritical representative of the Latin Patriarchate and his outpouring of hatred towards the Jewish People.
Jews wish nobody any harm, and Israel although subject to constant lies against it actually does more for palestinian arabs than any other country. Israel supplies most of the electricity needs in Gaza and in the Palestinian areas despite being owed hundreds of millions of dollars, gave the PA an advance on its tax dues recently (even whilst it spends its money subsidizing Hamas terrorists), and allowed hundreds of thousands of palestinian arabs to access Israel's beaches this year in a good will gesture for the feast of Eid.
If peace ever comes, it will be because Israel's enemies give up their attempts to destroy it. Israel will remain strong until then, will maintain its high morals and will continue its non-discriminatory policies which have seen the population of muslims and christians increase exponentially over the years.
Israel is a light unto the nations. Always has been, and always will be.
When it comes to 'showing the other cheek', Israel does it time and again, year after year.