Israel’s lies about the Nativity Church

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Ray Hanania’s Column

In addition to its policy of murdering anyone it does not like, Israel’s Nazi-like government is also engaged in a policy of murdering the truth, too.

And, they are very good at it.

You can’t get away with a lie unless you have two things in place: First, you have to impose controls on the media in the area of the conflict, which Israel has done by banning reporters from covering areas where its soldiers are on a blitzkrieg like rampage, shooting civilians.

Second, you need to have a news media that doesn’t care about the truth, which is the dominant attitude of the mainstream American news media. People like MSNBC’s Alan Keyes, for example, who asserts that “there is no occupation” in Palestine, and a list of commentators who enjoy the gratuity of the Israeli lobby like NPR’s Linda Gradstein. (Both Gradstein and Keyes are making more “cents” than sense these days.)

With these two factors in place, the Government of Israel can say whatever it wishes, and it is reported like fact. And, each lie adds to the impact of the subsequent lie.

For example, the Israeli Government is asserting that “Palestinian gunmen” have “occupied” the Church of the Nativity.

The truth is that Palestinians who are resisting Israel’s assault have taken refuge in the Church of the Nativity and nearly every other building in the region. But the Israeli point is to touch a nerve with Christian Americans, who are so naéve about the reality of the Middle East they will swallow anything they are fed.

These naéve Americans — who are contributing to the violence by providing financial, political and military support of Sharon’s crimes — imagine Muslims taking over this great Christian icon.

Of course, most of these Americans have amnesia and have forgotten that the Church of the Nativity has been under siege for the past 18 months, damaged, assaulted and attacked by the non-Christian Israeli army. (If one refers to the Israeli soldiers as Jewish, they are automatically denounced as anti-Semitic, another strategy in Sharon’s arsenal of tricks.)

The Palestinians seeking refuge in the Church of the Nativity are also Christians who are fleeing Israel’s attacks. These Palestinians, described by the Israelis as “armed militants” — a canard accepted as fact by the spoon-fed American media — are actually Palestinians who are doing everything they can to defend themselves.

They have a right to defend themselves against Israel’s vicious aggression. Israel is rampaging through the occupied territories that Alan Keyes says do not exist, murdering anyone it feels like killing.

All Israel has to do is say these Palestinians are “terrorists,” — exploiting the tragedy of September 11th to their self-serving benefit — and then they shoot them.

Journalists in America who are merely reciting and reading what they are handed by the Israelis, accept this as fact.

In fact, every Palestinian killed by Israel is a terrorist, while every Israeli killed by a Palestinian is an innocent civilian who is killed by a “terrorist suicide bomber.”

The majority of Palestinians do not support the suicide bombers, but they do support their right to defend themselves and to resist Israel’s human rights violations. Resistance is not terrorism. American journalists who accept the lie that resistance is terrorism are doing an injustice to their profession.

They are also contributing to Israel’s ability to hide its criminal behavior behind the lie. Israel’s government’s assault on the Palestinians is as much a war against Christianity as it is against the Muslim World.

Yes, the Church of the Nativity is under siege, the marvelous ancient icon of the Christian World.

But it has been under siege for months, as Israel has battered the church with bullets, killed its parishioners — Christian Palestinians who live around the church and who are as deeply engaged in resisting Israel’s aggression as anyone else.

And Israel’s goal is both short term and long term. Short term, the Israel’s want to kill as many Palestinians as possible and beat down the Palestinian right to independent statehood. But their long term goal is more sinister. Since 1967, Israel has coveted the Christian-owned lands around the Church of the Nativity and has confiscated and evicted Christian inhabitants.

Nearby Shepherd’s Field is prime real estate to build a racist settlement for Jewish people, settlements that prohibit residency to Christians.

Americans should be concerned about the fate of the Church of the Nativity. And they should be asking why Israel is doing what it is doing, instead of accepting Israel’s Nazi-like government’s spoon-fed lies.

(Ray Hanania is a Palestinian American writer based in Chicago and a regular contributor to MMN. His columns are archived on the web at www.hanania.com)

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