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Another Irineos?

It is bad enough that the Muslims are spreading lies and propaganda about Israel. It is even worse when a Catholic official does so during a Christmas speech.

Michel Sabbah, Israel’s highest-ranking Catholic official, has done just that. For a start, he has apparently been taking his casualty statistics from the PA.

“For three years we have been living in a war,” Michel Sabbah, the highest-ranking Catholic official in the Holy Land, said.

“Hundreds of Israelis have been among the victims and there have been thousands of Palestinian victims.”

Thousands if you include almost 1200 PLO Arab terrorists and combatants, as well as over 300 killed in their own “suicide bombings” and “work accidents.” In fact, the actual number of PLO Arab non-combatants killed is closer to 900. But even then, many of these “non-combatants” put themselves in harms way or were put in harms way by their combatant brethren. (If you want to read more, check out this ICT report from last year, and the updated ICT statistics).

Now smudging the casualty statistics is bad enough, but the following seems unbelievable considering it is coming from a high-ranking Catholic official.

He also said that Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Gaza was the “basic evil” in the continuing conflict.

So according to this man of cloth, Israel’s occupation of territories to which it has both a historical claim and a claim based on self-defence, is the basic evil of the conflict, as opposed to the PA Arab’s deliberate killing of innocent, women and children.

But is this moral corruption really so unbelievable, given Sabbah’s previous statements and known views on the conflict? For instance, here is an extract from a Newsweek interview with Sabbah, which clearly illustrates his ability to downright lie.

Is it difficult being a Christian Palestinian in a predominantly Muslim and Jewish land?

Christians are part of Palestinian society, and the Palestinians are Christians and Muslims. No one is going to flee because of Islamic influence, but because of the lack of work, or the political tension provoked by the curfew. But there is no Muslim persecution of Christians, and in fact they share the same hope of one day having an independent state.

Donít you see a desire on the part of Muslims to dominate and convert other faiths?

Just a moment. This isnít easily understood in the West. We Palestinians know how to live together and how to understand this relationship. We are one people, even if there are some difficulties.

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But arenít you isolating the case of the Palestinians?This isnít a relationship that is easily exported. To find Christians who are persecuted itís enough just to look at Vatican reports. Think of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iraq.

In Arab countries there is no persecution of Christians. I donít speak of Pakistan, but in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanonóno. Historically there have been some massacres, beginning when Europe entered the Mideast.

Not even any effort at the conversion of Christians?

Thereís always that, but much of it is social pressure, thatís all. Nowadays we cannot say there is persecution. There are problems of the majority and minority, disputes of a social nature. These governments are very vigilant about relations between Muslims and Christians. Thereís a lot of propaganda in the West; I donít know why. Let us live in peace and donít foment fear, itís fear that weakens us. Our vocation is to live among Muslims and to give testimony to Jesus in a Muslim society. Itís difficult, but we accept it.

But what about this, this, this, this and this?

The very same interview reveals Sabbah’s own pro-PLO Arab proclivities.

Do you see suicide bombers as true martyrs?

According to Islam, they are. Itís necessary to treat each one according to his own principles. As Muslims see it, suicide bombers are giving their lives for their country, to gain their liberty. As a Christian, suicide is not permissible in any case, even for your country. You may not kill yourself.

The Israelis, too, are under attack. They are being overwhelmed with continuing acts of terrorism.

Under attack, by whom? Israel occupies and attacks someone elseís land and finds resistance. Israel is not being attacked. When Israel ceases to attack and to occupy [the Palestinian territories], they wonít suffer any further counterattacks. If Israel wants to end violence, it only needs to end occupation. Iím 200 percent certain of this, and Iíve said it many times.

At the end of the day, Sabbah identifies himself first and foremost as a “palestinian,” which enables him to ignore the doctrine of Catholicism, which sees the killing of innocent people as murder, plain and simple.

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