The History and Meaning of “Palestine” and “Palestinians”
“There is no such thing as a Palestinian Arab nation . . . Palestine is a name the Romans gave to Eretz Yisrael with the express purpose of infuriating the Jews . . . . Why should we use the spiteful name meant to humiliate us?
The British chose to call the land they mandated Palestine, and the Arabs picked it up as their nation’s supposed ancient name, though they couldn’t even pronounce it correctly and turned it into Falastin a fictional entity.” — Golda Meir quoted by Sarah Honig, Jerusalem Post, 25 November 1995
Palestine has never existed . . . as an autonomous entity. There is no language known as Palestinian. There is no distinct Palestinian culture. There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians (another recent invention), Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc.
Keep in mind that the Arabs control 99.9 percent of the Middle East lands. Israel represents one-tenth of one percent of the landmass. But that’s too much for the Arabs. They want it all. And that is ultimately what the fighting in Israel is about today . . . No matter how many land concessions the Israelis make, it will never be enough. — from “Myths of the Middle East”, Joseph Farah, Arab-American editor and journalist, WorldNetDaily, 11 October 2000
From the end of the Jewish state in antiquity to the beginning of British rule, the area now designated by the name Palestine was not a country and had no frontiers, only administrative boundaries . . . . — Professor Bernard Lewis, Commentary Magazine, January 1975
Talk and writing about Israel and the Middle East feature the nouns “Palestine” and Palestinian”, and the phrases “Palestinian territory” and even “Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory”. All too often, these terms are used with regard to their historical or geographical meaning, so that the usage creates illusions rather than clarifies reality.
What Does “Palestine” Mean?
It has never been the name of a nation or state. It is a geographical term, used to designate the region at those times in history when there is no nation or state there.
The Philistines were not Arabs, they were not Semites. They had no connection … with Arabia or Arabs.
The word itself derives from “Peleshet“, a name that appears frequently in the Bible and has come into English as “Philistine”. The name began to be used in the Thirteenth Century BCE, for a wave of migrant “Sea Peoples” who came from the area of the Aegean Sea and the Greek Islands and settled on the southern coast of the land of Canaan. There they established five independent city-states (including Gaza) on a narrow strip of land known as Philistia. The Greeks and Romans called it “Palastina“.
The Philistines were not Arabs, they were not Semites. They had no connection, ethnic, linguistic or historical with Arabia or Arabs. The name “Falastin” that Arabs today use for “Palestine” is not an Arabic name. It is the Arab pronunciation of the Greco-Roman “Palastina” derived from the Peleshet.
How Did the Land of Israel Become “Palestine”?
In the First Century CE, the Romans crushed the independent kingdom of Judea. After the failed rebellion of Bar Kokhba in the Second Century CE, the Roman Emperor Hadrian determined to wipe out the identity of Israel-Judah-Judea. Therefore, he took the name Palastina and imposed it on all the Land of Israel. At the same time, he changed the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina.
The Romans killed many Jews and sold many more in slavery. Some of those who survived still alive and free left the devastated country, but there was never a complete abandonment of the Land. There was never a time when there were not Jews and Jewish communities, though the size and conditions of those communities fluctuated greatly.
The History of Palestine
Thousands of years before the Romans invented “Palastina” the land had been known as “Canaan”. The Canaanites had many tiny city-states, each one at times independent and at times a vassal of an Egyptian or Hittite king. The Canaanites never united into a state.
After the Exodus from Egypt — probably in the Thirteenth Century BCE but perhaps earlier — the Children of Israel settled in the land of Canaan. There they formed first a tribal confederation, and then the Biblical kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and the post-Biblical kingdom of Judea.
Israel-Judah-Judea has the only united, independent, sovereign nation-state that ever existed in “Palestine” west of the Jordan River.
From the beginning of history to this day, Israel-Judah-Judea has the only united, independent, sovereign nation-state that ever existed in “Palestine” west of the Jordan River. (In Biblical times, Ammon, Moab and Edom as well as Israel had land east of the Jordan, but they disappeared in antiquity and no other nation took their place until the British invented Trans-Jordan in the 1920s.)
After the Roman conquest of Judea, “Palastina” became a province of the pagan Roman Empire and then of the Christian Byzantine Empire, and very briefly of the Zoroastrian Persian Empire. In 638 CE, an Arab-Muslim Caliph took Palastina away from the Byzantine Empire and made it part of an Arab-Muslim Empire. The Arabs, who had no name of their own for this region, adopted the Greco-Roman name Palastina, that they pronounced “Falastin“.
In that period, much of the mixed population of Palastina converted to Islam and adopted the Arabic language. They were subjects of a distant Caliph who ruled them from his capital, that was first in Damascus and later in Baghdad. They did not become a nation or an independent state, or develop a distinct society or culture.
In 1099, Christian Crusaders from Europe conquered Palestina-Falastin. After 1099, it was never again under Arab rule. The Christian Crusader kingdom was politically independent, but never developed a national identity. It remained a military outpost of Christian Europe, and lasted less than 100 years. Thereafter, Palestine was joined to Syria as a subject province first of the Mameluks, ethnically mixed slave-warriors whose center was in Egypt, and then of the Ottoman Turks, whose capital was in Istanbul.
During the First World War, the British took Palestine from the Ottoman Turks. At the end of the war, the Ottoman Empire collapsed and among its subject provinces “Palestine” was assigned to the British, to govern temporarily as a mandate from the League of Nations.
The Jewish National Home
Travellers to Palestine from the Western world left records of what they saw there. The theme throughout their reports is dismal: The land was empty, neglected, abandoned, desolate, fallen into ruins
Nothing there [Jerusalem] to be seen but a little of the old walls which is yet remaining and all the rest is grass, moss and weeds. — English pilgrim in 1590
The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population — British consul in 1857
There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent [valley of Jezreel] — not for 30 miles in either direction. . . . One may ride 10 miles hereabouts and not see 10 human beings.
For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee . . . Nazareth is forlorn . . . Jericho lies a moldering ruin . . . Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation . . . untenanted by any living creature . . . .
A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds . . a silent, mournful expanse . . . a desolation . . . . We never saw a human being on the whole route . . . . Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country . . . .
Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes . . . desolate and unlovely . . . . — Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad, 1867
Their [the Jews] labors created newer and better conditions and opportunities
The restoration of the “desolate and unlovely” land began in the latter half of the Nineteenth Century with the first Jewish pioneers. Their labors created newer and better conditions and opportunities, which in turn attracted migrants from many parts of the Middle East, both Arabs and others.
The Balfour Declaration of 1917, confirmed by the League of Nations Mandate, commited the British Government to the principle that “His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish National Home, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object. . . . ” It was specified both that this area be open to “close Jewish settlement” and that the rights of all inhabitants already in the country be preserved and protected.
Mandate Palestine originally included all of what is now Jordan, as well as all of what is now Israel, and the territories between them. However, when Great Britain’s protégé Emir Abdullah was forced to leave the ancestral Hashemite domain in Arabia, the British created a realm for him that included all of Manfate Palestine east of the Jordan River. There was no traditional or historic Arab name for this land, so it was called after the river: first Trans-Jordan and later Jordan.
By this political act, that violated the conditions of the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate, the British cut more than 75 percent out of the Jewish National Home. No Jew has ever been permitted to reside in Trans-Jordan/Jordan.
Less than 25 percent then remained of Mandate Palestine, and even in this remnant, the British violated the Balfour and Mandate requirements for a “Jewish National Home” and for “close Jewish settlement”. They progressively restricted where Jews could buy land, where they could live, build, farm or work.
After the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel was finally able to settle some small part of those lands from which the Jews had been debarred by the British. Successive British governments regularly condemn their settlement as “illegal”. In truth, it was the British who had acted illegally in banning Jews from these parts of the Jewish National Home.
Who Is A Palestinian?
During the period of the Mandate, it was the Jewish population that was known as “Palestinians” including those who served in the British Army in World War II.
Jews who might have developed the empty lands of ‘Palestine’ … instead died in the gas chambers of Europe
British policy was to curtail their numbers and progressively limit Jewish immigration. By 1939, the White Paper virtually put an end to admission of Jews to Palestine. This policy was imposed the most stringently at the very time this Home was most desperately needed — after the rise of Nazi power in Europe. Jews who might have developed the empty lands of Palestine and left progeny there, instead died in the gas chambers of Europe or in the seas they were trying to cross to the Promised Land.
At the same time that the British slammed the gates on Jews, they permitted or ignored massive illegal immigration into Western Palestine from Arab countries Jordan, Syria, Egypt, North Africa. In 1939, Winston Churchill noted that “So far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied . . . .” Exact population statistics may be problematic, but it seems that by 1947 the number of Arabs west of the Jordan River was approximately triple of what it had been in 1900.
The current myth is that these Arabs were long established in Palestine, until the Jews came and “displaced” them. The fact is, that recent Arab immigration into Palestine “displaced” the Jews. That the massive increase in Arab population was very recent is attested by the ruling of the United Nations: That any Arab who had lived in Palestine for two years and then left in 1948 qualifies as a “Palestinian refugees“.
Casual use of population statistics for Jews and Arabs in Palestine rarely consider how the proportions came to be. One factor was the British policy of keeping out Jews while bringing in Arabs. Another factor was the violence used to kill or drive out Jews even where they had been long established.
For one example: The Jewish connection with Hebron goes back to Abraham, and there has been an Israelite/Jewish community there since Joshua long before it was King David’s first capital. In 1929, Arab rioters with the passive consent of the British — killed or drove out virtually the entire Jewish community.
It is now often proposed as a principle of international law and morality that all places that the British and the Arabs rendered Judenrein must forever remain so.
For another example: In 1948, Trans-Jordan seized much of Judea and Samaria (which they called The West Bank) and East Jerusalem and the Old City. They killed or drove out every Jew.
It is now often proposed as a principle of international law and morality that all places that the British and the Arabs rendered Judenrein must forever remain so. In contrast, Israel eventually allotted 17 percent of Mandate Palestine has a large and growing population of Arab citizens.
From Palestine To Israel
What was to become of “Palestine” after the Mandate? This question was taken up by various British and international commissions and other bodies, culminating with the United Nations in 1947. During the various deliberations, Arab officials, spokesmen and writers expressed their views on “Palestine”.
“There is no such country as Palestine. ‘Palestine’ is a term the Zionists invented. . . . Our country was for centuries part of Syria. ‘Palestine’ is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it.” — Local Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937
“There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not” — Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian to Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, 1946
“It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria.” — Ahmed Shukairy, United Nations Security Council, 1956
By 1948, the Arabs had still not yet discovered their ancient nation of Falastin. When they were offered half of Palestine west of the Jordan River for a state, the offer was violently rejected. Six Arab states launched a war of annihilation against the nascent State of Israel. Their purpose was not to establish an independent Falastin. Their aim was to partition western Palestine amongst themselves.
They did not succeed in killing Israel, but Trans-Jordan succeeded in taking Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and East Jerusalem, killing or driving out all the Jews who had lived in those places, and banning Jews of all nations from Jewish holy places. Egypt succeeded in taking the Gaza Strip. These two Arab states held these lands until 1967. Then they launched another war of annihilation against Israel, and in consequence lost the lands they had taken by war in 1948.
During those 19 years, 1948-1967, Jordan and Egypt never offered to surrendar those lands to make up an independent state of Falastin. The “Palestinians” never sought it. Nobody in the world ever suggested it, much less demanded it.
Finally, in 1964, the Palestine Liberation Movement was founded. Ahmed Shukairy, who less than 10 years earlier had denied the existence of Palestine, was its first chairman. Its charter proclaimed its sole purpose to be the destruction of Israel. To that end it helped to precipitate the Arab attack on Israel in 1967.
The outcome of that attack then inspired an alteration in public rhetoric. As propaganda, it sounds better to speak of the liberation of Falastin than of the destruction of Israel. Much of the world, governments and media and public opinion, accept virtually without question of serious analysis the new-sprung myth of an Arab nation of Falastin, whose territory is unlawfully occupied by the Jews.
Since the end of World War I, the Arabs of the Middle East and North Africa have been given independent states in 99.5 percent of the land they claimed. Lord Balfour once expressed his hope that when the Arabs had been given so much, they would “not begrudge” the Jews the “little notch” promised to them.[Note: Some of the material cited above is drawn from the book From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters.]
Time is running out to preserve these historic communities.
On March 17, 2016, then-Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced to the world that the Islamic State was committing genocide against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East. It was an important statement, because it was only the second time our government had declared genocide in an ongoing situation — the first was Darfur, where some estimate that more than 300,000 people have been killed to date.
Congress, too, spoke, with the House passing a resolution March 14 that the Islamic State was committing genocide against religious and ethnic minorities, including Christians and Yazidis, by a vote of 393 to 0. The Senate unanimously followed suit later last year.
The Rev. Douglas Bazi, then stationed in Irbil in Kurdistan, ran a refugee center there for Christians displaced from the Nineveh Plain. He knew well the kidnapping, torture and confiscation they had endured because he himself had been captured and tortured in Baghdad in 2009 by a different group of extremists. Sitting with me in the gallery of Congress as the bipartisan genocide resolution passed, he said using the right vocabulary was the “first right step.” But, he added, it needed to be followed up with the right action.
One year after our country used the right word, he and the other Iraqi Christians are still waiting for the next step: meaningful action.
Despite the genocide designation, our government spent the rest of 2016 operating on a business-as-usual basis. The largest displaced Christian community in Iraq — in Irbil — received no U.S. government or U.N. aid before the genocide designation. And they have received none since.
On a visit to Iraq last spring, one of our executives spoke to Yazidis who said they had been similarly overlooked.
Both the U.N. and the senior U.S. government officials there told our representative that this was the case because they prioritized individual needs, not group needs. When pressed, they admitted that they did not take into account the needs of communities — even if they had suffered genocide. This means that, when being considered for aid or resettlement, those who are the targets of genocide do not have their status as communities marked for extermination taken into account.
Unfortunately, ignoring the identity of these targeted groups plays into the hands of genocidal regimes. Such an attitude could well be a death sentence for these minority communities. What the Islamic State couldn’t accomplish, misguided aid policies just might: eliminating entire ethnic and religious minority groups from their historic homes.
The region’s Christians seem to be reaching a tipping point. Estimates vary, but the Christian population of Iraq has fallen from more than 1 million to less than 250,000 in recent years due in large part to the onslaught of the Islamic State. Syria’s Christian population has fallen precipitously as well. For these historic religious communities, extinction is a real possibility.
Dating back to World War I, the United States has rightly extended a helping hand to threatened groups. Armenian and other Middle Eastern Christians targeted by the Ottoman Empire received tens of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid from the U.S. government and the American people, and Jewish survivors of the Holocaust received priority in resettlement. More recently, America has helped survivors of the Darfur genocide in the aftermath of their ordeal. The U.S. government has put more than $7 billion into Sudan since 2003, and USAID alone has provided more than $2.7 billion in humanitarian assistance for Darfur in that time frame, according to the organization Genocide Watch.
But in Iraq, many genocide survivors are still waiting for help. The tens of thousands of displaced Christians in Irbil, and Yazidis that Christians are caring for there, have received no U.S. government assistance — despite being direct targets of the Islamic State’s genocide.
Allowing these current genocide survivors to suffer for the past two years has been a gross injustice and a blight on America’s foreign policy record. Overlooking these people after a declaration of genocide is unconscionable, and in fact, it is de facto discrimination against the Islamic State’s most vulnerable victims.
Since the 2016 election, Iraqi Christian leaders have reported that they perceive a new openness to helping them among American officials. This is commendable. Now openness should become concrete action.
Just less than a year ago, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump said: “We left Christians subject to intense persecution and even genocide.” He added: “We have done nothing to help the Christians in the Middle East. Nothing. And we should always be ashamed for that lack of action.” He was right that our country should be ashamed of how little it has done. And while his administration inherited this problem, now it is in a position to fix it. The Trump administration should right the wrongs these shattered communities have endured through our country’s inaction by immediately taking three helpful steps.
First, ensure that no community that suffered genocide is overlooked by — or excluded from — U.S. government aid programs. At a minimum, we should do here what we did for Darfur through USAID. Second, the United States must demand that the United Nations also assist all communities that suffer genocide by including them in humanitarian and reconstruction aid. And finally, we should continue to work with the international community to defeat the Islamic State and bring the perpetrators of this genocide to justice.
Congress should also act by swiftly passing H.R. 390 — the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act — co-sponsored by Reps. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.) and Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.). This bill would help ensure that much-needed aid reaches these decimated communities. Under this legislation, the U.S. government would be required to direct some aid to entities specifically assisting displaced people from communities of religious and ethnic minorities targeted for genocide.
The new administration should begin to right this wrong and chart a different course. It can quickly end this de facto discrimination, and in so doing, help save ancient ethnic and religious communities that otherwise could cease to exist.
Australian Teacher Quits After Islamic Students Threaten to Behead Her
Teachers at a primary school in Sydney, Australia have been threatened with beheading and other violence from young Islamic students, prompting one of them to quit her job.
One female teacher reportedly quit her job after it got too much for her. She claims she quit after receiving death threats to her family from her year 5 and 6 students, with some saying they would behead her.
The teacher also said she made numerous complaints back in 2014 about the extraordinary behavior in the class. For example, she said, she was abused by students after she stopped them from hanging a Syrian flag in the classroom.
In another example, she claimed she was pushed into a corner by students who began marching around her chanting the Koran.
The bullying wasn’t restricted to teachers. The woman also reported an incident where children bullied other students by saying that someone had “betrayed his religion” by “not going to Muslim scripture”. In another incident, she said a “group of boys had stood around a girl and called her horrible names like dog”.
The region’s education department didn’t deny any teachers received a compensation. However, they insisted they weren’t aware of any instances of religious-related violence at the school.
“All NSW schools must immediately report all concerns of anti-social and extremist behavior in NSW schools to a dedicated hotline,” a spokesman said.
“The Department of Education continues to work closely with law enforcement agencies on such matters. To maintain effective operations and protect the privacy of students, the department will not identify schools participating in these programs.”
Employers can bar staff from wearing visible religious symbols such as the burka, the European Union’s top court has ruled.
The ruling came in its first decision on the issue of women wearing Islamic headscarves at work.
On the eve of a Dutch election in which Muslim immigration has been a key issue and a bellwether for attitudes to migration and refugee policies across Europe, the Court of Justice (ECJ) gave a joined judgment in the cases of two women, in France and Belgium, who were dismissed for refusing to remove headscarves.
The judgement was handed down by the European Court of Justice Credit: Geoff Pugh for The Telegraph
“An internal rule of an undertaking which prohibits the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign does not constitute direct discrimination,” the Court said in a statement.
“However, in the absence of such a rule, the willingness of an employer to take account of the wishes of a customer no longer to have the employer’s services provided by a worker wearing an Islamic headscarf cannot be considered an occupational requirement that could rule out discrimination.”
‘Pope Francis has urged us to have fewer children,’ claims Vatican academy member.’
NewsCatholic Church, DemographicsFri Mar 3, 2017 – 8:30 am EST
biological extinction conference , birth control , marcelo sánchez sorondo , peter raven , pope francis
ROME, March 3, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — “Pope Francis has urged us to have fewer children to make the world more sustainable,” a panelist at a Vatican-run workshop on “how to save the natural world” claimed on Thursday.
This solution to securing the world’s sustainability was presented by botanist and environmentalist Peter Raven during a press conference that concluded the “Biological Extinction” workshop that took place at the Vatican earlier this week.
Greg Burke, director of the Holy See Press Office, moderated a panel, which included Raven, President of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS), Werner Arber, University of Cambridge Professor Emeritus of Economics Partha Dasgupta, and PAS chancellor Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo.
“We do not endorse any of the artificial birth control [methods] that the Church does not endorse,” said Raven.
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The Church condemns every method of artificial birth control.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil” since it destroys the unitive and procreative integrity of the marital act.
The Church teaches that a married couple who wishes to postpone pregnancy for a “grave” reason may do so by not engaging in the marital act during the fertile period.
According to Raven, the central element of the solution for “overpopulation” is that “we need a more limited number of people in the world.” In addition, “the problem is one of inequality,” where the rich use more of the world’s resources than the poor.
“In the framework of social justice worldwide we need to find ways for natural resources to be distributed on the basis of compassion and love. We hope for support in our ongoing support for our endeavor to develop sustainability,” he said.
All four on the panel concurred that the survival of the planet is tightly linked to the number of people on the planet.
The Biological Extinction workshop drew particular controversy because it featured a paper by notorious pro-abortion population control advocate Dr. Paul Ehrlich. At the event Ehrlich, and co-author Dasgupta, said that the Catholic teaching of “responsible parenthood” in determining family size has “result[ed] in collective failure” in reducing the world’s population.
The authors suggested that one way to stop the exhaustion of “humanity’s natural capital” is by imposing a system of “taxes and regulations” that would help modify “social norms of behaviour.”
RELATED: Population controllers to Vatican: ‘Responsible parenthood’ has failed. Use ‘taxes and regulations’ to reduce population
Just days before the conference, Ehrlich, who has defended forced abortion and mass forced sterilization as legitimate means to control the world’s population, advocated in an interview with The Guardian for cutting the world’s population by 6 billion people to bring it down to 1 billion.
In the paper’s words, he said doing so would have an “overall pro-life effect.” The paper indicated he believed this could “sustain many more human lives in the long term compared with our current uncontrolled growth and prospect of sudden collapse.”
When LifeSiteNews asked the panelists at the Vatican press conference if any scientists were invited to the conference who held an alternative view on the world’s population, Bishop Sorondo replied: “You can see the papers, since everything was published on the website, the texts and the discussions.”
Sorondo said that while “there were different opinions on population” during the conference’s discussions, the participants reached two conclusions: “That the carbonization (pollution) of the air is not caused by the number of human beings, but by the activity of humans who use the materials at hand” and that “in order to have an integral environment, biodiversity must be conserved – [and] that also depends on human activity.”
Dasgupta, Ehrlich’s co-author, said during the panel that the number of humans on the planet is not sustainable. He added that humans must arrive at a point where their numbers are determined by how “the earth can replenish herself.”
Upon LifeSiteNews’ question about what this point would look like and how many people would be ideal for the planet, Dasgupta answered: “We should not calculate that. The number of humans depends on standards of living, or quality of life. It depends on the total demand that we make on Mother Nature. If humans were not here there would be other factors.”
While leaving the question essentially unanswered, Dasgupta presented the solution of “working backwards,” stating that “we have to figure out the human impact on Mother Nature on an annual basis: If the impact grows, we will be concerned. If the impact is reduced, then mother nature will replenish.”
He suggested that the “best step forward” to begin curbing “population growth” would be with a “focus on the family and education.” He did not clarify what such “education” might entail.
The Catholic Church condemns coercive population control methods. Instead of seeing people as ‘mouths to feed,’ ‘pollution producers,’ or ‘carbon footprint makers,’ the Church sees each and every person as a unique and unrepeatable gift from God. Created in the image and likeness of God, and redeemed by Jesus Christ, the Church teaches that each person is filled with the greatest dignity as a son or daughter of God who is ultimately called to eternal beatitude in the Kingdom of God.
Earlier this week a global coalition of Catholic pro-life and pro-family organizations urged Catholics to “resist” the Vatican’s increasing alliance with the leftist agenda, specifically as championed by the United Nations, warning that such an alliance poses an “immediate and serious threat” to children and the family.
Woman accused of kidnapping over shame to Muslims
A woman was arrested after she was accused of kidnapping a woman because her “lifestyle brought shame to the Muslim community and she should return to Libya,” according to court documents.
Normal Juarez Taha, who is described as a “Mexican-Muslim” in court documents, was arrested at about 9:25 p.m. Tuesday by 12 FBI El Paso Division agents without incident at her home in the 200 block of Thunderbird Drive in West El Paso. She is accused of kidnapping the woman, referred to only as AFA in court documents, from the woman’s home earlier in the week.
Taha, 35, is facing one count of kidnapping, which holds a maximum sentence of life in prison. She made her initial appearance in federal court Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Miguel A. Torres.
No bond was granted for Taha at the hearing due to a government motion claiming that bond should be denied because Taha has “strong ties to Mexico” and “presents a high risk of fleeing to avoid prosecution on this charge.”
A detention hearing for Taha is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday during which Torres could decide whether to grant her bond.
The FBI El Paso Division led the investigation with assistance from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Border Patrol. More than 40 FBI employees were involved in the case, including agents from all of its area criminal squads, intelligence analysts, the evidence response team and personnel in Mexico, FBI officials said.
“The residents of El Paso should rest assured that the FBI will promptly and aggressively respond anytime we receive a kidnapping allegation as we continue to do our part to make El Paso a safer place to live,” Douglas Lindquist, special agent in charge of the FBI El Paso Division, said in a statement.
Taha allegedly kidnapped the woman, whose age has not been released, at about 3 a.m. Monday from her bedroom.
The woman told investigators she knew Taha as “Sister Norma” because she was a family friend.
Taha allegedly entered the woman’s bedroom while she was sleeping and attempted to put tape on her mouth, a criminal complaint states. The woman yelled, but no one in the home heard her.
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She was told by Taha to be quiet and that she needed to go with her because she and her family were in danger, the complaint states. Taha told her that she was trying to help her and that she eventually would be reunited with her family.
Taha said that the danger facing the woman and her family was that they were going to be deported and that the woman’s brother would not get the medical assistance he needs, the complaint states.
Taha then walked the woman, who was not wearing shoes, out of the house through the front door and put her in the rear cargo area of a Toyota van, the complaint alleges.
At some point, she was moved to the front of the van and was told to hide underneath the glove compartment area. She was then blindfolded and taken to an area on Montana Avenue in far East El Paso.
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The woman told investigators that she was scared for her life because Taha was carrying a black-and-red pistol and that she feared that if she attempted to run away, Taha would shoot her, the complaint states.
The woman asked Taha why she had a gun, to which Taha replied, “for protection,” the complaint states.
The two then met with another woman at a trailer.
Taha then allegedly told the alleged victim that the other woman, who is not named in court documents, was an FBI agent and was going to help her and her family, the complaint states.
The women offered the alleged victim a drink, but she refused because she was scared it had drugs or poison in it, records show.
The woman was then taken to a truck and Taha allegedly used a syringe to inject an unknown substance into her lower leg, the complaint states.
After being injected, she said she “immediately felt sleepy, nauseous” and then vomited inside the truck, the complaint states.
The other woman took the alleged victim in her truck as Taha followed them in her van, the complaint states.
She was then taken to Juárez and left at a home with people who knew the two women, the complaint states.
The women then left after telling her that they would return for her.
One of the people in the house allowed the woman to call her boyfriend. She was then left alone in the home, but did not flee because “she was very physically weak and tired” due to the injection, the complaint states.
The following day after midnight, two people in the home took her to the Stanton Street Port of Entry, where a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official recognized her and reported the incident to the FBI.
She was then taken to an El Paso hospital to receive medical treatment.
During an interview with FBI agents, Taha originally claimed that the woman had asked her to do her a favor and take her to Mexico, records show.
Taha later allegedly admitted that she had gone to the woman’s home and made up the story that she and her family were in danger to trick her into coming with her, the complaint states.
She added that the woman’s “lifestyle brought embarrassment to her family and she should be taken to Mexico or Libya.”
Taha allegedly said she did not receive any money for kidnapping her, the complaint states.
She also admitted to mixing muscle relaxant pills and water together in a syringe and injecting the mixture into the victim’s leg to keep her calm, the complaint says.
No information has been released on whether the other people allegedly involved in the kidnapping also will face charges.
Aaron Martinez may be reached at 546-6249; firstname.lastname@example.org; @AMartinez31 on Twitter.
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In the news during President Trump’s campaign up til now, there is serious conversation over whether Jerusalem should be the Capital of Israel. To the Jews living in Israel, Jerusalem is the crown of their republic.
Acts Chapter 1
The Promise of the Spirit.
- In the first book,a Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught
2. Until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.b
5. for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the holy Spirit.”e
The Ascension of Jesus.
6. When they had gathered together they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going* to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7. He answered them,f “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority.
8. But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you,g and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
9. When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.h
10. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.i
11. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”j
12. Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away.
The First Community in Jerusalem. 13When they entered the city they went to the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.l
The Choice of Judas’s Successor.
15. During those days Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers (there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons in the one place). He said,
16. “My brothers, the scripture had to be fulfilled which the holy Spirit spoke beforehand through the mouth of David, concerning Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus.m
17. He was numbered among us and was allotted a share in this ministry.
18. He bought a parcel of land with the wages of his iniquity, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle, and all his insides spilled out.
19. This became known to everyone who lived in Jerusalem, so that the parcel of land was called in their language ‘Akeldama,’ that is, Field of Blood.
20. For it is written in the Book of Psalms:
Let his encampment become desolate, and may no one dwell in it.’
And: ‘May another take his office.’
21. Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us,
22. beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection.
23. So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.
24. Then they prayed, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen
25. to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.”
26. Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the eleven apostles.
* [1:1–26] This introductory material (Acts 1:1–2) connects Acts with the Gospel of Luke, shows that the apostles were instructed by the risen Jesus (Acts 1:3–5), points out that the parousia or second coming in glory of Jesus will occur as certainly as his ascension occurred (Acts 1:6–11), and lists the members of the Twelve, stressing their role as a body of divinely mandated witnesses to his life, teaching, and resurrection (Acts 1:12–26).
* [1:3] Appearing to them during forty days: Luke considered especially sacred the interval in which the appearances and instructions of the risen Jesus occurred and expressed it therefore in terms of the sacred number forty (cf. Dt 8:2). In his gospel, however, Luke connects the ascension of Jesus with the resurrection by describing the ascension on Easter Sunday evening (Lk 24:50–53). What should probably be understood as one event (resurrection, glorification, ascension, sending of the Spirit—the paschal mystery) has been historicized by Luke when he writes of a visible ascension of Jesus after forty days and the descent of the Spirit at Pentecost. For Luke, the ascension marks the end of the appearances of Jesus except for the extraordinary appearance to Paul. With regard to Luke’s understanding of salvation history, the ascension also marks the end of the time of Jesus (Lk 24:50–53) and signals the beginning of the time of the church.
* [1:4] The promise of the Father: the holy Spirit, as is clear from the next verse. This gift of the Spirit was first promised in Jesus’ final instructions to his chosen witnesses in Luke’s gospel (Lk 24:49) and formed part of the continuing instructions of the risen Jesus on the kingdom of God, of which Luke speaks in Acts 1:3.
* [1:6] The question of the disciples implies that in believing Jesus to be the Christ (see note on Lk 2:11) they had expected him to be a political leader who would restore self-rule to Israel during his historical ministry. When this had not taken place, they ask if it is to take place at this time, the period of the church.
* [1:8] Just as Jerusalem was the city of destiny in the Gospel of Luke (the place where salvation was accomplished), so here at the beginning of Acts, Jerusalem occupies a central position. It is the starting point for the mission of the Christian disciples to “the ends of the earth,” the place where the apostles were situated and the doctrinal focal point in the early days of the community (Acts 15:2, 6). The ends of the earth: for Luke, this means Rome.
* [1:18] Luke records a popular tradition about the death of Judas that differs from the one in Mt 27:5, according to which Judas hanged himself. Here, although the text is not certain, Judas is depicted as purchasing a piece of property with the betrayal money and being killed on it in a fall.
* [1:26] The need to replace Judas was probably dictated by the symbolism of the number twelve, recalling the twelve tribes of Israel. This symbolism also indicates that for Luke (see Lk 22:30) the Christian church is a reconstituted Israel.
Horrific attacks have seen scores of citizens murdered
LIVING WITH TERROR
Horrific attacks have seen scores of citizens murdered
by Emma Lake 3rd February 2017, 6:28 pm
A series of horrific attacks have seen scores of citizens murdered as they go about their day-to-day lives and a machete-wielding man who pulled a knife on soldiers at the Louvre this morning has sparked fresh fears about the terror threat.
Getty Images Flowers laid close to the Charlie Hebdo offices on a day of mourning following the attack Two years on from the attack Parisians lit candles at the monument on Place de la Republique Charlie Hebdo attack – January 2015
The attackers – brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi – threatened a cartoonist to gain access through security doors before opening fire on an editorial meeting.
The gunmen escaped the scene and the following day robbed a service station in the Aisne region.
A policewoman died in the shooting and a man was injured. Police later linked the killing to the Charlie Hebdo attack.
After an eight hour stand off armed cops shot the brothers who had emerged firing at officers.
The gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, threatened to kill people if the Kouachi brothers were not released.
An outpouring of support followed the attacks with marches held in major cities around the world under the banner Je Suis Charlie.
As the struggle unfolded the gunman fired several shots and one man was hit in the neck.
A British businessman helped them restrain him until he was arrested at Arras station.
He had been flagged by the Spanish authorities in February 2014 as affiliated to a radical Islamist movement.
On the night of Friday November 13 a series of co-ordinated attacks by gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 and injured hundreds.
Five minutes later shots were fired at people enjoying an evening at a Le Carillon in the 10th district – a popular nightlife spot.
Less than 10 minutes later more gunmen opened fire on diners just a few streets away.
At the same time the deadliest attack of the night saw gunmen open fire on a sold out concert at the Bataclan, in the 11th district.
Kalashnikov-type assault rifles were fired into crowds.
President Francois Hollande described the attacks, claimed by Islamic State, as an “act of war”.
January 7 2016
A year after the Charlie Hedbo attack a man wielding a meat cleaver tried to attack a police station in northern Paris.
A suicide belt he was wearing turned out to be a fake.
July 14 2016
A 19-tonne lorry ploughed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, leaving 86 dead and injuring hundreds.
He had been seen driving erratically close to the scene of the attack and police had already opened fire when the driver sped up and deliberately aimed at crowds.
Police believe the driver had help in the planning of the attack and a number of further arrests have been made.
Gianna Jessen Asks Congress “If abortion is about women’s rights, then what were mine?”
“If abortion is about women’s rights, then what were mine?” Gianna Jessen asked a House Judiciary Committee that question today — and with good reason. Thirty-eight years ago, Jessen miraculously survived a saline abortion. This morning, she told her remarkable story to a House Judiciary Committee investigating Planned Parenthood’s practice of harvesting and selling the body parts of aborted babies — even from those that may have been born alive. Fellow abortion survivor Melissa Ohden also shared her own gripping testimony. Below are the video and transcript of Jessen’s testimony, including some photographs she submitted as evidence. Listen and weep, and pray that God ends this evil.
Transcript of Gianna Jessen’s Testimony to the House Judiciary Committee
My name is Gianna Jessen, and I would like to thank you for the opportunity to testify here today. My biological mother was seven and a half months pregnant when she went to Planned Parenthood, who advised her to have a late-term saline abortion.
Instead of dying, after 18 hours of being burned in my mother’s womb, I was delivered alive in an abortion clinic in Los Angeles on April the 6th, 1977. My medical records state: “Born alive during saline abortion” at 6 am.
Thankfully, the abortionist was not at work yet. Had he been there, he would have ended my life with strangulation, suffocation, or leaving me there to die. Instead, a nurse called an ambulance, and I was rushed to a hospital. Doctors did not expect me to live.
I did. I was later diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, which was caused by a lack of oxygen to my brain while surviving the abortion. I was never supposed to hold my head up or walk. I do. And Cerebral Palsy is a great gift to me.
I was eventually placed in foster care and later adopted. I forgive my biological mother. Within the first year after my birth, I was used as an expert witness in a case where an abortionist had been caught strangling a child to death after being born alive.
Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, said the following: “The most merciful thing that a large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.” – Margaret Sanger, “Woman and the New Race”
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Planned Parenthood is not ashamed of what they have done or continue to do. But we will have to give an account as a nation, before God, for our apathy and for the murder of over 50 million children in the womb. Every time we falter in courage as individuals and fail to confront this evil, I wonder how many lives have been lost in our silence, while we make sure we are lauded among men and do not offend anyone? How many children have died, and been dismembered, and their parts sold, for our ego, our convenience, and our promiscuity? How many Lamborghini’s were purchased with the blood of innocent children? The blood that cries to the Lord from the ground, like that of the blood of Abel. Not one of them is forgotten by Him.
I would ask Planned Parenthood the following questions:
If abortion is about women’s rights, then what were mine? You continuously use the argument, “If the baby is disabled, we need to terminate the pregnancy,” as if you can determine the quality of someone’s life. Is my life less valuable due to my Cerebral Palsy?
You have failed, in your arrogance and greed, to see one thing: it is often from the weakest among us that we learn wisdom – something sorely lacking in our nation today. And it is both our folly and our shame that blinds us to the beauty of adversity.
Planned Parenthood uses deception, the manipulation of language and slogans, such as “a woman’s right to choose,” to achieve their monetary aims.
I will illustrate how well they employ this technique with the following quote: “The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.” – Adolf Hitler
We often hear that if Planned Parenthood were to be defunded, there would be a health crisis among women without the services they provide. This is absolutely false. Pregnancy resource centers are located nationwide as an option for the woman in crisis. All of their services are free and confidential, and they can be reached by texting: “HELPLINE” to 313131. There is access to vital exams for women other than Planned Parenthood. We are not a nation without options.
Planned Parenthood receives $500 million dollars of taxpayer money a year, to primarily destroy and dismember babies. Do not tell me these are not children. A heartbeat proves that. So does 4-d ultrasound. So do I, and so does the fact that they are selling human organs for profit. Do not tell me this is only a woman’s issue. It takes both a man and a woman to create a child. And to that point I wish to speak to the men listening to me: You are made for greatness, not passivity. You were born to defend women and children. Not use and abandon us, nor sit idly by while you know we are being harmed. I am asking you to be brave.
In conclusion, let me say, I am alive because of the Power of Jesus Christ alone. In Whom I live, move, and have my being. Without Him I would have nothing; with Him, I have all.