Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
The Jerusalem Post: Countries in the Middle East have shot up an annual list of places where vulnerable minorities are most at risk of genocide, political killing and systematic repression, a human rights group said on Wednesday.
Public Discourse: Debates about Israel and Palestine often assume a historical narrative that is at odds with historical realities.
Ma’an News Agency: “The Palestinian Authority has decided to remove the section detailing religious affiliation on Palestinian identity cards, according to officials.”
Reuters: Gaza Islamist leader Ismail Haniyeh met Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi on Thursday in an official visit that signaled a big shift in Cairo’s stance toward the Hamas movement after the election of a Muslim Brotherhood head of state in Egypt.
AP on ABC: Dozens of Gaza Christians staged a rare public protest Monday, claiming two congregants were forcibly converted to Islam and were being held against their will.
AP: Palestinian spokesman Hanan Ashrawi said the vote was an affirmation of Palestinian sovereignty over the site which marks the place where Christians believe Jesus was born.
Foreign Policy: Palestine, recognized last October as the 195th member state by the U.N. Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), recently launched its first initiative as a full-fledged government in the Paris-based agency, nominating the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem and a traditional pilgrimage route to be listed as an endangered site on the World Heritage List.
Israel National News: An Iranian official called this week for an ‘Islamic Awakening’ movement to help Palestinian Authority Arabs “demolish the Zionist regime”, the IRNA news agency reported.
Weekly Standard: Former Palestinian intelligence official Muhammad Abu Shahala has reportedly been sentenced to death by the Palestinian Authority for selling a Hebron home to Jews.
CBC News: UNESCO approved a Palestinian bid for full membership Monday in a highly divisive breakthrough that will cost the agency a fifth of its budget, and that the U.S. and other opponents say could harm renewed Mideast peace efforts.
Telegraph: Unesco, The United Nations’ cultural agency, has decided to give the Palestinians full membership of the body, in a vote that will boost their bid for recognition as a state at the UN.
XINHUANET.com: The European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek on Tuesday stated that he opposes Palestinian plans to seek membership in the United Nations in September.
Washington Post: A team of Israeli and Palestinian pollsters says a third of Palestinians surveyed said they supported an attack last month that saw five members of an Israeli family stabbed to death in their home in a West Bank settlement.
Canadian Press: “For more than a year, a Palestinian couple belonging to an Islamic sect rejected by many mainstream Muslims endured insults from some of their neighbours and even death threats while struggling to maintain a quiet existence in this West Bank town. As word spread about them, things got worse. A local Islamic court branded them apostates and dissolved their marriage. The couple, Mohammed and Samah Alawneh, now live in legal limbo.”
Arutz Sheva: “Several weeks ago, Palestinian Authority police arrested 26-year-old Walid al-Husseini because of a series of anti-religious blog posts he had written. Now PA officials say Husseini is not in jail for his religious beliefs, but rather, for his own safety. If he is released, they say, he could be murdered.”
Religion Clause: “Last week, leading up to the holiday, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Information published as an official paper a study claiming that the Western Wall is part of Al-Aksa Mosque and Haram al-Sharif, rejecting Jewish claims to the site that Jews revere as the remains of the wall that surrounded the original Temple courtyard.”
Associated Press: “An official Palestinian report claiming that a key Jewish holy site – Jerusalem’s Western Wall – has no religious significance to Jews evoked an angry response from Israelis Wednesday, threatening to further inflame tensions over the disputed city.”
Khaled Abu Toameh writing at Hudson New York: “Those who fund the Palestinian Authority must put pressure on its leaders to respect freedom of speech and refrain from imposing Islamic Sharia laws in the West Bank. Otherwise, it will be only a matter of time before Palestinians in the West Bank are beheaded or have their hands amputated or are stoned to death for adultery and theft. If the Palestinian Authority is not made to understand the repercussions of its actions, the West Bank will be turned into another radical Islamic entity like the one that already exists in the Gaza Strip.”
FindLaw (AP): “A mysterious blogger who set off an uproar in the Arab world by claiming he was God and hurling insults at the Prophet Muhammad is now behind bars – caught in a sting that used Facebook to track him down.”
New York Times: “President Obama’s criticism of new Israeli housing plans for East Jerusalem, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s even sharper retort, have thrown the Middle East peace talks into jeopardy, with the dispute over Jewish settlements looming as a seemingly insuperable hurdle.”
Israel Defense Forces: “The Israel Security Agency (ISA) reported last week that Hamas began to intensify its use of the Internet for spreading Islamic values and religion, in an effort to shape the Gaza Strip as it wants it, according to the spirit of the strategic Islamization process plan gradually imposed, in order to turn Gaza into a state governed by Islamic religious law.”
Jewish Times: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the decision of a United Nations body to define the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb as Palestinian ‘absurd.’”
Guardian: “Site near Bethlehem included in a resolution by Unesco, which says it forms ‘an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territories.’ The UN body in charge of culture, education and science also urged the Israeli authorities to remove the site from its national heritage list, on which it was placed in February this year. The resolution – which also refers to the site as Rachel’s Tomb – triggered an angry response from Israel.”
Office of the Spokesman of the Secretary of State: “Question: What is our reaction to the burning of a mosque and copies of the Quran in Hebron by Israeli settlers?
We condemn this attack in the strongest terms and call for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. We note that Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Barak have also condemned the attack and have called for an investigation.”
Associated Press: “Arsonists torched a mosque in a West Bank village Monday, scrawling ‘revenge’ on a wall in Hebrew and charring copies of the Muslim holy book in an attack that threatened to stoke new tensions over deadlocked Mideast peacemaking.”
Haaretz: “Calm appeared to be prevailing on the streets of Jerusalem on Wednesday evening, after hours of bloody clashes apparently sparked by the shooting of a Palestinian by an Israeli security guard in the early hours of the morning. Police also redeployed from the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, situated on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem.”
The Jerusalem Post: “Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told interviewers that he would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Israel Radio reported on Tuesday.”
Reuters: “The Hamas armed wing said it would carry out more operations after claiming a shooting on Tuesday which killed four Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank.”
Miami Herald: “An unidentified gunman killed four Israelis at a Jewish settlement near the West Bank city of Hebron on Tuesday night, just days before the U.S.-sponsored peace summit was set to begin in Washington. The military wing of the Hamas movement, which controls Gaza, claimed responsibility.”
AFP: “Israeli troops arrested and evacuated some 30 Jewish rightwing militants who had illegally entered the West Bank town of Jericho on Tuesday to pray at an ancient synagogue, the army said.”
Guardian: “The United States is sending a succession of envoys to engage with Hamas but lacks the bravery to talk to the Islamist movement openly, its leader, Khaled Meshal, said in an interview with the Guardian . . . ”
“The British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) criticized Israel for including pictures of the Western Wall in a tourism advertisement, claiming that the holy site is technically not located within the country’s borders, the Independent reported Wednesday.”
Washington Post: “The Palestinian president warned Tuesday that the region could plunge into a ‘religious war’ over Israel’s plans to recognize a disputed West Bank shrine as one of its own national heritage sites.”
New American Media: “Christians in the Arab world who played an important role in developing pan-Arab movements in the 1950s and enriched its culture have serious concerns about their future in the Middle East. Hundreds of thousands of Christians have left and many Christian communities were uprooted. The reasons behind the mass exodus differ from one country to the other, but one common factor is the collapse of pan-Arab nationalism and the rise of Islamist movements.”
“The European Union on December 8 adopted a resolution that for the first time explicitly calls for Jerusalem to become the future capital of both a Palestinian state and Israel. Backing away only slightly from a more controversial Swedish proposal . . . ”
CNSNews: “A showdown is looming in Geneva as the United Nation’s main human rights institution grapples with an explosive report accusing Israel of war crimes and laying the groundwork for its possible referral to the International Criminal Court.”
Washington Post On Faith blog: “American Charities for Palestine partners with the U.S. government on charitable projects in the Palestinian territories. Last August, the nonprofit signed an agreement with the Agency for International Development (USAID) aimed at expanding private American donor assistance to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. It’s now up and running in time for Ramadan, when Muslims are required to give to the poor and needy. (Ramadan starts this evening.)”
Haaretz: “Senior Hamas officials had claimed, in the wake of Hamas’ June 2007 Gaza takeover, that the organization did not have any intention to turn the Sharia, Islamic religious law into official state regulations. Two years later, however, it seems that the Hamas government is slowly introducing more and more regulations in the spirit of the Islamic decrees.”
Washington Post: “Many single women in Gaza say it’s becoming more difficult to find a husband as a economic hardship in Gaza increases amid a harsh Israeli blockade of the territory. They are relying more on matchmakers, and the Tayseer Association, run by Hamas loyalists, is the best in the business.”
WorldNetDaily: “Palestinian Christians in a normally quiet village are reeling from a series of grave desecrations this week that they say are indicative of intimidation tactics from the town’s growing Muslim population.”
Christian Today reports: “Last week the co-owner of the building where the shop is located demanded that the Palestinian Bible Society vacate the premises. He claims to have received a threat from a militant Islamic group in Gaza to blow …
A sermon last Friday by a prominent Muslim cleric and Hamas member of the Palestinian parliament openly declared that “the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital,” would soon be conquered by Islam.
There are only some 3,500 Christians, mostly Greek Orthodox, in Gaza. Over the past two years, al-Qaeda-affiliated groups have claimed responsibility for attacks against Christian figures and institutions with the stated goal of driving Christians out of Gaza.