IN PHOTOS: ISRAELI FORCES CLASH WITH PALESTINIAN SANTA CLAUSES ON CHRISTMAS EVE

South Front

24.12.2017

On December 24, Palestinians, many of them dressed as Santa Claus, staged a rally in the city of Bethlehem in the West Bank protesting against to the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s true capital.

Israeli forces used tear gas and stun grenades against the protesters near an Israeli military tower in Bethlehem. This rea is widely known as the traditional birthplace of Jesus Christ.

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

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In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

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Merry Christmas Everyone, Joy to the world: Jesus is a celebrated prophet in Islam, too, peace be upon him

Joy to the world: Jesus is a celebrated prophet in Islam, too, peace be upon him

Joy to the world: Jesus is a celebrated prophet in Islam, too, peace be upon him

 Christmas in Bethlehem is a special time for all children – Muslim and Christian
In the interest of peace, Safdar Khwaja from CAIR reminds us that Muslims revere Jesus highly, and believe in the divine origin of the holy books of all three Abrahamic religions. She reminds us of the need to work together, for there is much to be done in our broken world.
At the end of the article, If Americans Knew offers you some photos of Christmastime in Bethlehem, where there is genuine interfaith peace.

by Safdar Khwaja, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Christmas season brings lights, cheer and charity across America and prayerful celebration of the Christian savior’s birth in churches across the world. Greeting cards proclaim “Joy to the World,” though people might wonder just how to spread joy.

Christian Americans also might wonder how non-Christians perceive the festive Christmas season — particularly Muslims, given all the controversy about them that’s been stirred up in recent election cycles.

It may come as a surprise to many people that Muhammad, peace be upon him (pbuh), recognized Jesus (pbuh) as the promised final leader for mankind. As recorded in multiple Hadith (sayings of the Prophet) ( Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 34, No. 425 et seq.), “… Jesus (pbuh) son of Mary, will descend amongst you as a just ruler, kill the anti-christ, and abolish unfavorable practices. Money will become in abundance so that no one will accept it as charity.”

This significant Hadith is neither unique nor an isolated forecast in Islam. As the youngest of the three major Abrahamic faiths, Islam recognizes all of the revelations and commandments of a singular God (Eloh in Hebrew, Alah in Aramaic, Ilah in Arabic, Allah as “the-God” in Arabic), as a continuum of God’s messages. The Scrolls (Abraham, pbuh), Torah (Moses, pbuh), Psalms (David, pbuh), Gospels (Jesus, pbuh), and Quran (Muhammad, pbuh), are all recognized as of divine origin and included in the faith of Islam.

Quran 2:136: “Say: (Oh Believers) ‘We believe in God and in what was sent down to us and what was sent down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and what was given to Moses, Jesus, and all the prophets by their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we devote ourselves to Him (God).’ “

Followers of these divine revelations are recognized as “People of the Book,” with marriages allowed among them, which has led “mixed” families over the centuries to develop close relationships.

Jesus is mentioned 25 times in the Quran in many contexts, including as a messenger of God, as the Messiah, as the “word” and “sign” of God, as endowed with healing miracles, as ascending into heaven, as promising to return.

The Quran mentions the virgin birth of Jesus many times. He is the only prophet who is mentioned along with his mother. The Quran’s chapter 19 is dedicated to Mary (Maryam), who holds a singularly exalted place in Islam, being the only woman named in the Quran. She is referred to 70 times in multiple chapters, and she explicitly is identified as the greatest of all women.

To Muslims in America, celebration of the life of Jesus and acts of charity during the Christmas season are very similar to their own traditions. The two major Muslim celebrations, or Eids, feature charity, prayers and festivities. They occur following the month of fasting (Ramadan) and at the commemoration of Abraham’s (pbuh) commitment to personal sacrifice. Celebrations such as Christmas and Eid are meant to renew the foundations of our beliefs.

Sadly, we see anxiety and suspicion between Christians and Muslims, which are politically inspired and cause us to overlook our shared heritage. If we were true to the teachings of our faiths, we would see that the values we collectively cherish are rooted in a common history. Such a realization could become the basis for cooperation, for friendship, for truly spreading “Joy to the World.”

Humanity has massive challenges to overcome; disease, poverty, hunger, ignorance, war, the list goes on. These challenges require a new paradigm of collaboration among people of all faiths, or no faith, from the local to the global level.

Interfaith dialogue is growing here in Pittsburgh, but participation remains sparse. In our “home of the brave,” we need more brave souls who are willing to listen to the narratives of people who are very different from themselves.

Here is my wish for this holy, festive season:

May our leaders be brave. May they employ their energies and talents toward bringing us together rather than driving us apart. May they help us solve the intractable problems we face by harnessing our common values and humanity. May this spirit of cooperation bring us joy.


Safdar Khwaja is president of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, the largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.

 

Palestinian Christians celebrate the lighting of a Christmas tree in Manger Square, outside the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. Christmas Eve is a major event for the biblical town, drawing thousands of foreign tourists each year. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

 

Another view of Manger Square
A member of the Palestinian Authority security services patrols in front of the nativity scene in Manger Square
Greek Orthodox Liturgy in the Church of the Nativity


Bell tower in the background is the Church of the Nativity, built over the site traditionally believed to be where Christ was born
Santa is an equal-opportunity acceptor of donations.
Catholic clergymen outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
A Christian worshipper prays after lighting a candle on Christmas Eve at the Church of the Nativity, built atop the site where Christians believe Jesus Christ was born, in the West Bank

Rabbi Warns that Jews May Be Headed for a ‘Cataclysmic Disaster’

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Is Patagonia to Become the New ‘Promised Land’?

By Richard Edmondson

Bible scholars have pointed out that the Gospels of Matthew and Luke appear to have been written with two different audiences in mind. The Gospel of Matthew seems to have been directed at a Jewish audience, while the Gospel of Luke would appear to have been written with a primarily Gentile audience in mind.

One passage in Matthew where we can see the intended audience was Jewish is in the story of Jesus’ birth. Here we encounter a reference to the Old Testament book of Micah–a citation which not only  prophesies the birth of Christ but which clearly  presents the Israelites as divinely chosen. The passage in question is Matthew 2:1-6. The setting is Herod’s court in Jerusalem, where the three wise men from the east have just stopped off in their quest to find the newborn Christ child:

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 3 When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd[d] my people Israel.’”

The quote in verse 6 containing the words “my people Israel” is a cross reference to Micah 5:2. It’s rather amazing that the gospel writer supplies us with these words in the story of Jesus’ birth…but then later goes on to give us the following passage in the account of his death:

24 So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” 25 Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”

It is almost as if the Jews have gone from being divinely blessed in the early part of the gospel…to divinely cursed in the gospel’s closing chapters.

The reason I make mention of the birth story from Matthew is not solely because we’re in the Christmas season, but for a couple of other reasons as well. One has to do with a commentary published recently by a rabbi by the name of Brant Rosen; the other in regard to some interesting information presented recently by Thierry Meyssan of Voltairenet.org. Let’s take Rosen’s commentary first.

Rabbi Brant Rosen is an advocate of justice for Palestinians as well as the founder of Tzedek Chicago, a “non-Zionist” synagogue in Chicago. He also maintains a blog, Shalom Rav, where he recently published an article entitled “Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.” In the article he discusses the intersection of Zionism with Jewish messianism, this in the context of Trump’s recent decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem–and he comments that “Zionism has always been, in its way, a kind of false messiah.”

He also warns that Jews today may be headed for a “cataclysmic disaster,” and he quotes Gershom Scholem, a Jewish scholar of the 20th century who authored a biography of Sabbatai Zevi, a Jewish false messiah who gained a huge following in the 1600s. Scholem’s perspective on the subject, written in 1928, reads in part:

The messianic phraseology of Zionism, especially in its decisive moments, is not the least of those Sabbatian temptations which could bring disaster to the renewal of Judaism.

Rosen then goes on to comment:

I genuinely believe that the disaster Scholem wrote of has already come to pass. This zealous drive for political sovereignty and control over Jerusalem as the “eternal undivided capitol of the Jewish people” is a form of idolatry that has all but highjacked a venerable spiritual tradition. Now I fear a much more cataclysmic disaster is waiting in the wings.

Perhaps Rosen isn’t the only Jew worried about a cataclysmic disaster at this point–and this brings me to Meyssen’s article.

Entitled “What is Israel’s Project in Argentina?“, the piece was posted December 12 at Meyssen’s Voltaire blog. In it the author discusses Jewish billionaire Joe Lewis of Britain, who has purchased vast amounts of land in the region of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego in southern Argentina. Meyssen notes that the properties Lewis has acquired “cover areas several times larger than the State of Israel”; that hundreds of thousands of houses have been built upon them, as well as a private airport capable of handling military aircraft; and that 8,000-10,000 Israeli soldiers journey there every year for “holiday camps.”

A  few other interesting points Meyssen makes are:

  • Google Earth has neutralized satellite photographs of the region just as it does with NATO military installations
  • Israel has now secured a submarine base in the area courtesy of neighboring Chile, while “tunnels have been dug in order to survive the polar winter”
  • George Soros is now believed by some inhabitants of the region to be financing a secessionist movement, presumably to “liberate” Patagonia from Argentina

Meyssen comments that it is “impossible for the moment to determine if Israel is engaged in a programme for the exploitation of Antarctica, or if it is building a rear base in case of defeat in Palestine.” Of course if nuclear war breaks out between the US and Russia, Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego would probably be among the less severely impacted parts of the planet–so that might be a factor in the thinking as well. I don’t know.

In any event, I suggest people read Meyssen’s article in its entirety, because there’s a lot of interesting information in it that I haven’t covered here. As for Rosen’s article, while I look somewhat askance at a comment he supplies about “Christian supremacy,” I do note that the remark is made in regard to Christian Zionist pastor John Hagee, and while I confess I find Rosen’s characterization of Judaism as a “venerable spiritual tradition” a tad puzzling, I’ll go out on a limb and guess that he has passages like Exodus 23:9 (“you shall not oppress a stranger…” etc.) more so in mind than the exhortations to blood and genocide. I’m guessing he does not include Talmudic supremacy as part of that “venerable spiritual tradition.” And I’m also guessing he would take strong exception to comments of such as Rabbi Saadya Grama:

Jewish success in the world is completely contingent upon the failure of other peoples. Jews experience good fortune only when gentiles experience catastrophe…The difference between Jews and gentiles is not historical or cultural, but rather genetic and unalterable.

But the fact is that numerous other rabbis, despite this ‘venerable’ spiritual tradition, hold views similar to Grama’s. Whether theirs is a theological ideology or a political ideology, it is an ideology nonetheless that has brought “catastrophe” upon Syrians for the past seven years–and upon Palestinians for the past seventy years.

It may at some point bring catastrophe upon others as well, including Americans. Given the unemployment rate and the totally unprecedented degree of wealth disparity we’re seeing, some might say it already has.

If Jews who subscribe to Talmudic precepts should continue in their endeavors at foisting these catastrophes, the result is going to be a “cataclysmic disaster” upon Jews themselves–if that is the point Rosen is trying to make, then I agree with him and I think his prediction is correct.

What I would say to Jews in general is that moving to Patagonia is not going to save you. Unless you change your ways, you’re going to be hated and resented there just as you are presently hated and resented in Palestine, and just as you have been hated and resented most everywhere else you have settled and lived for the past two millennia, going all the way back to the riots of Alexandria in 38 A.D.–or even earlier.

The only way to break this cycle is by learning to act with kindness, to treat others with love and compassion–which of course were the precise teachings of your messiah–that is to say your true messiah–Jesus.

Doing this would not only save you, it potentially would save humanity as a whole, for the entire planet is teetering on the edge of the abyss right now.

Merry Christmas Russia!

orthodoxchrist1

January 7 is celebrated as Christmas day by millions of Orthodox Christians around the world. A midnight liturgy is scheduled for tonight at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior.  You can watch the service here. Merry Christmas to all!

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Russian Soldiers Distribute Christmas Gifts to Syrian Children

Speaking on Tuesday of this week, CIA Director John Brennan accused Russia of waging a “scorched earth policy” in Syria. I think clearly we can see evidence of this in the above video.

All kidding aside, Christian charity seems very much alive in Aleppo, and Russian soldiers apparently are quite in the Christmas spirit (The Russian Orthodox celebration of Christmas takes place this Saturday, January 7). The children in the video reportedly are saying “Thanks Russia” in both Arabic and Russian.

The video below is a tad bit older, having been uploaded back in September of 2016, though a similar spirit of giving is very much on display.

But getting back to Brennan…

“What the Russians have done in Syria in terms of some of the scorched earth policies that they have pursued that have led to devastation and thousands upon thousands of innocent deaths–that’s not something that the United States would ever do in any of these military conflicts,” the CIA director said in an interview with PBS.

And perhaps predictably he also gave a back-handed slap to Wikileaks, referring to Julian Assange as “not exactly a bastion of truth and integrity,” while doing some Putin-bashing as well:

We see what he’s done in places like Crimea and Ukraine and in Syria. He tends to flex muscles, not just on himself, but also in terms of Russia’s military capabilities. He plays by his own rules in terms of what it is that he does in some of these theaters of conflict.

Playing by our “own rules” is of course something that the US and its “special” friend Israel both excel at, but I don’t suppose we’ll hear Brennan admit to that anytime soon. In any event, it’s good to see the children of Syria experiencing the joys of Christmas despite the scorched earth policies directed against them–not by Russia, of course, but by terrorists backed by the West and its allies.

Lebanese Writer Answers Netanyahu’s Bogus Claim About Christmas

[ Ed. note – The writer of the piece below is Elie Fares, who maintains the blog A Separate State of Mind. The language he uses is a bit “colorful” in places, but he makes some good  points about a bogus claim that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made yesterday. In a diatribe against Secretary of State John Kerry–and given in response to a speech Kerry made earlier in the day–Netanyahu claimed, falsely, that Israel is the “only place in the Middle East where Christians can celebrate Christmas.”

I put up a post about the Israeli leader’s rant yesterday entitled Spitting Vitriol. ]

***

No Netanyahu, Israel Isn’t the Only Middle Eastern Place Where Christians Can Celebrate Christmas

A Separate State of Mind

In his increasingly childish bitchfit against the international political establishment that saw his country’s transgressions through settlements on Palestinian land finally made illegal with a UN resolution banning Israel – yeah, right – from building more of them, the Israeli PM is lashing out at his country’s closest ally and the reason Israel has been off the hook in everything it’s done for years, the United States.

As part of a rant aimed at US Secretary of State John Kerry whose tone was very moderate towards the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, with him recognizing the plight of Palestinians and their refugees, the land grab they’ve been victim of, among other things, Netanyahu figured it best to remind Kerry, and by extension of his buzz words that you know will circle Fox News for months to come, other Americans and Westerners who see Israel as the only worthy beacon of civilization in the Middle East that – and I quote:

Continued here

Christmas in Syria: Syrian President and his wife visit Saïdnaya Convent

Protectors Of Syria’s Pluralism

Tuesday, 27 December 2016 10:51

Bashar and Asma al-Assad Visit Saidnaya Monastery For Christmas, Reaffirming Their Status As Protectors Of Syria’s Pluralism

by Jonathan Azaziah

December 26, 2016

Gotta love Bashar and Asma al-Assad. The Syrian Arab Republic’s President and First Lady, as well as their daughter Zein and two sons Karim and Hafez, spent Christmas Day at Our Lady of Saidnaya Monastery in the ancient Aramaic-speaking town of Saidnaya, which rests on the slopes of the rugged Qalamoun Mountains that were liberated from Takfiri terrorist occupation by Hizbullah and the Syrian Arab Army last Spring. The Assads visited with the nuns and orphans of the Monastery and spent the day eating, laughing, snapping photos, unwrapping gifts and just generally enjoying the holy occasion.

“God bless you!” is what Bashar and Asma were hit with when they first entered the Monastery, and as they made their way down into the courtyard where they were adorably mobbed by loving children, they were also told by the nuns, “Now we are truly feeling the holiday spirit!” ‘Twas one of those moments in which you realize that these individuals, Dr. Assad and First Lady Asma, truly are FOR the people, OF the people and BY the people. This is the kind of popular support that cannot be bought, nor staged, nor forced. One simply has it or one does not. Clearly the Assads ABSOLUTELY have it.

And this is the essence, isn’t it? Every drop of Zioganda that the mainstream media has spewed out like an obese ‘Israeli’ settler with a torn stomach tract over nearly 6 years is rendered useless with scenes such as these. If Syria’s First Family was as despised by “everyday Syrians” as the Zionist press says they are, why the warm welcome and embrace from nuns and orphans, i.e. some of the most vulnerable persons in all of Syria, especially during this “conflict”? If the Assads were so petrified of their well-being because of this aforesaid hatred from “the people”, why’d they travel to an area as volatile as Saidnaya, which had been attacked by Takfiri gangs at numerous points, with nothing but basic security?

And if Bashar, Asma and their children were “divorced from reality” as a cornucopia of officials from Western ZOGs, “activists” of the NGO-Human-Rights-Industrial-Complex and terrorist-sympathizers the world over have suggested since the opening days of the manufactured rebellion in March 2011, wouldn’t they be holed up in some mountaintop mansion bunker somewhere instead of traveling around Syria to be with their countrymen in these most desperate times? Yes. Certainly. Dr. Assad and the First Lady are in fact very much in tune with Syrians, hence why they were voted back to the People’s Palace in overwhelming numbers by Syrians, why the SAA is supported just about entirely by Syrians and why Syrians view the Assads’ leadership as a trusted source of guidance.

For posterity’s sake, let us be fully lucid: The Saidnaya visit was not some kind of publicity stunt or media operation but the latest stop in the routine nationwide rounds made by the Assads. The Syrian President has recently been in Kafar Souseh to celebrate Mawlid al-Nabawi and was also on the front lines of Aleppo to mark the liberation of the city. Asma, for her part, has been seemingly even busier, visiting wounded soldiers, the disabled, orphans, shellshocked students and the families of martyrs in and around Damascus, Latakia, Hama and Tartous.

Can the same be said about the Takfiri terrorist darlings of Washington, the EU, the GCC and ‘Israel’? No. Because celebrating Mawlid al-Nabawi and/or Christmas in the ever-shrinking “rebel”-held areas is grounds for lashes and beheadings. Zio-NATO’s proxies continue tormenting Syrians from all ethno-sectarian backgrounds and from every age bracket. And the only “martyrs” that these Wahhabi mercenaries have any interest in receiving are the ones who bring disgrace and dishonor to the very concept of martyrdom, i.e. those who are brainwashed as well as manipulated, among them children, into unleashing suicide operations on Syrian civilians.

Indeed, Christmas Day highlights the genuineness of the Assads along with the stark contrast between their commitment to upholding and safeguarding Syria’s pluralism vs. the hateful, destructive barbarity of the Takiri scourge. Imagine for a moment what life would be like for the people of Saidnaya, or Maaloula, or Halab, or Armenian Kessab in Latakia, or Wadi al-Nasara (Valley of Christians) in Homs if the Assads were no more and all that remained was the Christmas-hating Wahhabi fanatics bankrolled, armed, trained and politically supported by the US-‘Israeli’ Empire.

Let that sink in and try not to scream from the horror. So if it comes down to the democratically elected Resistance Axis leader and his brilliant, compassionate, composed-but-fierce and elegant missus, or the head-chopping maniacs that Zio-Imperialist powers keep referring to as “revolutionaries”, check the scenario: I’ll take the “dictator and his wife” over the “democratic freedom fighters” each and every day of the week plus twice on a beautiful Christmas Sunday in Damascus.

And you know what? Syrians–from liberated Aleppo to protected Saidnaya–would, and do, agree. Emphatically. #LongLiveSyria #LongLiveTheAssads #MerryMouqawamistChristmas

 

http://mouqawamahmusic.net/author/admin/

 

Dr. Mohammad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

alibrahim5656@hotmail.com

President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian First Family joined the sons and daughters of the martyrs for Christmas celebration in Saidnaya Convent.


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