Photostory: Attack on Basilica of the Annunciation

A Photostory by way of Electronic Intifada: Jonathan Cook explores Israeli extremists’ attack on Nazareth’s most famous Christian church, which goes virtually unreported, and the reactions of Nazarenes. Thank God for cameras eh?


  • How quickly Muslims forget (the acts they do to others)!

    It seems as though all you Muslims have forgotten about the standoff at the church in Bethlehem by Palestinian gunmen. This act didn’t lead to any of the anger that a few firecrackers in Nazareth did!

    Apparently, the fact that the gunmen had, for years, terrorized the local Palestinian Christian community didn’t anger the Muslims either. Why is that?

    When will you Muslims stop your hypocrisy?

  • Dan, the fact is that the Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem are terrorized first and foremost by the same army that occupies the rest of Palestinian land, and that’s the Israeli army.

    If it weren’t for this occupation, that standoff would have never happened in the first place.

  • Nas:
    The article you cite basically says it all. The Palestinians have constantly used churches (and mosques as well) as bases of operation. The Israelis do their best to fight back against terrorists without damaging structures to the extent possible. If the terrorists care so much about these sites then they should avoid basing their terrorist operations around them. Warfare and terrorism are serious business, not a child’s game where one side gets to hide safely in their base.

    Don’t drag this into a debate about the supposed ‘occupation’. I cannot agree with this. The entire Palestinian cause is a farce. Consider the following: the Palestinian cause is based upon the idea that their land was stolen from them by the Jews. If you ask the Palestinian how long the land has to be held by an occupier to make the theft legitimate he will answer “never.” The idea that the land was simply stolen from Palestinians is largely a myth, but let us go ahead and take the claim at face value for the sake of argument. If the theft of land is wrong and no amount of time makes it legitimate, then the Palestinians lose by their own argument. Politically the land was actually taken from the British who took it from the Ottoman Empire and so forth. If the fact that the land was not taken directly from the Palestinians politically is of no consequence then we can go back further in time to see that the Arabs essentially took land that was stolen from the Jews. Can we accuse the Palestinains then of ‘fencing stolen goods’? The real occupation is the illegal occupation of Jewish lands by Palestinian ‘thieves.’ If no amount of time legitimizes theft, then the Jews are the oldest surviving people with a legitimate claim to the land.

    “As a strictly legal matter, the Jews didn’t take Palestine from the Arabs; they took it from the British, who exercised sovereign authority in Palestine under a League of Nations mandate for thirty years prior to Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948. And the British don’t want it back.

    If you consider the British illegitimate usurpers, fine. In that case, this territory is not Arab land but Turkish land, a province of the Ottoman Empire for hundreds of years until the British wrested it from them during the Great War in 1917. And the Turks don’t want it back.

    If you look back earlier in history than the Ottoman Turks, who took over Palestine over in 1517, you find it under the sovereignty of the yet another empire not indigenous to Palestine: the Mamluks, who were Turkish and Circassian slave-soldiers headquartered in Egypt. And the Mamluks don’t even exist any more, so they can’t want it back.

    So, going back 800 years, there’s no particularly clear chain of title that makes Israel’s title to the land inferior to that of any of the previous owners. Who were, continuing backward:

    The Mamluks, already mentioned, who in 1250 took Palestine over from:

    The Ayyubi dynasty, the descendants of Saladin, the Kurdish Muslim leader who in 1187 took Jerusalem and most of Palestine from:

    The European Christian Crusaders, who in 1099 conquered Palestine from:

    The Seljuk Turks, who ruled Palestine in the name of:

    The Abbasid Caliphate of Baghdad, which in 750 took over the sovereignty of the entire Near East from:

    The Umayyad Caliphate of Damascus, which in 661 inherited control of the Islamic lands from

    The Arabs of Arabia, who in the first flush of Islamic expansion conquered Palestine in 638 from:

    The Byzantines, who (nice peopleâ??perhaps it should go to them?) didn’t conquer the Levant, but, upon the division of the Roman Empire in 395, inherited Palestine from:

    The Romans, who in 63 B.C. took it over from:

    The last Jewish kingdom, which during the Maccabean rebellion from 168 to 140 B.C. won control of the land from:

    The Hellenistic Greeks, who under Alexander the Great in 333 B.C. conquered the Near East from:

    The Persian empire, which under Cyrus the Great in 639 B.C. freed Jerusalem and Judah from:

    The Babylonian empire, which under Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C. took Jerusalem and Judah from:

    The Jews, meaning the people of the Kingdom of Judah, who, in their earlier incarnation as the Israelites, seized the land in the 12th and 13th centuries B.C. from:

    The Canaanites, who had inhabited the land for thousands of years before they were dispossessed by the Israelites.”


    The Arabs and other inhabitants of the region never had any political control over the land when the British or Ottoman Empire were in play. After many Jews arrived in the area and purchased land legitimately, the Arabs attempted to attack them. This all culminated in surrounding Arab nations attempting to force the ‘Jews into the Sea’ upon Israel’s declaration of independence from Britain. During this war, Palestinians in large numbers abandoned the land at the encouragement of their Arab brethren who wanted a clean battlefield where they would not have to distinguish between Arab and Jew amd who assured Palestinians that once the Jews were driven out they would have all the land to themselves. The Palestinians largely consented, making them a party to the war by such consent. Of course, the Arabs lost this war. Now we are supposed to feel sorry that this attempt at Arab theft went wrong? The Israeli’s are supposed to set things right? The Arabs and Palestinians should take responsibility for their self-induced calamity and quit blaming the Jews.

    Regardless of whether you are arguing from a standpoint of time or by rules of war, the Palestinians have no legitimate claims.

  • As I indicated in another thread, I’ve said all I will say about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If anyone wants to respond I will not respond back. I enjoy this blog for the information I get on Jordanian society and will not comment on political issues any further. I’m sticking strictly to non-political commentary for now on.

    Thanks for the blog, Nas.

  • I appreciate you taking the time to write all of this Dan, I really do. I personally think the conflict in the middle east today is a conflict of religions, this is what most people in the world try to run away from.

    It’s the classic conflict. The Jews, Christians and Muslims believe that God promised the holy land to the people of Israel. This the jewish people’s claim to the land in the present. So far it’s all based on belief.

    Now, the Muslims believe Jews betrayed God when they rejected his prophets. Muslims believe they are now in charge of caring for the holy land. This is their claim to the land in the present. And so far it’s all based on beliefs.

    Classic conflicts. Two objects cannot occupy the same space in the same time. Simple law of physics.

    If you try to take away the religion aspect of it, then it becomes a cycle. Most Jews were expelled many hundred years ago, and then they returned and expelled the other people again and this happened many decades ago. What happened the first time wouldn’t be good, and what happened the second time can’t be good either.

    But that doesn’t matter, because billions of people in the world today have faith in God, each in their own way and according to the set of beliefs contained within their own religion.

    So, it’s a classic conflict. I happen to be on one side of the conflict with the rest of the muslims and arabs. You might not be. You might believe my cause is a farse, but I don’t believe it is and I don’t ask you to believe it is.

    But if you wanna talk about facts and small incidents, Israel still takes the lion’s share in violations and the committing of crimes in the Middle East.

  • Hey Nas, belated thanks for keeping the destruction of all holy sites in the forefront. I would not have known of this without your blog.

    Off topic, but did you notice that there was no media rush to blame Muslims for the church burnings in Alabama? I though that might encourage you. And I wonder, that if that many mosques had been torched there would have been a huge outcry?

  • Dan,

    while you are reading up on mid east history, read up on Dier Yassin, the Stern Gand and Irgun.

    many arabs were driven from thier homes by jews, and many arabs can produce both title and keys to thier homes that were lost in the 1948 war.

    If thier claim is somehow invalidated by the war of 1948, then I would say the jews claim is invalidated by the uprising agianst the Romans.

    fact is, there were people living on a portion of the land that was given to the jews 60 odd years ago that didn;t want to live under jewish rule. fact is, there were people living in these lands that were driven from their homes by the jews.

    there is enough blame to go around. noone can take a holier than thou approach to what happened.

  • Nas,

    jonathon cook is a pathological liar.

    I posted a blog on two articles he wrote on Jenin. They contradicted each other, one was for the Dawn, the other was for the guardian.

    I trust nothing that he says.

    what damage was done ot the church? how many were injured?? these are the ?’s that need answering

  • Todd, as I stated earlier I don’t want to go into this further. However, want to clarify my earlier posting: I never stated that their were not any abuses or atrocities during the first Arab-Israeli War, however, whether you or the Arabs like it or not, Dier Yassin-type massacres are not, by a long shot, the predominant cause of today’s refugee problem. Rather, mass abandonment of the land at Arab encouragement is a much larger cause. The Palestinian/Arab argument is that all refugees should be allowed to return home, regardless of how these Palestinians became refugees. To honor this would, of course, spell the demographic destruction of Israel.

    You state yourself that there is plenty of blame to go around. Fine. What have the Arabs done to help correct the refugee problem they helped create? For that matter, what have Palestinians demanded that there Arab brethren do? Little or nothing is the answer in both instances. Arabs have continued to use the Palestinian refugees they helped create as pawns in their ongoing war with Israel. Hamzeh’s post indicates the sort of mentality that justifies this use of Palestinian refugees. As much as many Arabs attempt to apologize for Palestinian terrorism and violence as ‘nationalism’ this war is really, under the surface, more about the Arab and Islamic desire for dominance in this particular chunk of land.

    I cannot blame all Arabs, though, for not wanting to assimilate the Palestinians. Given the behavior of the PLO in Lebanon in the 80s in instigating the civil war in that country or the PLO being expelled from Jordan after its aggressive behavior, I can hardly blame surrounding Arab nations for their mistrust of Palestinians. The Palestinians, both in the West Bank and Gaza and in surrounding countries have a long history of poor judgement.

  • Dan,

    i understand that you don’t want to discuss this, so I will apologize for continuing the discussion anyway.

    I agree and disagree on some of the aspects of the Palestinian refugees. Some palestinians left because of jewish aggression, some left at the insistance of thier leaders, but some others left because THERE WAS A WAR GOING ON!!!!!!

    All wars tend to create refugees. As for “what have the arabs done to correct the refugee problem…” I agree completely. They have done nothing. Please see my post about al quada in palestine. It’s about time Al Queda bleeds for the Palestinians, as they have used thier cause to increase thier own standing in the muslim world.

    I also agree that islamist use the palestinian problem to thier advantage.

  • sorry, still have more to say.

    For the Palestininas though, this is a battle for thier rights. I am sure that is how they see it.

    anyway, it was nice talking to you.

Your Two Piasters: