Muslims Want Vatican Out of Dispute
October 4, 1999


Please read the article after the comments, Thanks.

Very Dear Friends:

Nazareth affair is again on the head news. You will read the artilce by Assoiated Press at the end of my answer-message. Fr. Labib

I contacted our Offices in Nazareth and in Jerusalem and asked them all about what is happening now on the ground of Nazareth.

Our office in Nazareth have contacted SAMAR ASSAD, the author of the article by Associated Press  as our office contacted her boss, it seems a person by the name of NOVAK ...and asked her about the article, why now and what is happening in Nazareth, all her resources were the Israeli newspaper Yedout Ahranot an article written by SHAKED a Jewish journalist and by a certain FOUZI an Arab that our office talked to also and they refused to reveal their sources.

Now with the report of our Office in Nazareth. ( I got all the information via Email and I, Fr. Labib Kobti worked the article). Please see on my message a freindly and positive one.

Nazareth!  where are you going?

1) AN ISRAELI INTRIGUE

a) Ben-Ami the Israeli minister who pretends to mediate between Christians and Muslims is the same one that have given his orders against the Islamic Movements in Israel and against the Imams of the mosques.

b) At the same time the Latin Patriarchate have contacted the consuls of the Countries about the assault of the Israelis on the estimated 20,000 dunums of land in Tayasir. The Israeli Army occupies the area; farmers are banned from entry; and the property has been sealed off and declared a military zone. The farmers are Muslims but the land is owned by the Latin Patriarchate (see this on Al-Bushra http://www.al-bushra.org/latpatra/proprety.htm). Till now Israel did not answer the protesting letter of Latin Patriarch Sabbah of Jerusalem  to PM Barak defending the right on the land and the RIGHTS of the Muslim bloodbrothers of Taysir village.

c) The dispute in Nazareth broke out after Israel have announced under Natenyahoo plans to build a Venetian-Style plaza outside the annunciation Basilica of Nazareth as a parking for the millennium The land is government land and the project became Nazareth municipality project. Nazareth Christians has nothing to do with the project.

d) Some of our bloodbrother Muslims claimed that the land is Islamic Waqf and there is a Maqam for Shehab Eddin on it and they need to build a mosque on that same space and asked the municipality of Nazareth to give them the incense to build a mosque.

e) The problem started as a problem between the Nazareth municipality and a group of Muslims (not all the Muslims fo Nazareth and surrounding), the "Qaimah Muahdah". The Major  of Nazareth is a declared communist even though he was baptized Christian, beside that the 3/4 of his council are all Muslims. The Municipality asked them to prove that the land is waqf. The problem then again is between the Municipality and some Muslims.

f) Israel and some people who want division have created from it a Muslim-Christian problem. (and all remember it was at the time when Netanyahoo was looking to get reelected and wanted to use this fact at his advantage), and they are continuing with the new Labor government to play on the very sensitive nerve: Religion.
 
CONCLUSION:
- The problem is not a Muslim-Chistian Problem, it is between the Nazareth Municipality.

- Israel with the Likud wanted to use this sensitive nerve to create problems between Christians and Christians, Christians and Muslims and Muslims and Muslims ..the today Labor Party continue the same game. In fact  M. Ben Ami is doing that.

- In fact, Israel who have assaulted the Latin Patriarchate Lands, Israel who knows that the Latin Patriarchate have defended the right of the Muslims wants to create, through the news new elements on Nazareth so as to hide what she is doing against the Islamic Movements in Israel and the Christians. Perhaps they want to involve the Vatican and put pressure on the Pope who wants to visit Iraq and the Holy Land...and so on (you have followed the news how the USA and Israel do not want the Pope to go to Iraq. I can understand the USA refusal, I do not understand the Israeli one) ...all of us know what Israel is able to do on the media and how they create unexacting facts...like the lies of the persecution of Christians by the Muslims the PA and the Muslims on 1997 and 1998!!!

- The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah who is from Nazareth, have always called for calm, serenity and awareness that some fingers are trying to divide us (His message of Christmas and Easter 1998, please see them on Al-bushra website or Jerusalem2000.or). He has called the silent majority to dare to speak out and stand with the TRUTH. I wrote an open letter to the Silent Majority of the Holy Land.  A lot of beloved bloodbrothers and sisters Muslims and Christians have stood with the truth and called for calm and cooperation, we thanked them fro their wonderful stands. But it seems that Israel do not want us to build our friendship and harmony as Palestinian Muslims and Christians.
 

2) THE VATICAN ROLE

a) The Vatican have interfered when the Israeli government did not protect the right and the security of the Christians who have been attacked on Easter 1998 by some bloodbrother Muslims and when cars, shops were burned or damaged and 53 Christians were injured and sent to the hospital.

This is the Right of the Vatican to defend the Christians of the Holy Land. The Vatican have many times defended the right of the Muslims all over the world and said the word of TRUTH.
We have never understood why our bloodbrothers the Muslims attacked the Christians coming out of the Mass on Easter Day. If the problem was between the Municipality of Nazareth and some Muslims brothers and sister, the municipality is not a Christian municipality!! The Patriarch and the Head of Christian churches have called for calm, forgiveness and cooperation.

On the other hand the Likud government did do anything protect the Christians of Nazareth or to calm the situation, they showed that they wanted divisions in a city that has a long history of confraternity and cooperation between Palestinian Muslims and Christians.

b) The Vatican and the Christians of Nazareth have the right to say no to a mosque   some meters away from one of the MOST HOLY places of Christianity. Jerusalemiltes Muslims have confronted bravely the Jewish settlers and Jewish fanatics who wanted somedays ago to invade the Haram El Sharif as they have done in the past. Some fanatic Jewish want to create a fact in between the Haram Al-Sharif and the Al-Aqsa Mosque and build a kind of settlement....Palestinian Arab Christians and Muslims have stood together defending one of the MOST IMPORTANT HOLY PLACE for Islam Haram and we, Arab-Christinas will stand with you against the Jews who want to build a temple on the temple mount. As nobody will accept that anybody would come and build anthing just beside their own Important HOLY PLACE. This is logic  and right.

Listen to me dear friends,

Perhaps, I do not know, think with me, it could be a trick that the Israelis in helping the Arab Muslims to build a Mosque in front of the one of the MOST HOLY places for Christians in Nazareth, that the Israelis will create a precedent for themselves to say to the world, then we, the Israelis, have the right to do the same in Jerusalem at Harm El Sharif, one of the HOLIEST PLACES of Islam. They have done that in Hebron. Some Muslims are giving them a pretext and a chance to do that and Israel will do anything, use any pretext for their own interest.

The Vatican and the Holy Land Christian refusal for the building of a mosque right meters from ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT HOLY PLACES of Christianity, is a call for Muslims to respect the Christian Holy Places, it is not against Islam at all. Many many Muslim bloodbrothers and sisters in the Holy Land and outside are standing with us. Besides they see on building the mosque as a provocative factor wanted by some Muslims and the Israelis, and this will not help cooperation, harmony and love between the Palestinians. This what Israel want.

Besides the Christian-Zionists of USA and Europe are supporting Israel on building the Temple in Jerusalem and are creating problems for both of us Palestinian Christians and Muslims and we have asked you to stand with us against them. The Israelis are using them world wide to build a kind of public opinion. We need to stand with each other to stop that thing, it is more urgent than ever now.

Also, Dear Friends: "We build a mosque when we are in need of space for prayer and not just to build, said the Christians of the Holy Land, do really the Muslims of Nazareth need a space where to pray?". Every where in the Holy Land we, Christians have "maqams"of our Lord Jesus-Christ and the Apostles and the Saints. Should we build a church in every corner? No, we have built on the very important Holy Places, not even on some important ones. So, please, do not make from the Maqam of Shehab Eddin a big thing. Listen to me, as a friend, it will not serve but the Israeli pretexts and they will use it against the Muslims, against the Christians and at the same time against both of us. Beside that this will be a way to impose their own Synagogues and Temples where ever they think there is an old "Maqam" for them. Then this will be catastrophic for all of. We should not give them a fuel to burn us all.

In fact, the Good examples of Prophet Muhammad  (SAS) and of Chalifa Omar (that I mentioned on a previous messages, find it on  http://www.al-bushra.org/latpatra/nazarethconflict.htm)  should guide us to look to friendship, cooperation and love and not to provoke each other. Chalifa Omar did not want to pray in the Holy Sepulcher at the invitation of the Patriarch of Jerusalem and he preferred to pray away from it, what is today Masjed Omar in Jerusalem, so as to respect the Christians. This is being a good Muslims, this is how we should look to each other and respect each other's holy places.

Will our Beloved Muslim Bloodbrothers and sisters stand with the Christians and preserve their holy places? We deserve as your brothers and sister such a respect. And thanks God a lot of good bloodbrothers understood the game of Israel and stood with their brothers the Christians.

In fact, Dear Brothers and sister, President Arafat have said that to the Muslims of Nazareth: "The Israelis will say to you, you want Jerusalem for the Palestinians and you do not respect the Christians in Nazareth". Israel would use anything against us.

c) Besides if a Mosque will be built, already, the place and space is not that big to accommodate huge numbers of Christians and Muslims, and at Muslim or Christian feast provocation and problems would be expected, and it is not fair for the good harmony between bloodbrothers. Israel wants that to show the world that she is the good police, a necessity in the Middle East,  to give justice to both Muslims and Christians and you know the game of Lebanon and else where.

That is why Mr. Wadie Abu Nassau have said "The Church of Nazareth is the one of the most important Christian shrines worldwide. It is not appropriate for a mosque to be built there." It is just a call to the bloodbrother to respect our Holy Place it is our right and it is fair. We deserve to be respected and loved.
We want to invest on brotherhood and cooperation between Muslims and Christians, this is most important than building a church and a mosque. We need to build peace, love and serenity in our hearts, this is the real mosque and church within us.

d)  Now about the Visit of the Pope to Nazareth, it is not decided yet, and  some speculations and news has only one purpose to create problems, to put pressures and to provoke divisions. So, please, respect the Vatican who have worked sincerely for our Cause and stood by us. Respect the Palestinian Patriarchs, Bishops and priests as well the people who have suffered and suffer the same discrimination under the occupation and the mistreatment by Israel. We need to put our hand together so as to build a better future and we do need every hand.

e) The Christians of the Holy Land feel frustrated, they are leaving the Holy Land, several analysts predict that 25 years from now there will be no Christians in the Holy Land, it is an alarming situation. A lot of them they leave because frustrated by their own Christian leaders, others because of the Israeli occupation and injustices but also we have to say the TRUTH  a lot leave because of their bloodbrothers and sisters the Muslims who do not stand with them and they do not treat them as their partners, brothers, friends sharing the same fate, the same land and the same future, they feel unhappy.
The Nazareth case is one of the examples.

CONCLUSION

- I call on my Bloodbrothers and Sisters the Muslim community to help us to resolve the problem of Nazareth with love. Our future generation will not forgive us if we create situations of tension and conflict.

- I call on them to respect the Christian Holy Places and churches and stop the practice to build a mosque every time there is a church and try to make the Minaret taller than the Tower bell of the church.

- I call on them to be aware that Israel is playing games and do not want us both in the Holy Land, in creating divisions between the one people the Arab Palestinians, Israel will pretend that it is a necessity to make us live in peace. A LIE that Europe and USA have accepted when Israel invaded Lebanon on 1982 with the silence of some Arab Countries.

- I call on you to protect the Arab Christian presence and make from it also your fight. Help us to stop the Christian immigration. What is the Holy Land without Christians?

- I call on the intellectuals as well on the simple Muslim people to see that our harmony, our history of cooperation between Arab-Christians and Arab Muslims are more important than building a church or a mosque. INVEST on our brotherhood and sisterhood and do not let the others use us for their advantage.

With love and respect to you all,
 

Fr. Labib Kobti
 Al-Bushra
 

As About the Whole article on that issue please read it here:
 

Muslims Want Vatican Out of Dispute

.c The Associated Press

 By SAMAR ASSAD

JERUSALEM (AP) - A Muslim leader demanded Saturday that the Vatican stay
out of a dispute between Muslims and Christians in the city of Jesus'
boyhood.

The Vatican opposes the construction of a mosque near the Church of The
Annunciation, and unconfirmed Israeli media reports said Pope John Paul
II would not visit Nazareth during millennium celebrations if the mosque
is built.

Roman Catholic officials in Jerusalem said the pope has not yet decided
whether he will visit Nazareth. Dates for a papal trip have not yet been
set, but it is expected to take place in March.

Salman Abu Ahmed, the head of the Islamic Movement in Nazareth, said the
dispute over the construction of the mosque is an internal issue, ``one
in which the Vatican should not interfere.''

Israeli media reported that the Vatican representative in Jerusalem
would meet with Israel's minister of public security, Shlomo Ben-Ami, on
Sunday to discuss the Nazareth dispute.

Ben-Ami has been mediating between Christians and Muslims.

The dispute in Nazareth broke out after Israel announced plans to build
a Venetian-style plaza outside the church, where Roman Catholic
tradition holds that the Angel Gabriel appeared before Mary and told her
she would give birth to Jesus.

The plaza was to accommodate huge numbers of Christian pilgrims expected
in the Holy Land during the Millennium year. But Muslims in Nazareth
claim the site belongs to them and want to build a mosque there.

On Easter Sunday, street clashes erupted. Cars were stoned and shops set
on fire.

Abu Ahmed said he welcomed a visit by the pope to Nazareth and hoped
that he would ``lay the foundation stone for the Shehab Eldin Mosque.''

The Vatican has said it opposes the construction of a mosque near the
church.

``The church ... is one of the most important Christian shrines
worldwide. It is not appropriate for a mosque to be built there,'' said
Waide Abu Abu Nassar, an adviser to Jerusalem's Latin patriarch, Michel
Sabbah.