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Holy Land pastor tells Tucker Carlson that Israel’s occupation must end, calls US policy ‘horrifying’
By News Editors // Apr 17, 2024

Reverend Munther Isaac confirmed the difficulty of living under the ‘very harsh Israeli military occupation’ and warned that unless their fellow Christians in the West can successfully advocate for a peaceful solution, they will not survive.

(Article by Patrick Delaney republished from LifeSiteNews.com)

A Lutheran pastor in the Holy Land has decried the “brutal” Israeli occupation of Palestine along with the foreign policy of the United States that empowers it. He also begged Christians in the West to urgently “exercise political advocacy for peace” and for a permanent solution in the region or the Christian presence where Jesus walked will end.

“We’ve always had a problem with American foreign policy when it comes to Palestine, Israel and the Middle East in general,” Palestinian Christian pastor Munther Isaac told Tucker Carlson in an interview released Tuesday. “We continue to be horrified by what we hear from (the U.S.) Congress.”

Reflecting on his travels to Washington, D.C. in December to lobby for a ceasefire in Israel’s devastating genocidal war upon the people of Gaza, the pastor said that in his interactions with diplomats, politicians and congressional staffers what struck him most was the strange contrast between their significant lack of knowledge “about the reality on the ground” and their resolute and misguided opinions regarding the topic.

“Their knowledge of the situation here seems to be very, very shallow,” Isaac said. “Yet they hold very strong opinions, and oftentimes these opinions are shaped by political parties” and not on “knowing the facts.”

From “the so-called religious right, we receive nothing, no sympathy whatsoever,” he said after recognizing some voices on the U.S. political left that have spoken out on their plight. “Sometimes we just plead to be heard and to have our perspective taken seriously.”

Carlson played a clip of Republican Michigan Congressman Tim Walberg, also a former Christian pastor, stating Gaza “should be (treated) like Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Get it over quick.”

Isaac also recalled there are “pastors who openly called, for example, to turn Gaza into a parking lot” without considering “the many, many innocent people,” including the 1.1 million “innocent children,” but also “these are our siblings in Christ. We have relatives and friends in Gaza and here we have a pastor with influence, calling for the total destruction of Gaza,” he lamented.

Speaking from Bethlehem, the Evangelical Lutheran pastor characterized “this obsession with war and violence” as “the antithesis of everything that Jesus taught,” and he wondered if these Christian Zionist pastors have any realization about “how damaging that (rhetoric) is for us Christians living not just in Palestine but in the Middle East – damaging in the sense of real impact on our lives?”

“So we’ve always had a very serious problem when it comes to American foreign policy and the ‘religious right’s’ support of that foreign policy when it comes to Palestine and Israel,” he said.

Carlson summarized, “So you have people in the United States, self-professed Christians, who are sending money to oppress Christians in the Middle East.”

Significant amounts of funds go not only to the Israeli military but to the building of illegal Israeli settlements “on land confiscated (stolen) from Palestinians and in many cases from Palestinian Christian families,” Isaac answered. He noted how this flagrant injustice is facilitated by the “political and financial support from our siblings in Christ” in the United States that causes Christians in Palestine to be “very troubled” and “very sad.”

Carlson, who built the highest-rated cable news show in history, before being suddenly cancelled by Fox News last year, observed in his opening remarks the “consistent but almost never noted theme of American foreign policy is that it is always the Christians who suffer. When there’s a war abroad that the United States is funding, it is Christians who tend to die disproportionately.” This happened in Vietnam, Syria, Ukraine and Iraq, Carlson mentioned, naming a few examples.

Remembering what happened in neighboring Iraq, the Bethlehem pastor explained that “war literally emptied half of the Christian population there,” and despite Christian leaders pleading with the U.S. Bush administration to refrain from the invasion of that country, it was to no avail.

In May 2014, Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Iraq, declared, “We are a ruined church… 1,400 years of Islam could not uproot us from our land and our churches, while the policies of the West (have) scattered us and distributed us all around the world.”

In recent years, the Israel lobby has been increasingly acknowledged as the driving force that has invincibly secured the virtually unconditional support of the United States for the geopolitical interests of Israel, including its ongoing violations of international law. These aggressive efforts have been both financial and diplomatic despite polls in the U.S. finding such policies to be unpopular.

According to experts and best-selling authors on this topic, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, “the core of the (Israel) Lobby is comprised of American Jews who make a significant effort in their daily lives to bend U.S. foreign policy so that it advances Israel’s interests.” Included in this network are the neoconservatives who played a decisive role with their media allies in galvanizing the U.S. Congress and driving the superpower to invade Iraq in 2003.

Yet, not all Jews or Jewish organizations are in agreement with the Lobby’s positions, priorities or objectives, including many groups and prominent individuals who have been the vanguard in opposing what they call the current genocide being inflicted on the people of Gaza.

The Lutheran pastor reviewed atrocities to the Christian community in the strip, including Israel’s bombing of a Greek Orthodox church that killed 18 Palestinian Christians including nine children, and Israeli snipers shooting two women who were taking shelter with many other Christians in the compound of Gaza’s Holy Family Catholic Church.

Many of these Catholics, he explained, are recognized by international organizations as refugees since they are descendants of those who suffered the “1948 crisis,” the Nakba, where the violent Zionist project of expelling all Arabs from the land was first executed. At that time, Jewish Israeli forces compelled more than 700,000 Palestinians to flee for their lives abandoning their homes, lands, and livelihoods to several places, including Gaza. The Zionist army then barred them from returning.

Wishing to avoid such a catastrophe in their lives again, many have decided to stay despite the war, the pastor said quoting one individual who told him that “if I’m going t die, I’d rather die in the church.” He said these Christians are saying their biggest problem right now is starvation with many having died due to a lack of medical care as well.

“In Gaza right now, if you get sick, chances are very high you can’t survive it because there is no medicine, no medical care, especially among the elderly,” he said, reporting that four or five people taking shelter in the church died for this reason.

Racist laws, Jewish violence against Christians goes unpunished, freedom of speech and religion violated

With regards to religious freedom in Israel, he said that evangelical Christianity is illegal. “If you are a Jewish person and you convert to Christianity, you will go through many legal challenges to recognize your marriage certificate and a lot of your rights.”

Additionally, “many sort of elite politicians try to pass laws that prevent Christians from sharing their faith and so there is always this struggle and this tension about how much can Christians express their faith,” he explained.

“Now, the biggest problem Christians are facing is in East Jerusalem where they are constantly targeted by radical Jewish groups,” he said. These involve desecration of their cemeteries and shrines, the throwing of rocks at their homes and buildings and spitting on Christians in the streets, the painting of “Death to Christians” on their property and the attempted burning of their churches.

And similar to the lack of investigation and prosecution when it comes to the crimes of leftist terrorists in the United States — whether they be part of the Black Lives Matter terrorist crimes of 2020, or the proabortion terrorist acts since May 2022 — Isaac said crimes against Christians in Israel and Palestinian territories under military occupation are virtually never solved.

When such violent crimes occur “it seems that those who do these attacks are never held accountable,” he said highlighting a December 2021 letter issued by the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem. The letter sought to sound an alarm to Christians around the world that radical Jewish groups in the region were exacting violent attacks upon Christians and their churches “in a systematic attempt to drive” them “out of Jerusalem and other parts of the Holy Land.”

“These are strong words,” Isaac recalled. “So the impression that it’s flowery here for Christians is definitely not true.”

The pastor also covered the institutionalized racism the (Christian) Palestinian citizens of Israel face for which the 2018 “Nation-State Law” is emblematic. This law establishes “that the right for self-determination in the state of Israel is exclusive to the Jewish people only.” Thus, this law “makes Jews superior in the State of Israel because they have exclusively the right for self-determination.”

Isaac further explained how freedom of speech is inhibited providing the example regarding the topic of the current war. “Social media (is) being monitored by the Israeli government against Israeli citizens.” Expressing an opinion these authorities disapprove of, could land even an Israeli citizen in jail, he said.  And thus, the Palestinian citizens of Israel—which make up around 20% of the nation—are “afraid to even speak out and say anything” out of fear it may imply even “sympathy with the people of Gaza” lest they be targeted for recriminations.

Genocide by starvation, survival of Christians on the line, call for fidelity to Jesus Christ

Since their besieging of the Strip after the October 7 attack by Hamas, reports indicate the Israelis have killed at least 34,113 people including 33,644 in Gaza (14,500 children and 9,560 women) and at least 469 in the West Bank (115 children), with injuries numbering 75,933 in Gaza and 5,000 in the West Bank (725 children). Additionally, an estimated 7,000 more individuals are reported missing and are presumed dead and buried under the rubble (4,900 women and children).

Moreover, 1.7 million (75%) of Palestinians in Gaza are displaced, and 2.2 million are facing crisis, emergency, or famine levels of food insecurity with at least 31 deaths (27 children) being reported thus far due to malnutrition.

Finally, with hundreds of American-made 2,000 pound bombs being dropped on this most populated region in the world, an estimated 50 percent to 62 percent of all buildings in Gaza had been damaged or destroyed by the end of January alone (watch video).

Summarizing the situation for Christian leaders in the U.S., Carlson offered, “if you wake up in the morning and decide that your Christian faith requires you to support a foreign government blowing up churches and killing Christians, I think you’ve lost the thread.”

Isaac reinforced this point saying his message to such leaders in the United States is that “the very, very brutal war” happening in Gaza, which he calls a “genocide” since it is using “even starvation as a means,” is causing tremendous suffering to fellow Christians in the region.

“It’s time that Christian leaders recognize that war is not the way,” he said. “When will we learn that war does not help? When will we take Jesus’ words seriously about being peacemakers, about being merciful. There must be other ways.”

Regarding the broader question of the occupation, he said the primary support Christians in the Holy Land are asking for “is not financial, but political advocacy for peace, and for a solution whether it be a two-state solution or any other solution. We will not survive as a Christian community if the situation of Palestinians in general is not solved.”

“The only way to rescue the Christian presence here is to end the [Israeli] occupation and bring a peaceful solution to the situation. This is what we’re asking for,” he said.

Read more at: LifeSiteNews.com

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