June 18, 2007

Hamas Burns Church In Gaza City

The Hamas coup has freed the Islamists to do what they do best -- terrorize non-Muslims. Hamas militants burned the Latin Church in Gaza City and went on a rampage at the Rosary Sisters School, while Fatah decided that the occupation in the West Bank has its good points after all:

Fatah leaders have appealed to Israel to halt security measures against Fatah gunmen in the West Bank and promised to continue their massive crackdown on Hamas there, Palestinian Authority officials here said on Sunday.

The appeal was delivered to the government via US and European officials who met with several Fatah leaders here in the past few days, the officials told The Jerusalem Post. ...

Leaders of the Christian community in the Strip expressed deep concern over the fate of the Christians living under Hamas. They said most of them wanted to leave the Gaza out of fear for their lives. An estimated 2,500 Christians live in Gaza City.

Abbas condemned the attack as barbaric and despicable, and blamed Hamas militiamen.

Fatah needs the Israelis on their side if they start a bloody battle with Hamas in the West Bank. For one thing, the IDF controls the territory, and Fatah risks getting their own people killed by conducting militia operations without Israeli coordination. They also need the Israelis to at least cooperate to the extent of sharing intel, if not actively fighting Hamas themselves.

Abbas has issued a series of directives outlawing Hamas militias. Stating that they had contributed to an armed revolt, Abbas directed that anyone belonging to or assisting them would get punished in accordance with the law. So far, Abbas has been careful not to outlaw Hamas altogether, apparently preferring to keep his political options open. However, after kicking out all of the Hamas ministers from his cabinet and ignoring the Hamas-led assembly, he has created a de facto ban on Hamas political activity as well.

This has led to even more heated -- and ridiculous -- political rhetoric. A Hamas official in Gaza accused Abbas of a 'constitutional coup', apparently oblivious to their own military coup last week. In response, a Fatah official in the West Bank scoffed at the notion that Abbas should account himself to an assembly run by the organization that conducted military operations against the Palestinian Authority, and warned other Arab nations to rid themselves of radicals or risk the same fate as Gaza.

In the meantime, Hamas will continue its campaign against Christians in Gaza. One of their subsidiary groups threatened to "target all Crusaders" in Gaza, including in their homes "as they sit intoxicated". They claim to want a formal apology from the Pope before they'll stop, but even if that came, they would simply find another excuse to commit murder and mayhem. When they run out of Christians, they'll start working on Muslims that do not fully comply with their strictures, until Gaza becomes a ghost region.

Israel doesn't need to kill them all; they're going to wind up doing that to themselves.


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Comments (18)

Posted by TomB | June 18, 2007 7:25 AM

..."Abbas has issued a series of directives outlawing Hamas militias."...
And what a concept it is? No militias allowed? No more running arround with guns and RPGs? This time he surely crossed the line....
Footnote for liberals: I intended to be ironic.

Posted by wildcanoe | June 18, 2007 7:51 AM

morrissey, i'm a fellow minnesotan, and i believe you have no dignity or honor, sir. plainly put, you are a jackass of the first order, and yes, it made me feel better to say that. good day.

Posted by ZeteBoy | June 18, 2007 7:57 AM

Where did this wildcanoe genius come from?

Clearly he supports Hamas and what they do, stand for, and how they operate. I wonder how he would behave if he lived under Hamas rule. The comments he just made would end his life with those folks. He likes his right to free speech, but condones the actions of those that kill without reason.

Posted by Immolate | June 18, 2007 8:16 AM

Nah, I doubt it has anything to do with Palestinians or Gaza. I think wildcanoe just picked the first post he saw to express his pique at the Cap.

Posted by rbj | June 18, 2007 9:08 AM

Burning churches and destroying bibles? I am waiting on the Christian riots that are sure to follow.

Posted by vdig | June 18, 2007 9:53 AM

Christian riots? I seriously doubt they would have the same barbaric fury that is required to repel them. They are going to need to flee, in my opinion, but I doubt they will be given the chance. I doubt many, if any, of the Hamas members are decent enough beings to give such an option.

The captain has no dignity or honour? Odd statement. It is funny that you, wildcanoe, fail to point out on what grounds such a charge is made. What, in particular, in this post or others, did the good captain say or do to warrant that post? As such, it is impossible to take you seriously. I sincerely hope you don't support the madness that has sprouted in Gaza.

The persecution of the people in Gaza should be the painful, clear cut example of what will happen should we bow to the whims of Islamic extremists. I truly feel bad for the Christian population that is stuck there, and hope that they have a means to escape the madness.

Now, I find one eye trained on Gaza, and my other to Iran. My ears are listening for information regarding Iraq and Afghanistan. That whole Middle East... what a pain.

Posted by Paul A'Barge | June 18, 2007 10:15 AM

Non muslims should flee the Strip. Then, the Israelis should invade and empty the place. Following that, Israel should permanently annex the Strip in to Israel and build resorts on the beaches.

Let the Gaza muslims wander around the earth for 400 years.

Posted by courtneyme109 | June 18, 2007 10:22 AM

Ah yes, the wonderful tolerance of the HAMAS springs forth, next up - new recruits for the Ministry of Virtue and Vice Prevention, more gender apartheid, honor killings and severe punishment for non islamic activities.

Posted by lexhamfox | June 18, 2007 10:24 AM

Ed, This is not the full story. The official Hamas response to the desecration of Gaza's Christian enclave has been pretty strident.

Posted by braindead | June 18, 2007 10:44 AM

There is a small silver lining of this cloud.

Call it a social experiment. An Islamic State run by Muslim extremists. This will demonstrate not only to the "Crusaders", but to the whole Islamic world, what would happen if a Islamic State were created under these extremists.

Posted by Achillea | June 18, 2007 12:44 PM

Link, lexhamfox?

Posted by dave | June 18, 2007 2:27 PM


The AP reports the story differently. The Jerusalem Post claims “…masked gunmen in Gaza City set fire to the Latin Church…”, but the AP says:

“Crosses were broken, a statue of Jesus was damaged, and prayer books were burnt at the Rosary Sisters School and nearby convent, said Father Manuel Musallem, head of Gaza's Latin church.”

Associated Press Worldstream
June 18, 2007 Monday 3:14 PM GMT
HEADLINE: Roman Catholic school, convent desecrated in Gaza

The difference between burning some prayer books and burning the entire church is quite substantial. I assume you will believe the Jerusalem Post account. The AP article also says that:

“Haniyeh condemned the attack on the religious compound…” and “Hamas lawmaker Salah Bardawil denied that Hamas had a hand in the vandalism.”

Bardawil also said: "The Christians are our brothers in Gaza and everywhere, and we will protect their holy places and school, as we do our Islamic schools…But there are some dirty elements who work to harm Hamas' image ... and relations, but this will not happen."

The Independent of London simply says:

“Vandals damaged a Roman Catholic church in Gaza City, destroying artifacts and prayer books. Father Immanuel, the local priest, declined to blame Hamas, but said fanatics were taking advantage of the Islamist takeover to target Christians.”

June 18, 2007 Monday
Fourth Edition
HEADLINE: Hamas says it will oppose emergency government
BYLINE: Eric Silver in Jerusalem

Posted by Roxane | June 18, 2007 3:13 PM

I read the story of the church desecreation in the Jpost and Father Mussallem came off like a well trained Dhimmi with his fawning over Hamas. There is no freedom of speech in Islamic lands particularly for non-Muslims.Most will speak the party line rather then risk being tossed off the top of a building or shot execution style in the streets.So I'm not inclined to believe the comments of Father Mussellem.I'm more inclined to believe this passage from the article as more representative of the true status of Christians in Gaza.

Despite the reassurances, some Christians appealed to the international community to protect them against increased attacks by Muslim extremists. They said they were planning to leave the Gaza Strip as soon as the borders with Israel and Egypt were reopened.

Posted by dave | June 18, 2007 9:58 PM


"Most will speak the party line rather then risk being tossed off the top of a building or shot execution style in the streets.So I'm not inclined to believe the comments of Father Mussellem."

Your position, then, is that Hamas burned the church to the ground, but Father Mussallem decided not to tell reporters that that is what happened, and instead he told the reporters the Hamas "party line", which is that prayer books were burned, a statue of Jesus was damaged, and crosses were broken. Is that what Hamas told the Father to say? Why don't you think Hamas didn't just tell the father to keep his mouth shut? Why did they tell him to report the damage that he did? Or are you saying that Hamas did not tell the Father what to say, but the Father knew on his own that telling the truth that the church was burned to the ground would not be a good idea, so instead he decided to lie and only report minor damage. But if he is afraid of Hamas, why do you think he lied to report minor damage, and did not just keep his mouth shut? Please tell me which scenario is true.
A church being burned to the ground seems like a big story. Do you wonder why there are no photos?

Posted by emdfl | June 18, 2007 10:41 PM

It's a Christian church, Dave; that makes it fair game and thus no story automatically.

Posted by Roxane | June 19, 2007 12:49 AM

The Father sounds like a Dhimmi who's been trained not to offend his Muslim masters. The comments made by Christians privately strike me as more credible.

Posted by dave | June 19, 2007 8:23 AM

Can you believe what church leaders outside of the occupied territories say? They are not under any pressure to follow the Hamas “party line”. Here’s what they say:

“Church leaders from Jerusalem warned on Monday against a surge in extremism unless Israel ends its occupation of Arab land, at a World Council of Churches (WCC) conference in Jordan.
‘Time does not work for peace. It works for extremism. The more time we give to (Israeli) occupation, the more time we give to extremism and terrorism,’ Michel Sabbah, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, said in a joint statement by heads of churches in the Holy City.
‘We must take away the food that nourishes extremism: occupation, oppression and poverty. Justice to the poor, food to the hungry, respect to the dignity of the peoples, this is the true fighting against extremism and terrorism,’ Sabbah said.”

Agence France Presse -- English
June 18, 2007 Monday 1:39 PM GMT
HEADLINE: Jerusalem church leaders warn against rising extremism
DATELINE: AMMAN, June 18 2007

Also, the Canadian Press seems to be in on the cover-up of the burned out church:

“A Roman Catholic church and Christian school were looted on Sunday and Bibles and religious mementos were destroyed. The attack was condemned by Hamas, which blamed it on criminal gangs.”

Ottawa Citizen
June 19, 2007 Tuesday
Early Edition
HEADLINE: West backs Abbas' push for peace; U.S. restores aid as Palestinian leader urges talks with Israel
BYLINE: Sheldon Alberts in Washington and Matthew Fisher in Jerusalem, The Ottawa Citizen

It’s strange that Hamas is burning churches to the ground, since they seem to make use of them:

“Ironically, many senior Hamas leaders have long preferred to have their children educated at oversubscribed Christian schools in Gaza rather than in Islamic schools.”

Posted by Roxane | June 19, 2007 4:31 PM

Actually,I don't find Church leaders living outside of Gaza more credible then the Christians living in Gaza under Hamas rule.I might find these Church leaders credible if they addressed threats made by Muslims against Christians in Gaza and the rest of the Muslim world.Threats such as these made by Sheik Abu Sager who appears to believe he speaks for Hamas. Will Hamas denounce Sager's threats against Christians in Gaza or will Hamas remain silent?


JERUSALEM – Christians can continue living safely in the Gaza Strip only if they accept Islamic law, including a ban on alcohol and on women roaming publicly without proper head coverings, an Islamist militant leader in Gaza told WND in an exclusive interview.

The militant leader said Christians in Gaza who engage in "missionary activity" will be "dealt with harshly."

The threats come two days after a church and Christian school in Gaza was attacked following the seizure of power in the territory by the Hamas terror group.

"I expect our Christian neighbors to understand the new Hamas rule means real changes. They must be ready for Islamic rule if they want to live in peace in Gaza," said Sheik Abu Saqer, leader of Jihadia Salafiya, an Islamic outreach movement that recently announced the opening of a "military wing" to enforce Muslim law in Gaza.

Jihadia Salafiya is suspected of attacking a United Nations school in Gaza last month, after the school allowed boys and girls to participate in the same sporting event. One person was killed in that attack.


"Jihadia Salafiya and other Islamic movements will ensure Christian schools and institutions show publicly what they are teaching to be sure they are not carrying out missionary activity. No more alcohol on the streets. All women, including non-Muslims, need to understand they must be covered at all times while in public," Abu Saqer told WND.

"Also the activities of Internet cafes, pool halls and bars must be stopped," he said. "If it goes on, we'll attack these things very harshly."

Abu Saqer accused the leadership of the Gaza Christian community of "proselytizing and trying to convert Muslims with funding from American evangelicals."