Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Israel: ulterior motives?

The other day, during his Angelus address on July 24, the Holy Father condemned the terror attacks of 'these days'. This was in the wake of the terror attacks in the past 72 hours in Egypt, London and elsewhere.

Doctor Navarro-Valls explained in comments to the press two days later on the 26th:
"Concerning the Israeli reaction to the fact that the Holy Father, in his Angelus of Sunday July 24, did not also mention Israel alongside other countries, it should be noted that Benedict XVI's words specifically referred to the attacks of 'these days.'

"It is surprising that the Holy Father's intention should have been thus groundlessly misinterpreted, it being well known that in numerous interventions the Church, the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiffs, and most recently Pope Benedict XVI, have condemned all forms of terrorism, from whatever side it comes and against whomsoever it is directed.

"Obviously, the serious attack in Netanya two weeks ago, to which the Israeli comments refer, also falls under the general and unreserved condemnation of terrorism."

In addition to Doctor Navarro-Valls' comments, there is a story at AsiaNews.it detailing how the Israeli protests were allegedly a smokescreen to cover pulling out of talks scheduled with the Holy See that has been postponed several times already. Israel has failed to live up to its obligations in negotiating with the Holy See the Church's tax status in Israel. The Church is exempt from paying taxes. However, those rights have been continually eroded by the Israeli government over time.

After agreeing to very few meetings in 2005, Israel agreed to meet on 19 July, only to cancel the meeting at the last moment, and have it transferred to 25 July. Apparently Israeli officials feared the consequences of cancelling this meeting too at the very last moment, so they contrived to find fault with the papal Angelus address to cover up their non-compliance with their treaty obligation to negotiate with the Holy See.

It's interesting the kinds of things that Israel is ready to pull when it comes to Christians. The Jews throughout the centuries have been persecuted and exterminated out of fear, greed and prejudice and the Israelis are right to remind the world of this occasionally, since the world too often forgets. However, being Jews should not a free pass for the Israeli government to be able to slander and double-cross one's allies against terrorism.

Taking a look at my previous post, Israel has made it all too evident this year with the Patriarchate affair and now this latest incident with Benedict XVI that it is all too willing to take advantage of the Christian churches in its territory as it sees fit for its own gain. The AsiaNews article did not say if the negotiations were actually held or not yesterday.

As the CWN story points out, the earlier Israeli comments were tempered later by a statement that the Holy Father's failure to mention Israel was a mistake rather than some deliberate omission. Whatever Israel's motives, one gets the sense that its condemnation of the Holy Father backfired a bit.

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