"I strongly reject terrorist bombings that target innocent people, regardless of their nationality and religion," he [Attallah Hanna] told The Jerusalem Post this week. "The statements attributed to me are fabricated and untrue. The purpose is to hurt the church and its humane and moral stance."Source
His Grace is a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause. He supports the right of Palestinians to defend themselves against Israeli oppression and tyranny, using force if necessary. However, he has never supported or encouraged violent attacks against innocent civilians.
His Eminence made a grave error is supporting the murder of the innocent and he denied making his statements....
Special Dispatch Series - No. 459
January 22, 2003 No.459Source provided at bottom of postPalestinian Christian Leader in Praise of Martyrdom Operations and the
Formation of a Muslim and Christian Human Shield to Defend Iraq
In July 2002, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate decided to fire Father
'Atallah Hanna(1) (also known as Archimandrite Theodosios Hanna) from his
post as official spokesman of the Greek Orthodox Church, following
statements he made in praise of suicide attacks.(2) Nevertheless, Father
Hanna continues to present himself as the Church's official spokesman, and
has not stopped issuing statements lauding suicide attacks.
Recently, Father Hanna offered his views on three different occasions:
during a sermon marking the Epiphany at a Greek Orthodox cathedral in
Jerusalem, during a rally at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem,
and during a reception for an official delegation in Haifa. The following
are excerpts of statements made by Hanna during these events:
At A Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Jerusalem
In a January 19, 2003 sermon marking the Epiphany and the baptism of Jesus,
at a Greek Orthodox cathedral in Jerusalem, Hanna said: "Palestine is from
the sea to the river. The Jordan River is a holy river forever and it is the
natural border of Palestine. We emphatically refuse any concession on [even]
a grain of the land of our precious homeland. Just as Ramallah, Gaza,
Nablus, and Jenin are Palestinian cities, so are Haifa, Nazareth, Jaffa,
Ramle, Lod, Beersheba, Safed, and others Palestinian cities. We have not
relinquished and we will not relinquish our historic right, and we will not
agree to any concession on these cities. These are Palestinian cities that
were occupied in 1948."
"The Zionist Jews are foreigners in this land. They have no right to live or
settle in it. They should go somewhere else in the world to establish their
state and their false entity. With regard to Palestine and its beating heart
Jerusalem, it was never in the hands of the Jews. It was and will forever
remain Arab. Jerusalem is an Arab city and the Jews must not settle in it,
be masters over it, or carry out any type of religious ritual or ceremony in
it. They must leave their homes. They have no right to live on land, [or in]
cities or villages that are not theirs..."
"We do not believe in so-called 'peace with Israel' because peace cannot be
made with Satan. Israel is the greatest Satan. No concession and no truce
must be made [with Israel]. Any type of peace with this entity is
concession, submission, and retreat from pan-Arab and national principles...
The negotiations and the other attempts [at an arrangement] will not restore
the Palestinians' rights to them. The Palestinians' rights will be restored
only by resistance. What was taken by force will be restored only by
"Resistance is the obligation of every Palestinian Christian Arab, as it is
the obligation of every Palestinian Muslim Arab.""We encourage our youth to participate in the resistance, to carry out
and to participate in removing the occupation. There is a
need for resistance to the occupation, and for Islamic-Christian
cooperation, so that we will remove the foreign Zionist Jewish intruders and
so that the gates of Palestine will open wide and all those who were
uprooted or emigrated in 1967 and 1948 will return..."
"From this holy Church, and in the presence of all the believing clerics, we
give today a prayer for the sake of the souls of our Shahids and resistors
and for the sake of our heroic Palestinian people, whether living in the
homeland or outside it... We say to the sons of our people: 'Do not retreat,
do not fear, and do not despair.' The Arab Palestinian right to this land is
stronger than any false Zionist military ammunition, which will disappear
sooner or later. This is because the Zionist entity plundering our lands and
our holy places is an entity that cannot maintain stability, and its end
will be to disappear, just like all kinds of colonialism on our land in the
past have disappeared."(3)
At the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem
Hanna delivered similar statements during a rally held on Friday, January
17, 2003 in the square of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem to
protest the "American threats to attack Iraq." Participating in the rally
were Christian clerics, Palestinian Christian personalities, and local
residents. Hanna, who was introduced as the official spokesman of the
Orthodox Church in Jerusalem and Holy Lands, gave a speech on behalf of the
clerics. Condemning the upcoming war on Iraq, he said: "From the Church of
the Holy Sepulcher, the Christians' holiest place, we express our Church's
and our people's solidarity with the heroic Iraqi people which is subject to
daily provocations... From this holy place, the tomb of Jesus, we demand
determined and vigorous Arab and international intervention to prevent the
aggression against Iraq and against its proud people..."
"We stand alongside our Iraqi brothers, in heart and in spirit. The ones who
target them target us as well. We bless Iraq and its people, from Jerusalem,
the capital of the independent Palestinian state... We have assembled a
national Palestinian Islamic-Christian commission, comprising Muslim and
Christian clerics, so that [its members] will go to Iraq, constitute a human
shield, and convey our message."Hanna spoke out in praise of suicide attacks: "We declare publicly our
blessing, support, and legitimization of the brave Palestinian resistance
[carried out] by any means, including the brave Fidaiyin(4) martyrdom
operations... The names of the Fidaiyi Shahids [the martyrs] will be
inscribed in the history of our Palestinian and Arab people in holy white
The voices of those who defame these acts of heroism and honor are
nothing more than anomalous voices that do not represent Arab and
Palestinian public opinion...""The Fidaiyin martyrdom operations aimed deep inside Israel are unique
pioneer operations that deter the Zionist enemy. They have caused great
damage to this enemy, which understands nothing but the language of force
and thinks that only force will bring peace.
We say to the enemy: 'Leave our
land, our Jerusalem, and our holy places. This is Arab Palestinian land,
that has no connection whatsoever to the Jews and the Zionists'...""Martyrdom operations are an excellent and good way to resist the Zionist
invasion of the Palestinian land. In front of the Church of the Holy
Sepulcher, we bless the souls of the heroic Shahids and the families of the
We demand that these families be looked after, helped, and adopted,
because the occupation targets them."(5)
At a Haifa Reception
According to Al-Quds Press Hamas' news agency, during a "reception for an
official delegation in Haifa," Father Hanna called for joint
Islamic-Christian operations to interfere with the imminent U.S. attack on
Iraq and liberate Palestine from "the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan]
river." Hanna said that when he is freed from house arrest and his passports
are returned he will put together a Christian delegation that will go to
Iraq to serve as a human shield against the anticipated war.
Hanna also told the delegation: "The Fidaiyin are the heroes of this nation.
We are proud of them and resolutely refuse any attempt to defame their
deeds... They are not committing suicide, as some claim, and they are not
terrorists, as others claim – they are resisting the occupation. We
unreservedly support the martyrdom operations."
Hanna also called on
"Palestinian Arab Christians to participate in resisting the occupation in
all forms, since they are part of the Palestinian people and of this
nation." He said, "True reform is reform that must provide an answer to the
question of how it is possible to escalate the resistance in all ways, so as
to actualize our national goals."(6)
Two days after these statements were published, Hanna strongly denied having
(1) Born in Haifa and holds both Israeli citizenship and a PA passport
granted by Arafat.
(2) See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 405, July 30, 2002,http://www.memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP40502
(3) Al-Hayat (London), January 20, 2002.
(4) Similar to "martyr," in common use.
(5) Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), January 18, 2003.
January 11, 2003; www.arabs48.com/display.x?cid=91&sid=212&id=7875
11, 2003, and Al-Sabil (Jordan), January 15, 2003.
(7) Al-Ahali (Israel), January 13, 2003
Source :: Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME)http://126.96.36.199/search?q=cache:UC6FZ0qp3CgJ:spme.net/cgi-bin/facultyforum.cgi%3FID%3D1545+%22In+July+2002,+the+Greek+Orthodox+Patriarchate+decided+to+fire+Father%22&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=nz
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