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Click here or on the image above to learn more about William J. Murrayís most recent book, The Pledge: One Nation Under God

August 2002 Newswletter
Religious Freedom Coalition
August 1, 2002 9:16PM EST

CHRISTIAN VICTIMS GO UNNOTICED

Berenho Bugala and his wife Kidist lost their daughter Galila to a Palestinian-Muslim suicide bomber on June 18th of this year. The attack was on a city bus, just two stops from her home. The bus was full of mostly school aged children from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo. By todayís standards a Muslim suicide bomber killing 19 people, including many children, is not a big news story. To many of today's liberal leaning and somewhat anti-Semitic news networks, there is a lack of interest because, after all, those who die are "just Jews."

But most often those killed in these bombings are not "just Jews." Many of the civilians, including women and children, who die in the attacks are immigrant workers, Israeli Arabs and Christians. This bombing was no exception.

Berenho Bugala and his wife, Kidist are not Israeli Jews; they are Christians and members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Bethlehem. The morning of the bombing Berenho offered to drive his daughter Galila to school because he himself had to go to town. She refused, saying she wanted to ride on the bus with her friends, almost all of whom were Jewish. The eleven-year-old left her parentsí third-floor apartment in Gilo at about 7:00 AM with a backpack loaded with school books. Less than an hour later she was dead.

Muhamed al-Ral, an Islamic Law student at An-Najah University in the West Bank, made his way that morning from Nablus and somehow got into Israel with his bomb belt. He boarded the front of the bus at 7:50 at Patt Junction in Beit Safafa, an Israeli Arab neighborhood just opposite Gilo. He immediately exploded himself, killing 19 including Galila and injuring 74 others.

Berenho said Galila was a smart girl. They worried about her riding the bus, but she told them not to worry because she knew a safe place to sit. She told her mom and dad that the bombers always went for the middle of the bus and that is why she sat in the front. As Berenho told the story, Kidist began to sob. Near the door a candle burned beneath a photo of Galila taken just a week before she was murdered. The photo, poster sized, showed her leaving the apartment with her backpack on.

Berenho and Kidist heard the explosion, it was so close to their apartment that Galila died. When they arrived at the Jerusalem coroner's office he refused to show them Galilaís body. She had been near the center of the explosion and he wanted to spare them the sight, instead assuring them that she was killed so quickly that she never felt any pain.

Galila had no animosity toward anyone. She was accepted by her Jewish friends even though she wore a small gold cross to her public school. She had seen the poverty of the Muslim Palestinians grow during the Infidata and because of her Christian faith believed they should be helped. She asked her father and mother from time to time to give her old clothing to the Palestinians.

Galilaís story was not carried by ABC, CBS or NBC. It simply did not fit the image the major news media wants to portray. For the liberal media, this is a war between Jews and Palestinians. When Christians are killed in the bombings, they donít fit the desired politically correct profile, and their stories drop off the edge of the earth. There are other Galilaís, other young girls who may one day follow her fate. Their names may not be Galila and they may not be Christians living in Israel. Perhaps the next girl with a story like hers lives in Los Angeles, or Chicago, or Miami.

ARAFAT AND THE WEST BANK

Yasser Arafatís "Civil Servants"

Yasser Arafat did not return to the West Bank alone when he came out of exile from Tunisia in 1994. Arafat had an entire army in Tunisia, an army that had been chased out of Lebanon by Israel in 1982. The officers of that army and the leaders of the bureaucracy he built in Tunisia became the Palestinian Authority. Virtually no local Palestinians were moved into the "new" Palestinian Authority government either before or after the "elections" of 1996.

Palestinians who stayed in the West Bank during the various conflicts with Israel are bitter about what they see as an "outside" government imposed upon them. Those Palestinians donít appreciate how that imposed government spends money. One elderly Palestinian I interviewed pointed to one of the many new multistory homes on the hillside overlooking his village. "There is the UNESCO money sent to help our children," he said.

Hundreds of new mansions dot the West Bank in the populated areas, most on the hillsides overlooking villages. The mansions range in size from 5,000 to 10,000 square feet or more. Most have their own water purification systems and backup generators. Those still under construction are being built by Muslim contractors who hire only Muslim employees. These huge homes are being constructed at a time West Bank unemployment runs as high as 80%.

Most Palestinian villages have no clean water and electric power is problematic. One small hotel owner I talked with had to purchase a generator to fully power his hotel when it was full of guests because the PA was unable to provide power. He has not had to run the generator since the Infitada began in September of 2000. The day I was there he had no guests in his hotel and had had none for many months. He has been forced to layoff his entire staff. Yet, construction goes on at a nearby mansion for a Palestinian Authority official.

Do Palestinians want Yasser Arafat out? "He is not important any more," they say. However, the locals fear any replacement will come from the "outsiders" he brought with him from Tunisia.

Meanwhile, more and more Christians flee. One Palestinian Christian leader told me, "Muslims get money from the outside, Christians get nothing so they move out." He tells me that UNESCO, other United Nations agencies and the European Union officials are aware that the little money that does trickle down from the Palestinian Authority goes only to Muslim families. The anti-Christian bias of these organizations stops them from intervening against this religious bigotry.

The village of Beit Jala outside of Jerusalem at one time was 100% Christian, but not any more. It is from Beit Jala that radical Islamic gunmen fire on the Israeli community of Gilo. When the Israeli tanks return fire it is usually a Christian home that is destroyed because the terrorist gunmen use them as shields. Damaged homes stand in ruins as construction continues on the mansions of the civil servants. The Christians are forced to leave. Hundreds of Beit Jalaís Christian families now live in Chile.

The newest Israeli occupation of the West Bank has caused more unemployment and made Yasser Arafatís "civil servants" from Tunisia a little nervous. For the last few weeks Arafat and his lieutenants have wired millions of dollars into personal accounts in Europe just in case the Israeliís donít withdraw and they are forced to move from their new luxurious homes in the West Bank.

To show its humanity the nation of Israel should annex Christian villages near its border and declare them autonomous zones under military protection. This would bring to a halt the persecution of Christians in these areas and encourage others to return to their homes. At the same time this action would end the bloodsucking of these innocent people by Yasser Arafatís civil "servants."

PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS

The news of the deadly terrorist attack on a civilian bus at Emmanuel which killed eight came as I was having a traditional Palestinian lunch with a small businessman just outside Bethlehem. The bombing meant that the curfew lifted for a few hours that day would be imposed once again for 24 hours a day. Angrily this Palestinian Christian told me, "I am a 56 year-old man and have 10 employees and their families to care for. How can I pay them if I am stuck in my house under Israeli curfew because of the ugly acts of a handful of people who want to live in darkness. Christ does not live in their hearts. They choose death, not life."

All Palestinians, including tens of thousands of Christians, will be collectively punished by Israel for the acts of the Islamic militants whose religion promises them paradise in return for killing women and children.

Collective punishment is a part of war and Israel is at war. Every nation practices collective punishment during time of war including the United States, with the bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima being the extreme examples. In the West Bank, collective punishment comes in the form of twenty-four hour a day curfews.

For Palestinian Christians this collective punishment received from Israel because of the acts of Islamic madmen is particularly bitter because they hold no ill will toward the Jewish people. One Palestinian Christian leader illustrated their frustration with these words, "The peace loving people of Palestine, the Christians, are just as much victims of these brutal attacks as are the Hebrews."

I can testify to the fact that the Palestinian Christians are indeed victims of the Islamic attacks upon Israel. Prior to the Intifada, I organized numerous Christian tours and pilgrimages to the Holy Land. I have dozens of friends and business associates here. I was forced to wait for days to visit some of those men in Bethlehem. They could not come to me nor I to them. Under the rules of the Israeli curfew anyone sighted out of their homes could be shot and all businesses, even Christian businesses, are closed.

The Bethlehem curfew was lifted for a mere two hours around noon on just one weekday while I was in the West Bank. Immediately the streets were full of people desperately trying to buy and sell necessities. As I drove into Bethlehem I passed the 20,000 sq.ft. palace Yasser Arafat built for his family. He has other palaces in Ramala and Gaza. It remains untouched by Israel while Christian homes nearby have been burned out by tank shells. Why? Islamic terrorists fired on Israeli troops from behind the Christian homes, causing return fire.

Near Rachelís tomb my heart sank as the hotel my tour groups had ometimes had lunch in came into view. In the March, 2002 incursion by Israel, members of the Tanzim gangs threw Molotov cocktails at Israeli tanks from the building. It was gutted by Israeli tank shells. Another hotel owned by a Christian businessman is currently occupied by Israeli troops, billeted there to enforce the curfew. This once wealthy and powerful Christian Palestinian businessman is now confined to his home most days, his children sent off to foreign nations for their safety. A military movement stopped me from visiting him.

At Manger Square all of the shops are closed. The one or two tour guides who remain near the Church of the Nativity now offer newsmen "bullet hole" tours of the church. One such guide, Naser Alawy, led me to the various bullet holes in the church and showed me the areas defiled when the church was occupied by Islamic gunmen and surrounded by the Israeli army.

I visited the grotto in the church that is the traditional birthplace of the Prince of Peace and tears came to my eyes with the realization that a gang of thugs would use those hallowed walls as protection from soldiers who would arrest them for their terrorists acts.

Outside, the damage to the church is measured in human misery, not by the number of bullet holes. The single major industry in Bethlehem is tourism. Every tourist shop is closed, most permanently. What hotels are not burnt out or occupied by soldiers are closed. Even the luxury hotel, the Jacir Palace is closed. All the large restaurants built for tour groups are shut down. In Manger Square, Christian men who once sold goods there now beg newsmen for money to feed their children.

As quickly as Christians can move from Bethlehem they do. Their population continues to dwindle and the number of Muslims continues to grow daily. The Azza "refugee" camp established by the United Nations in Bethlehem is the heart of Islamic terror and the principle camp for recruitment of suicide bombers. It is the home of the Tanzim Islamic gangs who rob and rape at will in Bethlehem with the blessings of Yasser Arafat.

Despite the loss of their towns and their dignity I could not find a single Christian Palestinian who placed the total blame for their plight upon Israel. As one Christian woman said to me with tears in her eyes, "We share a common God. We pray for peace for Israel while we pray for bread for our tables."

CULTURE OF HATE

In Yasser Arafatís West Bank, children are taught to hate and kill while they are in kindergarten. Cartoon shows on TV teach children to stone Jews to death. Kids are dressed up in uniforms in the first grade and given wooden rifles to parade in the school yard shouting slogans of death.

What has been built in the West Bank of what we call the Holy Land is a culture of death. Killing and being killed are acts that receive positive attention from everyone from school teachers to government officials. Over 50% of the school kids when asked say they want to one day be a suicide bomber and kill Jews and Americans.

Shrines are built to those who die not only in suicide bombings but in shootings as well. Just days before I arrived in Israel a gunman crawled into a Jewish settlement and killed women and children. He was killed in the act. When his body was returned to his family a huge funeral was given in his honor by Islamic leaders. Oddly the death of those women and children was never mentioned by the Western media. Why?

ON MY LAST DAY, A NEW BOMBING

I was due to leave from my mission trip to the West Bank from the Tel-Aviv airport on Thursday, July 18th. On Wednesday night there was a double suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. Fortunately the two suicide bombers loaded with explosives only managed to kill three people.

In that attack only one of the victims, Boris Shamis, age 25, was a Jew. The other two victims were foreign workers. One of those Adrian Andre, age 30, of Romania was a Christian. The third victim, Xu-Hengyong, age 40, was a worker from China. His religion is not known

The Muslim bombers donít care if they kill Jews or Christians in Israel as long as they get to kill non-Muslims. Their campaign is to spread Islam and make it the worldís only religion and as a result it does not matter to them who they kill to achieve their goal. The Western media never mentioned that two out of the three who died were not even Israelis and the story did not even make the European papers. Please keep the lack of media reports of these murders in mind.

BACK IN AMERICA

On July 23rd the news media worldwide was shaking with rage at Israel for killing women and children.

On the night of the 22nd an Israel jet operating on intelligence data sent an air to ground rocket into the hiding place of Hamas terrorist leader Salah Shedadeh. This is the man who had organized and ordered attacks on Israeli civilians over many years. Shehadeh, founder and top commander of Hamas' military wing, Izzadine el-Qassam, was linked to the Islamic militant group's deadliest homicide bombings, including a March attack at a Natanya hotel that killed 29, and a June 2001 disco bombing that killed 21. Known by the nom de guerre Abu Mustapha, just this year he arranged the killing of four soldiers in a raid on an Israeli army outpost in Gaza in January and the March killing of five teen-age students in the Jewish settlement of Atzmona, also in the Gaza Strip.

According to informers Shedadeh was alone in the building with his body guard. It turns out that there were women and children in the apartment as well. A total of fourteen were killed including his wife, a fourteen-year-old daughter and other children.

The story was carried for days and the new International Court of Justice that President Bush refused to join for this very reason may seek to try Israelís leaders. That court, however, can see nothing wrong with the murders committed by Shedadeh. The world is upside down. Western governments condemn Israel for defending itself from terrorists and can find no fault in the terrorists. Is it fear? Do the Europeans fear the Muslims so much that they have decided to side with them on these issues? Do Europe's leaders believe that by coddling the Muslim extremists they themselves will never be attacked? If Western nations continue to pretend that Islam can be their friend they will only awaken when the number of deaths in their own nations is so great that the threat can no longer be ignored.

MEANWHILE, THE BATTLE AT HOME GOES ON

The dream of Yasser Arafat (and the reality in many Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia) is a world where everyone is forced to profess Islam and no dissent is tolerated. Unfortunately, there are people with this same totalitarian mindset in the United States; they are the atheists and secularists who have already stripped our public schools of free religious speech. One of these religious bigots is Michael Newdow who shamelessly lied to a California court, saying that his young daughter was being "harmed" by saying (or even just hearing) the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. It now turns out that the daughter, like her mother, is a professing Christian and according to their pastor is an active member of their local church.

The little girl had no objections to the Pledge whatever. She was just being used by her father, who does not even have custody of her, to further his agenda of eliminating any mention of God in the public schools. Hearing the name of God offends him; therefore no one else should be allowed to even say the word "God." We cannot let the courts go along with this religious bigotry. One way to help stop it is to go to our online petition to President Bush at conservativepetitions.com. Over 76,000 people have already signed on!

Because of the lawsuit against the words "Under God" I am not offering a book in the William J. Murray Report this month. Instead I am offering a special "Under God" tie that promotes the Pledge of Allegiance. This tie is a wonderful statement of faith and patriotism--and makes a great gift. I am offering this 100% silk "Under God" tie for a donation of just $22.50 including all packaging, handling and postage. To see and order the tie click here.

Our supply of the beautiful "Under God" ties is limited so please order today. The funds raised through the sale of these ties promote the work of the Religious Freedom Coalition.

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