Monday, May 11, 2009

Sheik Rants, Pope Exits

Pope Benedict is learning what so many others before him have found out the hard way. Achieving peace in the Middle East is a daunting - perhaps insurmountable task.

His trip, the first by a pope to the Middle East, is designed to promote peace and understanding. Respect between people who are separated by religion. Now in Jerusalem, he is calling both for a Palestinian state and for commemoration of the Holocaust in the hopes that such a huge act of inhumanity never happens again.

But he got a dose of reality, right between the eyes, when participating in an inter-religious meeting at the Notre Dame Jerusalem Center. Instead of the ecumenical common ground the pope sought, he was subjected to a rant by Sheik Tayseer Rajab Tamimi, the chief Islamic judge of the Palestinian Authority. You know, the Palestinian Authority - the more "moderate" of the political entities representing the Palestinian people.

Tamimi used his bully pulpit to complain about Israel killing women and children in the Gaza. He also declared Jerusalem the eternal capital of Palestine.

It was all too much for the pope to take and he walked out of the meeting. Although the pope shook Tamimi's hand on the way out, the Holy See issued a statement decrying the sheik's inappropriate behavior.

So, once again, at a forum which could have produced an avenue, via the Vatican, toward peace, a Palestinian representative acts in a way that closes the door.

Apparently Tamimi lacks understanding of what an inter-religious meeting attended by the pope is designed to do. If he wants to march and scream and holler about Israel's transgressions real and perceived, perhaps he should choose the park across the street from the United Nations.

His response was undignified and counterproductive. But perhaps, that was the whole idea. Keep derailing peace prospects and increase the agony of both the Palestinians and Israelis in the hopes of gaining political advantage over Israel.

I've always been a supporter of a two-state solution. But I fear that, even in this post-Arafat era, the Palestinian leadership lacks the willpower, or desire, to make it happen.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Way To Go Pope. That's how they should be treated

Anonymous said...

Gary are you going to cover the White House Press Party wherein Wanda Sykes- with Obama's smiling approval- said she would like Rush Limbaugh's kidneys to fail?

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/cheat-sheet/051109white-house-cheat-sheet.html?hpid=topnews

And here's the response to criticism about it from the White House:

"UPDATE, 2:20 p.m.: White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said moments ago that he had not spoken with President Obama about Wanda Sykes' jokes about Rush Limbaugh but added: "I think there are a lot of topics that are better left for serious reflection rather than comedy. I think there's no doubt 9/11 is part of that."


Oh yeah, for those of us on dialysis.... we're eversoglad to see that the White House thinks the deaths of citizens is funny.

Anonymous said...

It's a pity that the Vatican representatives didn't have the courage to walk out on Ahmedinejad at the Durban 2 Conference last month.
As for the Palestinians - well, isn't it always the case that whatever you give they want more. How do you negotiate with people with that mindset? Giving in is not an option for Israel, however much other Western countries want that.

THE LonesomeDove said...

I don’t believe for one minute that the Pope is so na├»ve as to believe that he was going to bring “peace to the Middle East.” However, was it either unrealistic or unreasonable to expect a civilized, courteous demeanor from participants at a meeting very specifically devoted to interfaith dialogue? I don’t think so. That said though, as a Catholic, my feeling is that this pope, Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger is no milquetoast. Theologically he is now as he has always been, very conservative and outspoken. Quite vocal, he has stressed that Europe needs to seek and go back to its fundamental Christian values. He hasn’t been any shrinking violet with American Catholics either, and of course Nancy Pelosi quickly comes to mind. Even though she was allowed an audience, it was quite telling that no photographs of the meeting were released - and no opportunity for her to either characterize or slant their meeting to further her personal agenda. The Vatican very quickly released a statement clearly meant to bring Pelosi - and her cohorts, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and Joe Biden among others into line as Catholics: “His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church’s consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development.”Pope Benedict walking out of the meeting at the Notre Dame Jerusalem Center is nothing to be taken lightly and a rare, but open indication of serious papal displeasure.

In response to the anonymous comment about Wanda Sykes’ performance, you’re so right – there is nothing humorous about kidney failure and most particularly to those of you who must undergo very unpleasant, but necessary dialysis treatments. Though no great surprise, it was start to finish low class - a spectacle of bad taste, which in my opinion is an apt description of the Obama presidency. The Presidential Campaign That Wouldn’t Die will continue trying to rise above its own “transparency” of obvious ineptitude. And the media will continue running around behind him like a cat burying its droppings through headlines such as Obama administration distances itself from Wanda Sykes' 9/11-Rush Limbaugh joke Yeah… right. Sure, sure whatever. Don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m getting a bit weary of Obama asking, “Who are you going to believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?” I think when it comes to you, Barry, the 'eyes’ have it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdkEHIjsXQI

MARUSKa said...

for once I agree with Le Pope.