The Path to Peace 

Israel proper currently comprises approximately four-fifths of greater Palestine. This leaves a small fraction which the Palestinians justly claim as their country. This fifth of Palestine comprises the West Bank and Gaza. Although Gaza is certainly occupied territory under any reasonable definition, there are no longer Israelis living there. Nor is there a permanent Israeli military presence in Gaza. Israel enters and shells Gaza at will, as well as controlling the borders, adjacent sea, and airspace. Egypt controls one border crossing into Gaza, but generally complies with Israeli demands as to operations.

As for the West Bank, Israel has annexed East Jerusalem, and claims it as part of Israel proper. This portion of the West Bank is claimed by Palestinians as their capital. Jerusalem is called AlQuds (the Holy) by the Arabs, and is considered Islam’s third holiest city. The remainder of the West Bank is marred by hundreds of Israeli military checkpoints, as well as walls and fences separating Palestinians from their land, their relatives, and their jobs. There are numerous roads which only Israelis are allowed to use. These mostly connect the illegal Israeli settlements. The settlements, fences, walls, roads, and roadblocks effectively turn the West Bank into “Swiss cheese”, and seemingly destroy any possibility of a viable Palestinian state.

Israel refuses to abandon the settlements; in fact, they are in almost constant growth, both in population and territory. Israel refuses to even discuss returning East Jerusalem and is ethnically cleansing it of Arabs through a corrupt and racist building permits system. Israel disavows any possibility of a single Palestinian refugee returning to their former home within Israel’s borders, insisting the world recognize Israel as a “Jewish State”. In contrast, Israel is adamant that many if not most of the hundreds of thousands of Israelis in occupied territories will remain there in perpetuity.

Hamas, and indeed many Palestinians unaffiliated with Hamas, refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist. This is principally a rejection of the political entity they view as a corrupt, racist, colonizing power. They charge that the very notion of a “Jewish state” is racist. (While “the Jewish state” is certainly Zionist, it is not based on religion, but almost exclusively on ethnic background. Israeli citizens of non-Jewish background are often denied equal rights within Israel’s borders.) Palestinians under occupation feel outgunned and generally abandoned by the world. A pervading feeling of hopelessness leads to frequent outbursts of violence, which generally evoke disproportionate Israeli response. While many Palestinians voice the possibility of recognizing Israel’s right to exist once they return to pre-1967 borders, Israel has no intention of adhering to those borders, nor will they negociate with Palestinians who won’t first recognize their nation’s right to exist.

Barack Obama has committed himself to achieving a two-state solution, and we do well to wish him success. Nevertheless, there is a perceived imbalance in the US treatment of the two parties. Admittedly, President Obama has advanced US foreign policy towards a more balanced approach. Nevertheless, it appears unlikely that Palestinians would consider the US as an “honest broker” in negotiations with Israel. So it would apparently behoove the world to involve other parties, such as Turkey or the Europeans. A major obstacle to achieving a negotiated settlement is the undeniable fact that both sides in the conflict are politically and philosophically divided amongst themselves. There is no consensus on either side. Nor is there a leader on either side with sufficient popular support to be able to successfully negociate a just and enduring peace.

Israel reluctantly recognizes the possibility of a Palestinian “state”, but insists that Israel must, at a minimum, control Palestinian airspace. They refuse to permit the existence of a Palestinian military. This arrangement, with a subjugated and defenseless Palestine bordering one of earth’s greatest military powers, is highly unlikely to succeed, even if it were agreed upon, through something akin to a miracle.

Considering all of these obstacles, I firmly believe and assert that there is only one realistic way to achieve peace between Israel and Palestine. To a degree, it amounts to a repetition of history. The United Nations created the modern state of Israel; the majority-Arab population of the area was not consulted. Now, the UN needs to establish Palestine as a state and assume all military functions. This will eventually lead to a normal two-state arrangement, something which negotiations alone will almost certainly never achieve. The world justified creating Israel in response to the Holocaust, at the expense of the Palestinians. In like manner, we must now justify creating Palestine for the Palestinians. The world must intervene to save itself from a dangerous impasse which can only lead to further tragedy. Israel must be compelled to withdraw to her borders, and peace must be imposed, in order that it may increasingly flourish.

U.N. 2011

Declaration of the

Palestinian Nation

 

The United Nations Must Intervene to Create Palestinian State,

as the UN Did in Creating State of Israel

According to the UN, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza has led to 300,000 avoidable deaths. The time has come for the 44-year Israeli occupation to end. The UN should move promptly to establish Palestine as a nation. Security and progress towards a normal, two-state solution can be best achieved through one means; the UN must replace Israel as the military authority in Palestine.

The international community, through the UN, was instrumental in the establishment of the modern State of Israel in 1947-48. Thus the UN was, in part, responsible for the creation of about 750,000 Palestinian refugees, and the long-festering violence between Israel and the Arab world. From UN data, post-1967 avoidable deaths in the Occupied Palestinian Territories total over 300,000, including about 170,000 children-under-5 avoidable deaths- as compared to about 2,200 post-1967 Israeli terrorism deaths (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs figures). The time has come for the international community, through the UN, to establish the State of Palestine.

The first phase of the plan would likely require about six months. During Phase 1, Israel would withdraw from the entirety of the land and sea pertaining to the West Bank and Gaza. UN troops would coordinate with Israel in the complete withdrawal of all Israeli forces to the internationally recognized borders, and their simultaneous replacement by UN forces. UN forces would be responsible from that time forward for all military functions in Palestine, until a date later to be agreed upon. This would include border controls, maintaining peaceful and orderly cross-border relations and trade. The UN would exercise sole military authority in all Palestinian land and sea territories and their airspace. The UN would be charged with minimizing the destruction of habitable homes and useable infrastructure in occupied territories. During Phase 1, Israeli settlers in occupied territories, who chose not to become citizens of Palestine, would have time to relocate to Israel or elsewhere. At the conclusion of Phase 1, the official birth of the State of Palestine would take place.

During Phase 2, a general census of all residents of the new State of Palestine would be carried out. One of the important facts to be determined would be the number of Jewish settlers who chose to remain in Palestine. Israel will then comprise about 4.2 times as much territory as will the Palestinian State. Therefore, Israel will then be obligated to repatriate 4.2 times as many Palestinians to the State of Israel. For example, if 100,000 Jews decide to accept Palestinian citizenship and remain in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, then Israel would accept 420,000 Palestinians as new (or returning) citizens in Israel. These would probably be mostly from the Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. As with the Jews in Palestine, those Arabs accepted as new citizens of Israel would be required to renounce violence against their new nation. The UN will facilitate the relocation of Arabs of Palestinian descent to Israel or to Palestine, as soon as can be arranged by the parties involved. Those Palestinians who relocate should be granted a piece of real estate. The ongoing responsibilities of the UN would include facilitating development and reconstruction. In addition, they would be responsible for providing transportation between the disconnected Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank, until a highway or tunnel uniting them can be completed.

This UN plan will require considerable time and expense, but the status quo is unsustainable and inhumane. Increasing radicalization on both sides of the conflict does not bode well for resolution in the foreseeable future. Hamas seeks the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza based on the borders before the 1967 Six Day War. Many consider Hamas to be the most radical element in the peace equation, although the group supports a ten-year truce between a free Palestine and Israel. Peace and free travel between Gaza and the West Bank are the best conditions to enhance dialogue and reconciliation between all factions in both nations. Israel and Palestine could negotiate further in the future, but the UN should intervene to break the back of a conflict which has already cost hundreds of thousands of lives. The global community must start the necessary transformation to a normalized, two-state solution. The recent war in Gaza killed hundreds of innocent children, and to this day causes extreme misery for the people trapped in this occupied territory. This emphasizes the urgency of promptly establishing a foundation for a peaceful and prosperous Middle East. The world must act now to help defuse a principal motive for global terrorism.

Are you a peacemaker?

Please feel free to email the above message, or a portion thereof, to your friends and contacts.

The United Nations has called on Israel to stop evicting Palestinians and demolishing their homes in occupied East Jerusalem. At least 60,000 Palestinians there are at risk of becoming homeless.

UN Resolution 242- Words without Teeth?

Every Friday, the residents of Bil’in, on the West Bank, stage a peaceful protest against the Israeli theft of their land. Even the Israeli Supreme Court has ruled against the separation barrier there. Israel regularly attacks the demonstrators with tear gas and a stinky green liquid which sticks to the skin for days. Israel has even attacked the press there. They arrest and detain these protestors on a regular basis, sometimes invading Palestinian homes while they are sleeping. Arson and live ammunition have also been employed against the Palestinians in Bil’in. Israel reportedly plans to install another 40,000 illegal settlers on the land they are stealing from several villages in the area.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 was unanimously approved on November 22, 1967. It calls on Israel to withdraw from territories it occupied in the 1967 Six Day War, and, implicitly, on Palestinians to recognize Israel. The Palestinian National Council endorsed the resolution in its Declaration of Independence on Nov. 15, 1988. The time has come for the UN to take whatever actions prove necessary to assure full and prompt compliance with this Resolution. The world can no longer stand by while Palestinians perish in their thousands due to a brutal occupation.

The occupation of Palestine by the Israeli armed forces was also condemned by the International Court of Justice. The colonization of Palestinian lands was condemned by UN Resolutions 242 and 338. The construction of the Wall and annexation of lands to be converted into military zones are also condemned by the UN and the International Court of Justice (ICJ). According to the UN, the presence of armed forces on a foreign territory, which the village of Bil’in is experiencing, is an illicit situation punishable by an international military intervention (as in Kuwait in 1991), as well as being a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Armed repression during the demonstrations in Bil’in, equally prohibited by all international courts and bodies, is a violation of human rights, and is also prohibited by the Fourth Geneva Convention.

All forms of collective punishments are punishable, according to the Fourth Geneva Convention, and are considered as war crimes by the UN.

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Marina Portnaya interviews Naomi Wolf, author of The End of America, Russia Today, July, 2009:

MP ….you said that, that law, and I’m quoting you, ‘created a new legal reality that heralds the end of America, if Americans do not take action.’ What do you mean by that?

NW So the military commissions that Bush and Congress established at Guantanamo- basically the US government is judge, jury, and executioner. It’s a military judge and a military panel and a prisoner. And you can’t get independent counsel; your counsel is provided by…. people employed by the military. You don’t have confidentiality…attorney-client privilege- you can’t confide in your attorney; everyone’s bugged all the time. You can’t get the documents that you need to defend yourself, and your confession that they’re using against you, has been tortured out of you. And they can use your confession, derived from torture against you, which is illegal in a real jury system, a real civil trial. And again, these military commissions, trials, are modeled on the people’s court of Hitler, on the Moscow show trials, and on every kangaroo court that any dictator has ever… put together subsequently; no rules of evidence, no disclosure. Joe Dellavedova, spokesman for the Department of Defense, he told me to my astonishment, because this is not common knowledge among news media or the rights community, that they’re moving ahead next week with revamped military commissions…. rebranded, Obama-style military commissions at Guantanamo, with the same failures to provide due process. He said, we’re preparing for there to be three categories; those detainees who are tried in the US, in a normal court; those who are released to other countries, no charges are brought against them; and a third category, he said, who can’t be tried and can’t be released-preemptive detention- held forever, held forever; held forever with no trial- no charges, no trial.

MP Another issue that you wrote about which I found rather chilling is the issue of an enemy combatant. Basically, the President, according to what you wrote, can pluck anyone off the street, knock on their door, get them in an airport, and snatch them, and not give a reason, and say they’re an enemy combatant. Does Obama have those powers now?

NW That right still exists; Obama hasn’t given it back. By the way, the founders knew that no matter how well-intentioned a leader is, if you give powers like this, people never give them back- it’s not human nature. So what is so disturbing about the indefinite detention claim that Obama is making, coupled with the enemy combatant right that he inherited, is that it means that he can lock any US citizen up forever, without a trial. Now why is this so chilling- if you study history, what you find is that you can’t run a police state without that power, but that once you have that power, you can set up a police state very quickly and very effectively, because what you do is you target individuals. You see this in Myanmar, ….in Thailand, most recently in Iran, ….one, two, three, you go after the journalists, .…the opposition leaders,….the clergy, …. union leaders, and if you lock up a handful of highly visible people, indefinitely, everyone goes quiet. You don’t need a giant massacre, you don’t even need giant prison camps; you just need that one power.

MP In June, we found out that here are 250,000, a quarter of a million, private contractors right now fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to your book and other published reports, other investigators, there’s no accountability over them- they can do whatever they want.

NW Oh, they do whatever they want- it’s beyond dangerous, because the military is minimally accountable to the people; now if there’s real wrong-doing, Congress can investigate, and the laws apply, but with these contractors (I mentioned I was in Guantanamo two weeks ago), there are more contractors on Guantanamo than military to a casual observer, and you have functions all over the island that are co-branded, where it will say, ‘Joint Task Force, Guantanamo (the military) on one side, and Burns & Rowe (contractor) on the other. And the military people I confronted had to give me some kind of answers, but the contractors who were editing journalists’ video, who were confiscating video, who were present when one of the detainees committed suicide, a psychologist who was, I believe present when a detainee committed suicide, who was not obliged to answer my questions…. Can you imagine the medical people? Contractors were building the facility that they said they were going to close down at the end of the year- everywhere it was the work of contractors- I would say 60/40. And the thing about the contractors, is they don’t have to answer my questions, or your questions- they wouldn’t give me last names, they wouldn’t tell me who they worked for, they wouldn’t tell me what their function was… When you’ve got the collusion of medical people, the helping profession, in covering up deaths, or in torture, you have crossed over to the dark side, and the profit motive of the role of contractors in modern warfare and detention means that there will be increasingly, no accountability, and these entities are increasingly driving foreign policy- it’s not the US citizens at this point driving foreign policy.

Warning- This is Offensive in So Many Ways

“….Half are sentenced to 50 years or more in jail…. The atmosphere is tense…. Guards against prisoners; each protects his corner. Iron discipline is used here. Is this still a question of security, or are we one more step towards cruelty?.... ‘I’ve been placed in segregation with no lights, no running water, no toilets, for days. Come on, animals in the zoo are treated better than us’…. ‘I was threatened by this officer before, with physical harm- he told me he was going to have me beat up, raped, you know….yeah, they threatened me with rape’…. How do you know- it’s one word against another, impossible to find out…. Associations, the media, politicians have no interest in their cause. ‘Once you’re a prisoner, society doesn’t really care what happens to you- they don’t want to look behind the walls. You’ve broken the law- we don’t care what happens.’ According to public opinion, the prisoners get what they deserve. What can we say about those prisoners in Abu Ghraib, suspected of being enemies of America? Their fate hasn’t moved anyone in Maryland. Maryland has become famous throughout the world because of those seven Appalachians who caused the scandal. In the bar, the locals repeat an age-old saying, ‘An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.’…. America has changed its face. Terrorists have struck America; America has got tougher. ‘We’ve seen some tremendous changes in the American legal landscape after September 11th. And what we saw was the roundup of hundreds and hundreds of Muslim men from South Asian and Arab countries.’ Amongst them, a Frenchman, Asif Safi, a Muslim who was born in Pakistan.  A few days after the attacks, he found himself on the way to New York. Two FBI agents intercepted him and took him to prison. Today, Asif Safi is taking the American State to court. Nancy Chang is his lawyer. ‘He has absolutely nothing to do with terrorism, nothing whatsoever. Yet, in the hysteria after 9-1-1, he and many hundreds of other Muslim men from Pakistan and the Arab countries were locked up without reason, held by our government until they were cleared of terrorism.’ It took nearly six months, six months imprisonment, until the American security services finally made their minds about Asif Safi. They found him innocent, and released him. Three years later, he leads a quiet life and tries to forget. To find him, we have to go to the tropics. For the first time, he has agreed to talk with his face uncovered, on the condition that we don’t divulge the overseas French territory where he’s staying. When he talks about his time in prison, you can see the emotion on his face…. ‘The treatment of the people in the embassy was very harsh and very cruel…. They slammed my face against the wall ….then I fell down, I was consciousless, and they kicked my face, they kicked my ribs, they kicked my back, and when I come to conscious[ness] they put me up and then they throw me in a cell.’ Locked up in a metal cell, Asif was cut off from the world- impossible to call his family or contact the French embassy. He asks for a lawyer- he is refused. He asks what he’s accused of- there’s no response- he just disappeared. 20 days later, he finally managed to get a message to his wife, saying nothing about the beatings, but leaving an address- Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn. ‘I was up every night. I couldn’t sleep because I was trying to think ….what solution I could find to get him out of there. All of that was running through my head- I thought about it all the time…. I didn’t know if he was going to come out in three months, six months, a year- I just didn’t know.’ Who cared about a Muslim suspect in a New York clearly traumatized by the attacks? Asif Safi was kept there, behind closed doors, on the ninth floor, kept in solitary confinement. Winter came- Safi was deprived of sleep, kept in a freezing cell with the lights on 24 hours a day. Guards body-searched him, molesting him and humiliating him constantly, but what remembers most of all is the insults. ‘….You are a terrorist, you are an extremist, you are a fundamentalist, like this. They never tried to hide that they are vicious….’ Today, Asif tries to forget, but doesn’t forgive…. ‘….I was innocent, and I don’t do anything. I was on the bad place at the bad time.’ Safi made the mistake of being in New York in Autumn, 2001. His story is unknown. But indirectly, he’s also a victim of September 11. 9/11, the terrible day that turned America upside down, and did away with normal law and order. To fight against the elusive enemy, American officials considered all the options, including torture. To what limits could they go…. in order to make an AlQaeda suspect talk? In response to this question, the White House made the following reply: ‘We conclude that certain acts can be cruel, inhumane, or degrading, but still not produce pain and suffering of the requisite intensity to fall within Section 2340A’s proscription against torture’. Jurists of the Bush administration sought out in advance those soldiers who would be heavy-handed. Has torture been incorporated into the system? George Bush decided to take the initiative. ‘I have never ordered torture- I will never order torture. The values of our country are such that torture is not a part of our soul.’ So who gave orders to these men, standing over a prisoner in a corridor in Abu Ghraib? Soldier number one is Charles Graner, one of the culprits, but it’s impossible to identify the others- they’re wearing informal clothes, without ID badges- who are they?.... History will one day tell whether the Abu Ghraib scandal was part of a large-scale politics of torture…. Perhaps the seven Appalachian reservists did not act alone. ….they did, at least, consent- giving explicit orders was not necessary…. They were already used to an uncannily similar [atmosphere] of violence in American prisons, a violence made in USA, of which Abu Ghraib is merely the reflection in the mirror…. How could professionals like these flout the rules at Abu Ghraib? Were these two men simply reproducing in Iraq the practices they’d learned in the United States? The prison warden’s file on Graner is particularly heavy. Graner has 12 years experience in prisons in Pennsylvania- a career marked by complaints about maltreatment of detainees…. The only way to find out more about Graner is to make someone who knew him within the prison, talk- someone who had time to observe him, who suffered because of him, perhaps. That person is Nicholas Yarris. A year ago, he thought he’d never see this sight. He’s registered as AN6841. On January 16 [2004], Yarris left the security prison, known as ‘the Greene’, where Graner works. Yarris is a miracle- he spent 27 years of his life inside these deadly corridors, for a crime he didn’t commit- a DNA test has just proved his innocence. He wasn’t expecting the shock he got a few weeks later, when he switched on the television. ‘The first day I saw him, I was sickened by it, because it reminded me of- that’s exactly how he was at Greene County, right there- that same face. He loved to torment people. [pointing to a photo taken in an Iraqi prison] That’s the smile you would receive, not when he had done something nice, but when he had hurt you- that was his joy’…. ‘Charles [Graner]’s only reply was that he could not wait to go kill “sand-niggers”- that’s what he called Arabs’…. If the soldier Graner behaved in Iraq exactly as he did in Pennsylvania, does that mean Abu Ghraib is just like the American prisons? Let’s take the example of the nudity systematically imposed on Iraqi detainees. In Pennsylvania, this was routine, just like in this scene recorded last year, every day thousands of prisoners go through this ritual humiliation to go to the visitors room, or even to the shower…. ‘Some of the similarities include the use of nudity as a form of punishment and humiliation, which you saw both in Iraq, and you often see here in the United States. The use of guard dogs to intimidate inmates- that happened in Iraq- it also happens here, in the United States.’ Look at these photos from Abu Ghraib and then this video filmed in 1996, in a prison in Texas. A training session of a pack of vicious dogs broadcast by a local television station…. ‘….the tendency for the guards to treat the people under their control as somehow alien, as members of a different species, or a different race- well you find that here in the United States also, because so many of our prisons are being located in white, rural areas, where all the guards, or virtually all the guards, are white, and the prisoners that they’re guarding are mostly minorities- they’re black and Hispanic.’ Between guards and prisoners there are more than some simple barriers- there is also an unconquerable cultural gap, here in the States, as well as in Iraq…. Here in Virginia and Kentucky, prisons have sprouted up like mushrooms. Including the most recent establishments, there is a total of 13 prisons in an area of only 150 square kilometers. In the village of Pound, you can see poverty in the buildings and on the faces. Fortunately, just next door is the Red Union Prison- this is the livelihood of hundreds of white, mostly poor families…. Life imprisonment on one side of the walls, a job for life on the other…. The first abuses were denounced early on. Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch published worrying reports. ‘A black prisoner heard a guy say to him, ‘Hey, little black guy, you don’t belong here- this country is for white people. Do you want to be taken out by a white guy?’ Black prisoners tell us they are shot at with rubber bullets without warning, for such infractions as walking too fast or not walking straight enough.’ ‘Officers were using stun-guns- they’re electric shock devices- maliciously and unnecessarily. There were guns in those facilities, which the officers were firing at the inmates, again, without any good cause, so we wanted to find out what was the level of violence by staff against inmates.’ ‘And what was it?’ ‘Much too high, much too high.’ The inquiry denounced the use of electric arms in Red Union. They were concerned about the type of belt worn by the detainees and used by the guards for the slightest misdemeanor. With a voltage of 50,000 volts, it’s a Damocles sword, classified by Amnesty International as cruel and inhumane. Are these methods still common practice?.... We looked to the manufacturer, StunTech for the answer…. in order to be forgotten, the company have taken a new name [PowerTron]…. Nudity, dogs, racism, electricity- so many worrying similarities between Abu Grahib and American prisons- at least between certain prisons. As proof, we have images coming from far and near, videos often made by the guards themselves, to exculpate themselves in case of legal issues. Garnier’s Prison, Connecticut- Half a dozen men fighting a recalcitrant prisoner, in order to bring him under control –he dies a few minutes later. That same year, 1999, in the same state of Connecticut, another prisoner dies in similar circumstances. The scandal reaches the man in charge of prisons in Connecticut [John Armstrong]- a man with an iron grip, a man who shall take us back to Iraq. There, four years later, he’s accompanied by the director of Abu Ghraib. What is he doing in Iraq? Sorting out the prison system? Who sent him there- the American government? Why, with his C.V., was he chosen? Perhaps precisely because of the nature of this type of service. Armstrong works on site with half a dozen colleagues, all of whom have been in the business a long time. All have had very active careers, controversial careers, as well. The boss of the commission, Lane McCotter comes from Utah in the west of the United States. We head to Salt Lake City. In the 90’s, McCotter was the chief of prisons for Utah. No one remembers him better than the mayor of Salt Lake City. A lawyer, he fought against McCotter. For him, he’s an arch-enemy. ‘Perhaps the worst case was one that I brought on behalf of the mother of Michael Valent. Michael was a very seriously mentally ill inmate and when he was unresponsive to guards, having put a pillowcase over his head, probably to keep out the voices- he was badly schizophrenic…’ The administration wouldn’t tolerate this type of behavior. They sent a special team in to teach him a lesson. As usual, the operation was filmed. ‘They sent in a SWAT team to forcibly throw Michael down onto the floor, handcuffed and shackled him, took him outside his cell, had him stark naked, marched him down to a restraint chair. He was held in that chair for 16 hours, and died.’ After this affair, McCotter was forced to resign from his job and the use of such chairs was banned in Utah….” –PressTV

"There's no question jails are the new asylums."

Prison Industrial Complex

NoNewPrisons.org

The “war on terror” brings us even further from constitutional government and towards a police state. Mass government spying on the public and military attacks on media outlets are extremely worrying signs. When any government lowers itself to torturing detainees, it becomes an abomination.

Most of the US federal prison population are drug offenders, and most of those are first offenders who were unarmed. A group of 500 world luminaries, including Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman, former Secretary of State George Schultz, and former UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, signed a public letter arguing that the global “war on drugs” was causing more harm than good. (After Prohibition, ed. Timothy Lynch, p 144, 158) Some of the casualties in this “war” include constitutional rights, free speech, and police / military separation. The sequels to this un-American war include family snitching on family, police corruption, and government forfeiture of private assets, even without conviction for any crime.

12 Million are now Enslaved in Forced Labor

Mans Will, and God's

Too often we are told that, if man has no free will, he is a mere automaton. This is a mistake. The so-called “freedom” consists merely in the lack of conscious coercion. Being ignorant of the restraining influences which determine his conduct, and altogether unaware of ulterior forces, he subconsciously yields at the very time that he imagines he is most independent. His freedom of will is simply ignorant unconsciousness or submission to environment or heredity.

In relation to the will of God, men are consciously independent. They can accept it or reject it, and imagine that no other force but the divinity enthroned within them has anything to do with their decision. But when we find the niche assigned them in God’s intention they are (thank God!) the most utterly dependent slaves of circumstance it is possible to imagine. It will be found that, throughout their lives, they were not more masters of their fate than they were of the date and details of their birth.

The doctrine of man’s free will peoples the earth with a race of puny gods. We object to the dual gods of Persia or the many deities of the Greek and Roman pantheon, yet these ancient polytheists never rose to the absurdity of making every man a god. The possession of a free, untrammeled, unconquerable will is the exclusive attribute of Deity. Only One can possess it. Our blessed Lord Himself did not claim it. He came, not to do His own will, but the will of Him Who had sent Him.

The failure to recognize both the divine will and the divine intention has led to incalculable confusion and misunderstanding. Those who reject God’s intention rob Him of His godhood and deify man. Those who confuse His intention with His revealed will make of Him a love-lacking tyrant, a hard-hearted monster. Others, who wish to believe all the Scriptures have to say, are not clear how to harmonize His character, with the presence of sin, especially when it becomes evident that sin has a place in the attainment of His ultimate purpose.

All evil and every sin reverses its character completely when we take it from the limited light of God’s revealed will to the universal illumination of His intention. This is the reason that we do not hesitate to believe the Scriptures that all is of God. No sin remains such when completely illumined by His intention. It is a failure, a sin, and subject to dire penalties when man commits it, but it is no longer a mistake when it finds its place in God’s purpose. The same act which brings shame and dishonor on the creature, when subjected to the divine alchemy, is transmuted into a source of glory and peace to God. Genesis 50:20; Acts 2:23.

Perhaps the greatest example of the distinction between God’s will and His intention is found in the law promulgated from Sinai. Yahweh made known His will in a complete code of laws, besides the condensed commandments that were carved in stone. The Jew, who was resting on law, is said to “know the will” (Ro. 2:18). But if it was God’s intention that the nation should keep the law, it certainly was a dismal failure on His part. They broke its greatest precept before it reached them.

But, though the failure of the law seems to be contrary to the will of God, it actually was a fulfillment of His intention. It was really given that “every mouth may be barred, and the entire world may become subject to the just verdict of God, because by works of law, no flesh shall be justified in His sight, for through law is the recognition of sin.” (Ro. 3:19,20). The law that, ostensibly, was to deter from sinning, actually was given for the detection of sin. It was given to prove that no one could keep it. Beneath the revelation of God’s will in it was His intention that it should not be kept, but should accomplish its object through its infraction. Paul calls the law the dispensation of death and of condemnation. (Ro. 3:6-9).

“Law crept in that the offense should be increasing” (Ro. 5:20). How differently did Israel, at Sinai, feel about it! They were quite sure that they would greatly lessen the distance between themselves and Yahweh by their obedience to His precepts. Why had He told them what He wanted them to do and to avoid unless it was His will to carry out His instructions? The will of Yahweh was clear. But His intention was quite concealed. He could not make known His intention at that time without frustrating it.  

Quranic/ Islamic definitions

Islam- peace acquired through submitting ones will to Almighty God

Allah- personal name of God. “Say, ‘He is Allah, One and Only.’” Belief in Allah as the one true God is one of the five main articles of faith in Islam. (Others include belief in angels as instruments of Allah’s will, and belief in the final day of judgment, closely related to the concept of the resurrection of the dead.)

Isa- the prophet commonly known as Jesus Christ. It is an article of the Muslim faith to believe in four divinely revealed books- the Torah of Musa (Moses), the Psalms of Dawud (David), the Evangel of Isa, and the Quran (the final and most complete). 

Miriam- mother of Isa, who conceived him as a virgin 

Mohammed- seal of the prophets, Allah’s final messenger to mankind. It is an article of faith to believe in the 28 prophets mentioned in the Quran. To become a Muslim, one must declare, “There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is the messenger of Allah” This is one of the five pillars (duties) of Islam. 

Jinn- spirit beings created before mankind, that dwell on earth 

Ka’bah- “the house of Allah”, a center of worship, towards which all Muslims face in prayer. The direction towards the Ka’bah in Mecca is called the quiblah. The ka’bah is believed to have been built by Abraham and his firstborn son, Ishmael. 

Mecca- the holiest city of Islam, where the Ka’bah is located. Mohammed was born and raised there. 

Medina (the city previously known as Yathrib)-  the second holiest place of Islam, being the city that welcomed Mohammed when he fled for his life from Mecca. (The third holiest place is Jerusalem- it was from here that Mohammed “ascended through the heavenly dimensions of existence.” Moslems originally prayed facing Jerusalem.) 

Halal- (something) permitted 

Haram- (something) prohibited, such as the flesh of swine 

Salaah- prayer, to be performed at five specific times daily. Also referred to as “the programming towards righteousness”. Salaah and the Friday public service is one of the five pillars. 

Hajj- pilgrimage to Mecca and surrounding area, required of all Muslims able to perform it without extreme sacrifice, at least once in their lifetime. (one of the five pillars) 

Ramadan- the holy month when fasting is required of healthy adult Moslems during the daylight hours. (one of the five pillars) 

Quran- holy book of the Muslims, believed to have been revealed through the angel Gabriel to Mohammed. The Quran is written in classical Arabic; in any other language the book is considered only a translation of the Quran. 

Sunnah (aka hadith)- authentic sayings and actions of Mohammed, related by different individuals. Considered by most Muslims to be authoritative as to how they should live, and how to interpret the Quran. 

Zakah- charity required of every Moslem who has a certain quantity of money. (one of the five pillars) 

Jihad- strife or struggle, especially in a noble cause. “In my opinion, the best jihad today is dawah.”- Dr. Zakir Naik 

Dawah- spreading the message of Islam  

Jesus Christ in the Quran and the Bible

Commonalities:

Virgin birth

Prophet

Messiah (Christ) to the nation of Israel

Raised the dead and healed the sick

Ascended to heaven

Will return a second time to earth (in the hadith if not the Quran)

Faultless- Quran: All the prophets were faultless (relatively speaking, at least). Bible: Christ is unique in His sinlessness.

Differences:

Crucifixion:

Quran: Wasn’t crucified- “it was only made to appear so”. Has never died. Ascended alive to heaven.

(Apparently will die and be resurrected after His second coming.)

Bible: Was crucified, died, and was entombed. Rose from the dead and ascended alive to heaven. Moslems point to supposed discrepancies and lack of clarity as to these matters in the four gospels. Nonetheless, Moslems generally agree that Paul’s writings are emphatic; Christ was dead, rose and ascended.

Christ’s identity:

Quran: One of the mightiest messengers of God, but neither is He the Almighty nor was He begotten by God. “Allah begets not, nor is He begotten.” “Do not say, ‘Trinity’.” Based on the Quran, Christ is no more the image of the invisible God than is Mohammed. God is the only Savior and Lord. (The Quran seems to allude to the concept held by some Christians in Arabia that associated Mary with God and Christ in the Trinity. [continues below]

Bible: To associate Christ’s conception or birth to Mary, with His being begotten by God is erroneous. God’s begetting Christ has nothing to do with the earthly process of reproduction. Christ was begotten by His Father when He rose from the dead. Acts 13:33) Christ is God’s mightiest messenger. Some interpret the Bible to signify Him to be God Almighty along with the Father (as well as the Holy Spirit, according to the concept of Trinity). The word “Trinity” does not appear in the Bible. Repeatedly we are told that the Father is Christ’s God. We are also informed that He is greater than Jesus and has knowledge which Christ does not. “For us there is one God, the Father”- Paul. Christ is the Image of the invisible God. Jesus Christ is not, in the strict sense of the matter, “Almighty God”, according to the Bible. Christ was dead- God cannot die. The resurrected Christ referred to the Father as “My God”, and He will submit Himself to the Father at the consummation of vivification. John 20:17; 1 Corinthians 15:28. So it can easily be argued that the Quran and the Bible are in agreement that Jesus is not equal to God. On the other hand, God and Christ are both referred to as Lord and Savior in the Bible. (Holy Spirit is not referred to as Lord or Savior.)

Conclusion/ summary:

While the Quran and the Bible show considerable likeness in their descriptions of Jesus Christ, there are a few stark differences. Most Christians and Moslems alike would probably agree these differences are of prime importance. The death and resurrection of Christ as the Savior of all mankind is a major area of disagreement. Christ’s role in relation to God is not only understood quite differently by the two faith communities, but is a major matter of discussion amongst Christians as well. John 1:18 presents difficult concepts for all members of the Abrahamic, monotheistic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. “God no one has ever seen. The only-begotten God, Who is in the bosom of the Father, He unfolds Him.” This brings to mind the oft-repeated admonition in the Quran, “Do not associate partners with God.” While it appears that these verses refer not to Christians, but to polytheists, nonetheless the Muslim point of view with respect to the concept of the Trinity is similar, since three are declared to be God Almighty. 

Jinn, demons, Grays

The Quran speaks considerably concerning creatures known as “jinn”. These were in existence on earth before mankind. They are considered to have freedom of choice to obey God or not, as do humans. The sinful jinn seem to correspond to the demons of the Bible. Notice the Concordant Literal Version of Genesis 1:2a- “Yet the earth became a chaos and vacant”. It is suggested that the earth was made a chaos due to some rebellion on the part of the angels or jinn dwelling on earth prior to Genesis 1:2. ”He did not create it a chaos; He formed it (the earth) to be indwelt.” Isaiah 45:18. It appears that earth existed for an eon prior to the “week of creation”. This eon would be between the first two verses of Genesis. Apparently that eon was very long.

The jinn are generally invisible to mankind, but are able to assume any form they wish, human or otherwise. The word “genie” is derived from the Quranic concept of the jinn although fantastical notions concerning “genies in a bottle” are mainly of entertainment value. Jinn are not made of matter as we know it, but of some type of “fire”. See Hebrews 1:7; Col. 1:16. They have powers which humanity does not. It is written in the Quran that when Adam was created, all the jinn were commanded to bow in submission to the man. One jinn, named Iblis, refused. Some translate and interpret the Bible to give the name “Lucifer” to this creature. As he refuses to obey God, his title is “Satan” (adversary). There is no consensus as to whether or not the jinn reproduce or grow old, but it is clear in the Abrahamic faiths that others of his kind joined Satan in his rebellion.

Rene Noorbergen, in his book, Secrets of the Lost Races, mentions some amazing archeological finds. The ancient devices, as well as the remains of humans that had healed from such procedures as surgery to the skull, evidence an advanced level of technology. (In the 20th century the Russians discovered microscopic nano-spirals, apparently manufactured from metal. These were encased in ice supposedly formed over 100,000 years ago. The ancient Egyptians’ building feats would be almost unattainable with 20th century technology. The Mayans calculated the length of a solar year, accurate to within 18 seconds. The Antikythera Mechanism , dating from before Christ, displays a level of technology thought to have been unattained until close to 2,000 years later.) Noorbergen also mentions ancient writings such as the Vedas of India which seem to describe advanced war machines. He suggests that the downfall of civilization in the time of Prophet Noah was due to the combination of occult powers with an advanced level of development. He asserts that history records the existence of vast libraries of knowledge from pre-flood times that were subsequently destroyed, mostly due to warfare. Genesis 6:5,11 “And seeing is Yahweh Elohim that much is the evil of humanity on the earth, and every form of the devices of its heart is but evil all its days. And being ruined is the earth before the Elohim, and being filled is the earth with wrong.” All this brings to mind the assertions of certain military personnel that advanced technologies are being secretly reverse-engineered in such locations as Area 51 at Groom Dry Lake, Nevada, and Dugway Proving Ground, Utah. Claims are made that “aliens” known as “Grays” are in fact in charge of these developments. There is good evidence that many UFO and USO phenomena relate to secret military projects. (Some of this technology undoubtedly has its roots in the Nazi war machine- "Project Paperclip".)However, the entities that seem responsible for abductions and abuse of many human and animal victims may be, in some cases, these “evil jinn”. (Close encounters of the third kind, chupacabras, etc). Other “creatures”, including trolls, gnomes, leprechauns and chimeras such as unicorns and mermaids may be jinn, whether good or bad. They may also be responsible for some of the unusual occurrences related to séances, ghosts and powers like “mind over matter”. Many of these paranormal phenomena are likely demons (aka “evil jinn”), preparing humanity for mass deception and war on an unprecedented scale. The refusal of “modern man” to believe in the unseen world as revealed in various scriptures, makes him vulnerable to being misled.

www.thejinn.net 

Biblical worship

What is worship and who is to be worshipped? God commanded the angels, “worship Him (Christ), all the messengers of God”. He also declares to the ecclesia at Philadelphia “Lo! I shall be making them that they will be arriving and worshipping before your feet” Revelation 3:9. No one would claim that the members of the Philadelphian congregation are Diety; rather, they receive worship due to their faithfulness to the Diety. So it is clear that worship (Greek proskuneo) is an act of reverence, and the Bible does not limit worship in this sense to Almighty God alone.

As far as God the Father’s relationship to Jesus Christ, it is written that:

The Father appoints the Son -Hebrews 1:2

The Father leads the Son –Hebrews 1:6

“there is one God, and one Mediator of God and mankind, a Man, Christ Jesus, Who is giving Himself a correspondent Ransom for all” –1Timothy 2:5,6

Jesus is faithful to Him Who makes Him. –Hebrews 3:2

Jesus “learned obedience from that which He suffered.” –Hebrews 5:8

God Almighty declares:

“I, today* have begotten Thee” –Hebrews 1:5 (*The day Christ rose from the dead. Acts 13:33)

“Thy throne, O God, is for the eon of the eon…Thou art anointed by God, Thy God.” –Hebrews 1:8,9

“Sit at My right, till I should be placing Thine enemies for a footstool for Thy feet.” –Hebrews 1:13

Jesus declares:

“Lo, I am arriving…to do Thy will, O God.” –Hebrews 10:7 (John 6:38)

“For even as the Father has life in Himself, thus to the Son also He gives to have life in Himself. I can not do anything of Myself” –John 5:26, 30

“Now it is eonian life that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Him Whom Thou dost commission, Jesus Christ.” –John 17:3

“Not that the Father has been seen by anyone, except by the One Who is from God.” –John 6:46

“Lo! I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.” –John 20:17

“My Father is greater than I…is greater than all” –John 14:28; 10:29

“”It is written, the Lord your God shall you be worshipping, and to Him only shall you be offering divine service.” –Luke 4:8

Mary/ Miriam declares:

“My soul is magnifying the Lord, and my spirit exalts in God my Savior”.

There is but one Mediator between God and mankind. God, through Jesus, is the Savior of Mary as well as all the rest of humanity. Mary is blessed among women, for she bore the Savior. Much of mankind rightly reveres her for her piety. Luke 1:42,46,47.

Conclusion:

“…for us there is one God, the Father, out of Whom all is, and we for Him, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through Whom all is, and we through Him.” 1Corinthians 8:6

Jesus is “the Image of the invisible God, Firstborn of every creature” and “all is created through Him and for Him”.  Colossians 1:15,17 (compare verse 18). Therefore, we can say that Christ is a creature of God in the absolute sense and Creator/God in a relative sense. Are we to worship Christ, even though He is not the equal of the Father? Yes, because He is worthy, and because He represents the invisible God to creation. “Wherefore, also, God highly exalts Him, and graces Him with the name that is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should be bowing, celestial and terrestrial and subterranean, and every tongue should be acclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord, for the glory of God, the Father.” -Phil 2:9-11. God’s goal for the universe is that He be all in all, and Jesus is His chosen instrument to bring that to fruition. 1Corinthians 15:20-28. 

The following individuals are mentioned in both the Bible and the Quran: Noah, Jesus, Mary, Jonah, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Pharaoh, Job, David, Solomon, Adam, John the Baptist and his father Zechariah, Enoch, Joseph,  Goliath, Korah, Haman, Saul, the angel Gabriel and Satan. The Quran mentions Yasa’a (probably Elisha or Isaiah) and Dhu’l Kifl (possibly Ezekiel). It also makes clear mention of Samuel, Eve, Cain and Abel, although apparently not by name.

It should also be mentioned that there are verses in the Old and New Testament that are taken by Muslims to refer to Mohammed. Christians generally understand some of these prophecies as referring to Jesus, and others to the Holy Spirit. This points to the Quranic claim to be an unaltered book, in contrast with the Bible, which is considered to contain divine revelation, although in a corrupted form. An honest examination of the facts will show that there is at least a grain of truth in that claim. Christian scholars have admitted that the Quran remains as originally penned, while there exist different sources for the Bible texts that contain many, generally minor, differences. As far as the reliability of the book of Isaiah, it was found in its entirety in the Qumran Dead Sea scrolls. These scrolls are generally dated to at least a century before Christ’s birth. The differences are insignificant between that copy and that which is the basis for any Jewish or Christian version of Isaiah. Scriptures such as Is. 53 would seem to contradict any denial of Christ’s death for the sins of mankind. “My righteous Servant shall justify many….Inasmuch as He empties out His soul to death.” Islam is strictly monotheistic, which is, as Muslims like to point out, the perspective of all God’s messengers.

The Quran declares that Allah sent 124,000 prophets to the various peoples of earth, although it only mentions 28 by name. The scriptures of the previous prophets are mentioned as well, although only a few by name; the Torah of Moses, the Psalms of David and the Gospel of Jesus. The Quran clearly asserts that Mohammed was the final, universal messenger. All the previous messengers were for specific peoples and specific times.

Quran 29:26 “Do not argue with those who were given the Book save in the best way….Say: “We believe in what has been sent down to us and what was sent down to you, and your God and our God is one and the same. We are Muslims wholly submitted to Him.”

“….Before Me no el was formed,

And after Me none shall come to be.

I, I am Yahweh, And there is no Savior apart from Me.”

Thus says Yahweh, King of Israel,

And His Redeemer, Yahweh of hosts:

I am the First, and I am the Last,

And apart from Me there is no Elohim.

“Turn toward Me and be saved, all the limits of the earth,

For I am El, and there is no other.

By Myself have I sworn;

From My mouth has gone forth righteousness,

A word, and it shall not turn back:

For to Me shall bow every knee,

And every tongue shall swear fealty.”

Isaiah 43:10, 11; 44:6; 45:22, 23 

 

Differing views 

Concerning the identity of the son whom Abraham was commanded to sacrifice to God, Moslems believe it to be Ishmael. They quote Genesis 22:16, where the messenger of Yahweh declared from the heavens that God would bless Abraham because he had not kept back his only son. Since Ishmael was born several years before Isaac, they reason, Ishmael was the child taken to be sacrificed. The Bible clearly states that Isaac was the one to be offered. In attempting to reconcile the apparent contradiction in the Genesis account, we can’t ignore Hebrews 11:17-19:

By faith Abraham, when undergoing trial, has offered Isaac,

and he who receives the promises offered the only-begotten,

he to whom it was spoken that “In Isaac shall your seed be called”,

 reckoning that God is able to be rousing him from among the dead also;

 whence he recovers him in a parable also.

So we could say that Isaac was Abraham’s only son in the sense that he was the only son of promise, born miraculously. Isaac is taken to represent Christ, Who is likewise “the only-begotten”, relatively speaking. Romans 8:29. Notice the mention in Hebrews 11:19 of the word “parable”.

Concerning parables, the story of the rich man and Lazarus is an example. (Luke 15 & 16) To take it literally is misguidance in my opinion. So is the effort to make Luke 23:42,43 support the idea of the immortality of the soul. The Bible was written without punctuation and the Concordant Literal Version reads thus: “And he said to Jesus, ‘Be reminded of me, Lord, whenever Thou mayest be coming in Thy kingdom.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Verily, to you am I saying today, with Me shall you be in paradise.’” To paraphrase Christ, “To you am I saying today (the day of greatest apparent hopelessness), paradise is our destiny.” It would appear that the criminal did not die the day Christ did. John 19:31-33. In addition, Christ certainly did not “come in His kingdom” the day He died. After His resurrection, Christ declared that He had yet to ascend to His Father. John 20:17. See also Acts 2:23-28. Both the Bible and the Quran clearly emphasize the resurrection of the dead, but neither family of faith has been very successful in avoiding incorporating pagan philosophies into their religion.

Concerning the flood of Noah, Moslems have no hesitation in considering it to have been a widespread catastrophe but not necessarily worldwide. Personally, I believe the flood killed all mankind which was not on the Ark, regardless of whether or not it covered the entire earth. It appears that the main argument Moslems have with the Biblical account of Noah’s flood is the point in history that the Bible seems to indicate for the Flood. They point to ancient history like that of Egypt which points to no interruption in the rule of the Pharaohs at the time many Bible scholars consider to have been the date of the flood. There are Bible texts (the Greek Septuagint, I believe) which show longer life-spans for several of the Bible characters, which might put some dates farther back. Even the Moslems sometimes remark that we all descend from Noah. (In Turkey, Moslems and Christians together celebrate Noah’s descent from the Ark.) I also understand that flood stories similar to what we read in the Bible and Quran are widespread throughout the earth. Moslems remark that the earth is older than a literal reading of the Bible would indicate. The Quran indicates no such genealogically- based dates for Creation or the Flood so they consider it to be scientifically superior to the Bible. We are not wise to attempt to place a date on these events based on the Bible texts. Please refer also to the first part of the above topic, Jinn, demons, Grays.

The Moslems go into detail about the “scientific miracles” of the Quran where facts are mentioned centuries before modern man discovered them. These are interesting topics of discussion. I don’t know enough about Arabic to know how accurate the frequent references to “remaining in the fire” are as to the meaning of the terms used to describe hellfire. I don’t for a second accept the thesis that God would torture anyone for eternity. To me it’s unbiblical. I find it illogical, either for the God of the Bible, Who is Love, or for the God of the Quran, Who is the Most Merciful of the Merciful. Nor do I have sufficient knowledge of the Quran to know if the frequent insistence by Moslems on the theory of “free will” is truly supported by the Quran, or is a misinterpretation akin to that made by many Bible scholars. Most Moslems seem to believe in prophecy, so I think they fail to discern the contradiction. There are verses in the Quran which clearly state that we would all have the same faith if Allah had so willed.

Another thing I find interesting and compatible with the Bible are most if not all of God’s All-Beautiful Names recorded by Mohammed. There are over 150. Here are a few:

(Al-)Qayyum: The Self-Subsisting

(Al-)Mubdi: The All-Initiating

(Al-)Muhit: The All-Encompassing

(Ad-)Darr: The Creator of evil and harm

(Al-)Hakim: The All-Wise

(Al-)Muhsin: The All-Benevolent

(Al-)Muhyi: The One Who revives, Who gives life to the dead 

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