PopeWatch: “Palestinian” Saints

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Much publicity is being given to the Pope canonizing two “Palestinian” nuns.

New Hope for the sons and daughters of Palestine, Jordan and the Middle East: Pope Francis will announce next Sunday the canonization of four nuns. Two of them are Palestinians, namely Marie-Alphonsine, founder of Palestine’s first congregation, the Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary of Jerusalem, and Mariam of Jesus Crucified Baouardy, the founder of Carmelite Convents in Bethlehem and India.

PopeWatch found the designation Palestinian interesting, because in all likelihood the nuns during their lives never thought of themselves as Palestinians.  When they lived in the mid-nineteenth century and late nineteenth to early twentieth century, the Arabs usually referred to the region as South Syria and themselves as Arabs.  The term Palestinian was usually restricted to the Jewish settlers in the Holy Land, up to the creation of Israel in 1948,  In the movie Exodus, 1960, a highly romantic look at the creation of Israel in 1948, the Jews are referred to as Palestinians and the Arab inhabitants are referred to as Arabs.  A Palestinian nationality consisting of the Arab inhabitants of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza is purely a creation post 1967 when Israel conquered Gaza and the West Bank.  Attempting to “read back” the nationality to prior times is historically illiterate.

 

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31 Comments

  1. This is nothing to be skeptical of Pope Francis for.

    Pope Benedict first beatified Marie-Alphonsine in 2009, which allowed Pope Francis to subsequently approve the miracle for her Canonisation.

    What would you have the Pope refer to these 2 new glorious examples of Arab Christianity? Two greater-Syrian nuns??

    Greater Syria does not exist (Thank God). These nuns are Palestinian.

    There is a common theme of persecution that unites all of the Christian Arabs. And each country has its own Saints.

    I’m glad that the Christian Arabs, as a whole, in the Middle East have another great Saint in Heaven praying for them. And the persecuted Palestinian Christians deserve the Saints God has granted them.

  2. “Palestinians” Ezabelle are a recent neologism as I pointed out. The proper term for the two nuns would be Arab Christians, which is doubtless how they thought of themselves, and the most deadly enemy of Arab Christians has always been Arab Muslims, an inconvenient fact the Vatican usually ignores.

  3. the Arabs usually referred to the region as South Syria and themselves as Arabs.

    If I am not mistaken, as recently as the 1st World War, modal usage in that part of the world reserved the term ‘Arab’ for Bedouin. David Fromkin in
    A Peace to End All Peace reports that Feisal bin Hussein regarded the population of the Tranjordan as “Arab” and that of the sanjaks to the west of the River Jordan as ‘Arabic speaking’ (His father had already proclaimed himself ‘King of the Arabs’). Into the post-war period, the different confessions in Lebanon had incompatible self-concepts and allegiances. Maronites tended to regard themselves as Lebanese; Sunni Muslims regarded themselves as Arabs and were the constituency for Nasserist truculence; Shi’ite Muslims were loyal to tribes; and the Druze were loyal to grand factions composed of congeries of tribes (Jumblatti v. Yazbacki).

    Ahmed Shukairy, who was later the founding chairman of the PLO and was employed by the Saudi diplomatic service at the time referred to the area as ‘a basic part of southern Syria’ as late as 1956. Other students of identity formation in the area have said that a ‘palestinian’ self concept only came to dominate around about 1968. That’s not surprising. The British assembled 3 Ottoman sanjaks to form the Mandate of Palestine (and made some modifications to the boundaries even so and the vilayets of which the sanjaks were components had only had those boundaries for fifty-odd years. The dialects of Arabic spoken in the area would be drawn from the Eastern Bedawi set spoken in the Sinai, on the Red Sea coast, and in the Transjordan or from the Levantine spectrum spoken in Lebanon today and throughout most of Syria. The family histories of prominent ‘Palestinians’ are also replete with stories of migration in and out of neighboring territories. Edward Said and Yasir Arafat grew up in Egypt and Said’s home vernacular was ‘flawless Egyptian Arabic’, not Levantine Arabic.

  4. I apologize in advance.
    .
    Two questions regarding Vatican “recognition” of so-called Palestine. What is the point??? Is it “springtime” in the Vatican for tyrants and terrorists?

  5. What is even more interesting is what was left out of the story.

    St. Marie of Jesus Crucified when she was young had a Muslim suitor who was trying to convert her. She refused.

    “Muslim, no, never! I am a daughter of the Catholic Church, and I hope by the grace of God to persevere until death in my religion, which is the only true one.”

    As a result the young man slashed her throat with a sword and they dumped her in a alley for dead. This was on the Feast of the Nativity of Mary and apparently Mary healed her, although she bore the scar on her neck all her life.

    An amazing story, but no surprise this aspect was not covered.

    Details and her testimony on this can be found here:

    https://suburbanbanshee.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/survivor-of-jihadist-attack-to-be-canonized-this-sunday/

  6. Until WW!, “Syrian” was often used in both English and French to distinguish speakers of the various Aramaic languages (the various branches of Eastern Aramaic and Western Neo-Aramaic) from Arabic speakers.

    “Syrians” were concentrated in present-day Turkey, Kurdistan, North-Western Iran and around Mosul in Iraq. I believe – I am speaking from memory – that there was a small community in Jerusalem.

  7. Arab Christian is a broad term- every Arab Christian distinguishes themselves according to their place of birth. And because Palestinians are not afforded the right of a homeland, does not mean they do not deserve that right. Much like the Armenians were. Displaced all over the Middle East- but still Armenian and still identified themselves as such.

    And no! I’m not anti-Isreal or anti-Jewish. But where do you want to shove the Palestinians? Somewhere in Madagascar?! They have resided in the Holy Land under different rules since before the Holy Land was called “Holy”.

    Pope Francis Canonisation of these Saints as a strengthening of the Christian identity in the Middle East. If, God forbid one day Lebanon was taken over by Syria and became part of Greater Syria- St Maroun, St Charbel, St Nahamtallah et al would still be Lebanese Saints for the Lebanese people who would still identify themselves and their Saints as such.

    To identify as Palestinian does not automatically mean that person is Muslim.

    My cousin is married to a man whose father is Palestinian Christian. He identifies himself as such- a Palestinian. He lived in Lebanon, displaced from his land of birth, but still calls himself Palestinian.

    The powers that be who decided to carve up The Holy Land and displace the Arabs who resided in Palestine, caused a disastrous effect to the region. As a person of Lebanese ancestry, the civil war is a direct result of this.

    Regardless of the majority Muslim population, I’m glad the Vatican recognises Palestine, and I’m glad the Christians of Palestine have their first canonised Saints. That is who THEY identify with.

  8. “And because Palestinians are not afforded the right of a homeland, does not mean they do not deserve that right.”

    The people making decisions for the “Palestinians” could have had a homeland. They don’t want it. They want the homeland of the Jews.

    “They have resided in the Holy Land under different rules since before the Holy Land was called “Holy”.”

    The vast majority of “Palestinians” are from immigrant stock with roots in the land not much deeper than those of the Jews.

    “powers that be who decided to carve up The Holy Land and displace the Arabs who resided in Palestine,”

    The partition plan of 1947 gave a majority of the land to the Arabs. The Arabs rejected it, assuming that the invading Arab armies of Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Egypt would drive the Jews into the sea. They chose very poorly.

  9. All Arabs have a mixed ancestry. Much like the the Americans. Unless you are Native Anerican, I would assume your ancestors were Scottish Donald?….does that make you a Scot living in the US?

    The Phoenicians, Ottomans, Romans, Greek, Arabs, British (and the list goes on according to who invaded them at the time), all conquered parts of the ME at some stage.

    But we’re talking modern-day ME. The fact remains that each Arab identifies with a Nation. And they are still that identity, even without soil to claim.

    “The people making decisions for the “Palestinians” could have had a homeland. They don’t want it. They want the homeland of the Jews.”

    Yes, because that’s where they were living. It doesn’t help the situation that you have Islam in the equation- who have an ingrained hatred for the Jews whom their land was given to. The bloodshed, obviously, was never right. But the injustice is.

    Put it this way, by your argument then, it’s ok if one day the powers that be said “Donald, I’m moving you to Wisconsin. We’re giving your house to someone else who claims his 10th great great great grandpa 15 times removed, used to live here”.

    Which Donald would reply (I assume) “But I don’t live in Wisconsin, I’m not from Wisconsin. This is where my family is. This is my home”

    “Well Donald, that’s what we’re giving you. Say thank you. You should be grateful were giving you anything at all”.

    I have difficulty believing someone with your character, integrity and justice would not fight this.

  10. “All Arabs have a mixed ancestry. Much like the the Americans. Unless you are Native Anerican, I would assume your ancestors were Scottish Donald?….does that make you a Scot living in the US?”

    The main argument against the Jews in Israel is that they took the land from the native Arabs. Actually it was more the case of two immigrant populations coming into conflict. The Holy Land was quite lightly populated until the last decades of the Nineteenth Century. Oh, and I am part Cherokee as it happens.

    “But we’re talking modern-day ME. The fact remains that each Arab identifies with a Nation. And they are still that identity, even without soil to claim.”

    That is rather a very recent feature of the Middle East since most Arabs did not rule themselves until post world war II. Arab nationalism has competed since that time with pan-Arab nationalism. Other divisions were usually more important: religious, bedouin as opposed to urban, tribal affilitions. Grafting nationalism onto Arab populations has been a very untidy process.

    “Put it this way, by your argument then, it’s ok if one day the powers that be said “Donald, I’m moving you to Wisconsin. We’re giving your house to someone else who claims his 10th great great great grandpa 15 times removed, used to live here”.”

    No the apt analogy would be Donald, we can either divide this nation peacefully between your band of immigrants or these slightly more recent group of immigrants, or you can risk it all through warfare. By the way, we have several friendly nations nearby itching to help you throw into the sea your domestic foes. I can see why appealing to the sword was tempting for the Arabs, but when you do so you always have to consider, “What happens if we lose?” As I said, the Arabs chose poorly and continue to choose poorly. They can have their state but they are never going to defeat the Israelis.

  11. The authority in the English speaking world on late Ottoman demography is Justin McCarthy. I’m not sure what he has said about the population of those three sanjaks ca. 1897.

    Yes, because that’s where they were living.

    No, they’re on the UNRWA dole. Where they were living is something different. In order to qualify as a ‘Palestinian refugee’, you need only have lived in mandatory Palestine for two years (or be descended from someone who was present in 1946, 1947, and 1948. It’s the most expansive definition of ‘refugee’ there is.

    What you’re forgetting is that the vast bulk of the Arabs who departed the coastal plain, and the Valley of Jezreel in 1947, 1948, and 1949 ended up in camps on the West Bank, or in Lebanon, or in Syria, or (after an interval) in the Transjordan, or in the Gulf as the oil industry heated up. Others were in Egypt. Labor migration has been quite unremarkable in the post-war Arab world and the Gulf and Jordan have taken in masses of migrants. Migration to Egypt also had some history (including Edward Said’s family and Yasser Arafat’s). The populations of Lebanon and Syria are quite similar to the population of the old Mandate. The scale and the challenges of refugee resettlement got nowhere near what was being done in Europe at that time with huge masses of ethnic Germans moving west, as well as dissidents. We’re not discussing the ‘plight’ of Silesian Germans because some people deal.

    As for the Arabs on the West Bank and Gaza, there have been since 1971 five separate attempts by Israel to devolve authority or transfer it to local Arabs. All have come completely a-cropper, most recently when Mahmoud Abbas rejected an offer of an Arab sovereign state on the West Bank and Gaza in 2008. Get it through your head, they do not want local government.

    As for the Jewish communities, there isn’t much there attributable to Arab populations who lived there in 1948. Israel has absorbed the Jewish population which once lived in Persia, Anatolia, and the various Arab sheikhdoms and the country has assembled handsome quantities of physical and human capital that were not present in 1948. And that’s what your forgetting. The Jews built farms, factories, towns. So do the resident Arabs who remain in Israel as citizens. The characters in Gaza? Fuggedaboutit.

  12. There were Jewish communities that spoke a number of Syrian dialects (North-Eastern Neo-Aramaic) living in the area between Lake Urmia and Mosul until the end of WWII. There are some 10,000 speakers now living in Israel and great efforts are being made to document these dialects, before they go extinct.

  13. I liked the part about being part Cherokee. 🙂

    Yes, Israel will never be defeated. Because it is supported by Americans. Jewish Americans.

    It didn’t help the antagonism between the Muslims and the Jews, when the influx of Jews into Palestine as a result of persecution in Europe, displaced a bulk of the Arabs off their land. Palestinian Nationalism in its ugliest form emerged as a result of this- egged on by Muslim leaders. Like I said, the bloodshed has overshadowed the injustice of the displacement. You can smile and take away a lolly from a child, but it is still cruel.

    Israel won, as it always does. And always will.

    Let the Palestinian Christians their Palestinian Saints.

  14. displaced a bulk of the Arabs off their land.

    No. Jewish agricultural settlements in the area purchased land from the allodial holders. There was no ‘displacement’ until the war in 1948 and 1949, the war the Arab political leadership wanted. And, no, ‘the bulk’ were not ‘displaced’. Most either remained in place (in the Galilee by and large) or were resident prior to the war in the swatches of territory occupied by the Hashemite Arab Legion.

  15. Palestinian Nationalism in its ugliest form emerged as a result of this- egged on by Muslim leaders. Like I said, the bloodshed has

    No, the ugliness emerged in the 1920s. The particularism of the local Arabs has never been non-ugly.

  16. No.

    The acquisition of lands from Arab owners for Jewish settlements, which led to the eviction of the fellaheen from the lands which they cultivated as tenant farmers, aggravated the tension between the parties and caused the Arab population in the region of Palestine to feel dispossessed of their lands. Many of the Landlords were absentee landlords where the tenant farmers were cultivating.

    European immigration was also considered by local residents to be a threat to the cultural make-up of the region.

    By 1914 the Jewish population in Palestine had risen to over 60,000, with around 33,000 of these being recent settlers. Between 1919 and 1926, 90,000 immigrants arrived in Palestine because of the anti-Semitic manifestations and the ideals of the Zionist movement to establish a state of Israel.

    From 1920, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Mohammad Amin al-Husayni became the leader of the Palestinian Arab movement and played a key role in inciting religious riots against the Jewish population in Palestine. The Mufti stirred religious passions against Jews by alleging that Jews were seeking to rebuild the Jewish Temple on the site of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque.

    What consequently occurred were riots. 1921 Jaffa riots. The Jews were appointed a defence force which instigated the 1929 riots, then the 1936-1939 revolt (all egged on by Islamic chest banging).

    The Woodhead Commission itself rejected the Peel solution of a two state- Arab and Jew- because it couldn’t be implemented without large scale relocation of Arab population out of the proposed Jewish areas (which mind you were the fertile agricultural areas and coastal areas which the Arabs had previously settled on and cultivated for 100’s and 100’s of years).

    When Jewish immigration began to be restricted to curb the social and political tensions, illegal mass immigrations of Jews into Palestine began to occur. Boat loads flocked in. Dispossessing the non-Jews.

    In his own words to the Zionist Congress Ben Gurion told the Jews to accept Peel because….
    “The Jewish state now being offered to us is not the Zionist objective. But it can serve as a decisive stage along the path to greater Zionist implementation. It will consolidate in Palestine, within the shortest possible time, the real Jewish force, which will lead us to our historic goal”. The goal being to obtain the WHOLE of Palestine.

    In a discussion in the Jewish Agency he said that he wanted a Jewish-Arab agreement “on the assumption that after we become a strong force, as a result of the creation of the state, we shall abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine.”

    A two state was never on the cards for the Jews.

    Both sides rejected the division of the two states whereby Jerusalem would remain separate. The Jews wanted Israel. All of it.

    When Ben Gurion declared the State of Israel, war broke out between the Jews and Arabs 48-49. Israel won. Over 750,00 Palestinian Arab refugees left, never to be allowed to return to what became Israel. As retaliation 850,000 Jews were expelled from their land in surrounding Arab countries. And they ended up in the newly established State of Israel.

    How a non-Jewish nation ended up a ME Jewish Nation in less than 100 years, is astounding. It has caused a ripple effect of the stability of the whole region.

    It was Israel that chose to plonk themselves smack bang in the middle of a region that is majority Islamic.

    By the way, it does not fall solely on the Muslims for the displacement and persecution of the ME Christians. The Jews did their fair share of persecuting us. The hate of the Orthodox Jews towards Christians in Israel is well documented. Many Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land would testify being spat upon when visiting Bethlehem.

    Where pockets of genuine people who are Muslim would revere Our Lady and some of the ME Saints (notably, St Charbel), a Jew by and large wouldn’t dream of walking hand-in-hand at a Marian celebration with their Christian counterparts. That’s where the love is lost.

    Never the less, the Muslim agenda is not to be trusted in the current political Climate.

  17. “What’s your point”. It suddenly became cold in here.

    My point- as it’s gone over your head- is you want to re-hash a complex history devoid of facts and details so that it reads like simplified plot in a Chuck Norris movie with the “goodies” and the “baddies”.

  18. Over 750,00 Palestinian Arab refugees left, never to be allowed to return to what became Israel.

    The UNRWA census put the number at 726,000 in 1949. They were not ‘allowed to return’ because there was never a settlement other than a temporary armistice. The diplomatic posture of the Arab states other than the Transjordan was to not hold such negotiations, and, of course, any peace agreement would have had to take account of the influx of Jews from Iraq and other parts of the Arab world. The point was moot after 1952 as the Emir Abdullah had been assassinated and the military regime in Egypt was committed to Israel’s destruction.

  19. My point- as it’s gone over your head- is you want to re-hash a complex history devoid of facts and details so that it reads like simplified plot in a Chuck Norris movie with the “goodies” and the “baddies”.

    What I ‘want’ to do is a matter of no interest. The subject matter is of interest. You’re also projecting.

  20. Yes and nobody is denying that every Muslim nation is after the destruction of the state of Israel. Don’t paint the Jews as devoid of blame- they had their part to play in a dirty and still do. Look who is their elected Prime Minister.

    Don’t care much about either side. I care about the sustainability of the Christians in the region- it being the birth place of Christ.

  21. I was not projecting.

    You seem to not like to converse with me on any respectful level Art Deco on any blog post. So why converse at all. To make me feel like crap. Because it works every time with you. You achieved your point.

    I have no interest in further dialogue with you when your “point” is to be icy.

  22. Yitzhak Shamir’s solution for Middle East peace was to rename Jordan Palestine. It sounded good to me than and it sounds good now.

    Ezabelle can blame Jews until the cows come home. The problem is as it has been since Mohammed – the problem is Islam.

    Middle Eastern Christians have never figured out what the Catholic Church in Europe – both Eastern and Western Europe understood clearly until the greatest bestest council EVAH. You deal with Islam by kicking it in the ass. It is a seventh century heresy that deserves no more respect than Arianism, Gnosticism, the Iconoclasm, Monophytism or any of those other isms.

    My best friend is a retiring US Air Marshall. After 23 years of federal law enforcement, including a supervisor who looked at porn at work and accused my friend of doing it (falsely) and working weekends and holidays for all of those years, he is entitled. The brain dead slugs in the US Government have decided to gut the Air Marshals. The point is, my buddy has had to fly in and out of almost every European capital since 2002 – except one.
    Wanna guess? Warsaw. Why? Poland hasn’t forgotten how to deal with Islam.

    The newly canonized saints are Arab Catholics, a people who have suffered greatly at the hands of Islam. Let us rejoice at the new members of the Church Triumphant.

  23. Penguins Fan, how about we blame both for the Christian persecutions and exile from Israel. Just for the sake of accuracy.

    The scenario is different in say Lebanon, where it is solely Muslims bringing down Christian Population. As in the case of Iraq, as in the case of Syria….This is not the case in Israel.

    Christian Palestinians identify themselves as such. Christians of Palestinian origin. St Rafka was a Lebanese Christian Saint. Not an Arab Christian Saint. Everyone hails from a Nation. As do you, as do I.

  24. Penguins Fan, how about we blame both for the Christian persecutions and exile from Israel.

    Because neither exist outside your imagination, Ezabelle.

  25. In his biography of Hilaire Belloc, A N Wilson quotes Belloc’s account of his audience with Pope Benedict XV in 1916: “One thing moved him, which was the sending of Jews to the Holy Land. He kept on saying to me, « C’est une honte! C’est une honte » [It’s a disgrace]. I told him that it would bring its own reward.”

  26. He kept on saying to me, « C’est une honte! C’est une honte » [It’s a disgrace]. I told him that it would bring its own reward.”
    ==
    An ecclesiastic objecting to someone engaging in constructive and productive activity? Say it ain’t so…

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