Sunday, June 28, 2015

  • Sunday, June 28, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
Another day, lots more lies.

Ma'an reports:
Israeli forces on Saturday suppressed a Palestinian march protesting Israeli plans to turn a southern West Bank church compound into a settlement outpost.

The 38 dunam compound, known as Beit al-Baraka, is located to the north of al-Arrub refugee camp between Bethlehem and Hebron.

It has been in the spotlight since an investigative report by Israeli newspaper Haaretz last month alleged that an American millionaire, Irving Moskowitz, purchased the site through a Swedish company in 2012 with the intention of turning it into a settlement outpost.

The coordinator of a southern Hebron popular committe, Rateb al-Jbour, told Ma'an that the peaceful march had been called to condemn the Israeli plans and demand protection for the compound.

Israeli soldiers reportedly assaulted protesters, lightly injuring several of them with bruises.
The PA's official WAFA news agency echoed this:
Israeli forces cordoned off the area and physically attacked protestors, causing several to suffer from bruises and injuries.
There is a video of the events, and while there are plenty of soldiers around the 20 or so protesters, the protesters have no problem going right up against them without any fear. No indication of assault or injuries. One is seen being led away peacefully, that's it. It looks like they were able to protest freely for quite a bit of time without being "suppressed." It seems unlikely that the anti-Israel NGO that produced this video would have edited out any assault. On the contrary - that is what they pray for.



Note how they are framing this compound as a church. It hasn't been a church for decades. I found a description of the property from a tourist in 2010:

The Beit El Baraka building seemed abandoned. Its main building was closed up tight, behind barbed wire, and its smaller buildings were smashed with broken windows and shattered glass. I could imagine lots of teenagers walking around its large green grounds in better days, circles of friends playing guitar around a small campfire. But that was then and this was now.

A small sign hung above the door of the building, that it was once a Presbyterian Center, but perhaps there were no more Presbyterians in the area, so they closed up shop. The signs on Beit El Baraka were written in Arabic and English. Gershon insisted that the sign once had Hebrew as well. Since he's got a photographic memory, I had no reason to doubt his word.

According to a Presbyterian website, "Beit El Baraka, formerly a hospital established by Dr. Thomas Lambie in the late 1940s, received its license as a Pilgrim Youth Hostel in April 1995, after ten years of government paperwork. The spacious facilities with modest rates are available for local and foreign groups for camps, retreats and tours."

I wondered what happened to Beit El Baraka. I found a google earth picture captioned, "Beit El Baraka American tuberculosis hospital, rebuilt to hostel, now abandoned."
The name, Beit el-Baraka, "House of Blessing," comes from the Hebrew Bible. In II Chronicles 20:26 the area is called "Valley of Blessing" after a successful battle against Ammon and Moab (from Transjordan.)

If any Christian or Arab had bought an abandoned building complex that lies in ruins, even to raze it to the ground, no one would say a word. Indeed, it appeared that a Swedish group bought the complex years ago and no one cared. But if a Jew buys it - that is worth lots of coverage from SkyNews Arabic. 

By the way, where else in the world would 20 protesters be worth a news story?



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