Category Archives: International

World Council of Churches Starts Seven Weeks of Brainwashing General Secretary Tveit Recycles Dirty Old Water Lies by Malcolm Lowe

  • Palestinian propagandists constantly disseminate false accusations that Israel steals Palestinian water. Those allegations have been thoroughly refuted many times and are to be catalogued under the rubric of typical Palestinian propaganda lies.

  • If General Secretary Tveit seriously wants to help Palestinians, he should explain why Israelis enjoy so much more water per capita — to contrast the brilliance of Israel’s elimination of its former water problems with the utter incompetence of the Palestinian Authority to deal with its own problems. And to exhort the Palestinians to learn from Israel instead of vainly slandering Israel.
  • Israel now recycles 80% of waste water. Desalination plants have been erected along the Mediterranean coast, so that now Israel has an abundance of water. All this costs money, so Israelis pay more for their water and there is a punitive water price for anything above a legally defined level of domestic per capita water. Under the Palestinian Authority, it is the opposite. Up to 30% of their water has been estimated to go lost in their water delivery systems. Waste water is released to pollute the PA’s land, and some flows downhill to pollute Israel as well. Large numbers of Palestinians either do not pay water bills or simply steal water by illegal connections.

February 12, 2016, was a day of fresh hope for the suffering Christians of the Middle East. Pope Francis of Rome and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow met in Havana, Cuba, to issue a joint message to the world. After pledging themselves to change the history of schism between Eastern and Western Christianity, they placed the contemporary merciless persecution of Christians at the top of their agenda:

“Our gaze must firstly turn to those regions of the world where Christians are victims of persecution. In many countries of the Middle East and North Africa whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely exterminated. Their churches are being barbarously ravaged and looted, their sacred objects profaned, their monuments destroyed…”

These were not empty words. The Moscow Patriarchate has collected large sums of money from its faithful to help the persecuted Christians of Syria. Likewise, the Roman Catholic Church, and specifically the Franciscan Order, is working at its own peril on the ground in Syria to relieve the suffering.

By coincidence, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Olav Fyske Tveit (pronounced to rhyme with “state,” not “twit”), was on the ground in the Middle East. Only he was not there to show any concern for the Christians victims of Islamic militias in Syria and Iraq. Nor had he time for the persecution of Copts in Egypt, which continues despite the efforts of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to suppress attacks by Muslims upon Christian churches.

As many will have guessed, Tveit came to Jerusalem to pursue the decades-old obsession of the WCC with Palestine, Palestine and Palestine, to the detriment of Middle East Christians elsewhere, as an earlier article detailed. At a service in a Jerusalem church, hosted by Lutheran Arab Bishop Munib Younan and accompanied by the Archbishop of Sweden, Tveit was there to launch “Seven Weeks of Water 2016.”

We can let others describe the solemnly nonsensical ceremony and concentrate on the “sermon” (or rather pseudo-Christian political harangue) delivered by Tveit. It is available for download from the relevant webpage of the WCC. But first, consider some basic definitions.

Palestinian propagandists constantly disseminate false accusations that Israel steals Palestinian water. Those allegations have been thoroughly refuted many times and are to be catalogued under the rubric of typical Palestinian propaganda lies. This does not worry the propagandists themselves, who continue to repeat the same lies to every newcomer.

A person who hears such lies for the first time, maybe from a Palestinian cleric, and naively believes them is to be defined as an innocent dupe. Someone who repeats such lies year in and year out, despite being given every opportunity to know the truth, and who even sets up a long-term mechanism to perpetuate them, is a shameless liar.

To the former category, in a moment of uncharacteristic hasty judgment, belonged Martin Shulz, the otherwise prudent President of the European Parliament. When he visited Israel in February 2014, he was confronted in Ramallah with such a false statement by a Palestinian youngster, himself a victim of the Palestinian education system. This is the same education system, in place for two decades, that currently produces wave after wave of deluded teenage terrorists.

Shaken by what he heard, Shulz inserted that statement at the last moment into a speech that he was about to give to the Knesset. The Israeli legislators, who recognized the lie immediately as such, broke into a hubbub and some later walked out. Subsequently, Shulz added to the published version of his speech a disclaimer, to the effect that he was merely repeating what he had heard without having time to check the facts. Also the leader of the walkers-out, Naftali Bennett, went to Brussels to seek reconciliation with Mr. Shulz and even presented him with an ancient coin as a sign of friendship. Both men realized that they had made their respective mistakes and both made due amends.

Among others, this author then explained in a readily available article the truths and falsehoods of the matter. Moreover, the WCC has had for years a mechanism, its Ecumenical Water Network (EWN), to deal with water in general, but above all with Palestinian water. Such a mechanism, we may assume, must be aware of the refutation of all the Palestinian lies and irrelevant claims on the matter, at least since 2014. Nonetheless, Tveit’s so-called “sermon” merrily repeated them.

Leaving aside the window dressing of biblical quotations and theological platitudes, let us proceed to the heart of the “sermon,” Tveit’s allegations against Israel, which he takes unhesitantly as gospel truth from the “advocacy group of Palestine, EWASH.” Says he: “80% of the ground water from Palestine’s mountain aquifer is pumped underneath all the way to Israel; and, the Palestinians are left with only 20% of the available water.”

This is an incredible claim: that Israel steals 80% of the water of the Palestinians and pumps it all the way to Israel. Needless to say, no such apparatus of pumps and pipelines exists. The truth, here totally garbled, is quite different. Almost all the Palestinian population is concentrated in a series of cities and villages on the central mountain range running from north to south (Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron). It is also here that rainfall is concentrated, brought by prevalent winds from the west. Much of this water, however, passes through underground rock formations either to the east (mainly to Jericho) or to the west, where it emerges in springs in pre-1967 Israel. So the only person that Tveit can denounce for this “theft” is the Creator of the World.

Nor is the situation unique. Similar cases exist elsewhere on the planet. The standard answer is an agreement whereby the beneficiaries of the situation give a certain percentage of their water to those who live where the rain fell. Naturally, there is no standard formula to calculate the percentage, since it must depend on local factors. Moreover, Israel and the Palestinians made exactly such an agreement in 1995 as part of the Oslo II Accord. In recent years, the amount of rainfall has decreased, but Israel continues to transfer the agreed amount of water and even more.

In other words, the central accusation of Palestinians – that Israel steals water from them – has been refuted for more than twenty years. Nevertheless, Palestinian propagandists – since truth matters neither to them nor to their eager audiences of Israel haters – continue to propagate the lie.

Says Tveit further, also quoting EWASH: “on an average, Ramallah receives more rainfall than London. However, the average per capita water consumption in London is 150 litres/day compared to that of only 70 litres/day for an average Palestinian. On the other hand, the per capita consumption for Israel is 300 litres/day.”

It does not matter whether these figures are true or just more lies. The point here is that the figures are utterly irrelevant. Israel’s obligation to the Palestinians is based exclusively upon the volume of rain that falls in the mountains. How much this works out per capita depends upon something else: how many Palestinians there are to use it. The obligation is the same whether the areas of the Palestinian Authority contain just one hundred Palestinians or one hundred million Palestinians. If the Palestinians are engaged in a population explosion that doubles their population every twenty years, as they claim (whether truthfully or not), that is entirely their own responsibility and not Israel’s.

Consequently, any accusations against Israel that allege per capita figures of water usage are null and void and should be immediately rejected and ignored. Whenever Palestinians confront you with such per capita data, as they invariably do, you should know that they are attempting to blind you with irrelevant information. As does Tveit.

What Tveit should have thought and spoken about, if he seriously wanted to help Palestinians, was to explain why Israelis enjoy so much more water per capita – to contrast the brilliance of Israel’s elimination of its former water problems with the utter incompetence of the Palestinian Authority to deal with its own problems. And to exhort the Palestinians to learn from Israel instead of vainly slandering Israel. Indeed, his whole Ecumenical Water Network, if it is worth anything, should be recommending the Israeli model worldwide.

Until a few years ago, Israel was highly susceptible to sharp variations in annual rainfall. It has now solved the problem by a combination of legislation and technical initiatives. Recycling now reclaims some 80% of waste water. New desalination plants have been erected along the Mediterranean coast, so that now Israel has an abundance of water to start with. All this costs money, so Israelis do pay more for their water and there is a punitive water price for anything above a legally defined level of domestic per capita water.

Under the Palestinian Authority, it is all the opposite. Up to 30% of their water has been estimated to go lost in the systems that deliver their water. Waste water is released to pollute the Palestinian Authority’s land and some of it flows downhill to pollute Israel as well. What is recycled, as in Tveit’s case, are just dirty old water lies. While the Palestinian Authority (PA) lacks a coast, Oslo II did permit it to exploit the eastern mountain aquifer, which it barely does. In addition, very large numbers of Palestinians either do not pay water bills or simply steal water by illegal connections to the water grid. It is the same with Palestinian electricity: bills are not paid and illegal connections are made with impunity.

Rather than enforce whatever laws it has, the Palestinian Authority simply orders more water and electricity from the Israeli grids. Yet it, too, does not pay its bills: it is typically hundreds of millions of shekels in arrears.

Israel spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the last few years to build water desalination plants on its Mediterranean coast, so that now Israel has an abundance of water. At the same time, Palestinian propagandists constantly disseminate false accusations that Israel steals Palestinian water. Pictured above, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro tours the Hadera Desalination Plant on July 26, 2012. (Image source: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv)

And do not let anyone deceive you with claims that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are stealing Palestinian water. The major settlement blocks have been connected to the Israeli water grid, so they are receiving and paying for Israeli water.

The third claim taken by Tveit from EWASH is that “only 1.5% of the applications by the Palestinians for digging wells and other water facilities in Area C have been approved by Israeli authorities over the past 4 years.” Anyone with an understanding of hydrology should applaud this fact, if fact it be. Area C (the Palestinian population of which has always been small) comprises arid or semi-arid regions, where the sinking of wells has to be strictly controlled.

This situation can be seen in Gaza. Here the natural rock formations are the reverse: rainwater falling in Israel is funnelled underground to Gaza. That is why Gaza was a fruitful oasis throughout millennia of human history. Since the Palestinian Authority was set up in Gaza in 1993 (under the Oslo I Accord), and since Hamas seized power in 2007, the proliferation of uncontrolled well-drilling by Palestinians has led to a drop in ground water level and an encroachment of sea water. It has made the ground water undrinkable. The Gazans have destroyed God’s gift, taken from Israel and given to them. So they now only import drinkable water from water-thrifty Israel.

The WCC’s Seven Weeks of Water will be in effect Seven Weeks of Brainwashing. As the WCC’s dirty water pours into member churches, it will pollute the minds of naïve ignorant Christians and it will be lapped up by pretend-Christian Israel haters, as if they were giving themselves shots of a Class A drug. As for the miseries of Middle East Christians, the WCC will succeed, as usual, in removing them from the agenda for the sake of “Palestine.”

Regarding Tveit himself, he no longer has any excuse for repeating lies. If he truly was utterly ignorant of the truth, he can show it by admitting ignorance hitherto, expressing remorse and cancelling his seven wet weeks. We have no confidence, however, that any such thing as a true evaluation of the matter is of any interest to him and his like.

One of Tveit’s predecessors, Konrad Raiser, did once admit that the WCC had wrongly disregarded the truth. It had done so, he said, in its attitude to Soviet dissidents. But his was merely a sin of omission, easier to regret. In any case, he admitted it only after he had left office and the Soviet Union had disappeared.

The current WCC has multiplied sins of commission by founding an alphabet soup of subsidiaries that militate against Israel: EAPPI, KP, EWN, PJP… (never mind the inventive titles that they stand for). EAPPI, for instance, recruits volunteers from churches all over the world to have their heads stuffed for three months with Palestinian allegations. (Three months – because that is the longest visa that Israel grants to visitors who claim to be tourists.) The well-intentioned volunteers are afforded no opportunity of verifying those accusations against Israel. They are then obliged to spend another three months touring their own churches and repeating the allegations. Truth is not merely ignored, it is of systemic insignificance.

Malcolm Lowe is a Welsh scholar specialized in Greek philosophy, the New Testament and interfaith relations.

World Council of Churches Demonizes Israel – Again Does the German Protestant Church Know What It Is Doing? by Thomas Smith

  • Usually, in regular Lenten services, solemn memories of divine mercy on the sinners of the world take center stage for Christians. But not in this liturgy. Center stage was instead given to committing a sin of evil speech: launching a lie about an Israeli-made water shortage suffered by Palestinians. The lie is a sin in which all the member churches of the WCC are invited to participate.

  • Those leaders of Protestant churches, turned into political propagandists, used the pulpit of Jerusalem unjustly to call upon the Protestant faithful worldwide to listen to Palestinian water libels against the State of Israel.
  • This liturgy abused the biblical readings as a means of invigorating the equally false Kairos Palestine message, that Israel takes the Land of Palestine and has no right to be where it is.
  • A close look shows no scientific analysis, neither of water distribution nor of water politics for the territories of Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
  • The Palestinians certainly are experiencing a water crisis; the question is to what extent are they themselves are responsible for it, and to what extent are their own leaders responsible for keeping them as victims for effective international “marketing.”

On February 10 (Ash Wednesday in the Western Christian calendar), the Palestinian Lutheran Bishop, Munib Younan, on behalf of the World Council of Churches (WCC), launched the Lenten Campaign of the Ecumenical Water Network. Entitled “Seven Weeks for Water,” it was presented at the (German) Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Younan — a “yes-signatory/no-signatory” of the infamous document published by Kairos Palestine in 2009 — was flanked by other well-known supporters of Palestinian agitation against Israel:

  • Dr. Antje Jackelen, the Archbishop of Sweden, (another “yes-advocate/no-advocate” of the document)
  • Rev. Dr. Olaf Fykse Tveit, the General Secretary of the WCC (he heads the body that generated Kairos Palestine and continues to be its main sponsor)
  • Mrs. Hind Khoury, the current Secretary General of Kairos Palestine; also a Palestinian economist from Bethlehem and PLO delegate general to France 2006-10)
  • Mr. Dinesh Suna, the Coordinator of the Ecumenical Water Network

The Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem, Israel. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

It was an impressive group of seasoned activists for Palestine who gathered for a ten-page prefabricated liturgy during an hour-long church service. The few people in the pews were to be sensitized about an alleged injustice to the Palestinian people: the supposed deprivation of rightful quantities of water by supposedly evil Israelis. In order to bring some action into this otherwise flow of distorted information, each participant got a cross of ash on his forehead — possibly one of the few remnants of the Christian custom of Lent.

In regular Lenten services, for seven weeks until Easter, solemn memories of divine mercy on the sinners of the world take center stage for Christians. But not in this liturgy. Center stage was instead given solemnly to committing a sin of evil speech: launching a lie about an Israeli-made water shortage suffered by Palestinians, a sin that all present were invited to commit daily for the next seven weeks; a sin in which all the member churches of the WCC are invited to participate.

Those leaders of the Protestant churches, turned into political propagandists without even any hindrance, used the pulpit of Jerusalem unjustly to call upon the Protestant faithful worldwide to listen to Palestinian water libels against the State of Israel. This liturgy abused the biblical readings as a means of invigorating the equally false Kairos Palestine message, that Israel takes the Land of Palestine and has no right to be where it is.

The WCC acolytes who gathered at the Redeemer Church are now set up to spread this propaganda through a confusing network of seemingly distinct organizations, all of which turn out — on closer inspection — to be WCC subsidiaries.

Two organizations were highlighted: first, the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace (PJP), launched in 2013 at the 10th WCC Assembly in South Korea. The PJP in Jerusalem was accompanied by three strategic support groups: the “Theological Study Group,” the “Reference Group,” and the “International Research Group.” Second, the Ecumenical Water Network (EWN), launched in 2008 as a network of churches and Christian organizations, to keep watch on water access. Although PJP and EWN seem to be two different entities, the WCC’s press center advertised its Seven Weeks for Water campaign as a

“pilgrimage of water justice in the Middle East, with specific reference to Palestine. The Biblico-theological reflections and resources for the seven weeks will be based on the water crisis in Middle East region and take into consideration issues of justice and peace.”

That is, the work of PJP and EWN is closely interlinked. Both groups, in fact, are committed to the Palestinian cause and can be best understood as parts of the WCC-sponsored network that implements the Kairos Palestine agenda.

A close look at the EWN website shows no scientific analysis, neither of water distribution nor of water politics for the territories of Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). The EWN material also shows no reference to any of the existing water distribution analyses in Israel (e.g.: here and here). Neither is the well-documented mismanagement of water by the Palestinian Authority mentioned, nor is Israel’s just and generous over-the-quota water support for the PA areas.

The aim of the water campaign clearly appears to spring from an unjust and unsubstantiated discrimination against the State of Israel, as propagated in the Kairos Palestine statement. The intent of launching the Seven Weeks for Water campaign was unashamedly addressed by Tveit in his sermon,

“As the WCC’s Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace is focused on issues of the Middle East, particularly in this year, we hope your stories and struggle for justice and peace will become the stories and struggle for the churches around the world. May this Lenten season help us to reflect on these issues more deeply. May the Seven Weeks for Water during this Lent help us to highlight the water crisis in Palestine and other places in the world in desperate need for more clean water.”

Such Palestinian narratives had been collected, a short time before the services at the Redeemer Church, under the watchful eyes of Bishop Younan, when the “International Research Group” met in Bethlehem. Dinesh Suna wrote on his Facebook page:

“The IRG meeting of the WCC’s Pilgrimage of justice and Peace started today at Bethlehem. To set the tone of the discussion we went to listen to stories of struggle to end occupation of Palestine by Israel. It was quite a touching moment for us to hear these stories…”

Did these people ever meet with Israelis, as well? Did the “International Research Group” ever research the countless academic water analyses, which are freely available on-line? There is no reference that either activity ever took place.

Instead, we are informed, the WCC’s PJP is organizing “two strategically important groups” in “the Holy Land” between February 9-17. One is PJP’s “Theological Study Group” at the Roman Catholic St. Anne’s Church in Jerusalem on February 9-11, “in order to deepen the theology for accompanying PJP.”

The other is PJP’s “Reference Group” in Bethlehem, February 12-17, presumably for parading more “eyewitnesses of the water crisis.” The Palestinians certainly are experiencing a water crisis; the question is, or should be, for their sake, to what extent are they themselves are responsible for it, and to what extent are their own leaders responsible for keeping them as victims to have them appear more wretched for effective international “marketing.”

Tveit and his WCC staff accompany both groups. The point of this money-intensive travel of those well-salaried clergy-cum-politicians is not to solve any misery. Rather, it is, as Tveit sermonized: “we hope your stories and struggle for justice and peace will become the stories and struggle for the churches around the world.”

In short, the WCC invites the Christian world to join in an assault upon the State of Israel. This is the actual underlying message of Kairos Palestine and PJP’s Seven Weeks for Water campaign.

Predictably, WCC’s PJP projects will find any number of young, enthusiastic, uninformed and naive Christian followers to deceive. And the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem is just a perfect location for launching more and more of such initiatives. How curious.

Also curious is that the German Protestant Church, owner of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem, and committed to reconciliation with Israel, seems to tolerate WCC approaches against Israel, under the local auspices of the Palestinian Bishop. Is Bishop Younan just a willing fig leaf for German Protestant Church agitation against Israel? Or does the German Protestant Church not know what is going on in its own church in Jerusalem?

Thomas Smith is a scholar based in the Middle East.

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