The Emir of Qatar on Sunday opened the International Conference for the Defense of Jerusalem, where for the next three days Arabs and Westerners, Muslims and Christians will attack Israel's position that Jerusalem is its eternal, undivided capital.
The official program calls for discussing "the legal status of Jerusalem before and after the Israeli occupation [sic], the reality and the future of Jerusalem under occupation [sic], and the status of the holy places under international law."
Arab media reported that the conference is being held amid ongoing assaults on the Muslim-controlled Temple Mount by Israelis determined to "Judaize" the city.
There has been violence at the Temple Mount in recent days, but it has all originated on the Muslim side. Twice last week, Christian tour groups were stoned by Muslims while visiting the Temple Mount. The violence escalated on Friday, with Muslim worshippers attacking police throughout eastern Jerusalem, resulting in the death of at least one Muslim and the injuring of 11 Israelis.
But the Arab media rarely lets facts get the way of a good Israel-bashing story, and neither do the speakers at the conference in Qatar.
Opening the event was Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who declared, "The Israeli occupation authorities are using the ugliest and most dangerous means to implement plans to erase and remove the Arab-Islamic and the Christian character of east Jerusalem."
Many Arabs view the purchase of land and the building of homes by Jews in areas claimed as Islamic (or Christian) to be a violation of "human rights." Another group of people once held similar views. They were called Nazis.
It should come as little surprise that such a gathering would not be missed by the anti-Zionist Rev. Stephen Sizer, an Anglican vicar from Surrey, England.
Sizer was scheduled to present his paper "Jerusalem: The City of God in Christian Tradition," in which he attempts to use scripture to refute the idea that Jerusalem was given as part of an eternal heritage to the children of Israel.
Sizer, who will be a headline speaker at the upcoming Christ at the Checkpoint conference in Bethlehem (see our coverage here), is a vehement opponent of Christians who would use the Bible as a basis for supporting the Jewish restoration to their homeland.
Israeli Arab Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi, a former advisor to Yasser Arafat, was also at the opening of the conference, where he told Qatari media that "Israel is an occupying power in east Jerusalem and withholds the Palestinian people's freedom of religion."
A casual stroll through Jerusalem, where a multitude of churches and mosques operate freely, would be enough to discredit Tibi's allegations. What Israel does restrict is the entry of Muslim worshippers who regularly use the Temple Mount as high ground to launch stone attacks on Israeli Jews and foreign Christians. Although, to some Muslims, that is part of their faith, so perhaps Tibi has a point.
Also scheduled to address this international gathering to defend Jerusalem against the Jews were representatives of the UN, the Arab League, and popular Egyptian cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who advocates the subjugation of the world to Islam and the annihilation of the Jews.
That political and religious leaders from around the world would gather to wring their hands over Israel's control of Jerusalem should come as little surprise.
"I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves." - Zechariah 12:2-3
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