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May 16, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 9964

Palestinian Catholic Priest Living In West Bank Incites Terror Against Israel: 'The Gun Of The Resistance Fighter Will Light Our Way'; Hamas Is The Sole Legitimate Representative Of The Palestinians

May 16, 2022
Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 9964

Manuel Musallam, a Palestinian Catholic priest who is presently living in the town of Bir Zeit in the West Bank, but who until 2009 served as pastor at the Holy Family Church in Gaza,[1] is known for his support for Hamas and frequently calls for armed struggle and terrorism against Israel.  Musallam's inciting rhetoric has been especially intense in the last few weeks, against the backdrop of the terrorist attacks in Israel and the violence in Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa compound, which Hamas is encouraging. On his Facebook page, Musallam posts messages on a daily basis urging the Palestinians to shift from defense to offense, to take up arms in order to liberate "all of Palestine, from the river to the sea," and to die as martyrs for this cause. Recently, Musallam praised the April 7, 2022 deadly shooting in Tel Aviv in which three Israelis were murdered, and justified that axe murder of three other Israelis in the town of Elad.


Manuel Musallam (Source: Facebook .com/ManuelMusallam)

The following are examples of Facebook messages posted by Musallam in the recent weeks encouraging and praising terror and martyrdom, as well as details on his ties to Hamas.

Musallam Encourages Armed Resistance And Martyrdom: "We Are All Potential Resistance Fighters And Martyrs" 

As mentioned, Manuel Musallam frequently posts Facebook messages[2] echoing Hamas' terrorist incitement and propaganda,[3] and encourages the Palestinian "resistance fighters" to carry out attacks against Israelis. On May 9, 2022, he wrote: "Oh Palestinian, courageous resistance fighter! Stand fast in Jerusalem, in Al-Aqsa and in our Church of the Sepulcher, for they are all yours… The security coordination [with Israel] is not sacred.[4] What is sacred is the coordination between the resistance [forces] and the resistance fighters. What is sacred is confrontation, not negotiations. The resistance has fully realized that it is time to shift from resistance and self-defense to a new phase that will take it towards offence and towards the stage of liberation."

On May 5, 2022 Musallam wrote in a similar vein: "Neither the Oslo [Accords] nor normalization will show us the way to Jerusalem. Only the gun of the resistance fighter will light our way. The feet of the barbarians have defiled the soil of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa, [the Churches of] the Sepulcher and of the Nativity, and the Sanctuary of Abraham [i.e., the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron]. Only you, the resistance fighter, can cleanse them with the bullets from your gun…"  


Musallam's May 5 Facebook post

On May 4, Musallam wrote in praise of the willingness to die as a martyr: "…We are all potential martyrs and resistance fighters for Jerusalem. If [Jerusalem] endures, so will we, and if it is lost, l we will be lost as well. Resistance is the honor of Jerusalem and Palestine." In an April 25 post he stated: "Israel is nothing but a snowstorm that has blown over our land, [but] it will encounter the sun and the flames of the resistance, and melt away… It is the resistance fighters and their blood that will rid us of Israel… If Israel does not lay down its weapons today, [our] weapons will eliminate it…" A post from April 13 conveyed a similar message: "…Let us all die honorable, strong and proud for the sake of Al-Aqsa and [the Church of] the Sepulcher, rather than hand over their keys to the Zionists. The most important lesson we are learning from the steadfastness of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa is that power is [in the hands of] the people… If the Zionists realize their aim of praying at the Al-Aqsa compound and their talk about making Passover sacrifices there, this will mean [the success of] their deceitful [plan] to take over [Al-Aqsa] or demolish it in order to build their false temple in its place. If we keep silent over their insolence, we forfeit our right to oppose them in the future…" 

Support For The Murder Of Israelis In Tel Aviv And Elad

In addition to his general support for armed resistance, Musallam has specifically praised some of the deadly terror attacks that were recently carried out against Israelis. On April 8, 2022, one day after the shooting perpetrated by a Palestinian gunman in central Tel Aviv, in which three Israeli civilians were killed, Musallam wrote: "When one armed Palestinian youth proudly marches into Tel Aviv, all of Israel quakes with fear… A Palestinian with a rifle in Tel Aviv brings Jerusalem tidings of liberation."  On May 7, 2022, following the attack in Elad, in which two Palestinians attacked passersby with axes, killing three, Musallam wrote: "The Torah says, 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth'… Listen, O world. Al-Muzayra'a was a Palestinian village [whose residents] were expelled. It was located north of the city of Lod and south of [the village of] Majdal Yaba, 15 km northeast of Ramla… In 1998 the new religious Zionist settlement of Elad was built over its ruins. The world was silent over the crime of the destruction of that village and the expulsion of its residents…

"As fate would have it, two Palestinians attacked the settlement with an axe and a gun, killing three men and wounding several more. This crime was condemned by the world and by the leaders of some Arab states. In fact, even the president of the Palestinian state [Mahmoud 'Abbas] condemned the murder of Israeli and Palestinian civilians alike, making no distinction between them. The truth is that the murder of civilians is [indeed] a crime, but the honorable president ['Abbas] is unable to make Israel condemn the killing of Palestinian civilians. Has time erased the crime that Israel committed when it expelled and humiliated the people of that village and destroyed it…? O oppressive world, enact justice… If Israel continues to commit crimes against us and against our holy sites, the youths of Palestine will cause it to reap death, as happened [in Elad]. Invaders are not entitled to expel villagers and destroy villagers in war, and [if they do], the people of the holy land are entitled to take revenge."   

Manuel Musallam: Hamas, Which Manufactures Rockets To Target Tel Aviv, Is Our Leader And Our Crowning Glory

As mentioned, Musallam is known for his stated support for Hamas and its path, and enjoys Hamas' support in return. For example, on January 16, 2022, a delegation of Hamas representatives in the West Bank visited his home to express the movement's appreciation of his activism and thank him "for his efforts in promoting the Palestinian cause, strengthening national unity and fostering good relations between Muslims and Christians."[5]


Hamas delegation visiting Musallam in his West Bank home (Source: Safa.ps, January 16, 2022)

In a December 11, 2021 interview with Hamas' mouthpiece Al-Risala, Musallam asserted that it is Hamas, rather than the PLO, that leads and represents the Palestinian people: "Hamas, as a resistance [movement], represents the power imbued in the Palestinian people… It is a beacon that illuminates the lives of the Palestinians and lights their way to liberation… and the rifle that the Palestinian wields to liberate his land." Musallam stressed, "I am not a member of Hamas, but I love  it because it [represents] my people. It is our pride and our strength and we must defend it everywhere against those who try to persecute it from within and without.  Hamas," he added, "must continue to be an opponent and rival of [the supporters of the] Oslo [Accords], as well as the enemy and rival of Israel, and it must continue to adhere to the principle of liberating Palestine – all of Palestine, from the river to the sea." Musallam stated further that Hamas, "which manufactured rockets to target Tel Aviv, is our crowning glory. It is our leader and our sole legitimate representative… As Palestinians – Muslims and Christians – we must act as the spearhead [protecting] Hamas against from external enemies…"[6]

In an April 13, 2021 statement to the Hamas daily Filastin, Musallam called on the movement to establish "a Christian information center that can deal with the media slander against it… and with the attempts of many elements to demonize it." He expressed opposition to negotiations with Israel, and reiterated that the Palestinians' only option is "clandestine resistance led by the people, which will force the occupation and the settlers to leave our land." He added: "That is the only way to regain the land, without considering the countries [of the world] or relying on any political plan."[7]

 

[1] Lpj.org, Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), January 5, 2007.

[2] All quotes are from Facebook.com/Msgr.ManuelMusallam.

[4] This is a reference to a statement by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud 'Abbas on the importance of the security coordination with Israel.

[5] Safa.ps, January 16, 2022.

[6] Alresalah.ps, December 11, 2021.

[7] Felesteen.ps, April 13, 2021.

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