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2003-05-06

"It’s Clear That Islam Is On the Way to Disappearing": The Words of Israeli Tourism Minister Benny Elon, Who Is Set to Lobby Christian Fundamentalists Close to President Bush Against the Middle East P

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Palestinian and Israeli extremists are doing everything they can to sabotage the US-backed so-called "road map to peace".

Palestinian gunmen last night shot dead an Israeli settler and wounded two others in the West Bank. The attack came just hours after U.S. envoy William Burns met with recently installed Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. Burns told Abbas and other senior Palestinian official they must make every effort to stop attacks on Israelis. Burns said this is necessary to ensure progress on the US-backed so-called "road map" to peace.

Meanwhile, Israeli Tourism Minister Benny Elon has arrived in the U.S. to lobby Congress and Christian fundamentalists against the US-backed 'roadmap.' Elon is scheduled to hold a news conference tomorrow in which he will present a plan of his own. The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reports Elon’s plan will call for the establishment of a Palestinian state–but not in the Occupied Territories. He will say the Palestinians should establish their country in Jordan. Elon said in a statement: "Our stay in Judea and Samaria is not temporary." Judea and Samaria are ancient Jewish names for the occupied West Bank.

Elon is planning to lobby prominent Christian fundamentalists close to President Bush. An Israeli government spokesman told the AFP these religious leaders include Christian Coalition President Roberta Combs, former presidential candidate Gary Bauer and Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network, who once said that "God gave the land to the descendants of Israel. It was not given to Palestine."

The Ha’aretz reports Alon said: "It’s clear that Islam is on the way to disappearing. What we are now seeing across the Muslim world is not a powerful surge of faith but the dying embers of Islam. How will it disappear? Very simply. Within a few years a Christian crusade against Islam will be launched, which will be the major event of this millennium. Obviously, we will be up against quite a large problem when only the two great religions of Judaism and Christianity remain, but that’s still a long way off."

  • Daniel Ben Simon, journalist with the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz.
  • Elaine Hagopian, professor emeritus of Sociology at Simmons College in Boston. Host on Arabic Community Television in Boston. Syrian Arab/Armenian background.
  • John Grebe, producer of Boston College radio show, "Sounds of Dissent" (WZBC 90.3 FM in Boston, Saturdays at noon) and author of "Rev. Pat Robertson in the Temple: Channeling the Word to the Infidels," published on CounterPunch.org.
  • Marty Federman, arrested at Temple Beth Shalom in Framingham, MA at a Pat Robertson event, currently a Jewish educator, co-chair of Visions forPeace with Justice in Israel/Palestine."

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