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"Whether it's martryrdom or any other means, we are part of it," says Orthodox priest
Attallah Hana, a priest CNN calls "a leading Greek Orthodox figure in Jerusalem," has always been a vocal and adamant spokesman for the Palestinian cause. He's even been the subject of major controversy before, and the Jerusalem Post says he's a loose cannon the church wants to rein in.

They'll really want to rein him in now. Gulf News, a newspaper in the United Arab Emirates, isn't exactly a paragon of unbiased journalism, but if even half of the comments it quotes Hana as saying are true it's amazing:

As you know, political parties in Palestine agree to the continuation of the intifada, which includes different approaches of struggle. Some freedom fighters adopt martyrdom or suicide bombing, while others opt for other measures. But all these struggles serve the continued intifada for freedom. Therefore, we support all these causes. … It is the Israeli Zionist regime that is committing genocide in Palestine by killing innocent women and children. Palestinian people have the right to defend themselves from the Israeli barbarism and atrocities. … We are part of the intifada, so you don't expect us to keep distance and watch. We are in the struggle, whether it's martyrdom or any other means, we are part of it.

Expect not a few calls for the Greek Orthodox Church to distance itself from this call for more suicide bombers. In a New York Times column today, Nicholas D. Kristof (who recently called evangelicals "the new internationalists") remarked that "nobody so distorts, denigrates and defames Islam as radical Muslims themselves." Indeed, when clerics like Hana use their religious platform to support suicide bombers, the same may be said for ...

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June 2002

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