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Sec-Gen. of PA Jerusalem council: Jesus was the first Palestinian Martyr

Official PA TV program Picture Story on Hilarion Capucci, the Melkite Greek Catholic archbishop, presented by Muwaffaq Matar, columnist for the official PA daily.

Official PA TV host Muwaffaq Matar: “Hilarion Capucci is a model believer, a member of the Christian church who believes in the right of the Palestinian people to life, freedom and independence. He participated in [that] struggle. The Israeli occupation authorities accused him of belonging to the Palestinian [National] Liberation Movement, Fatah, and of smuggling weapons from Lebanon to the Palestinian interior, the 1948 territories (i.e., Israel) – to the historic and natural Palestinian land. He met with President Mahmoud Abbas, who awarded him the Medal of Honor, first class – Palestine’s highest decoration (sic. – actually, Capucci was awarded the Jerusalem Medal, which the PA typically awards to non-Palestinians) in recognition of his struggle to strengthen the Arab character of the Holy Land, Palestine.”

Secretary-General of the Islamic-Christian Council for Jerusalem and the Holy Places Hanna Issa: “The story of the dear and beloved archbishop Capucci began when he joined the Palestinian National Liberation Movement [Fatah]. He was primarily in contact with brother Abu Jihad (Khalil Al-Wazir), who was in charge of the Occupied Palestinian Land portfolio.”

Official PA TV host Muwaffaq Matar: “Archbishop Capucci is a model of the fighting believer or the believing fighter. How could he – and I want to hear this story from you, for in the days you were with him, he must have told you personal things, about [his] suffering in prison, and how he saw the cause of Palestinian liberation – how did he succeed in balancing the values of the Church – which always maintains, of course, that even the enemy must be treated peacefully – with the legal right of this nation to resist – an option which was widely believed in, at least during the period of the armed struggle. How did he succeed in balancing these two options?”

Hanna Issa: “He said: ‘First of all, don’t forget that the first Martyr (Shahid) was Palestinian – Jesus the Messiah. Look how they tortured, crucified and killed him. When I was in jail, I challenged the prison guard, challenged all of them, because I support a just cause. I was not involved with terrorism; I was involved with resistance, in order to give the people back what it deserves. This right is guaranteed according to law and religion. I asked him [Capucci], ‘What about religion and the Church? The Church tells you: Don’t interfere irresponsibly.’ He told me: ‘No, the Church does not prohibit me from interfering. Jesus’ disciples – how did they behave towards him? Matthew, Marc, Luke, John. They fought alongside him and suffered for him, and I suffer for the Palestinian people.”

Notes: Hilarion Capucci – former Greek-Catholic Archbishop of Jerusalem who exploited his status as a religious leader to smuggle weapons to terrorists. He was arrested in 1974 and sentenced to 12 years in prison. He was released in 1977 due to the Vatican’s intervention. In October 2013, PA Chairman awarded him the Jerusalem Medal, an honor the PA awards to non-Palestinians.

Abu Jihad (Khalil Al-Wazir) was a founder of Fatah and deputy to Yasser Arafat. He headed the PLO terror organization's military wing and planned many deadly Fatah terror attacks killing 125 Israelis. This included the most lethal in Israeli history, the hijacking of a bus and killing of 37 civilians, 12 of them children.