The punch-up began after Greek and Russian Orthodox believers took offence at a door left open by members of the Franciscan order during a service.
At least five people were injured in the fracas - including Israeli police officers called in to quell it.
The six Christian sects sharing the church have come to blows before.
In 2002, monks from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Coptic Church of Egypt - two groups which for years have been vying for control of the church's roof - fought over the position of a chair on the roof.
The past two weeks continued to be tumultuous in Iraq. More hostages taken, more hostages beheaded, more suicide bombings, more sabotage, more fighting, all unfolding against the background of an increasingly bitter U.S. presidential election campaign and a chorus of intelligence experts, politicians and pundits expressing grave doubts about the future of the country.
And then there was the media coverage. In the midst of all the carnage and chaos overflowing the front pages of our newspapers and the TV screens, Newsweek chose to run an overview of the current situation in Iraq, titled "It's Worse Than You Think." Having for quite some time closely followed the mainstream media's reporting from Iraq, it struck me that this is hardly possible.
There are two Iraqs at the moment, both equally real and consequential. The Iraq of never-ending strife--the insurgency, terrorism, crime and all-too-slow reconstruction makes for interesting news stories and exciting footage. The Iraq of steady recovery, returning normalcy and a dash of hope rarely does.
By the way, the Newsweek story did not mention even one positive development in Iraq. So here is another story--"Iraq: Not Quite as Bad as You Thought." Read the stories below in addition to--not to the exclusion of--all the bad news. Only by knowing both sides of the story you can make an informed judgment about how things in Iraq are really going.
Hanania, a refreshment course from some Lebanese survivalists who endured the destruction and killing that Arafat carried out in Lebanon will do you good. Why do Christians insist to taste the bitter herb in order to wake up and smell Arafat to who he is â€“ a liar, thief, gangster, thug, terrorist, killer, evil, and a Hitler reincarnate? Just look at his foaming mouth when he speaks. I can't believe that a "Christian" even married this anti-Semitic gangster. Let's not forget, even Hanan Ashrawi (another Christian) supports Hamas as "an intricate part of the PA". The very organization Hanania calls terrorist.
What about Habash, another Christian and baby killer? Last I remember a Christian emissary from Palestine, Father Emil Salayta the head of the Christian Patriarchate schools in Palestine stated to me on record when I asked him, do you think putting bombs on buses is valid? To which he responded, "Israel must be destroyed by whatever means." So much for his holiness. Hanania, do you agree with these "Christians"?
Hanania, I guarantee you one thing - soon you will wake up and smell the Hummus, just as the Lebanese Christians did - but it was too late. I urge you to look at the streets of Bethlehem, Ramallah, Hebron and ask yourself: is the lack of peace a result of Israel's existence or the existence of the PA, Hamas, and the mosques which spew daily poison telling kids to blow themselves up and exchange their lives for sex in heaven?
You say, "I speak out against Israeli aggressions and violations of basic rights and Israel's state sponsored terrorism."
Then you say "I speak out against anti-Semitism."
Terrorism is the process of targeting civilians for the sake of a political cause.
You cannot tell me that when my relatives were killed during the raid on Muhammad Abayat in Beit Sahur that Israel is a state sponsor of terrorism. No way. Civilians die in every raid. It was Abayat who put his stake in the midst of a heavy populated city. Again. I had relatives who were killed by these missiles, so were Iraqi civilians. These are not state sponsored terrorism, these are realities of war. A war waged daily on Israeli civilians ONLY. You live by the bomb you will die by a missile.
My cousin also was killed in the process of attempting to plant a bomb. He was brainwashed by the Arafat controlled mosques. Arafat and his religious cohorts are the guilty ones, they brainwash children.
This is the true "occupation", it's what occupies the minds of children and no thanks to Arafat and his "state" sponsored terror education and all for seeking "shahada" to go to heaven and have orgies with virgins....It's the same story we saw lately in Russian schools - hundreds killed.
The only thing I see here is "Palestinian state sponsored propaganda". Why should Israel offer Jerusalem to Arafat? Why create a Palestinian state? Why not a Turkish state? After all the Turks ruled that land much longer then the Arabs. The Arabs simply ruled that land for less than 100 years. Would Hanania care to refute this historic fact? Why only when Jews went home that you wanted a state? Why did the PA Charter forget to include this "state"? And only after the Six Days War did they insist on making Judea "Palestine"?
Why I as a Palestinian would want such a state after all, things were so much better under Israeli control. We had more work, law and order, and FREEDOM of speech. Guns were not allowed for Arabs, yes. Arabs own guns now for the supposed PA Police. What do we have as a result - trigger happy teenagers shooting anyone they suspect. In other words, we made our towns a living hell. Why the double talk to create an Arab state, then complain when Israel closes the borders? You want the cake and eat it too?
If Hanania dares to say otherwise, I challenge him to curse Arafat in the streets of Ramallah and live. I dare he put an ad in Bethlehem local paper denouncing Hamas as a terrorist organization, then walk to Manger square holding the ad up in the air. Will you do it Hanania? Will you? You challenge the moderator, well, challenge me instead.
You want us to say that Israel can be bad - sure, just as bad as the U.S, Canada, Europe...We all have bads. All have sinned - remember. But when you compare the sins of the West and Israel with the evils of Arafat, Saddam, Quaddafi, Assad.. The scales tip faster then a catapult.
You can even curse Israel, especially here in America. Just keep in mind, that this is the second oldest profession. Freedom my friend cannot come by creating a state called Palestine which insists on Islam being the state's religion and Arabs only as the citizens. Can Jews live in this "state"? Does the Charter state so? Will we hear the Church bells in Bethlehem as usual? Will Arafat not "occupy" the Church of Nativity again? Will his PA thugs stop attacking the Christian and Jewish holy sites? Don't forget, Arafat and the PA promised to protect these, yet not a SINGLE holy site was spared.
Hanania, are you a Christian who would love your enemy? Are you willing to turn the other cheek? Do you care to tell us how you feel to all the destruction? Will you speak up against the destruction of the Joseph Tomb? Where are all the tourists that flocked from all over the globe to Bethlehem? They were fine under the occupation, they brought business to the Bethlehem locals. Why are they decreasing these days? Israel kept law and order. I even remember when a man cut his daughter's head in an honor killing in Ayda Refugee Camp on my way to school, Israel arrested the man, the whole town raised funds and bailed him out. The clan war between Al-Masri and Handal where Israelis saved Al-Handal's family right in front of my own eyes. My cousin, saved by a Jew as he drowned, yet he never thanked the Jew - why? It's against his Islamic upbringing. He hates Jews.
Representatives of the Anglican Peace and Justice Network announced in Jerusalem last week their intention to recommend that their church - with an estimated worldwide membership of 75 million Anglicans and Episcopalians - follow in the American Presbyterian church's footsteps and consider divesting itself from Israel.
Effectively this means declaring a boycott of firms who do business with Israel, thereby applying economic pressure in addition to moral censure.
Neither the Anglican delegation, nor the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the US last summer, apparently found anything disquieting in today's world aside from Israel. Islamic terrorism - including decapitations, suicide bombings, hostage-taking, and school sieges do not trouble these ecclesiastical entities. Neither do Palestinian bloodlust, Syrian tyranny, Iranian nuclear threats, Sudanese genocide, Saudi export and financing of terror, and much more.
Instead, while Western civilization is increasingly menaced, Israel - the sole democracy in the region - is singled out for rebuke and sanctions because it dares defend itself against those who would destroy it. In what moral universe are Israelis, who must defend every bus, cafe , and kindergarten against terrorists, more worthy of censure than the terrorists themselves?
Over the hum of a nearby generator, the men listened to the radio announcer read the girl's 16-page love letter. Then, the inevitable heartbreak came: The boy's parents forced him to marry someone else. And the men laughed as if this was the funniest thing they had ever heard in their lives.
"She is destroyed," said Mohammad Akram, roaring with laughter. "She is thrown in the river. I've been there too, you know? The boy and the girl, both of them, they are destroyed."
This radio show, with the uncatchy name "Young People and Their Problems," has become one of the most popular programs on the most popular radio station in Kabul, Radio Arman. The show's host reads letters from young people, mostly about tragic love stories of girls who loved boys who were married, of boys being forced to marry their cousins, of the cruelty of fickle hearts.
But the letters also speak of social problems in Afghanistan: the ravages of opium, the oppression of women, the fears of becoming a man's second wife. Letter writers, basically anonymous, tell stories of infidelity, rape, depression. One young woman wrote a letter before she killed herself. Her dying wish, which was honored, was to have her letter read on the program.
The letters make country-western songs seem uplifting. They occasionally seem impossible. One young woman wrote about her father's two marriages, which ended with her accidentally marrying her half-brother, without either of them knowing they were related.
Star-crossed teenagers speak as if they might just die if they cannot be with their intended. In many respects, they sound like teenagers anywhere, with an Afghan twist. Most doomed love stories are blamed on parents who force their children to marry other people, sometimes their cousins, a common practice in tribe-conscious Afghanistan.
Talking about the â€śmoderate Islamâ€?, Fiamma Nirenstein, [an Italian journalist who writes from Israel for the daily La Stampa] claims that in some Islamic societies moderation is in fact a reality; or at least, we can start to see a significant number of â€śmoderate Muslims and moderate Islamic communitiesâ€?. To back up her claim she quotes a Dubai television program on polygamy that is hosted by a woman. This, and some other isolated episodes give the illusion of the existence of a moderate Islam, compatible with our society and our secular thought and democracy. There is a common misconception among those who donâ€™t know Islam that Islam can be reformed and that a â€śmoderate Islamâ€? can be achieved. The reality is, however different. Moderate Islam is a myth and a nothing but a western illusion.
The Westerners consider those Muslims who do not blow themselves up, donâ€™t slaughter the infidels, or stone their women as â€śmoderateâ€?. On the other hand, these same â€śmoderatesâ€?, support Palestinian suicide bombers, justify the decapitations of innocent contractors and the stoning of the adulteress. Iâ€™ve never seen Muslims demonstrating against capital punishment for apostasy, against stoning, against the beheadings or the kidnapping of American or western civilians.
They are not concerned about the opinion of others about them and these barbaric acts perpetrated by their brethrens. Their thought is structured in such way that they accept such these barbaric teachings. They consider it right and natural to do whatever Muhammad or Allah commanded them to do.
It would be interesting to ask the â€śintellectualsâ€? and the so called â€śmoderate Muslimsâ€?, such as Tarik Ramadan, what they would do if their daughter married a Christian or an atheist or even worse, a Jew. What would they do if she decided to convert to any other religion or if she publicly declares her homosexuality? Would they still remain calm and â€śmoderateâ€??
When is the last time you heard about a demonstration on a university campus calling for the end of the Syrian occupation of Lebanon?
Syria has been occupying Lebanon by force of arms for more than 20 years. Its 20,000 foreign soldiers and hundreds of "intelligence officers" rule that Muslim-Christian nation with an iron fist.
No longer a democratic state -- as it was for decades under joint Christian-Muslim leadership -- Lebanon has become a terrorist state in which Hizbullah and other terrorist groups have a free hand to operate against Israeli and American civilians.
Syria and its surrogate terrorist groups sternly enforce the occupation with executions, assassinations, kidnappings, threats and military actions, while at the same time publicly denying that there is an occupation.
"An occupation suggests images of daily violence and hatred of the occupiers, which does not occur in Lebanon," claims an official Syrian statement.
That self-serving fabrication could have been issued by the Soviet Union when it denied it was occupying Czechoslovakia. Some occupations are enforced so ruthlessly that no public dissent or displays of hatred are tolerated.
The Syrians claim they were "invited" into Lebanon and have never been asked to leave, despite public opinion polls (which are anonymous) showing widespread opposition to their presence and improper influence on what remains of Lebanese politics.
Yet those who shed crocodile tears for the Palestinians -- whose leaders turned down statehood and the end of occupation of Gaza and some 96% of the West Bank in 2000-2001 -- remain silent over the Syrian occupation of Lebanon. Some, including the Palestinian leadership, even support it.
This should not be surprising because many of those same hypocrites also support the continuing occupation of Kurdistan by Turkey, Iraq and Syria, as well as the continuing occupation of Tibet by China.
Nor did they complain when the West Bank was occupied for nearly two decades by Jordan and the Gaza Strip by Egypt. It is not occupation they oppose; it is Israel they oppose.
They apply a double standard, singling out for condemnation only the Jewish state that offered to end its occupation in exchange for a peace that the Palestinian leadership refuses to accept so long as the Jewish state remains in existence.
A rare pro-democracy protest in Tehran gained momentum late on Sunday with hundreds of cars pouring onto the streets, blaring horns and provoking an appearance from hardline vigilantes, witnesses said.
Local residents said Persian-language television channels from the United States had been broadcasting callers throughout the day who had exhorted Iranians to turn out for demonstrations.
Two hundred riot police were drafted into central Tehran earlier in the day when more than 2,000 people started milling round the streets after a minor protest inspired by the U.S.-based channels, witnesses said.
"There have been callers from all over the place, even from places like Montreal, telling people to go out onto the streets," said one with access to satellite television.
Spontaneous protests demanding greater social freedoms are rare in the Islamic Republic.
Some of the crowd said they had turned out because of a call by the mystic Ahura Pirouz Khalegi Yazdi, who has predicted the fall of Iran's government on Oct. 1. He broadcasts on a California-based channel and promised to charter aircraft to bring home the Iranian diaspora from the United States.