Published On: Tue, Sep 8th, 2015

Palestinians Angered by Israeli ‘Sanhedrin’ Decision to Put Pope Francis on Trial

Pope Francis reviews honor guard with Palestinian President Abbas during arrival ceremony at presidential palace in Bethlehem

A Palestinian member of the al-Fatah Revolutionary Council has condemned the self-declared Israeli Sanhedrin’s recent letter to Pope Francis, which demands that the pope rescind his recognition of the “State of Palestine” or face trial in Jerusalem.

The Sanhedrin — a contemporary version of the Second Temple-era Jewish religious High Court composed of 71 sages — decided to try the pontiff after the Vatican signed its first comprehensive treaty with the “State of Palestine, ” thereby officially recognizing its statehood. The treaty was ratified in May. reported the nascent Sanhedrin had also sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, calling him to trial for “criminal offenses” against the Jewish people. Both the pope and Obama have chosen to ignore the summonses, but the Sanhedrin’s cries have not gone unnoticed.

According to the Centre for Research in Globalization, Dimitri Diliani, a member of the al-Fatah Revolutionary Council, told the Felesteen online news service that the Sanhedrin’s letter to the pope included many false claims about the history of “Palestine” and seeks to rob the Palestinian people of their natural rights in their homeland. Diliani called on the Vatican and Catholic churches around the world to intervene and put an end to Israeli “arrogance, racism, and violations” against the Palestinian people and their land.

But Diliani’s claim seems to be inaccurate. In fact, there is only one reference to the Palestinian Authority in the Sanhedrin’s letter to the pope, and that is to refer to it as “an occupying entity.” The bulk of the Sanhedrin’s claim is that by recognizing the Palestinian state, the pope has denied the Holy Bible, which specifically grants the people of Israel the sole right to the Land of Israel.

The Sanhedrin calls on the Vatican to “remain true to that which is written in the Bible, in the name of the great prophets, ” and for the pope to “instruct the Vatican that the sole claimant of divine right to the Land of Israel is the nation of Israel.”

The Sanhedrin also objects to Pope Francis referring to president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, as an “angel of peace.” They point out that he is a Holocaust denier, the truth of which is made evident in Abbas’s book, “The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism, ” in which Abbas writes that Holocaust accounts were greatly exaggerated by Zionists, whom he claims collaborated with the Nazis.

The Israeli government has yet to respond to the Sanhedrin’s call for trial. Professor Hillel Weiss, the secretary of the Sanhedrin, expressed concern to that the government might intervene to prevent the trial from taking place in order to placate those, like Diliani, who oppose the process.

The Sanhedrin will bring Pope Francis to trial on Mount Zion in Jerusalem on Sept. 9, four days before Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year). He will be tried in absentia in a public trial open to all. Rabbi Yehoshua Hollander will be acting as the sanegor — defending counsel. Rabbi Yisrael Ariel and Rabbi Eliyahu Zini will preside over the court, which will be hearing witnesses and expert testimony.

Less than two weeks after the trial, on Sept. 22, Pope Francis will be hosted at the White House by Obama. The visit, coincidentally, will take place on the fast day of Yom Kippur, when Jewish tradition states that God finalizes judgment on all mankind.

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