Many Palestinians rejoiced and saw space shuttle Columbia tragedy as divine punishment of Israel and America

The Jerusalem Post (www.jpost.com) reports that many Arab Muslim Palestinians rejoiced over the space shuttle Columbia tragedy and believe it is part of some divine punishment of Israel and America:

God punished the space shuttle Columbia because its crew, which included an Israeli astronaut, was on an espionage mission against the Arab and Muslim nations, some Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip told The Jerusalem Post today.

Many did not share the feelings of their leaders, such as Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat who offered his condolences to the US over the Columbia tragedy.

"They were sent to space to spy on the Arabs and Muslims,"said Rudainah Salman, a 28-year-old schoolteacher from Ramallah. "I have no sympathy for the astronauts because they were doing something bad to us. Allah punished them because of their bad intentions. [...]

At the Kalandya refugee camp south of Ramallah, a group of young men sitting in a small restaurant said they felt happy when they heard the news of the space shuttle explosion.

"We heard that the Israeli was a pilot in the Israeli air force who had participated in the attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor," said Jamil Shehadeh, a 22-year-old mechanic. "God is great because this pilot has now been punished for the crime which he committed. I wish we will have more disasters like this in the US and Israel. Who do the Americans and Israelis think they are?"

One of his friends, Ayman Dweik, 19, said he heard "somewhere on TV" that the Columbia explosion was the first in a series of disasters that are expected to hit the US.

"They said on TV that the next strike is going to be when the sea opens and swallows one of the American warships that's on its way to attack Iraq. This is the will of Allah, that all the enemies of Islam shall be destroyed. People here say that the shuttle was on an espionage mission to gather information on the Arab and Muslim countries," Dweik said.

Palestinian TV is funded by the European Union. I copy the full article below.





Some Palestinians see shuttle disaster as divine punishment of Israel
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?
pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/Printer
Full&cid=1044162708682

God punished the space shuttle Columbia because its crew, which included an Israeli astronaut, was on an espionage mission against the Arab and Muslim nations, some Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip told The Jerusalem Post today.

Many did not share the feelings of their leaders, such as Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat who offered his condolences to the US over the Columbia tragedy.

"They were sent to space to spy on the Arabs and Muslims,"said Rudainah Salman, a 28-year-old schoolteacher from Ramallah. "I have no sympathy for the astronauts because they were doing something bad to us. Allah punished them because of their bad intentions. I hate the Americans and the Israelis because of what they are doing to our people."

Salim Najjar, a mosque preacher from a village near Jerusalem, told a group of Muslim worshippers that a "divine omnipotence" was behind the tragedy.

"This is a message from God to America and Israel that they must stop their aggression against the Arabs and Muslims," he said. "Israel and America are trying to control the world through their arrogance and with the help of military force. On Saturday they were reminded that God is there to protect the believers, the people of the Prophet Mohammed, God s blessing and peace be upon him."

At the Kalandya refugee camp south of Ramallah, a group of young men sitting in a small restaurant said they felt happy when they heard the news of the space shuttle explosion.

"We heard that the Israeli was a pilot in the Israeli air force who had participated in the attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor," said Jamil Shehadeh, a 22-year-old mechanic. "God is great because this pilot has now been punished for the crime which he committed. I wish we will have more disasters like this in the US and Israel. Who do the Americans and Israelis think they are?"

One of his friends, Ayman Dweik, 19, said he heard "somewhere on TV" that the Columbia explosion was the first in a series of disasters that are expected to hit the US.

"They said on TV that the next strike is going to be when the sea opens and swallows one of the American warships that s on its way to attack Iraq. This is the will of Allah, that all the enemies of Islam shall be destroyed. People here say that the shuttle was on an espionage mission to gather information on the Arab and Muslim countries," Dweik said.

A Christian shopkeeper in the Old City of Jerusalem said he was stunned to see that many of his colleagues expressed their joy at the tragedy. "I can't understand many of these people who say they are delighted that the space shuttle exploded," he said.

"This isn't a political issue. So what if an Israeli astronaut was on board. We need to deal with this subject on a human and scientific basis. This is a tragedy to all mankind. This is what I told my neighbors this morning. But many of them, especially those who are religious, believe that this is God's punishment for the US and Israel. No one here has regrets over the tragedy, and that's sad."

Posted by David Melle
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