Discussion in 'Israel and Palestine' started by P F Tinmore, Apr 29, 2012.
The last Christian village in the Holy Land - 60 Minutes Overtime - CBS News
In Gaza only about 2,000 Christians live among more than one million Muslims. The population has declined as Hamas persecution has intensified.
On June 14, 2007, the Rosary Sisters School and Latin Church in the Gaza Strip were ransacked, burned and looted by Hamas gunmen who used rocket-propelled grenades to storm the buildings. Father Manuel Musalam, leader of the Latin community in Gaza, expressed outrage that copies of the Bible were burned, crosses destroyed and computers and other equipment stolen. The same year, the owner of Gaza’s only Christian bookstore was murdered. 80
“I expect our Christian neighbors to understand the new Hamas rule means real changes. They must be ready for Islamic rule if they want to live in peace in Gaza,” said Sheik Abu Saqer, leader of Jihadia Salafiya, an Islamic outreach movement that opened a “military wing” to enforce Muslim law in Gaza. The application of Islamic law, he said, includes a prohibition on alcohol and a requirement that women be covered at all times while in public.
The Christian position throughout the territories has always been precarious, which is why many have fled the Palestinian Authority.
Rev. Harter was told in whispers, in the privacy of Christian Palestinian families’ homes, about the fears they have of remaining in their towns and living there under the control of a Palestinian state. During his earlier trips, members of the Arab Christian community had expressed great fear for their safety as Israel withdrew from the Bethlehem area and handed it over to Arafat and the Palestinian Authority (PA). According to Harter, Christians under PA control are intimidated into speaking out against Israel and are abused if they seem to accuse the PA of any wrongdoing.
Palestinian Christians, according to researcher Justus Reid Weiner of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, have faced uninterrupted persecution since the Oslo Accords were implemented and Israel handed over the territories to the PA. Weiner asserts that the “very existence of the 2000 year-old Christian community” is in doubt. As a minority in a society governed by strict adherence to Islamic religious law, their leadership has also been intimidated and has abandoned them — choosing to curry favor with the PA leadership rather than acknowledge and speak out against the ever-increasing suffering of Christians under the Palestinian Authority and the more militant Muslim-led Hamas in Gaza.
Lacking protection and subjected to continued abuse including murder, robbery, rape, and physical assault, Christians have begun to emigrate from the Palestinian territories on a massive scale. Back in the 1990s, when this writer asked the late mayor of Bethlehem, Elias Freij, where the Christians of his city are, he pointed west and said, “You can see them in Santiago de Chile.”* Former U.S. Congressman J.C. Watts attributed the departure of the Palestinian Christians to having been “driven out by the steady persecution of the PA and the realization that they will face worse treatment under a possible future Palestinian state.”
Article 5 of the draft constitution of the Palestinian Authority unequivocally declares: “In the State of Palestine Islam will be the official religion. … Sharia Islamic law will be the primary source of legislation.” The best that Christians (Jews do not live under PA control) can expect from the PA is dhimmitude — the discriminatory social and legal status “provided” to the Peoples of the Book.
PJ Media » Christians Suffer Under the Palestinian Authority
The only thin Holy over there is the fact that the stories that created it are slap full of holes.
Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) – Palestinian Christians are suffering “severe blows” at the hands of Muslims, a Palestinian wrote in an exceptionally candid column about the situation of Christians in Arab countries.*“Let us be honest with ourselves and courageously say out loud that Palestinian Christians are taking many severe blows, yet are suffering in silence so as not to attract attention,” wrote Abd Al-Nasser Al-Najjar in the P.A. daily.
Privately, Christians admit to job losses, land seizures, attacks on churches, intimidation, torture, beatings, kidnappings, forced marriage and sexual harassment of Christian women. Some Christians have been killed. In his column on October 25, Al-Najjar, who is himself a Muslim and a regular contributor to the official P.A. newspaper, criticized the Muslim persecution of Christians in Arab countries, particularly in Palestinian Authority-administered areas.
“Over the past few years, several of my Christian friends have told me of the harm they have suffered, including various threats, even death threats, for trying to gain access to their lands after they were taken over by influential Bethlehem residents.* “Furthermore, there has been an attempt to marginalize Christian culture in Palestine, even though it is rich and deeply rooted [there]. This began with [accusations] of unbelief [against Christians] -- a move that ultimately harmed Palestinian society as a whole,” Al-Najjar wrote.
“We continue to instill a horrific culture in our children, one that sees Christians as infidels,” Al-Najjar wrote. He called for a “national awakening” to restore the rights of the Christians and preserve the “demographic balance.”Tens of thousands of Arab Christians have fled the West Bank and Gaza Strip over the years. In Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, the Christian exodus has been most acute. In 1990, 60 percent of the population there was Christian. Today, some estimates say 20 percent or less of the city’s population is Christian. Only 1.5 percent of the population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is Christian.
“[Let us] remember that the tribes of Arabia were Christian. The best writers and poets were Christian, as were [many] warriors and philosophers... It is they who bore the banner of pan-Arabism. The first Palestinian university was established by Christians.
Al-Najjar’s assessment of the situation is backed up by the State Department’s 2008 International Religious Freedom Report.
Palestinian Christians Suffering
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