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Thursday, 1 July 2010

Think of the Suffering Palestinian... Christians

*) Writing in the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Hussein Shubakshi, a Saudi columnist complains about Christian emigration from the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan and Syria which "has reached astonishing proportions." In Gaza and the West Bank, there is "a plan to eradicate the entire deeply-rooted Christian presence from its territories." There are 70,000 Palestinian Christian émigrés living in Chile, particularly in Santiago, the capital. Arabs from other areas emigrate to Europe, Australia, the U.S. and Canada.
That they are "openly and collectively" leaving by the thousands from Arab countries out of "fear, worry" and "society's failures," should be of grave concern, Shubakshi asserts

*) The owner of the private Al-Mahd (Nativity) TV station in Beit-Shahur, warned that, "15 years from now there will be no Christians left in Bethlehem. Then you will need a torch to find a Christian here."

*) In 1990, Christians comprised 60 percent of the population of Bethlehem. By 2001 they were 20 percent of the population. As a result, PA chairman Yasser Arafat appointed a Muslim as Governor for the Bethlehem District, and the bureaucratic, security and political apparatus was purged of Christians.

*) Muslims boycotted Christian businesses in Bethlehem's Nativity Square forcing many of them out of business. Approximately ten percent remained by paying extortion money to Muslim terrorists (i.e. Hamas). When a Christian owner of a café in Manger Square refused to be extorted, he was charged with collaborating with the Israelis, then later shot in the eye, and eventually had to escape from the country after having lived in Bethlehem for 30 years. Refusal to pay was often fatal. Furthermore, at the PA-controlled Voice of Palestine, Christian names are not permitted to be mentioned in the obituaries read on air.

*) Those Christians who sell land to Jews are subject to the death penalty according to the Palestinian Land Law, a clear violation of two international rulings.

*) Christians have considerable trouble buying land or selling their own property to other Christians. There is even the perception that selling to any non-Muslim is prohibited. The PA does not recognize Christian property rights as sacrosanct, including holy sites on the West Bank.
*) Christian cemeteries and symbols are desecrated, property wrecked, monasteries robbed of gold and precious objects, and parishioners hindered from attending services.

*) Raping a Christian woman often has fewer consequences than raping a Muslim one. The rapist knows that under a Muslim-controlled PA there is a greater chance of not being prosecuted.

Raping of Christian women is also used to reduce the Christian population by ensuring that Christian men will not marry these women and have children. Another method to lower the Christian populace is to force Christian women to marry Muslim men.

*) Those Christians willing to speak out openly about this bullying are subjected to death threats. Samir Qumsiyeh documented 160 attacks against Christians, including physical harassment, home robberies, and illegal seizure of land during the past several years. In response to Qumsiyeh's own public statements, his home was fire-bombed.

*) On February 15, 2008, a library managed by the Young Men's Christian Association was firebombed, resulting in the destruction of 10,000 books. The previous Fall a Christian book store owner was kidnapped and murdered. His shop was bombed twice. A Catholic church and a school were vandalized in August 2007. Before dawn on May 16, 2008 a bomb exploded outside the Zahwa Rosary School, a Christian school in Gaza city, operated by nuns.

*) Despite the beatings, theft of land, kidnappings, torture, firebombing of churches, forced marriages, rape, extortion, and sexual harassment, these church leaders "remain silent."

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