Daily Mirror: “Life for Palestinian Christians such as 50-year-old Joseph has become increasingly difficult in Bethlehem – and many of them are leaving. The town’s Christian population has dwindled from more than 85 per cent in 1948 to 12 per cent of its 60,000 inhabitants in 2006. There are reports of religious persecution, in the form of murders, beatings and land grabs. Meanwhile, the breakdown in security is putting off tourists, leading to economic hardship for Christians, who own most of the town’s hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops. “
I have periodically blogged about this tragedy that is happening in the Palestinian administered territories, concerning the persecution of the local Christian population. The Christian world has remained relatively silent about the sad state of affairs in the Palestinian Christian community, and when the subject comes up, it’s usually in the form of criticism directed against the state of Israel. While the defensive security fence offers some hardship to the local populace, it alone can’t be blamed for the mass exodus of Palestinian Christians from the ancestoral holy places, something else is to blame. Islamic hegemony.
I blogged last year about a story that appeared in the Finnish Lutheran Church’s weekly paper, Kotimaa, in which journalist Kimmo Saares, (by phone) interviewed a few local Christian leaders, who placed the small number of pilgrims visiting Bethlehem that year, as being the fault of Israel’s security practices, which proved to have been a false claim seeing that according to the Israeli MFA: “The economy has actually improved significantly. While 110,000 tourists visited the city during 2004, more than 218,000 have already visited Bethlehem during 2005 – an increase of around 100%”.
Much of these Finnish journalists’ information about Christians in the PA, comes straight from the leaders of these local communities, who have a bad habit of Shilling for their Islamic overlords. Again, the ground breaking report by Professor Justus Weiner is a must read, “Human Rights of Christians in Palestinian Society”, in which he writes :
“Living amidst a xenophobic Muslim population plagued by endemic violence bordering on anarchy, the Christians have shrunk to less than 1.7 percent of the population in the Palestinian areas. “Tens of thousands have abandoned their holy sites and ancestral properties to live abroad, while those who remain do so as a beleaguered and dwindling minority.
“Their plight is, in part, attributable to the adoption of Muslim religious law (Sharia) in the Constitution of the Palestinian Authority. Moreover, the Christians have been abandoned by their religious leaders who, instead of protecting them, have chosen to curry favor with the Palestinian leadership.” Professor Weiner’s book reveals and analyzes why this persecution – largely ignored by the international community, the media, and even the human rights organizations – has metastasized to the extent that it threatens the very existence of this 2000-year-old community.”
Dr.Daniel Pipes has more here.