Once again, Israel somehow manages to selectively oppress Christians, according to the apologists for Islamist terror against Christians. The Zionist war machine manages to force only Arab Christians to leave the territories while it keeps Muslims there.
AS THE SUN rises in the east on the first day of Advent, the bells of Gaza’s churches fill the air, mixing amicably with the Muslim call to prayer. There is an air of quiet serenity spiced with excitement as the faithful walk to their churches and mosques, the doors swinging open, and Christians and Muslims bid each other good morning on yet another Sunday.
Gaza’s oldest church, the Greek Orthodox St. Porphyrus, dates back to the 16th century. The majority of Gaza’s Christians are served by the Roman Catholic Church on Al Zayotoun St. and the Gaza Baptist Church, which offer living room prayer groups, interfaith outreach, several schools, and humanitarian/medical Christian charities staffed by both locals and internationals. Today Gaza is home to approximately 3,000 Christians, the majority of whom live near these Gaza City churches.
Until November 1947, when the U.N. General Assembly passed Resolution 181 partitioning Palestine, Palestinian Christians lived peacefully among the Muslim and small Jewish populations of the area. With the passage of the nonbinding resolution, however, Zionist forces began their ethnic cleansing campaign in earnest. At the time Christians represented 18 percent of Palestine’s population, with many families tracing their ancestry back to the time of Christ. Today Christians comprise less than 2 percent of Palestinians, with the loss of Jerusalem’s Christian community being the most profound—plunging from a peak of 51 percent in 1922 to just 4 percent today. By the time of the Deir Yassin massacre in early April 1948, over a quarter-million Palestinians—many of them Christian—had been displaced, either killed or made refugees.
It is well known that one of the most effective tools for rendering a society subservient is the tactic of divide and conquer. Thus the October kidnapping and murder of Rami Ayyad, the manager of Gaza’s only Christian bookstore, presented a dangerous challenge. Speculations about the motive still abound: was it a hate crime or simply a random tragedy?
Father Manuel Musallam, the senior Roman Catholic priest in Gaza, doubts the attack was religiously motivated.
“Rami was not only Christian,” the priest explained. “He was Palestinian. Violent acts against Christians are not a phenomenon unique to Gaza.”
Asked if Christians in Gaza are being harassed by Hamas or the Palestinian police, all the students agreed that this is not the case.
“Every society has extremists,” Ali observed. “Like sometimes I’m criticized for not wearing my hijab. But that has nothing to do with being Muslim or Christian. Those people don’t represent our Palestinian society.”
Even though Israel's Christian population has grown over the years.
Compare to this recent article on Gaza's Baptists:
Hundreds of people crowded around a small stage on the sidewalk in Bethlehem. Traffic slowed not only to dodge those dancing in the street but so passengers could listen to the musicians publicly proclaiming God's love for the nations.The Arab propaganda machine is spinning furiously.
A visiting Gaza woman nervously looked around, checking the crowd for troublemakers at the outdoor praise and worship concert by Bethlehem Bible College students.
"We couldn't do something like this in Gaza. People are always watching," she whispered, afraid someone might hear. "Ever since our dear brother was killed for his faith, Gaza Christians live in fear."
Rami Ayyad, a prominent Baptist, was kidnapped and found dead less than a mile from a Christian bookstore he managed for the Palestinian Bible Society. Officials say there has been no progress in the investigation of the October incident. The bookstore was bombed last April but no one was injured.
Life has been increasingly difficult for Christians in Gaza since Hamas seized control of the coastal strip last June. Attacks against Christians have been rare; however, the Baptist community has been a target for extremists because of its evangelical work.
Many Baptist leaders have fled Gaza Strip, taking refuge in the West Bank. Pastor Hanna Massad and his family are among eight families who relocated because they felt it was too dangerous to remain in their homeland.
"The Lord is teaching us many things during this time. To follow Christ is very real to us now," Massad said. "There's a price to pay to follow our Lord. We see people willing to give their life for Christ. Every day, Gaza Christians are confronted with the question, 'Are you willing to follow?'"
These refugees spend much time worrying about their Baptist family back home and praying for their safety. Christians living in the Gaza Strip number around 3,000. Most are Greek Orthodox, but there are a few hundred Catholics and a small community of Baptists living in this 140-square-mile territory where more than 1.5 million Muslims live.
Massad said believers in Gaza have been robbed or threatened in recent months. When a 6-year-old girl answered the intercom system at her house recently, a voice told her he plans to kill her father.
"The man threatened isn't a leader in the Baptist church, but he is a very committed Christian," a Baptist worker said. "Most of those left in Gaza are not high-profile Baptist leaders, but they are still identified as part of the Baptist church. The threat to them is still very high and very real."