Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Christians are leaving Palestinian lands because of...Jewish graffiti?

This has to be one of the most stupid articles every written about the Middle East, by Ali Khaled in The National.

After a bunch of wholly inconsequential prose, we get to the point of the piece:
Palestinian Christians have shared their Muslim compatriots' pain in the past 64 years, increasingly marginalised in a land they have inhabited for over 2,000 years. Across the region, dwindling Christian communities are often blamed on the rise of Islamists but this is an oversimplification and, in Occupied Palestine, almost wholly a mistake.

Certainly some Islamist groups, heavy on ideology and light on political nous, have been their own worst enemies. Hamas is not blameless in its treatment of Gaza's Christian minority. ...

In truth, however, Hamas has neither the desire inside Gaza, nor the influence outside of it, to truly marginalise Palestinian Christians. The Christian Palestinian population has suffered, less visibly, just as Muslims have. Christians now account for only 4 per cent of the West Bank population and less than 10 per cent of Palestinians in Israel.

Over the last year in particular, attacks by Israeli extremists on Christians have increased. A Christian cemetery on Mount Zion has been desecrated and two churches vandalised (one of them, Jerusalem Baptist Church, had already suffered arson twice since 1982). "Death to Christianity", "We will crucify you" and "Jesus son of Mary the whore" graffiti stain the walls. That defilement would cause outrage in almost any country, but not in Israel.

It is in Bethlehem, birthplace of Christ, where the exodus has been most pronounced, with more than 10 per cent of Christians leaving just in the past decade.
Vandalism against churches is reprehensible. But is it enough to cause an entire population to disappear?

In the mind of author, perhaps. But there are a few little things that the author is ignoring.

Like how the exodus of Christians from Bethlehem have accelerated since 1995 - when the city came under PA control.

Like in 2005, when Muslims were seizing Christian lands in the West Bank. When the two teenage Amr sisters were raped and murdered. When Christian women near Hebron were sending their daughters abroad so as to avoid them being harassed daily by Muslim. When 17 year old Rawan William Mansour was raped by members of Fatah who were never prosecuted.

In September, 2006, seven churches in the West Bank and Gaza were firebombed after Pope Benedict made remarks about Mohammed that offended Muslims.

In 2007, attacks by Muslims to the Christian community in the territories increased. Christians were afraid to complain because of fear of being labeled "collaborators" with Israel. So they left. Christians were beaten by Muslims, their land fenced off by Muslims.

Christians are so afraid of their Muslim neighbors in the PA territories that they are more likely to blame publicly Israel for their troubles.

Even today, the tolerant and peaceful PA is arresting Christians who are eating in public during Ramadan, with a Muslim cleric saying, quite clearly, that "our streets are Islamic."

But lets see more idiotic articles that say that Christians aren't leaving because of documented cases of Muslim attacks, firebombs, rapes, murders and threats. No, the reason must be because of Jewish graffiti.

(h/t Clark)