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Posts tagged ‘Christian Palestinians’

In the fight against apartheid, Christian Palestinians defy Israel’s propaganda

In 2012, then-Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren penned an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal in which he claimed that “Christians in [Gaza and the West Bank] suffer the same plight as their co-religionists throughout the region.”

While the diplomat was looking to capitalise on more recent developments in the Middle East – like Netanyahu did at the UN, with his “Hamas is ISIS” mantra – Oren’s claim that Christian Palestinians are being driven out by Muslims is a familiar one. Read more

At home and abroad, Christian Palestinians under attack by Israel and its apologists

As the Pope visits the ‘Holy Land’, much media coverage has focused on the current problems facing Christian Palestinians, and in particular, the so-called ‘price tag’ attacks being perpetrated by right-wing Jewish extremists. Ahead of the Papal visit, Israeli police even issued restraining orders against known activists. Read more

Bethlehem Bantustan 2013: Have Yourself an Apartheid Christmas

The tourists heading to Bethlehem this festive season will come from far and wide – but all of them will enjoy more freedom of movement than the city’s residents do, Muslim and Christian alike, in their own land. Read more

Israel’s colonial strangling of Bethlehem

Bethlehem has been “isolated and fragmented” in a way that would devastate any town or community the world over.

At the main checkpoint to enter Bethlehem there is a large sign placed on the Separation Wall by Israel’s ministry of tourism which says “Peace be with you”. An appropriate symbol for Israel’s colonial strangling of the “little town”, this propaganda for pilgrims is a crude microcosm of Israel’s habit of talking “co-existence” while pursuing apartheid.

Over decades of Israeli military rule, more and more land around the city has been annexed, expropriated and colonised, with 19 illegal settlements now in the governorate. Eighty percent of an estimated 22 square kilometre of land confiscated from the north of the Bethlehem region was annexed to the Jerusalem municipality in order to expand settlements (see this briefing). Read more

Christians of the Holy Land

Despite claims by Israeli government officials, Christian Palestinians regularly face discrimination.

A recent report by CBS show 60 Minutes on “Christians of the Holy Land” has received a lot of attention, not least for the embarrassing contribution by Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren.

It is interesting that Israel (and its advocates) have been so concerned about the impact of a short segment regarding the challenges faced by Christian Palestinians under Israeli military occupation. In fact, Ambassador Oren himself only recently tried to exploit Christians for propaganda purposes – only to find that they objected to his cynicism. Read more

Towards a Just Peace

A year ago, Palestinian Christians issued a historic call for global solidarity – and got a timid response from those fearful of being branded antisemitic. Ben White believes genuine interfaith dialogue is only strengthened when we speak out boldly on injustice.

Living on the family farm outside Bethlehem, Daoud Nassar is under constant threat from the illegal Israeli settlements that have sprung up around him. When I visited last summer, he had just had a new crop of demolition orders delivered by Israeli soldiers, targeting ’structures’ ranging from animal sheds to water cisterns and tents.

‘Of course, we will never get a building permit here,’ he told me sadly, as his little boy sat eating crisps on his lap. ‘But I said to the Israeli officer, if I need a permit just for my tents, I’m also expecting you to go to my neighbours and give them demolition orders for their buildings, built on Palestinian land. And of course, his answer was, ‘This is none of your business.’1 Read more

Can the pope help Christian Palestinians?

The pope’s visit to Israel/Palestine has thrown the spotlight on the troubled Christian Palestinian community, a group normally only considered in the western media at Christmas when the world’s media descends on Bethlehem.

However, the feelings of the local faithful about Pope Benedict XVI’s pilgrimage are quite mixed, an ambiguity caused by an uncertainty about the Vatican’s agenda for the visit, and the political atmosphere post-Gaza assault.

Plenty of Christians, especially Catholics, are understandably happy from a personal, religious point of view. Yet for many, the sense of celebration is tempered by a hope that the pope’s visit will contribute something to their dire day-to-day reality. Read more

Holy Land crisis discussed

MORE THAN 100 church leaders gathered on Monday in central London to discuss the crisis facing the Christian community in Israel and Palestine. Held at All Hallows on the Wall conference, “The Disappearance of the Holy Land”, was the fruit of co-operation between nine Chris­tian and Jewish organisations, including the Amos Trust, which was hosting the event. Read more

Shadow over Bethlehem

Writing for The Times recently, Michael Gove lashed out at the seasonal focus on contemporary Bethlehem’s plight under Israeli occupation. “Demonising” Israel, apparently, has become as festive as “eggnog lattes”.

Gove is at least partly correct. Christmas is an obvious opportunity for Bethlehem’s residents and their supporters to raise awareness. Gove mentioned the latest work done by graffiti artist Banksy, but the Palestine Solidarity Campaign also recently held a concert in London, while the Amos Trust has a downloadable pack for use in churches around the country. Read more

Christian Palestinians

Until recently, a large proportion of Christians in the West were unaware that Christian Palestinians even existed. While there may now be an increased awareness of the body of Christ in Palestine, when not being ignored (unintentionally or otherwise) by the majority, our Palestinian brothers and sisters are often either co-opted for anti-Islam propaganda or looked on as a community to be pitied.

Christian Palestinians undoubtedly need our support and solidarity. From the shattering of their society with the expulsions of 1948 to the land theft and occupation-induced economic collapse in the West Bank today, many believers have despaired of finding freedom in their homeland and chosen emigration. Read more