The murder last weekend of Rami Ayyad, the manager of the Bible Society bookshop in the Gaza Strip, is a shocking event. It is also another warning of the extent of the disintegration of Palestinian society, and the plight of the beleaguered Christian Palestinians.
Most reports placed Mr Ayyad’s death in the context of Palestinian Muslim-Christian relations, noting that in the Gaza Strip there are 3000 Christians out of a population of about 1.5 million. There was cross-society condemnation, from the ruling Hamas government to smaller political factions. Read more
THE NEW ISRAELI government of Ehud Olmert is the beneficiary of the many helpful distractions deflecting world attention from its occupation of Palestine. International diplomacy focuses on Hamas’ alleged “intransigence” and “rejectionism,” and the subsequent need for a cut-off of aid to the Palestinian Authority—and, collaterally, to jobless, hungry Palestinians. On a regional level, meanwhile, attention is fixed on Iraq and the growing tension with Iran. Read more
Sitting in the Beit Al Liqa’ garden, with the late evening sun bathing the grass in a soft glow, and children making the most of the adventure playground, it is easy to forget that this is Beit Jala, in the occupied West Bank. Newcomers would not be aware, for example, that only a few years ago, Israeli missiles and shelling rocked this little Christian town, and that its residents were often under strict curfew.
This little corner of tranquility, Beit Al Liqa’ (meaning ‘House of Meeting’), is a ministry in the Bethlehem district established by Johnny Shahwan, a local Palestinian, along with his German wife Marlene. Together, they have lived and breathed their calling to the local community for over 10 years, witnessing their Christian training and community centre go from strength to strength. Read more