Palestinian Persecution of Christians Must Stop

Stand for Israel  |  May 29, 2019

A Palestinian man fixes a national flag
A Palestinian man fixes a national flag on the roof of Bethlehem's municipality building opposite the Church of the Nativity (background) on September 2, 2010, as the Palestinian Authority and Christian leaders signed an accord to repair the historic church built on the traditional site of Jesus's birth. AFP PHOTO/MUSA AL-SHAER (Photo credit should read MUSA AL-SHAER/AFP/Getty Images)

In recent weeks, the Palestinian Authority’s persecution of the very Christians it supposedly serves has been on the rise. Writing at JNS, Dr. Edy Cohen uncovers the recent incidents of Christian persecution, writing of the irony that it could mean the disappearance of Christianity in the place of its birth:

On April 25, the terrified residents of the Christian village of Jifna near Ramallah asked the P.A. to protect them after they were attacked by Muslim gunmen. The violence erupted after a woman from the village submitted a complaint to P.A. police that the son of a prominent, Fatah-affiliated leader had attacked her family. In response, dozens of Fatah gunmen came to the village, fired hundreds of bullets in the air, threw fire bombs, shouted curses and caused severe damage to public property. It was a miracle there were no dead or wounded.

Despite the residents’ cries for help, the P.A. police did not intervene during the mayhem—which lasted for hours. They have not arrested any suspects. Interestingly, the rioters called on the residents to pay jizya—a head tax that was levied throughout history on non-Muslim minorities under Islamic rule. The most recent victims of the jizya were the Christian communities of Iraq and Syria under Islamic State rule.

The second incident occurred during the night of May 13. Vandals broke into a church of the Maronite community in the center of Bethlehem, desecrated it, and stole expensive equipment belonging to the church, including the security cameras.

Three days later it was the turn of the Anglican church in the village of Aboud, west of Ramallah. Vandals cut through the fence, broke the windows of the church, and broke in. They desecrated it and stole a great deal of equipment…

It is unlikely that the latest wave of attacks will lead to the arrest, let alone prosecution, of any suspects. The only thing that interests the P.A. is that events of this kind not be leaked to the media. Fatah regularly exerts heavy pressure on Christians not to report the acts of violence and vandalism they frequently suffer, as such publicity could damage the P.A.’s image as an actor capable of protecting the lives and property of the Christian minority under its rule. Even less does the P.A. want to be depicted as a radical entity that persecutes religious minorities. That image could have negative repercussions for the massive international, and particularly European, aid the P.A. receives…

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