Christian Suffering Under Palestinian Authority
Courtesy Palestinian Media Watch
28......As a service to our subscribers, we have translated an article
that appeared recently in Hebrew daily Ma'ariv, describing the
fear and oppression under which Christians in the Palestinian Authority
live, resulting in many of them leaving Bethlehem.
"Make no mistake - Arafat's insistence that he would go to the Midnight Mass in Bethlehem, "even on foot" if Israel doesn't permit him to take off from Ramallah, does not necessarily reflect great love between Muslims and Christians in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas. In fact, the opposite is the case.
The Christians suffer greatly just by being in PA areas, which is evident from what transpired during the exchange of fire between Palestinians in the Christian town of Beit Jala and IDF troops in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo. At the height of the firing, the Christians of Beit Jala received a particularly painful bear-hug: Tanzim activists, Muslims of course, chose their firing positions as close as possible to Christian religious institutions. The Christians instantly understood the ploy - one slight deviation of Israeli retaliatory fire on Beit Jala would suffice to harm the Christian institutions or homes. In such an event, Israel would receive grave reactions from the world's Christians and the gain would be two-fold: both Gilo and Israel's relations with the international Christian community would suffer a blow.
"One resident of Beit Jala remembers sadly: 'We frequently were humiliated by the Muslims in Bethlehem. We Christians used to constitute 50% of the population in the city. Today, we make up maybe 20%. Anyone who was able to do so, left."
"Out of fear
for their safety, Christian spokesmen aren't happy to be identified by
name when they complain about the Muslims' treatment of them.
Muslims and Christians deteriorated after the Israeli Army withdrawal
from Bethlehem. It was then that PA security forces, all Muslims, entered,
and the sentiments and frustration on the part of the