By ISRAEL TODAY—
Christy Anastas, a young Palestinian Christian woman from Bethlehem, has bravely released a compilation video in which she, in several different venues, confronts the joint lies that Israel is responsible for the suffering of the Palestinians and for the flight of fellow Christians from the city of Jesus’ birth.
The Anastas family is no stranger to the media. When Israel decided to erect the “West Bank” security barrier in response to incessant Palestinian suicide bomb attacks, the Anastas house near the outskirts of Bethlehem was unique in that it was surrounded by concrete walls on three sides, inviting constant media coverage.
But in an address to students at Uppsala University this year, Christy was firm in her position that the inconveniences and suffering inflicted on her family and so many others can not ultimately be blamed on Israel.
The Christian population of Bethlehem actually grew during the years it was under “Israeli occupation,” she reminded her audience, putting to rest the falsehood that Israel is engaged in some kind of ethnic cleansing, especially against Christians.
The real culprits were her own people. Anastas described how when the Second Intifada broke out in 2000, she had a front row seat, as her family’s home is located very near to Rachel’s Tomb.
According to Anastas, the Palestinians began attacking the Jewish holy site “day and night,” purposely endangering the lives of Palestinian civilians in the area. But more to blame than those brainwashing the “freedom fighters” was the Palestinian Authority itself, which Anastas reminded had committed itself to maintaining public order and instilling the principles of peace. Instead, she noted, the Palestinian regime actively encouraged young Arabs to take to the streets in violence.
In the midst of this, Anastas said that local Christians in Bethlehem quickly began to realize that the Muslim militias were deliberately launching their attacks against Israel from in the vicinity of Christian houses, so that the Israeli response would damage or destroy those homes. This tactic paid dividends in the public relations campaign, as Christians began fleeing for fear of Israeli counter-attacks.
To further bolster the notion that the Palestinians are their own worst enemy, Anastas recounted that during this time, her uncle decided to stop paying the jizya, the tax non-Muslims must pay for the right to live in a Muslim-dominated society (YES, this still exists in “Palestine”). In response, Palestinian militiamen imprisoned, tortured and eventually executed her uncle.
Anastas said that stories like this, which are by no means uncommon, are never told to the international media for fear of retaliation.
During an earlier Q&A session at Oxford, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was confronted by Anastas, who asked him whether or not he was able to neoutgotiate impartially with the Israelis, despite all the pain inflicted in the course of the conflict.
Erekat was adamant that his pain and frustration only made it more certain that an agreement resulting in a free, open and accountable Palestinian state would be achieved.
Anastas later wondered if the freedom of speech and other liberties Erekat spoke of would be extended to her own family, now that she has publicly supported Israel’s biblical claims to the land. For it certainly hadn’t been before, for instance when her uncle stopped paying the jizya.
“I’d like to ask you, Dr. Saeb, I believe that you are a man of honor, and I believe that you will keep your word and protect my family members,” Anastas said in the opening of her new video compilation.
There is so much more to what Christy Anastas had to say, not just about the conflict, but about the dismal state Palestinian society in general.