By Dr. Denis MacEoin, Breaking Israel News—
It is sad but possibly to be expected that many Palestinian Christians – who are constantly under threat but have not been killed or expelled – identify closely with the cause of their Muslim fellows as they engage in often violent “resistance” to Israel and the limited Israeli “occupation” of the West Bank (Judaea and Samaria). Christians may have a long history in Syria and Palestine, but the earliest Christians, including Christ, were, of course, Jews. According to Christianity Today:
The Acts of the Apostles states that the first Christians in Jerusalem were Jews, and historians believe that even after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, Christianity in the Holy Land kept its Jewish flavor. But the Jewish revolt of Bar-Kokhba in 135 changed all this; Rome showed no mercy to the Jews and obliterated Jerusalem, renaming the city “Aelia Capitolina” and the country of Israel “Palestine.” With this blow, the Christian Jewish community effectively disappeared.
As non-Jewish Christians emerged, persecution continued throughout the Roman Empire until Emperor Constantine converted in 312 and later imposed Christianity as the sole religion.
Under the Roman and Byzantine empires, the Christians of Palestine enjoyed the freedom to live and worship as they pleased. In 634, however, a mere two years after the death of the prophet Muhammad, Muslim Arab forces defeated the Byzantines and took possession of Syria, of which Palestine was the southern region. “Palestine,” although an ancient name, was imposed by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in an apparent attempt to sever the land even then from its Jewish roots in response to a revolt in 135 CE.