By Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute—
At a time when Christians throughout the Muslim world are suffering from a variety of persecution, the plight of Palestinian Christians is seldom heard.
It exists. Open Doors, a human rights group that follows the persecution of Christians, notes that Palestinian Christians suffer from a “high” level of persecution, the source of which is, in its words, “Islamic Oppression”:
“Those who convert to Christianity from Islam, however, face the worst Christian persecution and it is difficult for them to safely participate in existing churches. In the West Bank they are threatened and put under great pressure, in Gaza their situation is so dangerous that they live their Christian faith in utmost secrecy….The influence of radical Islamic ideology is rising, and historical churches have to be diplomatic in their approach towards Muslims.”
That said, while reports of the persecution of Christians emanate regularly from other Muslim majority regions around the world — Pakistan, Egypt, and Nigeria as three examples — little is mentioned of those Christians living under the Palestinian Authority.
Why is that? Is it because they experience significantly less persecution than their coreligionists around the Muslim world? Or is it because of their unique situation — living in a hotly contested arena with much political and media wrangling in the balance?
“The Persecution of Christians in the Palestinian Authority,” a new report by Dr. Edy Cohen, published by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies on May 27, goes a long way in answering these questions.
First, it documents three recent anecdotes of persecution of Christians, none of which was reported by the so-called “mainstream media”:
“On April 25, the terrified residents of the Christian village of Jifna near Ramallah … were attacked by Muslim gunmen … after a woman from the village submitted a complaint to the 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 petrol bombs while shouting curses, and caused severe damage to public property. It was a miracle that there were no dead or wounded…
“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, looked for valuable items, and stole a great deal of equipment.
“According to its Facebook page, this is the sixth time the Maronite church in Bethlehem has been subjected to acts of vandalism and theft, including an arson attack in 2015 that caused considerable damage and forced the church to close for a lengthy period.” Continue Reading….