• Fri. Sep 30th, 2022
Situationen forværres for de kristne i de palæstinensiske selvstyreområder På billedet ses en kirke i Bethlehem (Foto FlickrCC)

Recently, there were three serious incidents involving Christians in the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA). The incidents did not receive much international attention – as it did not involve Israel, writes Dr. Edy Cohen at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. had been attacked by an armed Muslim crowd. The incident took place after a woman from the village reported the son to a prominent Fatah-affiliated leader for violence. In response to the report, dozens of armed Fatah soldiers came to the village. They fired hundreds of shots into the air, dropped firebombs and caused extensive damage to public property. It was only by pure luck that no one was killed or injured.

Despite residents’ desperate cries for help, PA police forces did nothing to calm the mood. No suspects have been apprehended since the incident. Cohen writes that the crowd must have asked the Christian inhabitants to pay the yizya – a special tax that was historically imposed on non-Muslim people in areas controlled by Muslims. The most recent to pay for the yizya were Christians in Iraq and Syria who lived under Islamic State rule (Arabic abbreviation: Da’esh).

The second incident took place on the night of 13 May. Vandals broke into the Maronite Church in downtown Bethlehem, vandalized the church and stole expensive equipment.

The Maronite Church in Bethlehem was hit by a fire in 2015.

Three days later, the same thing happened to the Anglican Church in Aboud, west of Ramallah. Vandals cut a hole in the fence, smashed a window in the church and broke in. They desecrated the church and stole valuables from it. Three days later, the same thing happened to the Anglican Church in Aboud, west of Ramallah. Vandals cut a hole in the fence, smashed a window in the church and broke in. They desecrated the church and stole valuables from it.

As in the previous two incidents, no suspect has been apprehended.

The Maronite Church writes on Facebook that this is the sixth time they have been subjected to vandalism and theft. Among other things, a firebomb was thrown at the church in 2015, which caused significant damage and meant that the church had to stay closed for a longer period. The incident was put on hold in Palestinian society. In many cases, the media are not allowed to report on what is happening to Christians.

It is unlikely that the latest wave of attacks on Christians will lead to arrests, writes Cohen.

Even more unlikely is that some will be prosecuted. The only thing that interests PA is that such incidents are not leaked to the media. Therefore, Fatah is pressuring the Christian communities in the Palestinian territories to prevent them from reporting on the violence and vandalism to which they are exposed. Disclosure of what is happening could damage the PA’s image as an actor capable of protecting the lives and property of Christian minorities living under their control. Under no circumstances does the PA want to be portrayed as a radical regime that persecutes religious minorities. Such a picture could have negative consequences for the massive international – and especially European – support that PA receives.

Although many Christians in the Palestinian territories avoid saying it in public, many of them – with good reason – fear that Muslim aggression against them will only worsen, Cohen writes.. The fact that Western media do not report that Christians are disappearing from the Palestinian territories – and from the Muslim countries in general – contributes to further intensifying fears. The situation of Christians in the Muslim countries is in stark contrast to their situation in Israel, where Christians are experiencing growth, prosperity and increased integration into society.

The Christians in the Western world must demand that the Palestinian Authority arrest the suspects after the recent attacks. They must also demand that the PA protect the Christian communities. The international neglect of the Christians’ situation under the control of the PA may end with Christianity disappearing from the area where it originated, Cohen concludes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.