Palestinian ChristiansPublished on: 20.8.2013
The Plight of Believers under Palestinian Rule
Under siege and without protection, the Christian population under Palestinian rule has dwindled with each passing year. In October, 2007, after repeated threats, Rammi Ayyad was brutally murdered outside the only Christian Bookstore in Gaza. In 2008, a bomb was set off at one Christian school in Gaza, while at another, run by the Baptist Church, guards were assaulted and a bus hijacked.
Even though Hamas denies involvement in the attacks and claims that it is attempting to protect the small, ancient Christian community in Gaza, attacks on the 3,000 Christians residing there have increased since the Muslim terror militia came seized power.
Basing his findings on ten years of research, an Israeli expert on international human rights law has warned that the shrinking Palestinian Christian community could disappear within 15 years due to the threat of Muslim extremism. “The systematic persecution of Christian Arabs living in Palestinian areas is being met with nearly total silence by the international community, human rights activists, the media and NGOs,” said Justus Reid Weiner, a lawyer and scholar at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Given current trends of Muslims persecution, he fears Christian communities within Palestinian-run territories are likely to completely disappear in 15 years.
“Christian leaders are being forced to abandon their followers to the forces of radical Islam” Weiner lamented in a public lecture on the subject. Unless governments or other such organizations intervene, soon the Christian communities will consist solely of top clergy officials, with a few Western Christians. Some 50 years ago, the Palestinian Christian population stood at an estimated 15%, but today it has dropped to 1.5%. Bethlehem once had a strong Christian majority, but that figure today stands at only 20% Christian. In the Gaza Strip, there are only around 3,000 Christians amongst some 1.4 million Muslims. “In a society where Arab Christians have no voice and no protection it is no surprise that they are leaving,” said Weiner.
These brothers of ours in Christ need our prayers and support as never before.