by Yoram Ettinger
1. “Bethlehem will become a town of churches devoid of Christians, if you transfer the area to the Palestinian Authority,” predicted the late Mayor of Bethlehem, Elias Freij, pleading – in 1993 – not to transfer the area to PLO control. The heads of Bethlehem and Beit Jallah monasteries begged the US and Israel – in 1993 – to refrain from transferring the area to the Palestinian Authority. Their request was denied, in order to advance the Oslo Process…
2. Christian Arabs shrank from a sizeable 15% minority to a 1.5% splinter group in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Their plight has intensified since the 1993 establishment of the Palestinian Authority, which has supported/tolerated physical, social, economic, legal and political harassment/terrorism against Christian minorities.
3. There are more Christian refugees from Beit Jallah (contiguous to Bethlehem) in Belize, Central America, than Christians left in Beit Jallah. There are more Christian refugees from Ramallah in Michigan and in South America than Christians remaining in Ramallah. Bethlehem was transformed from a Christian – to a more than 80% Muslim – majority.
4. Islam considers Christian minorities as “Dhimmis” guilty of rejecting Muhammad, tolerated as long as they are submissive, inferior to Muslims, handy scapegoats, and therefore subjected to legalized persecution. Legalized persecution has been employed – since the 7th century – in order to assert Islam over other peoples, most of whom have either vanished or severely shrunk. A Muslim who converts is subject to capital punishment.
5. As befits Dhimmis – Churches, convents, monasteries, Christian cemeteries, schools, homes, land and Christian women in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are subject to desecration, destruction, burning, confiscation, intimidation, rape and harassment. Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity was hijacked, in April-May 2002, by 200 Palestinian terrorists, fleeing the IDF. Nuns and priests were held hostages and the church was looted. Abu Mazen pressured Israel to allow the return of the hijackers – who were previously deported by Israel – to his territory.
6. “After we do away with the Saturday People, we shall take care of the Sunday People” has been a regular feature during anti-Israel PLO/PA rallies.
7. During 1970-1982, PLO terrorism in Lebanon accelerated the flight of Lebanese Christians, reducing them from the ruling sector to a precipitously dwindling minority. In 2007, The Palestinian Authority-supported/tolerated oppression has intensified the flight of Christians from Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
8. Institutionalized oppression of Christians in the Palestinian Authority – along with unprecedented terrorism and hate education – has been the most authentic reflection of Abu Mazen’s and Hamas’ approach toward tolerance and peaceful-coexistence.
9. Egregious violations of human rights, by all Arab regimes, have been a core cause for the lack of inter-Arab peace during the last 1,400 years.
10. A great deal of suspension of disbelief underlines the assumption that peaceful-coexistence could be achieved with a regime (the PLO/Palestinian Authority), which is the role-model of human rights violations, hate-education, conventional terrorism, hijacking, homicide bombing, abrogation of commitments and oppression of Christian minorities.
11. A great deal of self-destructive instinct is required, in order to assume that rewarding such a rogue regime with an independent (Palestinian) state – cushioned with annual foreign aid since 1994 – would serve as water and not as fuel on the fire of anti-Western terrorism and Mid East turbulence.
12. Yet, Washington’s suspension of disbelief has swept Christians’ predicament under the Annapolis Carpet, sacrificing religious and civic liberties of Christians in Gaza, Judea & Samaria on the altar of wishful-thinking and political-correctness (the Oslo-Annapolis process).
13. However, the exercise of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, free election and other civil liberties constitutes a prerequisite for a genuine – rather than a false provisional – peace.
14. President Bush (Sept. 20, 2001, Joint Session of Congress): “They [the Taliban] want to drive Christians and Jews out of vast regions of Asia and Africa…What is at stake is not just America’s freedom. This is the world’s fight. This is civilization’s fight.”
15. Ignoring the plight of Christian minorities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and overlooking the oppressive nature of the Palestinian Authority (Abu Mazen since 1993 and Hamas since 2006) for the sake of the “Peace Process” guarantees repeated failure, a setback to peace and a boost to radicalism and terrorism at the expense of vital US values and national security interests.