27 October 2019   Israel's new moves to airbrush the occupation - By: Jonathan Cook




11 October 2019   An Act Of Betrayal And Infamy - By: Alon Ben-Meir


3 October 2019   Israel’s Fractured Democracy And Its Repercussions - By: Alon Ben-Meir















5 أيلول 2015   "من الأزل".. آخر كتب الراحل جونتر جراس - بقلم: المركز الألماني للإعلام (ألمانيا إنفو/ almania info)

28 October 2019

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinian Christians that nobody is talking about

By: Ramzy Baroud
print     send by email

Palestine’s Christian population is dwindling at an alarming rate. The world’s most ancient Christian community is moving elsewhere. And the reason for this is Israel.

Christian leaders from Palestine and South Africa sounded the alarm at a conference in Johannesburg on October 15. Their gathering was titled: “The Holy Land: A Palestinian Christian Perspective”.

One major issue that highlighted itself at the meetings is the rapidly declining number of Palestinian Christians in Palestine.

There are varied estimates on how many Palestinian Christians are still living in Palestine today, compared with the period before 1948 when the state of Israel was established atop Palestinian towns and villages. Regardless of the source of the various studies, there is near consensus that the number of Christian inhabitants of Palestine has dropped by nearly ten-fold in the last 70 years.

A population census carried out by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in 2017 concluded that there are 47,000 Palestinian Christians living in Palestine - with reference to the Occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. 98 percent of Palestine’s Christians live in the West Bank - concentrated mostly in the cities of Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jerusalem - while the remainder, a tiny Christian community of merely 1,100 people, lives in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The demographic crisis that had afflicted the Christian community decades ago is now brewing.

For example, 70 years ago, Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, was 86 percent Christian. The demographics of the city, however, have fundamentally shifted, especially after the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in June 1967, and the construction of the illegal Israeli apartheid wall, starting in 2002. Parts of the wall were meant to cut off Bethlehem from Jerusalem and to isolate the former from the rest of the West Bank.

“The Wall encircles Bethlehem by continuing south of East Jerusalem in both the east and west,” the ‘Open Bethlehem’ organization said, describing the devastating impact of the wall on the Palestinian city. “With the land isolated by the Wall, annexed for settlements, and closed under various pretexts, only 13% of the Bethlehem district is available for Palestinian use.”

Increasingly beleaguered, Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem have been driven out from their historic city in large numbers. According to the city’s mayor, Vera Baboun, as of 2016, the Christian population of Bethlehem has dropped to 12 percent, merely 11,000 people.

The most optimistic estimates place the overall number of Palestinian Christians in the whole of Occupied Palestine at less than two percent.

The correlation between the shrinking Christian population in Palestine, and the Israeli occupation and apartheid should be unmistakable, as it is obvious to Palestine’s Christian and Muslim population alike.

A study conducted by Dar al-Kalima University in the West Bank town of Beit Jala and published in December 2017, interviewed nearly 1,000 Palestinians, half of them Christian and the other half Muslim. One of the main goals of the research was to understand the reason behind the depleting Christian population in Palestine.

The study concluded that “the pressure of Israeli occupation, ongoing constraints, discriminatory policies, arbitrary arrests, confiscation of lands added to the general sense of hopelessness among Palestinian Christians,” who are finding themselves in "a despairing situation where they can no longer perceive a future for their offspring or for themselves”.

Unfounded claims that Palestinian Christians are leaving because of religious tensions between them and their Muslim brethren are, therefore, irrelevant.

Gaza is another case in point. Only 2 percent of Palestine’s Christians live in the impoverished and besieged Gaza Strip. When Israel occupied Gaza along with the rest of historic Palestine in 1967, an estimated 2,300 Christians lived in the Strip. However, merely 1,100 Christians still live in Gaza today. Years of occupation, horrific wars and an unforgiving siege can do that to a community, whose historic roots date back to two millennia.

Like Gaza’s Muslims, these Christians are cut off from the rest of the world, including the holy sites in the West Bank. Every year, Gaza’s Christians apply for permits from the Israeli military to join Easter services in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Last April, only 200 Christians were granted permits, but on the condition that they must be 55 years of age or older and that they are not allowed to visit Jerusalem.

The Israeli rights group, Gisha, described the Israeli army decision as “a further violation of Palestinians’ fundamental rights to freedom of movement, religious freedom and family life”, and, rightly, accused Israel of attempting to “deepen the separation” between Gaza and the West Bank.

In fact, Israel aims at doing more than that. Separating Palestinian Christians from one another, and from their holy sites (as is the case for Muslims, as well), the Israeli government hopes to weaken the socio-cultural and spiritual connections that give Palestinians their collective identity.

Israel’s strategy is predicated on the idea that a combination of factors - immense economic hardships, permanent siege and apartheid, the severing of communal and spiritual bonds - will eventually drive all Christians out of their Palestinian homeland.

Israel is keen to present the ‘conflict’ in Palestine as a religious one so that it could, in turn, brand itself as a beleaguered Jewish state in the midst of a massive Muslim population in the Middle East. The continued existence of Palestinian Christians does not factor nicely into this Israeli agenda.

Sadly, however, Israel has succeeded in misrepresenting the struggle in Palestine - from that of political and human rights struggle against settler colonialism - into a religious one. Equally disturbing, Israel’s most ardent supporters in the United States and elsewhere are religious Christians.

It must be understood that Palestinian Christians are neither aliens nor bystanders in Palestine. They have been victimized equally as their Muslim brethren, and have also played a major role in defining the modern Palestinian identity, through their resistance, spirituality, deep connection to the land, artistic contributions and burgeoning scholarship.

Israel must not be allowed to ostracize the world’s most ancient Christian community from their ancestral land so that it may score a few points in its deeply disturbing drive for racial supremacy.

Equally important, our understanding of the legendary Palestinian ‘soumoud’ - steadfastness - and of solidarity cannot be complete without fully appreciating the centrality of Palestinian Christians to the modern Palestinian narrative and identity.

* Ramzy Baroud is an author and editor of Palestine Chronicle. His latest book is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle (Pluto Press, London). - ramzybaroud@gmail.com



Name
Email
Comment
Security Code

21 تشرين ثاني 2019   سيدي الرئيس.. "إلحق" الجاليات الفلسطينية قبل ان تغرق..! - بقلم: نبيل أبو رجيلة

21 تشرين ثاني 2019   بين لافروف وبومبيو ونتنياهو..! - بقلم: معتصم حماده

21 تشرين ثاني 2019   حكومة الضم..! - بقلم: محمد السهلي

21 تشرين ثاني 2019   هل اسرائيل ذاهبة لانتخابات ثالثة جديدة؟! - بقلم: شاكر فريد حسن

21 تشرين ثاني 2019   تغيير الواقع الفلسطيني والعربي هو الحل..! - بقلم: صبحي غندور

21 تشرين ثاني 2019   الحرب العنصرية على الإعلام..! - بقلم: عمر حلمي الغول

21 تشرين ثاني 2019   في اليوم العالمي للطفل: تجربة شخصية..! - بقلم: عبد الناصر عوني فروانة


20 تشرين ثاني 2019   تصويت لصالح فلسطين..! - بقلم: شاكر فريد حسن

20 تشرين ثاني 2019   الأسرى يهربون "النطف" لكي تُنجب نساؤهم أطفالا - بقلم: عبد الناصر عوني فروانة

20 تشرين ثاني 2019   أزمة إسرائيل: صراع بين اليمين القومي واليمين الديني - بقلم: رازي نابلسي

20 تشرين ثاني 2019   الكيان الصهيوني أمام سياسة الضم وحل الدولة العنصرية الواحدة..! - بقلم: د. عبد الرحيم جاموس

20 تشرين ثاني 2019   لا قانونية لشرعنة الإستيطان..! - بقلم: عمر حلمي الغول

20 تشرين ثاني 2019   نحن وجوجل والأطفال..! - بقلم: فراس حج محمد

20 تشرين ثاني 2019   أسطر طريفة من كتب ظريفة..! - بقلم: توفيق أبو شومر



3 أيلول 2019   "بردلة".. انتزاع الحق بسواعد مكبلة..! - بقلم: اتحاد الجان العمل الزراعي





3 تموز 2019   تحذيرات تلوث بحر غزة لم تنفر مصطافيه..! - بقلم: وسام زغبر





27 اّذار 2011   عداد الدفع المسبق خال من المشاعر الإنسانية..!! - بقلم: محمد أبو علان

13 شباط 2011   سقط مبارك فعادت لنا الحياة - بقلم: خالد الشرقاوي

4 شباط 2011   لا مستحيل..!! - بقلم: جودت راشد الشويكي


20 تشرين ثاني 2019   أسطر طريفة من كتب ظريفة..! - بقلم: توفيق أبو شومر

3 تشرين ثاني 2019   شاهدت مرّتين مهرجان المسرح الوطني الفلسطيني للمسرح - بقلم: راضي د. شحادة

1 تشرين ثاني 2019   نئد قرينة النهار..! - بقلم: حسن العاصي

29 تشرين أول 2019   قصيدة "النثر" والشِعر..! - بقلم: د. المتوكل طه

27 تشرين أول 2019   جوائز الرواية والأسئلة المشروعة..! - بقلم: فراس حج محمد


8 كانون ثاني 2011   "صحافة المواطن" نافذة للأشخاص ذوي الاعاقة - بقلم: صدقي موسى

10 تشرين ثاني 2010   رساله .. - بقلم: جودت راشد الشويكي

3 تشرين ثاني 2010   شخبطة صحفية - بقلم: حسناء الرنتيسي

27 تشرين أول 2010   المدلل .. - بقلم: جودت راشد الشويكي

21 تشرين أول 2010   فضفضة مواطنية - بقلم: حسناء الرنتيسي


4 اّذار 2012   الطقش


26 كانون ثاني 2012   امرأة في الجفتلك



 
 
 
top

English | الصفحة الرئيسية | كاريكاتير | صحف ومجلات | أخبار وتقارير | اّراء حرة | الإرشيف | صوتيات | صحفيون وكتاب | راسلنا

جميع الحقوق محفوظة © لشبكة  أمين الأعلامية 2019- 1996 
تصميم وتطوير شبكة أمين الأعلامية