Monday, 23 April 2012

The Suffering of Palestinian Christians

Palestinian Christians
60 minutes in the US covered the plight of Palestinian Christians. It looked at the effects of Israeli military occupation on Palestinian Christians, including the decline of the Palestinian Christian population, the effect of the segregation wall on Palestinian Christian families in the West Bank, and their struggle in maintaining their cultural and religious roots.

The most stand-out quote is from a Palestinian Christian clergyman about the plight of Palestinians.

"The West Bank is becoming more and more like a piece of Swiss cheese, where Israel gets the cheese--that is, the land, the water resources, the archaeological sites, and the Palestinians are pushed in the holes."

A young Palestinian Christian woman from the West Bank was asked if she would leave Palestine because of the occupation. She said no. Her feet stand solidly on the ground.

"We need to stay and struggle and fight."
The religion of Palestinians is irrelevant under occupation and apartheid. For many, they are Palestinian first. They are one people and their struggle is the same.

In the clip, you'll hear Michael Oren, Israeli ambassador to the UN, say  "their inconvenience is our survival". What a surprise. The 'inconveniences' faced by Palestinians are essential to Israel's survival. Israel functions on the suffering of Palestinians. If Palestinians were equal and liberated, Israel could not operate because it would no longer be an ethnocracy sustained by apartheid policies. It's pretty tragic that Oren calls military occupation and settler colonies an 'inconvenience' as though they happen to be just some kind of small disruption and unlucky-brush-it-off mishap.

Zionists also try to project the untruth that Palestinian Christians are leaving the West Bank because of Islamic extremists. They try to play on the idea of East vs West, radicalism, 'creeping sharia' and the so-called war on terror to stir and manipulate the Islamophobic sentiments people hold.

This idea that Palestinian Christians are being persecuted by so-called Islamic extremists is "easy to sell to the public," Zahi Houri, a Palestinian Christian businessman, said. He, like other Palestinian Christians, have never heard of Palestinian Christians fleeing for this reason. They leave - and they are exiled - because of Israel. Not an unusual Palestinian story.

The Kairos Palestine document, written and released by heads of Palestinian churches in 2009, condemns the Israeli occupation and calls for Christians to stand against Israeli apartheid state. Oren, of course, called the document, which advocates for justice, equality, human rights and non-violence, 'anti-Semitic'.

One clergyman said: "They (Zionists) are fearful of this document because they are afraid it might influence the Christian world."

And influence the Christian world it has, and will continue to do. The United Methodist Church in the US will soon vote on an initiative to divest from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation. Read their response to Israel supporters. 

And who can forget the many prominent Palestinian Christian thinkers, activists, politicians and artists who make up the broader Palestinian resistance movement and call for the end to Israel's oppression and the liberation of Palestine? There's Edward Said, George Habash, Hanan Ashrawi and Huwaida Arraf just to list a few prominent figures.

Palestine is Palestinian - faith is insignificant.


Anonymous said...

I think the American Christians should be more interested in the cause of these first Christians than building bigger churches. We need to help these poor people and pray daily about this. What will Christians do without a presence in the Holy Land?

Anonymous said...

The ancestors of these Palestinian Christians may well have literally walked with Christ

Soviet Man said...

That's because American evangelicals do not consciously develop their own positions regarding world events, they're nothing more than propaganda outlets for imperialism.

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