Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christians approaching zero in PA-run parts of Holy Land

The ever-dwindling Christian communities living in Palestinian-run territories in the West Bank and Gaza are likely to dissipate completely within the next 15 years as a result of increasing Muslim persecution and maltreatment, an Israeli scholar said Monday.

"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, an international human rights lawyer in an address at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, where he serves as a scholar in residence.

He cited Muslim harassment and persecution as the main cause of the "acute human rights crisis" facing Christian Arabs, and predicted that unless governments or institutions step in to remedy the situation - such as with job opportunities - there will be no more Christian communities living in the Palestinians territories within 15 years, with only a few Western Christians and top clergymen left in the area.

"Christian leaders are being forced to abandon their followers to the forces of radical Islam," Weiner said.
The rest of the article from the Jerusalem Post is here. A Christian exodus has been a constant fear in not just Gaza and the West Bank but also Lebanon. (This to go with the fact that the Jordan River has become too toxic for baptisms.) Two years ago, the LA Times reported that Christians were becoming a scarce site in of Bethlehem, the West Bank town with a special meaning to Christians this Advent.
(Mayor Hanna) Nasser, 68, who is Catholic and displays a photograph of himself shaking hands with Pope John Paul II, gestured toward the church and considered a gloomy future for Palestinian Christians, most of whom are Greek Orthodox. "I'm afraid we'll come and see nothing but stones here -- the stones of the churches, but no people," he said.

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