In February, Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, declared that Israel was responsible for the murderous attacks on its own citizens. Meanwhile, as Lawrence Franklin notes, he has refrained from condemning the very real persecution faced by his coreligionists at the hands of the Palestinian Authority:
Twal . . . “forgets” the basic reason for the accelerating departure of Christians from Palestinian areas: intolerance of religious minorities, not the Israeli “occupation” of Arab territory.
Many [Palestinian Christians] have . . . [settled] in Israel, where they can practice their faith without restriction. Thousands of Catholics now work in Israel, where they enjoy complete religious liberty. . . .
The sad truth is that in the Palestinian territories, [by contrast], Christians are forced to live like dhimmi—second-class citizens who survive largely by the protection money they are required to pay to buy their daily safety. These barely-tolerated citizens exist only at the whim and pleasure of the ruling Muslim majority. Muslim Arab discrimination against non-Muslims includes economic and socially prejudicial behavior that makes it difficult or impossible for Christian Arabs to run a profitable business or for their families to be integrated fully into society. . . .
All we have to do is to observe how Christian holy sites are being demolished throughout the Middle East to realize that without Israel protecting Jerusalem’s and Bethlehem’s Christian holy places, there would, at some point, be no Christian holy places, period.