Palestinian Christians and the Two-State Solution

Sept. 16 2016

Every other year, Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem host a conference entitled “Christ at the Checkpoint,” intended to convince evangelical Christians of their moral and religious duty to oppose Israel’s existence; similar efforts are directed at mainline Protestants. Robert Nicholson, having just returned from this year’s conference, explains the situation of Palestinian Christians and what’s behind their attachment to anti-Israel rhetoric:

Palestinian Christians [are] not stupid. They may shout their bona fides from the housetops, but they do so as a self-aware minority, less than 2 percent of an overwhelmingly Muslim society. They see their population rapidly shrinking in relation to their Muslim neighbors. They see the rising popularity of Islamist movements like Hamas and disturbing levels of sympathy for Islamic State. They know that Article 4 of the Palestinian Basic Law . . . promises that the future state of Palestine will be an Islamic polity governed by the principles of shariah.

Meanwhile, they see what is happening to their Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq, Syria, and Egypt. They know that they are different, and that when push comes to shove that difference could get them killed.

Christians inside the territories are hostages in their own society. In private conversations, many express fear of Muslims, positive feelings toward Jews and Israel, and envy of Arabs citizens living inside the Jewish state. Many even hope for the collapse of the Palestinian Authority so that the West Bank can once again be reintegrated with Israel.

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More about: Christian Zionism, Evangelical Christianity, Israel & Zionism, Middle East Christianity, Palestinians, Two-State Solution

 

The Reasons for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Staying Power

Nov. 20 2018

This week, Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have narrowly avoided the collapse of his governing coalition despite the fact that one party, Yisrael Beiteinu, withdrew and another, the Jewish Home, threatened to follow suit. Moreover, he kept the latter from defecting without conceding its leader’s demand to be appointed minister of defense. Even if the government were to collapse, resulting in early elections, Netanyahu would almost certainly win, writes Elliot Jager:

[Netanyahu’s] detractors think him Machiavellian, duplicitous, and smug—willing to do anything to stay in power. His supporters would not automatically disagree. Over 60 percent of Israelis tell pollsters that they will be voting for a party other than Likud—some supposing their favored party will join a Netanyahu-led coalition while others hoping against the odds that Likud can be ousted.

Opponents would [also] like to think the prime minister’s core voters are by definition illiberal, hawkish, and religiously inclined. However, the 30 percent of voters who plan to vote Likud reflect a broad segment of the population. . . .

Journalists who have observed Netanyahu over the years admire his fitness for office even if they disagree with his actions. A strategic thinker, Netanyahu’s scope of knowledge is both broad and deep. He is a voracious reader and a quick study. . . . Foreign leaders may not like what he says but cannot deny that he speaks with panache and authority. . . .

The prime minister or those around him are under multiple police investigations for possible fraud and moral turpitude. Under Israel’s system, the police investigate and can recommend that the attorney general issue an indictment. . . . Separately, Mrs. Netanyahu is in court for allegedly using public monies to pay for restaurant meals. . . . The veteran Jerusalem Post political reporter Gil Hoffman maintains that Israelis do not mind if Netanyahu appears a tad corrupt because they admire a politician who is nobody’s fool. Better to have a political figure who cannot be taken advantage of than one who is incorruptible but naïve.

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More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel & Zionism, Israeli politics