The Persecution of Palestinian Christians Continues

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.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Israel & Zionism, Middle East Christianity, Muslim-Christian relations, Palestinian Authority

Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security