Persecution of Palestinian Christians Worsens; the Palestinian Authority Turns a Blind Eye

Just this month, two churches in Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank were vandalized, one of them for the sixth time in the past few years. On April 25, armed men attacked the Christian village of Jifan, which is also governed by the Palestinian Authority (PA). Edy Cohen writes:

The violence [in Jifan] erupted after a woman from the village submitted a complaint to the police that the son of a prominent leader affiliated with the PA’s ruling Fatah party had attacked her family. In response, dozens of Fatah gunmen came to the village, fired hundreds of bullets in the air, threw petrol bombs while shouting curses, and caused severe damage to public property. It was a miracle that there were no dead or wounded.

Despite the residents’ cries for help, the PA police did not intervene during the hours of mayhem. They have not arrested any suspects. Interestingly, the rioters called on the residents to pay jizya—a head tax that was levied throughout history on non-Muslim minorities under Islamic rule. The most recent [instances of the reintroduction of the] jizya involved Christian communities of Iraq and Syria under Islamic State rule. . . .

It is unlikely that the latest wave of attacks will lead to the arrest, let alone prosecution, of any suspects. The only thing that interests the PA is that events of this kind not be leaked to the media. Fatah regularly exerts heavy pressure on Christians not to report the acts of violence and vandalism from which they frequently suffer, as such publicity could damage the PA’s image as an actor capable of protecting the lives and property of the Christian minority under its rule. Even less does the PA want to be depicted as a radical entity that persecutes religious minorities. That image could have negative repercussions for the massive international, and particularly European, aid the PA receives.

Though the Christians in the PA avoid saying so publicly, many of them fear—with good reason—that Muslim aggression against them will only escalate. . . . The ongoing international neglect of the plight of the Christians under PA rule can lead only to the vanishing of Christianity from the place where it emerged.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: Mahmoud Abbas, Middle East Christianity, Muslim-Christian relations, Palestinian Authority

 

Israeli Indecision on the Palestinian Issue Is a Sign of Strength, Not Weakness

Oct. 11 2019

In their recent book Be Strong and of Good Courage: How Israel’s Most Important Leaders Shaped Its Destiny, Dennis Ross and David Makovsky—who both have had long careers as Middle East experts inside and outside the U.S. government—analyze the “courageous decisions” made by David Ben-Gurion, Menachem Begin, Yitzḥak Rabin, and Ariel Sharon. Not coincidentally, three of these four decisions involved territorial concessions. Ross and Makovsky use the book’s final chapter to compare their profiles in courage with Benjamin Netanyahu’s cautious approach on the Palestinian front. Calling this an “almost cartoonish juxtaposition,” Haviv Rettig Gur writes:

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli history, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict