Next month, the Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas can be expected to attend Christmas-eve services at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and the Western media can be expected to air footage of him there while reporters comment on the alleged plight of Palestinian Christians living under Israeli occupation. These reporters can also be counted on to ignore the mistreatment of Christians by the PA; Bassam Tawil points to the recent death of a sixty-three-year-old woman named Terez Ta’amneh as illustrative:
Ta’amneh, a Christian woman from the town of Bet Jala, near Bethlehem, . . . died when PA police officers raided her home to arrest her son, Yusef, for unpaid debts. The story of Ta’amneh [could] cause serious damage to the PA’s propaganda machine, which is preoccupied with blaming Israel for the fact that a large number of Christians have left the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the past few decades.
The police officers, [Ta’amneh’s] daughter Marian said, attacked her brother and began beating him in front of their mother. “My mother told them that Yusef suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure. She begged them to stop beating him. In response, the commander . . . pointed a pistol at my brother’s head and threatened to open fire. He told my mother: we have orders to open fire at him.” According to Marian, her mother panicked and collapsed, dying instantly.
So far as Abbas is concerned, it is business as usual. The cries of the Christian family in Bet Jala seem entirely lost on him. Next month, he and his senior officials will arrive in Bethlehem and again talk about the harmony and brotherly relations between Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land. . . . What he seeks is to continue ensuring the success of the Palestinian lie that Christians are fleeing because of Israel.