West Bank Christians Attacked and Persecuted for “Promoting Normalization”

Nov. 11 2022

If past years are any indication, in about six weeks we can expect to see articles about the parlous state of Palestinian Christians, or the unfortunate conditions in Bethlehem—no doubt assigning blame to Israel. Meanwhile, Khaled Abu Toameh notes, very little attention is being paid to recent attacks on West Bank Christians perpetrated by both terrorists and by the Palestinian Authority (PA):

Earlier this year, the Palestinian evangelical pastor Johnny Shahwan was arrested by the PA security forces on charges of “promoting normalization” with Israel. The arrest came after Shahwan, founder and chairman of the board of Beit al-Liqa (House of Encounter) in Beit Jala, appeared in a photo alongside Rabbi Yehuda Glick, a former member of the Knesset. . . . After the photo of the pastor and rabbi appeared on social media, unidentified gunmen fired shots at the center.

In another incident earlier this year, a large group of masked Muslim men carrying sticks and iron bars attacked the Christian brothers Daoud and Daher Nassar while they were working on their land. . . . In early October, gunmen fired shots at the Bethlehem Hotel for displaying Jewish symbols in one of its meeting rooms. The gunmen accused the Christian-owned hotel of “promoting normalization with Israel” because of the cardboard cutouts of a star of David and menorah which were placed in the room.

The most recent attack on Christians took place in late October, when dozens of Muslim men targeted the Forefathers Orthodox Church in Beit Sahour. During the attack, the assailants threw rocks at the church, injuring several Christians.

The attacks by Muslims on Christians are often ignored by the international community and media, who seem to speak out only when they can find a way to blame Israel. Another disturbing situation is that the leaders of the Christian community in the West Bank are reluctant to hold the Palestinian Authority and their Muslim neighbors responsible for the attacks. They are afraid of retribution and prefer to toe the official line of holding Israel solely responsible for the misery of the Christian minority.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Middle East Christianity, Palestinian Authority, West Bank

The U.S. Is Trying to Seduce Israel into Accepting a Bad Deal with Iran. Israel Should Say No

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its quarterly report on the Iranian nuclear program. According to an analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security, the Islamic Republic can now produce enough weapons-grade uranium to manufacture “five nuclear weapons in one month, seven in two months, and a total of eight in three months.” The IAEA also has reason to believe that Tehran has further nuclear capabilities that it has successfully hidden from inspectors. David M. Weinberg is concerned about Washington’s response:

Believe it or not, the Biden administration apparently is once again offering the mullahs of Tehran a sweetheart deal: the release of $10 billion or more in frozen Iranian assets and clemency for Iran’s near-breakout nuclear advances of recent years, in exchange for Iranian release of American hostages and warmed-over pious Iranian pledges to freeze the Shiite atomic-bomb program.

This month, intelligence photos showed Iran again digging tunnels at its Natanz nuclear site—supposedly deep enough to withstand an American or Israeli military strike. This tells us that Iran has something to hide, a clear sign that it has not given up on its quest for a nuclear bomb.

Meanwhile, Antony Blinken today completes a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is reportedly pressing the kingdom to enter the Abraham Accords. This is no coincidence, for reasons Weinberg explains:

Washington expects Israeli acquiescence in the emerging U.S. surrender to Iran in exchange for a series of other things important to Israel. These include U.S. backing for Israel against escalated Palestinian assaults expected this fall in UN forums, toning down U.S. criticism regarding settlement and security matters (at a time when the IDF is going to have to intensify its anti-terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria), an easing of U.S. pressures on Israel in connection with domestic matters (like judicial reform), a warm Washington visit for Prime Minister Netanyahu (which is not just a political concession but is rather critical to Israel’s overall deterrent posture), and most of all, significant American moves towards reconciliation with Saudi Arabia (which is critical to driving a breakthrough in Israeli-Saudi ties).

[But] even an expensive package of U.S. “concessions” to Saudi Arabia will not truly compensate for U.S. capitulation to Iran (something we know from experience will only embolden the hegemonic ambitions of the mullahs). And this capitulation will make it more difficult for the Saudis to embrace Israel publicly.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Antony Blinken, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship