How Palestinian Schools Erase Palestinian Christians

While the Land of Israel has historically been home to a relatively large Arab Christian population, in recent decades the number of Christians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has declined drastically. They now make up just 1 percent of the Palestinian population of those two territories. Commenting on a recent survey of Palestinian Christians, Khalil Sayegh, himself a Gazan Christian, discussed the bigotry he and his coreligionists face. George Goss records his observations:

“The history that we learn [in school] starts with the Islamic conquest of the land,” Sayegh said. “Anything before will focus on the pre-Israelite era. I understand that [this is an attempt] to deny the narrative of the Torah and biblical history because this, to a certain extent, is used to justify the existence of Israel. However, this leads to Palestinian Christians looking like foreigners.”

Crusader, infidel, and foreigner are all epithets directed at Sayegh in grade school. And the survey revealed [that] 27 percent [of respondents] said that they have been exposed to racist curses or epithets, and 43 percent said that they feel most Muslims do not want them in the land.

Taught by his secular-minded father that Christians have little that distinguishes them from Muslims, Sayegh learned in school that they do. One teacher warned him of hellfire if he did not convert to Islam. While only 23 percent of those surveyed admitted to being asked to convert to Islam, 70 percent said they had at one time heard a Muslim state that Christians will [be condemned] to hellfire.

The schools are not the only Palestinian Authority (PA) institutions that receive failing marks from the Palestinian Christians surveyed. Two-thirds say that they have little trust in the PA government; trust in the judiciary peaks at 16 percent, and confidence in the police stands at 22 percent.

Read more at Providence

More about: Gaza Strip, Middle East Christianity, Muslim-Christian relations, Palestinian Authority


Israel Is Courting Saudi Arabia by Confronting Iran

Most likely, it was the Israeli Air Force that attacked eastern Syria Monday night, apparently destroying a convoy carrying Iranian weapons. Yoav Limor comments:

Israel reportedly carried out 32 attacks in Syria in 2022, and since early 2023 it has already struck 25 times in the country—at the very least. . . . The Iranian-Israeli clash stands out in the wake of the dramatic events in the region, chiefly among them is the effort to strike a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and later on with various other Muslim-Sunni states. Iran is trying to torpedo this process and has even publicly warned Saudi Arabia not to “gamble on a losing horse” because Israel’s demise is near. Riyadh is unlikely to heed that demand, for its own reasons.

Despite the thaw in relations between the kingdom and the Islamic Republic—including the exchange of ambassadors—the Saudis remain very suspicious of the Iranians. A strategic manifestation of that is that Riyadh is trying to forge a defense pact with the U.S.; a tactical manifestation took place this week when Saudi soccer players refused to play a match in Iran because of a bust of the former Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Suleimani, [a master terrorist whose militias have wreaked havoc throughout the Middle East, including within Saudi borders].

Of course, Israel is trying to bring Saudi Arabia into its orbit and to create a strong common front against Iran. The attack in Syria is ostensibly unrelated to the normalization process and is meant to prevent the terrorists on Israel’s northern border from laying their hands on sophisticated arms, but it nevertheless serves as a clear reminder for Riyadh that it must not scale back its fight against the constant danger posed by Iran.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, Syria