Palestinian Christians Are Increasingly Threatened by Their Islamist Compatriots

December 30, 2015 | Bassam Tawil
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On Christmas day, a group of Palestinian Muslims stoned the car of the head of the Catholic Church in Israel. A few days prior, the Palestinian Authority (PA) announced that public Christmas celebrations in the West Bank would be limited, ostensibly because of the tense security situation. However, writes Bassam Tawil, its real motivation is entirely different:

[Palestinian] leaders . . . told the Christian population that there was no reason to celebrate while Palestinians were being shot and killed by Israelis—meaning those Palestinians killed while stabbing Jews with knives or running Jews down with cars.

On the eve of Christmas, however, it became clear that the real reason behind the PA’s decision to cancel public celebrations had nothing to do with Israel or the “intifada.” The decision, it turned out, came after threats by Muslim extremists to target Christians and their holy sites. Christian residents of Bethlehem and Ramallah said they received threats and demands to cancel celebrations from various Islamic groups. Their threats come in the context of ongoing Islamist persecution of Christians not only in the Palestinian territories but also in other Arab countries, such as Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Egypt.

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