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Palestinian Christians Face Ethnic Cleansing

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  • StephenATL
    Palestinian Christians Face Ethnic Cleansing The Palestinian Christian is an endangered species. When the modern state of Israel was established there were
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 2, 2002
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      Palestinian Christians Face Ethnic Cleansing

      The Palestinian Christian is an endangered species. When the modern
      state of Israel was established there were about 400,000 of us. Two
      years ago the number was down to 80,000. Now it's down to 60,000. At
      that rate, in a few years there will be none of us left. Palestinian
      Christians within Israel fare little better. On the face of it, their
      number has grown by 20,000 since 1991. But this is misleading, for the
      census classification "Christian" includes some 20,000 recent non-Arab
      migrants from the former Soviet Union. So why are Palestinian Christians
      abandoning their homeland? We have lost hope, that's why. We are treated
      as non-people. Few outside the Middle East even know we exist, and those
      who do, conveniently forget.

      I refer, of course, to the American religious right. They see the modern
      Israel as a harbinger of the Second Coming, at which time Christians
      will go to paradise, and all others (presumably including Jews) to hell.
      To this end they lend military and moral support to Israel. Even by the
      double-dealing standards of international diplomacy, this is a
      breathtakingly cynical bargain. It is hard to know who is using whom
      more: the Christian right for offering secular power in the expectation
      that the Jewish state will be destroyed by a greater spiritual one, or
      the Israeli right for accepting their offer. What we do know is that
      both sides are abusing the Palestinians. Apparently we don't enter into
      anyone's calculations.

      The views of the Israeli right are well known: They want us gone. Less
      well known are the views of the American religious right. Senator James
      Inhofe, R-Okla., said: "God appeared to Abraham and said: 'I am giving
      you this land,' the West Bank. This is not a political battle at all. It
      is a contest over whether or not the word of God is true." House
      Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, was even more forthright: "I'm
      content to have Israel grab the entire West Bank. . I happen to believe
      that the Palestinians should leave."

      There is a phrase for this: ethnic cleansing. Why do American Christians
      stand by while their leaders advocate the expulsion of fellow
      Christians? Could it be that they do not know that the Holy Land has
      been a home to Christians since, well . since Christ? Do not think I am
      asking for special treatment for Christians. Ethnic cleansing is evil
      whoever does it and to whomever it is done. Palestinian Christians --
      Maronite Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans, Armenians, Baptists, Copts and
      Assyrians -- have been rubbing shoulders with each other and with other
      religions -- Muslims, Jews, Druze and most recently Baha'is -- for
      centuries. We want to do so for centuries more. But we can't if we are
      driven out by despair.

      What we seek is support: material, moral, political and spiritual. As
      Palestinians, we grieve for what we have lost, and few people (the
      Ashkenazi Jews are one) have lost more than us. But grief can be
      assuaged by the fellowship of friends.

      [Source: National Catholic Reporter, November 22, 2002]
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