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Theme: Islamic Reconquest of Palestine

June 3, 2007

From “What about Christians in Palestine?” PalestineFacts.org:

Palestine was once a Christian country and there has been a continuous Christian presence there since the time of Jesus. From the middle of the fourth century to the Arab conquest in the middle of the seventh century, the Roman province of Palestine was transformed into a Christian country with Jerusalem its glittering metropolis. Under Byzantine rule, Palestine not only attained spiritual pre-eminence in the Christian world, but also reached a level of material prosperity and population density that was not surpassed until modem times. Arab and other Middle Eastern Christians today are a living link between ourselves and the earliest Christian churches.

From “The Truth about Christians in ‘Palestine'” Joseph Farah, WorldNetDaily, February 28, 2003:

In 1997, Arafat turned the Greek Orthodox monastery in Bethlehem into his own personal residence during visits to that city. The same year, the Palestine Liberation Organization seized Abraham’s Oak Russian Holy Trinity Monastery in Hebron, evicting monks and nuns.

When the Arab uprising of September 2000 began, Arafat’s Tanzim terrorist forces chose the Christian town of Beit Jala as an outpost from which its snipers shot at Jerusalem. They hid themselves in Christian homes, hotels, schools and churches so that return fire from Israel would rain death and destruction on Christians.

Last year, about 150 armed PA terrorists took over Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, holding 40 Christian clergy and nuns hostage, while firing out at surrounding Israeli forces. Rather than risk the lives of the captives and the destruction of the historic church, Israel negotiated the release of the terrorists – but the church was irreparably scarred. The terrorists stole gold, prayer books, crosses and anything else that was not nailed down.

If you want to see the dramatic story of this occupation, watch the remarkable documentary “Holyland: Christians in Peril.”

About the same time, Palestinian terrorists took over St. Mary’s Church in Bethlehem, holding a priest and several nuns against their will. Again, the terrorists used the church to fire out at Israeli troops, who were ordered not to fire on the Christian church.

Even in Jerusalem, where Israel permits the Palestinian Authority-appointed Waqf autonomy over the Temple Mount, Christians as well as Jews are prohibited from entering the site holy to both faiths.

Christian cemeteries are defaced in the areas under control by the PA. Anti-Christian graffiti, such as “First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people,” is commonplace. Christian businesses are burned. Christian women are raped. There is no legal recourse for the victims in this budding Islamic state.

As far back as 1997, the London Times observed: “Life in Bethlehem has become insufferable for many members of the dwindling Christian minorities. Increasing Muslim-Christian tensions have left some Christians reluctant to celebrate Christmas in the town at the heart of the story of Christ’s birth.”

As a result of the intimidation, the harassment and the persecution of Christians in “Palestine,” Christians are fleeing for their very lives. They are abandoning their homes, their churches and their businesses.

This is the stark truth of the Arab and Muslim occupation of what were formerly Christian towns in Judea and Samaria…

From “Persecuting the Holy Land’s Christians” (interview with Justus Reid Weiner by Jamie Glazov), FrontPageMagazine.com, December 27, 2005:

FP: Tell us about the persecution of Palestinian Christians and why their persecution became so much worse since the Oslo peace process began.

Weiner: These are acutely trying times for the Christian remnant residing in areas ‘governed’ by the Palestinian Authority. Tens of thousands have abandoned their holy sites and ancestral properties to live abroad, while those that remain do so as a beleaguered and dwindling minority. They have faced virtually uninterrupted persecution during the decade since the Oslo peace process began, living amidst a Muslim population that is increasingly xenophobic and restless. Chaos, nepotism, and corruption are endemic. Their plight is, in part, attributable to the influence of Muslim religious law (Sharia) on the inner workings of the Palestinian Authority. Moreover, the Christians have been abandoned by their religious leaders who, instead of protecting them, have chosen to curry favor with the Palestinian leadership.

From “Christian ‘swine’ and the Holy Land” George Weigel, The Tidings, July 5, 2006:

During John Paul II’s jubilee pilgrimage to the Holy Land, I spent a week in Jerusalem with NBC News. After one morning staff meeting to plan the day’s coverage, a producer from WNBC in New York asked me if I thought the Holy Father would apologize for the Crusades.

I replied that, while I hadn’t a clue about John Paul’s intentions, if I were the pope, I’d apologize for losing the Crusades. She was a bit taken aback.

I then explained that the Holy Land had been a Christian territory for centuries, until it was conquered by the armies of Islam — and that the Crusades began in part as a response to Muslim marauders who were raping, robbing and murdering Christian pilgrims. As for what winning the Crusades might have meant, did my WNBC friend really think the Middle East was better off today because Islamic regimes of various sorts had been in charge throughout the second millennium?

(…)

That the Christian holy places in the Middle East might, for the first time in history, become religious museums — places without living Christian communities — is a very real and very unhappy possibility. Christian populations are plummeting throughout the region; but the Christian population of Israel is increasing. That alone suggests that the situation is more complicated than sometimes suggested.

Why are Christians leaving Arab Islamic lands? Economic pressures are perhaps the most important reason. While there is no legal discrimination against Christians in the Palestinian Authority, there is discrimination nonetheless — discrimination aimed at creating an Islamic Palestine free of any notable Christian presence.

From “A Christian-Free Holy Land “ Justus Reid Weiner, JCPA.org, December 8, 2006:

The plight of Christian Arabs remaining in the PA is, in part, attributable to the adoption of Muslim religious law in the PA Constitution. Israel, by contrast, safeguards the religious freedom and holy places of its Christian (and Muslim) citizens. Indeed, in recent years Israel has been responsible for restoring many of the churches and monasteries under its jurisdiction.

The growing strength of Islamic fundamentalism within the Palestinian national movement poses problems for Christians, who fear they will be deemed opponents of Islam and thereby risk becoming targets for Muslim extremists. This is exacerbated by the fact that Hamas holds substantial power and seeks to impose its radical Islamist identity on the entire population within the PA-controlled territories.

Who Threatens Christians in the Holy Land?

Palestinian Christians have a higher rate of emigration compared to Palestinian Muslims and the Christian population of the West Bank and Gaza has plunged from about 20 percent after World War II to less than 1.7 percent now.1 Tens of thousands have abandoned their holy sites and ancestral properties to live abroad.

Some senior Christian clerics claim that the dramatic rise in Christian emigration from PA-controlled territories is a result of the Israeli “occupation.” However, in-depth research demonstrates that the precipitous decline in the Christian population is primarily a result of social, economic, and religious discrimination and persecution within Palestinian society in the West Bank and Gaza.

From “The Islamic Reconquest of Palestine” P. David Hornik, FrontPageMagazine.com, May 29, 2007:

It appears…that the Islamic reconquest of Palestine is under way and, as of this moment, succeeding. The driving force behind the reconquest is Iran, with Egypt helping by enabling a steady stream of terrorists and weaponry into Gaza, Syria by giving various forms of support, and Saudi Arabia by providing ideological and financial backing.

Israel, for its part, is on the verge of becoming a failed state part of whose territory is no longer under its control, unable to provide security to citizens there who are helplessly under attack and fleeing.

Iran and its friends are undoubtedly enjoying the spectacle. They are, after all, confronting the West—in the form of Israel and the other Western countries that supposedly sympathize with the fact that even its non-“occupying” civilians are under attack. This dhimmified West has internalized the principle that Palestinian life is the one thing that is sacred—that is, the lives of Palestinians in conflict with Israel; Palestinians in other places like Lebanon don’t count.

But rather than see Palestinians in the former category even endangered, the West’s learned reaction is to prefer to see Israel decline into mayhem.

See also:
Palestine Facts: When did Islam come to Palestine?
Philadelphia Daily News: The Real Palestinian ‘Catastrophe’

FrontPageMag: Map of “Liberated Palestine”
FrontPageMag: Symposium: The Fall of Palestine

Joseph D’Hippolito: Warfare by Other Means
Joseph D’Hippolito: The Blind Leading the Evil

Related Posts:
Report: Pope urges Christians not to leave Middle East

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