Privileged Palestinian Jerusalemites of both faiths can travel in the West Bank and Israel. George Rishmawi of the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement says: “Israel is interested in dealing carefully with Palestinian Christians although we don’t know what the Israelis have in mind for us.
“Christians are part of the Palestinian social fabric . . . and of Islamic culture. Palestinians do not differentiate between Muslims and Christians – who are less than 2 per cent of the population,” says Mr Rishmawi.
But Israel makes a key distinction designed to cause animosities.
“It grants West Bank Christians permits to travel to Jerusalem for Christian holidays . . . It is not the same for Muslims. For them it is difficult to get permits. This makes Muslims angry at Christians,” Mr Rishmawi adds.
Strategy Page notes that "Muslim anger" knows no bounds in an article on The Cost Of Muslim Intolerance:
Is Israel similarly responsible for Christians everywhere who are being persecuted by Muslims?Currently you find Moslems attacking Buddhists in Thailand, Jews everywhere, Baha'is in Iran and Christians in Egypt, Iraq, the Philippines, Pakistan, Malaysia and elsewhere. This is not a sudden and unexpected outburst of Moslem violence against non-Moslems. It is normal, and at the root of Islamic terrorism.
Let's put aside the odd, but accepted, claim that everyone except the Muslims themselves are responsible for what they do. The fact is that on the issue of travel restrictions, Jansen makes no mention that unlike the Arabs, the Christians have not been going around shooting Jews on the highways.
If indeed, as Rishmawi claims, they do not differentiate between Muslims and Christians--it is not out of respect, but out of a desire to absorb their community. Honest Reporting notes the example of Bethlehem, where "Yasser Arafat redrew the city's borders in order to marginalize what was then the largest Christian community."
HonestReporting also notes:
- As recently as 2005, Palestinian Muslims carried out a pogrom against Christians in city of Taibe after a Muslim woman had a relationship with a Christian man from the village.
- Just last year, Muslims desecrated a Christian cementary, demonstrating that tensions remain high between the two groups.
- Bethlehem Christians forced to shut down businesses after failing to pay "protection" money to local Muslims.
- Intimidation of the Christian media
- Christians frozen out of the Palestinian political process
- Muslims have stolen land from Christians
- Christians live in fear of their Muslim neighbors
- Yasir Arafat directly threatened Christmas pilgrims in 1967
Technorati Tag: Michael Jansen and Bethlehem and Taibe.