Tag Archives: Palestine

Gaza Christians an intrinsic part of Palestinian society

“If the international community does not stop Israel’s aggression against the Palestinians,” the technical director of Al-Watania [Media Agency] told me, “you will not see any Christians in Gaza within a decade.”

There are two Christian communities in Gaza – Catholic and Orthodox — but there are no precise statistics for them. Neither of the two Churches in Gaza keeps such records, but according to Tarazi there were more than 30,000 Christians in Gaza in 1948. By 1987, though, when the First Intifada started, the number was only 18,000 and it has continued to decline because of Israeli aggression against the Palestinians. By 2006 there were just 2,500 Palestinian Christians in the enclave. “Today,” said Tarazi, “there are only 800.”

According to the director of public relations at Saint Porphyrius Church in Gaza’s Old City, it is indeed the Israeli aggression which is the main reason for the declining Christian population in the besieged territory. “We are part of the Palestinian people and we are affected by everything that affects everyone else,” Kamel Ayyad pointed out. “We experience all forms suffering under the Israeli occupation like our fellow citizens. Christians who left Gaza and those who are thinking of leaving are escaping from the occupation, siege and military offensives. They are looking for stability and freedom of movement.”

Read more at Middle East Monitor

Christian Jerusalem is being lost to Zionists

The Christian Patriarchs of the Holy Land and heads of other churches including the Anglicans and Lutherans have issued a joint statement condemning the deceitful sale of hotels in the Christian quarter of Jerusalem to what the Patriarchs described as an “extremist group” of Zionist settlers.

Other strategically-placed buildings were also stealthily obtained in the Moslem quarter and it could result in worshippers and pilgrims being denied access to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the holy places of Jerusalem

A Zionist organisation called Ateret Cohanim obtained the properties in Christian Jerusalem fourteen years ago by using foreign-based third parties as intermediaries to secretly buy the properties from the Greek Orthodox patriarchate. The attempted sale has been subject to a legal dispute for the past fourteen years but on 10th June the Israeli Supreme Court rubber-stamped the sale in favour of the Zionists.

The joint statement of the patriarchs warned that if the Zionist group “manages to evict the protected tenants and take over those properties, Christians and pilgrims would lose their main access to the Christian Quarter of the Old City.”

“The actions of this radical group do not only mean an assault on the property rights of the Greek Orthodox Church, but an assault on the status quo protections for all Christians in this holy city of Jerusalem and deeply threatens the Christian presence in our beloved Holy Land.”

“An attempt to undermine the presence of one Church here undermines all the Churches and the wider Christian community around the world. We reaffirm our belief that a vibrant Christian community is an essential element in the preservation of Jerusalem’s historically diverse society and a prerequisite for peace in this city.”

O little town of Bethlehem

“O little town of Bethlehem/How still we see thee lie/Above thy deep and dreamless sleep/The silent stars go by,” runs the famous Christmas carol sung all over the English-speaking world as it celebrates Christmas…….. In today’s Bethlehem “dreamless sleep” is more like a nightmare, and the town can only “lie still” when Israel’s occupation ends.”

Read more……. 

“Catholics would be injured in their religious sentiment and rightly fear for their rights if Palestine would belong exclusively to the Hebrews,” –  Cardinal Luigi Maglione, Pope Pius XII‟s Secretary of State (7th April 1943)

 

Church Land Stolen by Israel

 

Not content with bulldozing precious olive groves and the villages of Palestinians to clear the way for new Israeli settlers, and all this in a land which the Israeli State illegally occupies in the first place as a result of a horrendous campaign of terrorism directed against Christian and Moslem Palestinians as well as British Mandate troops and civil servants, the State of Israel has begun to quite brazenly steal land from the Church.

Church owned land will increasingly be targeted by the Israeli State after it seized an initial 66 acres owned by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, in the Jordan Valley, at the end of November.  It’s expected that local Palestinian families will also be forcefully removed from the area to make way for new Israeli settlements.

The Latin Patriarchate issued an official condemnation of Israel’s policy, which can be read here.