By Joseph Farah - July 22 2002
Do you want to know what life will be like for Christians in the new state of Palestine?
We get some clues from the way they are being treated today with Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority.
Perhaps no town has more symbolic meaning to Christians worldwide than Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. When Palestinian terrorists took over the Church of the Nativity, using it as a fortress from which to fire upon Israeli troops while holding nuns, priests and monks hostage, they also stole or destroyed virtually everything of value inside the building.
And they got away with it. Those terrorists, including some wanted for the murders of Israeli civilians, were permitted to leave the country unscathed and unmolested – all in an effort to avoid further destruction at the holy site.
A document captured by the Israelis in Bethlehem during Operation Defensive Wall shows that Arafat's Fatah/Al Aqsa Martyrs, the same criminals who broke into the church, demanded of Bethlehem municipal officials monetary support for its "military" campaign.
This demand is just an extension of a larger extortion racket being perpetrated on the remnant of Christians, who represent a dwindling and tiny minority among the burgeoning Muslim population in Arafat's territory.
Men of the Bedouin Taamra tribe, based near Bethlehem, are used by Arafat's forces to shake down Christian businessmen. They take from the Christians and give to the terrorists – keeping some for themselves and terrorizing civilians with impunity under the corrupt Arafat regime.
When senior Fatah terrorist Atef Abayat was killed in a car explosion, he was found to be wearing gold rings on his fingers that had been stolen from Christian businessman George Nissan. It's a routine matter for Fatah members to extort money from businessmen who operate souvenir shops, real estate offices and gas stations in Bethlehem. This campaign is carried out in cooperation with the Palestinian security apparatus, according to captured documents.
Last spring, a Bethlehem woman named Saadah Hamidan was raped and murdered by a senior Fatah/Tanzim official, Iman Ali Azmi al-Kadi, a close friend of Abdallah al-Nu'ura (Abu Hadid) one of Tanzim's leaders in Bethlehem. Al Kadi was brought to trial. But, according to local Christian sources, the judge was bribed and the rapist was acquitted.
The Palestinian Authority appropriated lands of the Greek Orthodox Church in Bethlehem through a combination of violence, forged documents and bribes. In some cases, elements within the church cooperated with Arafat's forces. Mosques are often built on the formerly Christian land.
The PA's thoroughly corrupt "judicial system" adds to the persecution of the Christians in Bethlehem by simply lifting all protection. As an example, a Christian family owned a plot of land with a business center on it. When a Muslim family took possession of the building and began using it without permission, the Christian family filed a claim. After long and arduous court hearings, the Christian family's claim was upheld. But the verdict was never enforced by police and later a new court verdict appeared, signed by the same judge, that canceled the previous verdict and ratified the Muslim's claim to the land.
Information is difficult to gather because Christians live in a constant state of terror. But the statistics speak for themselves.
From October 2000, when Arafat's uprising began, to November 2001 nearly 3,000 Christians fled the West Bank. Arafat has Islamicized Bethlehem and the nearby towns of Beitjalla and Beit Sakhur. An additional 30,000 Muslims have been incorporated into the area. Bethlehem, once a Christian town, now has a Christian population of 30,000 – dominated by 120,000 Muslims.
As you've been reading in the WorldNetDaily dispatches by William Murray from the West Bank, the terrorists' favorite game is placing the Christians in the crossfire – firing at Israelis from within and behind churches and Christian businesses that are then destroyed by tanks and rocket fire.
All this goes on while the Christian world remains silent. A months-old letter to the Vatican from Bethlehem's Christians pleading for help against the onslaught of rape, murder and plunder at the hands of Arafat and the Muslim majority has not even been answered.
Such is life for Christians now in Bethlehem and other formerly Christian towns in the West Bank. Just imagine what it will be like when Palestine becomes a real state.
See earlier stories:
Intifada brings suffering to Christians
Arafat's civil 'servants' anything but
Christians also victims of Islamic terror
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