1. Bethlehem’s Christian Arab leaders lobbied Israel against transferring the city to the Palestinian Authority. In 1993, on the eve of signing the Oslo Accord, the Christian mayor of Bethlehem, Elias Freij, admonished Israel’s Prime Minister Rabin: “Transferring Bethlehem to the Palestinian Authority would relegate it to a town of many churches, but devoid of Christians.”
Before Oslo, the Christian mayor of Beit Jala – Bethlehem’s twin town – Farah al-Araj, told the NY Times syndicated columnist, William Safire: “The PLO will force a wave of Christian emigration, making Belize in Central America a home for more Beit Jala Christians then left in Beit Jala.”
In 1967, shortly following the Six Day War, the Christian Mayor of Bethlehem, Elias Bandak, warned Israel’s Defense Minister, Moshe Dayan: “An Israeli failure to annex Bethlehem into Greater Jerusalem would doom the city’s Christian character.”
2. Since the 1993 establishment of the Palestinian Authority, the Christian majorities of Ramallah, Bethlehem and Beit Jala have been transformed into insignificant minorities, due to physical, social, economic, legal and political intimidation. More Christian emigrants from these towns reside in Latin America than Christians remaining there.
3. The persecution of Christians in Arab lands is based on the teachings of Muhammad, which have dominated the social, political, cultural, judicial, military and educational aspects of the Muslim Middle East. Thus, the political Muslim establishments are not secular in the Western sense. According to the Quran, Jews and Christians – “the people of the book” who rejected Islam – transgressed egregiously, were the enemies of God, were rejected by God, and therefore Judaism and Christianity were replaced by – and subordinated to – Islam, the only legitimate and inherently supreme religion. Islam commands Muslims to strive for the domination of the “House of Islam” over the “House of the infidel,” which includes Christians. Hence, the centrality of Jihad, the holy war.
4. A typical reference, by the Quran, to Christians and other “infidels,” appears in Surah (chapter) 5, verses 60 & 86: “God cursed and blustered those whom he transformed to apes [Jews] and pigs [Christians]…. The infidels shall inherit hell….”
5. The submission of Christians and other “infidels” to Islam was further institutionalized by the 7th century “Pact of Omar,” which severely restrained and humiliated Christians – and was later extended to other “infidels” – consistent with the Quran.
6. In fact, the legalized-persecution and scapegoating of Christians are in accordance with the Muslim concept of “Dhimmis,” who are the non-Muslim citizens in Muslim lands. As stipulated by the Islamic code of law, the Sharia’, they are subordinated to, and protected by, Islam, as long as they accept Islamic supremacy. The attitude towards Dhimmis is specified in the Quran, Surah 9, verse 29: “Fight the people who received the book [Jews and Christians] – who do not adhere to the truthful religion [Islam] – until they pay the Jizya [“infidel” tax], while they are humiliated.” Non-Muslim citizens are faced with three choices: conversion to Islam, accepting Dhimmitude or death.
7. Since the 1683 defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the gates of Vienna, Islam has declined dramatically, witnessing global domination by the “infidel, inferior and arrogant” Christian world, and alarmed by the penetration of “infidel” ideologies and values into the Abode of Islam. This perceived-humiliation has led to the tectonic eruptions of Islamic rage and terrorism, aimed at regaining the, supposedly, natural supreme, megalomaniacal status of Islam.
8. The Islamic religious and political establishments consider the “infidel” Christian/Western modernity and civil liberties clear, present and lethal threats, fueling the inherent domestic instability. The recent erosion of Western posture of deterrence, retreats and appeasement have provided tailwind to the Islamic rage, fueling the anti-Christian/Western Islamic terrorism, irrespective of the pro-Arab policy of the vast majority of the Christian countries (including the 1948 US arms embargo, while the British supplied arms to the Arabs).
9. While most of the Christian/Western world pressures Israel to accept Palestinian demands, the battle cry in Palestinian Authority-inspired rallies is: “After we do away with the Saturday People, we shall take care of the Sunday People.” As befits Dhimmis, churches, convents, monasteries, Christian cemeteries, schools, homes, land and Christian women in the Palestinian Authority are subject to desecration, destruction, burning, confiscation, intimidation, rape and harassment. For example, in April-May, 2002, Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity – with its priests and nuns – was hijacked, looted and booby-trapped, for 39 days, by 200 Palestinian terrorists.
10. The 1970-1982 PLO terror surge in Lebanon accelerated the flight of Lebanese Christians, reducing them from the ruling sector to a dwindling minority. Since 1993, Palestinian Authority intimidation has intensified the flight of Christians. However,the Vatican and mostChristian/Western governments have – knowingly – sacrificed the religious and civil liberties of Christian minorities on the altar of wishful-thinking, political-correctness and appeasement.