“Palestinians Crucify the Holy Land”
Christians are accordingly streaming out of Palestinian Authority-controlled areas – including some of the holiest sites in Christendom. Christians comprised 85 percent of the population of Bethlehem in 1948; by 2006 their numbers had dwindled to twelve percent, and a large mosque has been built on one side of Manger Square, right across from the Catholic and Orthodox churches. Muslim thugs beat a Christian cab driver in Bethlehem, George Rabie, just for displaying a crucifix in his cab. Rabie noted: “Every day, I experience discrimination….Many extremists from the villages are coming into Bethlehem.” Sometimes this discrimination turns lethal: several years ago, Muslims shot dead two Christian women for not wearing the Islamic veil. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades took responsibility and explained: “We wanted to clean the Palestinian house of prostitutes.” Samir Qumsiyeh, owner of a private Christian television station, observed last January: “The situation is very dangerous. I believe that 15 years from now there will be no Christians left in Bethlehem. Then you will need a torch to find a Christian here. This is a very sad situation.” A Bethlehem hotelier, Joseph Canawati, said simply: “There is no hope for the future of the Christian community. We don’t think things are going to get better. For us, it is finished.”
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