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Christian-Muslim relations in Palestine Gaza Baptist Church ceiling falling down                                                                                                               An overview of the Christian presence in Palestine The estimated number of Palestinian Christians in the West Bank, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem is 51, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online710, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online making the percentage of the Palestinian Christians in the Occupied Territories two percent of the Palestinian population. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online There is, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online in contrast, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online a higher percentage of Christians in Israel. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online The percentage of the Arab Christians in Israel - including Israeli Occupied Jerusalem - is 1.66, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online according to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Bethlehem, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online which traces its roots to the very origin of the Christian faith, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online is the home to the highest percentage of Christians in Palestine (43.4%), order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online followed by Ramallah (24.7%), order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online then Jerusalem (17.9%). Christianity has a long standing history in Palestine, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online and Palestinian Christians belong to several traditional communities of faith. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online The first are the traditions of the Eastern Orthodox churches, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online the second is made up of the Syrian, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Coptic and Armenian Orthodox churches, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online and a third category consists of those churches belonging to the Catholic family of churches. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online There are also a small but increasing number of evangelical churches, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online including the Lutheran and Episcopal churches. Over the past century, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online the percentage of Christian Palestinians has been in decline. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online The influx of Jewish immigrants since the late 1880s, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online the Nakba of 1948 and the expulsions of 1967 played a big role in diminishing the presence of Palestinian Christians. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online During the Deir Yassin Massacre of 1948, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online over a quarter of a million Palestinians, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online many of them Christian, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online were displaced or disappeared. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Many of the 531 villages that were levelled in 1948 had a mix of Christian and Muslim inhabitants. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online To this day, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online millions of Palestinians have been expelled from their lands, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online and rendered homeless and as refugees. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Of the remaining Palestinian Christians, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online most of them have emigrated at an increasing rate from 1990 onwards, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online because of lack of freedom and security and due to the deteriorating economic situation. A relationship of trust in the face of Israeli adversity Various Christian Zionist propaganda sources claim that the main problem for Palestinian Christians is their Muslim neighbours. The decline of Christian presence in Palestine is portrayed as the fault of Muslims and not of the illegal Israeli occupation.iii Christian Zionist tours to the Holy Land contribute towards the spread of this myth and frame the conflict in an anti-Muslim way in order to distract attention from Israel's continued violations of international law. Even though the relationship between Palestinian Christians and Muslims is not always a rosy one, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online the above claims are far from true. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Palestinian Christians are an indigenous, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online integral part of the Arab Palestinian culture and civilization in the political, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online historical and religious spheres. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online At the political level, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Palestinian Christians have been fellow citizens in the common struggle against foreign or colonial invasion, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online regardless of its religious or ethnic identity. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Many seats in the current Palestinian Legislative Council are held by Palestinian Christians. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online This amounts to more or less 8% of the seats, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online whereas Christians only make up 2% of the population of the West Bank and Gaza. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Similarly, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online the Samaritans, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online who number three hundred and twenty persons, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online have one seat in the Council. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter are observed, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online and Christians continue to be an integral part of the Arab Palestinian culture and civilization.  A relationship of peaceful coexistance is also found on the personal level. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online People from both religions visit each other during religious festivals, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online and in Jerusalem schools run by Christian churches have a majority Muslim student population. Palestinian Christians, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online like their Muslim counterparts, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online have experienced a long history of dispossession and have not been immune to Israeli policies of occupation and discrimination. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Not only do they have to deal with the day to day hardships that come with occupation, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online but they are also dismayed by the fact that many of their fellow Christians in Europe and North America unquestionably support the Israeli regime. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Western Christians (in particular American and Britain) have, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online for a variety of reasons, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online tended to show greater sympathy towards the state of Israel than towards the worsening condition of the Palestinian people. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online This alliance can be traced back as far as 1917, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online when the United Kingdom issued the Balfour Declaration and established Palestine as a "national home for the Jewish people". Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online More recently the Nixon administration in 1973 provided Israel with a full replacement of all its tanks, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online planes and ammunition during the October War against Egypt and Syria. However, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Western Christian alliances with Israel go beyond a political alliance. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Throughout the 20th Century there has been a significant influence of Christian theological attitudes toward Israel which has been devastating on the indigenous Palestinian Christian community. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online The rise of Evangelicalism and Christian fundamentalism has fermented the unquestionable support for the state of Israel. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online As was highlighted by the Pope earlier this month during his visit to Cyprus, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online "the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories is creating difficulties in everyday life….moreover; certain Christian fundamentalist theologies use Sacred Scripture to justify Israel's occupation of Palestine." A 46-page text published by the Vatican: The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness" stresses how this fundamentalist theology is making the situation for Christian Arabs even more sensitive. Christian Zionist support for Israel is also manifested in the shape of pilgrimages to the Holy Land, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online encouraged particularly by the Israeli Government Tourist Office.v This support has an objectionable consequence on the indigenous Palestinian Christian communities. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Many of the Western pilgrims appear not only ignorant of recent Middle Eastern history, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online but surprised to find an Arab Christian presence at all. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Like their Muslim neighbours, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online they are subject to daily experiences of humiliation at checkpoints and roadblocks and prevented from making pilgrimage to their Holy places of worship. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Palestinian Christians are routinely prohibited from travelling to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online where the church commemorates Jesus' crucifixion, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online burial, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online and resurrection from the dead, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online whilst Palestinian Muslims in the West Bank and Gaza strip are prevented from travelling to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. In December 2009, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online a group of Palestinian Christians, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online including Archbishop Michel Sabbah, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online the retired Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem published "A Moment of Truth" , order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online a call for help to the international community on behalf of the Palestinian Christians. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online They severely criticised "theologians in the West who try to attach a biblical and theological legitimacy to the Israeli infringement of our rights, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online urge for non violent resistance tools such as boycott and divestments and call for a stop on Israeli 'racism and apartheid'." In an interview with Sabbah earlier this year, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online he clearly spoke on behalf of all the Christian Churches in Palestine when stating that "Israeli Occupation is the Main cause of Instability in the Middle East".vi Palestinian Christians and the Islamic resistance Contrary to what is propagated in the media, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online the relationship between Christians and the Islamic resistance in Palestine is one of respect. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Although tensions arise between the Christian minority and the rest of the population, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online these are not the result of a systematic discrimination against them, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online but are more due to the everyday anguish of the siege and occupation. With regard to the Islamic resistance Movement (Hamas), order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Article 31 of its Charter specifically says, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online "Hamas is a humane movement which cares for human rights and is committed to the tolerance inherent in Islam as regards attitudes towards other religions…under the shadow of Islam it is possible for the members of the three religions: Islam, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Christianity and Judaism to coexist in safety and security". An example of the coexistence is the situation of Palestinian Christians in Gaza, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online contrary to the Israeli propaganda (hasbara). Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online School playgrounds are places where coexistence between Muslims and Christians takes place. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online The Holy Family School in Gaza City is part-funded by the Vatican. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Father Emanuel Musallem explains how he is the priest of more than 4, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online000 Christians in Gaza. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online His school has more than 1, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online200 students, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online 1, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online000 of which are Muslim. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Father Emanuel explains how many Hamas leaders are sending their children to this school, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online because he is not preaching "Christianity", order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online he is rather "spreading the light of knowledge in his Palestinian nation". Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Father Emanuel declares himself first an Arab, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online then a Palestinian, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online and then a Christian. Palestinian Muslim and Palestinian Christian girls playing in the playgroundOn another level, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Hamas has always demonstrated respect for Christmas religious festivities. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online In December 2003, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online they were the first to organize an assistance package and donations to families whose houses were damaged by the Israeli Defence Forces in Rafah. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online The movement went even further and on Christmas Eve 2003 when several officials dressed up as Santa Claus and distributed presents to Christian children in Bethlehem. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Another example of the tolerance and respect between the two communities was when Declaration number 67 was issued by Hamas in 1990, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online cancelling a general strike which coincided with the religious Christmas holidays. Another issue which is frequently discussed in the media is whether or not Hamas is encroaching upon women's rights in the Gaza strip. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Calls to ban male hairdressers from cutting women's hair and a ruling stating that female lawyers had to cover their hair when acting in civil courts were denounced by many in the international community. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online However, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online even though, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online to some extent, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online the atmosphere in the region is more conservative, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online these measures were not approved of by the majority of the population and were therefore never implemented. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Hana Afana, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online a 24 year old trainee maths teacher explains how Hamas is imposing a religious code, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online and how what is really worrying for the women in the region is the siege and the economic situation. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Qualified professionals and graduates like her find themselves unable to find a job. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online According to Mona Ahmad al-Shawa, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online who runs the women's unit at the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online basic human rights such as access to electricity, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online running water and medical treatment are what women want. Muslims and Christians in Palestine are not just bonded at the playground or in the spiritual sphere. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online They share the sheer disappointment with the Oslo process and the rampant corruption of the Palestinian Authority, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online which has misappropriated billions of dollars worth of aid from the international community. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Hamas winning the elections in the territories reflected the disillusionment of Palestinians, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online and was a natural reaction to their dissatisfaction. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Often regarded as a military organization, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online the movement engages well beyond its military wing. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online It runs a network of social, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online educational, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online health and economic services, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online especially in Gaza. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Christians in Bethlehem and Ramallah, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online tired of the PA's corruption and sex scandals, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online were not afraid to vote for Hamas. Collaboration between the Greek Orthodox Church and the Israeli State - "The Holy Land is not for Sale or Lease" The Palestinian Authority is, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online however, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online not the only one accused of corruption and scandalous transactions, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online and there seems to be internal strife between the different Palestinian Christian communities. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online The Greek Orthodox Church has been portrayed as collaborating with Israel since 1967, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online due to its involvement in land and political disputes. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online The Orthodox Church is the biggest private owner of land in Jerusalem and owns most of the land in the West Bank on which the Christian religious sites, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online including the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem where Christians believe Jesus was born, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online are built. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Much of this land was donated to it by Orthodox Christian Palestinians in the late 1800s. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Over the last few decades the church has increased land sales to the Israeli authorities or leased land to them for a period of 999 years. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Examples of these transactions include the sale of St. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online John's property in the Christian quarter on 11th April 1990, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online the transfer of fifty dunams near Mar Elias monastery, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online and the sale of two hotels and twenty seven stores on Omar Bin Al-Khattab square near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The church's land sales have come against a background of corruption allegations. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Nicholas Papadimas, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online a previous church treasurer in Jerusalem, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online was involved some of the sales before he fled the country and was charged in Greece with stealing church funds in a separate case. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online On being appointed as patriarch in 2005, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Theophilos had promised to stop selling Palestinian land, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online but he was also involved in many shady undertakings with Israel. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online The current patriarch, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Irineos, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online has also been accused of being behind secret land deals with two international Jewish investment groups. Another source of tension comes from the fact that the Greek clergy do not allow Arab clergymen from rising in the church. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online This is the case of the prominent Palestinian Christian clergyman, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Abdullah Hanaa. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online On the 13th of November 2009, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Theofilos removed Abdullah from his position as the deputy head from the Orthodox Church. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online This resulted in widespread condemnation from the Palestinian Greek Orthodox Community, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online who demonstrated in their thousands in the streets of Ramallah. Several hundred Palestinian protestors from the Council of Arab Orthodox Institutions and Organizations in Palestine, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online representing 19 groups, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online protested at the Greek Orthodox Church's involvement with the Israeli State and the removal of Abdullah Hanaa from his position. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online The placards read: The Israeli authorities have used the church's corruption and financial difficulties to their political advantage and applied additional political pressure to ensure that the choice of patriarchs is beneficial to Israel's land acquisition policies. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online One of the church's Jerusalem properties was purchased by Israel with the involvement of the Ateret Cohanim association which is dedicated to buying Arab property in Jerusalem and settling Jews there. Both the Christian and Muslim Palestinian communities have suffered at the hands of the Occupation. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Excavations near the gate of Maryam in the Western Wall of the Church of the Sepulchre in November 2009 are a recent example of this. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Far from collaborating with the Israeli entity, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online the struggle against the occupation should unite not only the different Christian Churches, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online but also the Muslim community. Gaza Baptist Church ceiling falling downConclusion According to Hanna Massad, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online pastor of Gaza Baptist Church, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online "The last 5 years have been very difficult for all the Palestinians - Muslims and Christians". Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Gaza Baptist Church is one of only three churches serving the 4, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online000 Christians living among the Gaza Strip's 1.5 million inhabitants. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Hanna explains how the siege united the community. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Because of the lack of basic food, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Christian charities have provided food for families, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online 99% of which are Muslim. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online During the 2009 bombings, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online "the church ceiling fell down up to 6 times". The plight of the Palestinian Christian is very much connected to that of the Palestinian Muslim in that both, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online whether in the Occupied Territories or inside Israel itself, order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online are experiencing daily injustices at the hands of oppressive and discriminatory policies imposed on them by the Israeli government. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online The conflict is therefore not between Muslims and Christians; nor between the Greek Orthodox Church and the Palestinian Christians; it is between Palestinians as a whole and Israel's occupation and apartheid establishment. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online It is indeed hard to be Palestinian Christian. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online But it is equally hard being a Palestinian Muslim. It is hard simply being a Palestinian. Order discount hip & joint chews large dogs online Original article found at: http://www.uruknet.de/?p=m67381&hd=&size=1&l=e