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ICC Note:
An excellent CBN article detailing the ongoing persecution of Christians in Palestine .
Palestinian Christians Face Persecution
By Chris Mitchell
Middle East Bureau Chief
CBN

WEST BANK – Two thousand years after the birth of Christ, Christians are leaving the Holy Land in record numbers, and a new report suggests persecution against Palestinian believers is getting worse.

Little remains of 14 homes set ablaze in the West Bank village of Taybeh . An angry Muslim mob from a neighboring village attacked the Christian town last September. They said they were avenging the dishonor of a Muslim woman allegedly impregnated by her Christian employer, from Taybeh.

Taybeh is the only West Bank village completely inhabited by Christians – about 2,000 of them. It was originally called Ephraim. It is mentioned in the Old Testament and in the book of John as a village where Jesus stayed.

Mayor David Khoury said the attack would not have occurred if Taybeh were a Muslim village instead of a Christian one.

“It happened many times between a Muslim and a Muslim, and what they did was, most times they would just marry the girl off. Had they gave us a chance and prove this pregnancy was from the man from Taybeh, maybe we would have married him off to that girl,” Khoury said.

The attack on the village of Taybeh is one more example of the precarious position of Christians in the West Bank and throughout the Middle East .

International Human Rights Attorney Justus Weiner has researched the plight of Palestinian Christians for more than eight years. His findings were recently published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Weiner said Palestinian Christians are now living in fear because persecution against them is increasing.

“I think the situation has been on a steep downhill for at least 12 years,” said Weiner, “since Israel withdrew from the Palestinian populated areas of the West Bank and Gaza …they fear for their own lives, they fear for their own family, they fear for the future of their community.”

It is a community that many Christians believe will be marginalized as the Palestinians move toward statehood.

Hannan said Christians are now being treated as second-class citizens in the Holy Land because Islamists dominate the Palestinian Authority.

“Now, all the leadership and the people in authority are Muslims, and they force their laws, their teaching, their Koran, everything in the courts, in the schools, everywhere…they threaten people; people are afraid to say no,” she said.

The city of Bethlehem , the birthplace of Jesus, was once a Christian city. Several decades ago, it was perhaps more than 80 percent Christian. Today, the Christian population has declined to less than 15 percent.

While their numbers may be fewer and persecution against them is increasing, thousands of Christians have chosen to remain in the Holy Land , and some are quietly leading Muslims to Christ.

West Bank evangelist Nadeem remarked, “When the person’s faith is true, and they realize that their suffering doesn’t go unnoticed by God, they see that they’re doing something for the cause of Christ and furthering his kingdom…then they grow with more courage… and still the work goes on.”

In his second letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul said those who live a godly life in Christ will be persecuted. Nearly 2,000 later, those words are ringing true for Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land , where persecution is now a way of life.