October 31, 2019

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinian Christians that Nobody is Talking About


by Ramzy Baroud


Photograph Source: View of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem. Berthold Werner – CC BY-SA 3.0

Palestine’s Christian population is dwindling at an alarming rate. The world’s most ancient Christian community is moving elsewhere. And the reason for this is Israel.
Christian leaders from Palestine and South Africa sounded the alarm at a conference in Johannesburg on October 15. Their gathering was titled: “The Holy Land: A Palestinian Christian Perspective”.
One major issue that highlighted itself at the meetings is the rapidly declining number of Palestinian Christians in Palestine.
There are varied estimates on how many Palestinian Christians are still living in Palestine today, compared with the period before 1948 when the state of Israel was established atop Palestinian towns and villages. Regardless of the source of the various studies, there is near consensus that the number of Christian inhabitants of Palestine has dropped by nearly ten-fold in the last 70 years.
A population census carried out by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in 2017 concluded that there are 47,000 Palestinian Christians living in Palestine – with reference to the Occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. 98 percent of Palestine’s Christians live in the West Bank – concentrated mostly in the cities of Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jerusalem – while the remainder, a tiny Christian community of merely 1,100 people, lives in the besieged Gaza Strip.
The demographic crisis that had afflicted the Christian community decades ago is now brewing.
For example, 70 years ago, Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, was 86 percent Christian. The demographics of the city, however, have fundamentally shifted, especially after the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in June 1967, and the construction of the illegal Israeli apartheid wall, starting in 2002. Parts of the wall were meant to cut off Bethlehem from Jerusalem and to isolate the former from the rest of the West Bank.

counterpunch.org/2019/10/31/the-ethnic-cleansing-of-palestinian-christians-that-nobody-is-talking-about/