Skip to main content

We have read a lot about Israeli's treatment of the Palestinian people. But what is not being reported widely is the fact that the Israeli government is actively and systematically denying the right of Palestinian Christians the right to worship even though they have not (to my knowledge) been involved in the violent struggles by certain militant groups against Israel.

"It is not fair," said Rand Tawasha, a 21-year-old student from Birzeit University, near Ramallah, referring to Israeli restrictions on movement that often prohibit Christians' access to holy sites in nearby Jerusalem. The Holy City has been out of bounds for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1967, when Israel defied international law to occupy and effectively annex East Jerusalem, home to the city’s most sacred sites. Today, Palestinians’ only means to reach the city is through a special permit issued by Israeli authorities.
The regulations are written in such a way that it is very difficult to get such a permit. Many times, they don't give them out until it is too late.

This undermines the basis that Israel has to claim that it is a democratic system. Instead, it is treating its Palestinian Christian population with the same sort of discrimination that it is the rest of their Palestinian populations.

Tawasha is the only one in a family of five who received a permit this Easter season. "Having access to the Holy City or to churches there especially at this time of year is our normal right as Palestinians," she said. "It should not be associated with anything political."

This reality had drawn similar sentiments from official clergy. "It is very painful to see people coming from the whole world, from places [as far as] Japan, and they can easily reach the holy sites while our people and Christians from Iraq, Jordan and other [Arab] countries cannot," Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, told journalists in the lead-up to Easter celebrations.

The end result is that it is breaking up families and shutting people out of the process. This is hardly surprising coming from a government whose foreign minister openly advocates the transfer and revocation of citizenship for its Palestinian minority within Israel.
Some of those who received permits this year still did not make it to Jerusalem to attend festivities for the holiest season in the Christian calendar since the rest of their family members were not granted them. "I feel bitter and left out," the Gaza-based mother said. "Many members of my family who are older managed to go. My husband, who is 36, received one but refused to leave me and the children behind."

This year, permits for Gaza's Christians were issued only to those who are younger than 16 and older than 35. Samer Shahin, also from Gaza City, said he and his 7-year-old twins received permits; his wife, didn't. "We have been denied the joys of Easter in Jerusalem," he said.

The policies are designed to reduce and eliminate the Christian population. The ironic thing is that:
Many Christians have traditionally supported the goals and ideals of Zionism.
But Israel's policies of perpetual warfare against the Palestinian people as well as its rules and regulations designed to exclude Palestinian Christians from a meaningful civil life means that they are not the democratic system of government that was first envisioned when Zionism was first through up. Instead, they are an apartheid dictatorship which is designed to confer special rights on its Jewish majority population while denying rights to Muslims and Christians.
EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site