Ray Hanania’s Column
Most Christians in the United States don’t even know what’s going on during this Intifadah.
Few of them even realize that among the Palestinians being killed are Christians.
Normally, Christians stand up for their fellow Christians. In fact, the Christian World fought a world war for some 500 years to “protect” Christian interests in the Holy Land. We called that the Crusades.
American Christians are a real unusual breed of people. They hate Muslims and view Islam as a threat, but they hate most Jews, too. Remember, it was the United States that fought against allowing Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler’s Nazi policies of extermination to come to this country.
The Israelis have always know this. But they need American support. And they recognize that although Americans hate Jews, Americans hate Muslims, more. They are familiar with the Jewish people and very unfamiliar with Islam.
How else can you explain why Americans don’t mind a national policy that results in the killing of thousands of babies in Iraq every year? As long as these victims are either Muslim or are not viewed as being Christian, the Americans don’t care.
But that attitude could easily change as many Christians in the United States and elsewhere realize that among those Muslim Palestinians that the Israelis are murdering, are many Christian Palestinians, too!
That’s right. Among the people Israeli soldiers are killing are Christians. Not just Muslims.
Prior Israeli governments have managed this delicate situation in the past, but it seems to be getting out of hand under Ariel Sharon. You see, Sharon hates Christians as much as he hates Muslims. He is a fanatic and a member of the Israeli settler movement. These are people who willingly left the comforts of their real homes in Europe, Asia, the United States and even other Arab countries, to live on a rocky hilltop in 110 degree heat and raise their children with only the bare essentials of life.
That’s not devotion to a religion, but true Judaism does not condone what Israeli settlers are doing to the Palestinians. It is called the ultimate in fanaticism.
So Sharon doesn’t mind enforcing policies that not only kill Muslim Palestinians, but also many Christian Palestinians, too.
And this has caused some Israelis to be concerned.
Sharon’s policies have resulted in some of the worst destruction to the Christian Palestinian population in Israel’s brutal 53 year history.
And that has come to the attention of the usually silent Christian World. They didn’t like the fact that Bethlehem was being destroyed during the height of the 2000 year anniversary of the Birth of Christianity, even though they did little to stop it. Incidents of Israeli attacks against Christians are increasing.
In response, the Israelis have designed a campaign to off-set the problem. They are actually starting to pretend like they care about Christian Palestinians, too.
And the most recent campaign involves the case of Yussef Samir, a Christian Arab who betrayed his people not only by working for Israel, but by also working against the Palestinians.
According to the Israelis, the Egyptian-born Samir “defected” to Israel three decades ago after writing a series of articles critical of then-President Gamal Abdul Nasser. He later obtained Israeli citizenship and worked as a journalist for Israel Radio’s Arabic department, which pounded out daily doses of anti-Arab propaganda and lies.
With the backing of many Israelis, his daughter, Chaya, managed to become the only Arab to achieve celebrity status in Israel, and is known to the world not as a famous “Arab” singer, but as an “Israeli” singer.
Chaya, aided by Sharon’s government, recently led a delegation to meet with leaders of 70 European Christian church leaders. She didn’t go there to urge them to protect the Christians whose homes are being destroyed in the Christian areas of Palestine, or to protect the Christian Palestinian children who are being murdered by fanatic Israeli settlers.
No, Chaya Samir urged them only to denounce the Palestinians and the PNA, which she asserts arrested her father in late March.
It’s amazing to me that the Israeli “Defense” Forces, which have been busy assassinating Palestinian leaders and destroying Palestinian civilian homes, had the time to investigate his disappearance and conclude that he was in PNA custody.
I am all for the Christian World stepping into this conflict. After all, the first Christians were, in fact, Palestinians. And Christianity was born in suffering caused by the Biblical Hebrews. Its origins include some of the best known Palestinian towns of Bethlehem, Nazareth and Jerusalem.
So, why aren’t the Christians of the World more involved in speaking out against Israeli atrocities?
It has a lot to do with perceptions and the manipulation of the news media. Israel does a great job of converting the murder of an innocent Palestinian into a form of justifiable corporal punishment.
If a Palestinian blows up a bomb in the heart of Tel Aviv, the Israelis punish the entire Palestinian community. While the Israeli soldiers officially go around destroying homes, arresting civilians and beating and killing suspects, the fanatic Israeli settlers just go out and murder Palestinians like sport. And when an Israeli settler murders a Palestinian, no one thinks twice about it.
We Palestinians want the conflict to end. We want Israel to have its security and we want the violence to end.
But we also want our security. We want our land back. All of the land. All of the West Bank. All of the Gaza Strip. And all of that small part of Jerusalem known as “Arab East Jerusalem” that the Israelis captured by war in 1967.
We also want the Christian World to get involved.
Not just to determine the whereabouts of self-hater Yussef Samir, the father of a famous “Israeli” singer, but to also show concern for those Christians and Muslims who are victims of Israeli atrocities and war crimes.
(Ray Hanania is a Palestinian American writer based in Chicago and a regular contributor to MMN. His columns are archived on the web at www.hanania.com)