Do the Palestinians Really Want a State?

By Findalis


I am positive that the average Palestinian man or woman would take any decent agreement giving them their own nation and working in peaceful cooperation with their Israeli neighbors, create a Paradise on Earth. Most Palestinians work or have worked in Israel, many would be friendly with Israelis if they could (the extremists in Gaza and the West Bank kill such people, calling them traitors and collaborators.). There is a deep desire for peace among them.

The Palestinian Authority on the other hand may have no desire for a settlement to the stalemate that has boxed both sides into positions they cannot retreat from.

This is the premise that Robert D. Kaplan puts forward in this month’s Atlantic Monthly.

The statelessness of Palestinian Arabs has been a principal feature of world politics for more than half a century. It is the signature issue of our time. The inability of Israelis and Palestinians to reach an accord of mutual recognition and land-for-peace has helped infect the globe with violence and radicalism—and has long been a bane of American foreign policy. While the problems of the Middle East cannot be substantially blamed on the injustice done to Palestinians, that injustice has nonetheless played a role in weakening America’s position in the region.

Obviously, part of the problem has been Israeli intransigence. Despite seeming to submit to territorial concessions, one Israeli government after another has quietly continued to bolster illegal settlements in the occupied territories.

With Fatah and Hamas facing off against each other, the Palestinians are simply too divided to plausibly meet Israel across the table. And because the Palestinians are unable to cut a deal, a majority of Israelis, as shown by the recent election results, have apparently given up any hope for peace.

But there is a deeper structural and philosophical reason why the Palestinians remain stateless—a reason more profound than the political narrative would indicate. It is best explained by associate Johns Hopkins professor Jakub Grygiel, in his brilliant essay, “The Power of Statelessness: the Withering Appeal of Governing” (Policy Review April/May 2009). In it, Grygiel does not discuss the Palestinians in particular, but rather the attitude of stateless people in general.

Statehood is no longer a goal, he writes. Many stateless groups “do not aspire to have a state,” for they are more capable of achieving their objectives without one. Instead of actively seeking statehood to address their weakness, as Zionist Jews did in an earlier phase of history, groups like the Palestinians now embrace their statelessness as a source of power.

New communication technologies allow people to achieve virtual unity without a state, even as new military technologies give stateless groups a lethal capacity that in former decades could be attained only by states. Grygiel explains that it is now “highly desirable” not to have a state—for a state is a target that can be destroyed or damaged, and hence pressured politically. It was the very quasi-statehood achieved by Hamas in the Gaza Strip that made it easier for Israel to bomb it. A state entails responsibilities that limit a people’s freedom of action. A group like Hezbollah in Lebanon, the author notes, could probably take over the Lebanese state today, but why would it want to? Why would it want responsibility for providing safety and services to all Lebanese? Why would it want to provide the Israelis with so many tempting targets of reprisal? Statelessness offers a level of “impunity” from retaliation.

But the most tempting aspect of statelessness is that it permits a people to savor the pleasures of religious zeal, extremist ideologies, and moral absolutes, without having to make the kinds of messy, mundane compromises that accompany the work of looking after a geographical space.

The closest that Israelis and Palestinians ever came to peace was at the end of the Clinton Administration in 2000, when then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak of the center-left Labor Party offered a slew of concessions to the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat—only to have Arafat reject them. Arafat’s epitaph was that he remained loyal to the cause of his people, that he never compromised, and that he was steadfast to the bitter end. He may have seen that as a more morally and emotionally satisfying conclusion to a life of statelessness than that of making the unenchanting concessions associated with achieving statehood.

Read the full article here.

If this report is right, then President Obama’s effort to ram an agreement down the Israelis throats is doomed to failure. For it will always be in the best interest of the Palestinian leaders to reject any offer to them that doesn’t include all the land from the river to the sea. In other words, unless they get it all and Israel is eliminated, then they will not take any deal.

It is in the best interest of the Palestinian leadership to remain stateless and cry victim every time Israel tries to stop the terror that the Palestinian leadership uses to achieve their ends.
For once a nation has been formed, attacks such as the rockets falling into Israel from Gaza, suicide bombers, or the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers would and is considered an Act of War under International Law. Without the ‘protection‘ of being stateless, the Palestinians would have to face Israel’s wrath without International support.

Another consequence of the creation of a Palestinian state would be the removal of their special refugee status. Although the Saudi Peace Plan insists on a Law of Return, there is no Israeli government (on the left or the right) that will ever agree to such a demand. But for the sake of this article, let us say that the Palestinians do agree to drop this demand (Yassir Arafat refused a Palestinian nation in 2000 by doing this). Finally the Palestinians living in refugee camps in Gaza and the West Bank would now be living in cities of their new nation, and the remaining refugees living in camps through out the Arab world could be relocated to the new nation, having gained the status of citizen of Palestine and losing the status of refugee.

For the average Palestinian this would be a boon. But for the leadership, this would be a nightmare. No longer would the world support through massive donations of food and monies the Palestinian people. Any agreement reached by both sides would have to include a date for ending refugee status. And thus funds. Such funds which are often diverted into Swiss bank accounts for the private use of the leadership and not the benefit of the people. This international gravy train would dry up, and the leadership would either have to beg more money from within the Muslim community and the US or EU. Eventually these funds would dry up too.

As things stand now, the PA has no reason to agree to anything except the full release to them of the land that is now Israel. Other than that, there will never be a peaceful solution to this problem. And just like Bill Clinton before him, Barack Obama just might come to realize that the PA and Hamas will never agree to anything that will end their free ride.

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PA To Bibi: No!

By Findalis

Yesterday I wrote that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had one condition:

Recognize Israel as a Jewish nation.

It wasn’t an Earth-shattering demand, was it? But to the PalArabs it is like asking for the moon. Their answer is a resounding: NO!

The Palestinian Authority has rejected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s condition for moving ahead on negotiations to establish “two states for two peoples.”

PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh on Thursday night slammed Netanyahu’s insistence that the PA first accept the concept of Israel as a Jewish State before Israel continues talks to establish a new Arab country within its current borders.

Netanyahu told United States Middle East envoy George Mitchell earlier in the evening that Israel is willing to discuss the creation of a PA State – but only if the PA recognizes Israel as a Jewish State.

“Israel expects the Palestinians to first recognize Israel as a Jewish State before talking about two states for two peoples,” Netanyahu said.

The Fatah-led PA government based in Ramallah has agreed in the past to recognize Israel, but not as a Jewish State.

Being the man that he is, Netanyahu can just sit around and wait. He is a very patient man with all the time in the world. Either the PA will finally recognized Israel as a Jewish nation, or there will be no more talks.

For the record: There are 57 Muslim nations in this world, but only 1 Jewish nation.

Obama is out of his league now. Bibi will not back down, he isn’t Olmert. What will Obama do to try and force Bibi. Cut off US Aid? Sanctions in the UN? A military invasion? I do believe that his favorite advisor Samantha Power is all in favor of that and more. Will Obama do wht his heart, his advisor, his wife and his pastor want: The elimination from the Earth of all Jews. Or will he be forced to back down?

Only time will tell.

PA To Bibi: No!

By Findalis

Yesterday I wrote that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had one condition:

Recognize Israel as a Jewish nation.

It wasn’t an Earth-shattering demand, was it? But to the PalArabs it is like asking for the moon. Their answer is a resounding: NO!

The Palestinian Authority has rejected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s condition for moving ahead on negotiations to establish “two states for two peoples.”

PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh on Thursday night slammed Netanyahu’s insistence that the PA first accept the concept of Israel as a Jewish State before Israel continues talks to establish a new Arab country within its current borders.

Netanyahu told United States Middle East envoy George Mitchell earlier in the evening that Israel is willing to discuss the creation of a PA State – but only if the PA recognizes Israel as a Jewish State.

“Israel expects the Palestinians to first recognize Israel as a Jewish State before talking about two states for two peoples,” Netanyahu said.

The Fatah-led PA government based in Ramallah has agreed in the past to recognize Israel, but not as a Jewish State.

Being the man that he is, Netanyahu can just sit around and wait. He is a very patient man with all the time in the world. Either the PA will finally recognized Israel as a Jewish nation, or there will be no more talks.

For the record: There are 57 Muslim nations in this world, but only 1 Jewish nation.

Obama is out of his league now. Bibi will not back down, he isn’t Olmert. What will Obama do to try and force Bibi. Cut off US Aid? Sanctions in the UN? A military invasion? I do believe that his favorite advisor Samantha Power is all in favor of that and more. Will Obama do wht his heart, his advisor, his wife and his pastor want: The elimination from the Earth of all Jews. Or will he be forced to back down?

Only time will tell.

Crucifixion, Whips and Honor Killings..

Cross posted by Findalis of Monkey in the Middle

…are now all permitted in Gaza under the new Shar’ia act that has been passed.

In line with its Islamist ideology, the Palestinian Authority in Gaza has enacted a new law adopting the traditional Muslim criminal code. Penalties include amputation and crucifixion, as well as the death penalty for negotiations contrary to Hamas’s interpretation of “Palestinian interests”.

According to a report on the new law appearing Wednesday on the Al-Arabiya website, as translated by Palestinian Media Watch, the Palestinian Legislative Council approved a bill “to implement Koranic punishments.” The Arabic website, the online arm of the popular Al-Arabiya satellite news outlet, refers to the London-based Saudi-owned newspaper Al-Hayat, which said the decision to implement shari’a (Islamic law) was “seen as unprecedented,” and that it has “brought criticism and concern from human rights organizations in the Gaza Strip.”

The criminal code adopted by the PA includes such punishments as lashes, amputation of thieves’ hands, crucifixion, approval of blood revenge, and execution. According to the Arabic press, the law stipulates that only the victim of a crime can pardon opt to forgo the “Koranic penalties”.

Among the crimes punished with lashes, and that have no specific “victim” who can pardon the offender, are the consumption, owning or producing of wine. According to the new PA law such an individual “will be punished with 40 lashes if he is Muslim, and anyone who drinks wine, or angers another person [with wine], or causes him distress when drinking wine in a public place, or goes to a public place while drunk, will be punished with no less than 40 lashes and imprisonment for the minimum of three months.”

Touching on the political aspect of the Hamas ideology, the new law reportedly includes the death penalty for anyone who “raised a weapon against Palestine on behalf of the enemy during war, was appointed to negotiate with a foreign government on a Palestinian issue and negotiated against Palestinians’ interest, performed a hostile action against a foreign country in a way that endangers Palestine in war or in harming political relations, served a foreign army in time of war, advised or helped soldiers to enlist in this army, weakened the spirit or the force of resistance of the people, or spied against Palestine especially during war.”

If in fact passed, as reported in the Arabic press, the new law only puts into practice what was stated succinctly by a PA legislator – Hamed Bitawi of the Hamas organization – just after Hamas won the January 2006 PA elections in a sweeping victory: “The Koran is our constitution, Mohammad is our prophet, jihad is our path and dying as martyrs for the sake of Allah is our biggest wish.” His statement was answered with a standing ovation and calls of “Allahu Akbar.

It also bears noting that the Palestinian Authority Constitution as it was adopted under the PLO’s Yasser Arafat and led by Fatah also declares, “The principles of Islamic shari’a are a major source for legislation.”

Full Story

What fun! I guess that Gaza will now be out as a destination for Spring Breakers. No liquor, no rock and roll music and women who look like this:


Not a very fun place to spend spring break.

On the other hand we will now see a surge in Honor Killing. It has been made legal to kill your mother, sister, daughter, aunt, etc… if she has destroyed your honor. And the execution method of crucifixion might boost tourism. It will be a great thing to watch on Hamas television the executions of gays, lesbians, and other undesirables if you cannot attend them in person. Or watch the whipping of those who take a beer or two for enjoyment. The stoning of adulterous women should be a great ratings boost and let us not forget the weekly amputations of hands of the thieves.

And while this is happening do you believe for one instance that the MSM will report on it? Or that gay and lesbian groups will take to the streets around the world to protest the murder of their brothers and sisters? Or women’s groups demanding justice for the women of Gaza from the tyranny of Shar’ia?

You won’t hear anything of the sort. What you will hear from all these groups is the condemnation of Israel for so-called Human Rights Violations and the praise of Hamas.

Crucifixion, Whips and Honor Killings..

Cross posted by Findalis of Monkey in the Middle

…are now all permitted in Gaza under the new Shar’ia act that has been passed.

In line with its Islamist ideology, the Palestinian Authority in Gaza has enacted a new law adopting the traditional Muslim criminal code. Penalties include amputation and crucifixion, as well as the death penalty for negotiations contrary to Hamas’s interpretation of “Palestinian interests”.

According to a report on the new law appearing Wednesday on the Al-Arabiya website, as translated by Palestinian Media Watch, the Palestinian Legislative Council approved a bill “to implement Koranic punishments.” The Arabic website, the online arm of the popular Al-Arabiya satellite news outlet, refers to the London-based Saudi-owned newspaper Al-Hayat, which said the decision to implement shari’a (Islamic law) was “seen as unprecedented,” and that it has “brought criticism and concern from human rights organizations in the Gaza Strip.”

The criminal code adopted by the PA includes such punishments as lashes, amputation of thieves’ hands, crucifixion, approval of blood revenge, and execution. According to the Arabic press, the law stipulates that only the victim of a crime can pardon opt to forgo the “Koranic penalties”.

Among the crimes punished with lashes, and that have no specific “victim” who can pardon the offender, are the consumption, owning or producing of wine. According to the new PA law such an individual “will be punished with 40 lashes if he is Muslim, and anyone who drinks wine, or angers another person [with wine], or causes him distress when drinking wine in a public place, or goes to a public place while drunk, will be punished with no less than 40 lashes and imprisonment for the minimum of three months.”

Touching on the political aspect of the Hamas ideology, the new law reportedly includes the death penalty for anyone who “raised a weapon against Palestine on behalf of the enemy during war, was appointed to negotiate with a foreign government on a Palestinian issue and negotiated against Palestinians’ interest, performed a hostile action against a foreign country in a way that endangers Palestine in war or in harming political relations, served a foreign army in time of war, advised or helped soldiers to enlist in this army, weakened the spirit or the force of resistance of the people, or spied against Palestine especially during war.”

If in fact passed, as reported in the Arabic press, the new law only puts into practice what was stated succinctly by a PA legislator – Hamed Bitawi of the Hamas organization – just after Hamas won the January 2006 PA elections in a sweeping victory: “The Koran is our constitution, Mohammad is our prophet, jihad is our path and dying as martyrs for the sake of Allah is our biggest wish.” His statement was answered with a standing ovation and calls of “Allahu Akbar.

It also bears noting that the Palestinian Authority Constitution as it was adopted under the PLO’s Yasser Arafat and led by Fatah also declares, “The principles of Islamic shari’a are a major source for legislation.”

Full Story

What fun! I guess that Gaza will now be out as a destination for Spring Breakers. No liquor, no rock and roll music and women who look like this:


Not a very fun place to spend spring break.

On the other hand we will now see a surge in Honor Killing. It has been made legal to kill your mother, sister, daughter, aunt, etc… if she has destroyed your honor. And the execution method of crucifixion might boost tourism. It will be a great thing to watch on Hamas television the executions of gays, lesbians, and other undesirables if you cannot attend them in person. Or watch the whipping of those who take a beer or two for enjoyment. The stoning of adulterous women should be a great ratings boost and let us not forget the weekly amputations of hands of the thieves.

And while this is happening do you believe for one instance that the MSM will report on it? Or that gay and lesbian groups will take to the streets around the world to protest the murder of their brothers and sisters? Or women’s groups demanding justice for the women of Gaza from the tyranny of Shar’ia?

You won’t hear anything of the sort. What you will hear from all these groups is the condemnation of Israel for so-called Human Rights Violations and the praise of Hamas.

O, little town of Bethlehem

Cross posted by Findalis of Monkey in the Middle


Bethlehem, the name brings to mind the birthplace of David, of Jesus. The tomb of Rachel. A place where peace and tranquility should prevail. But the truth behind the PA lies is not a pretty picture. While the MSM describes the exodus of Christians from Bethlehem and blames the Israeli government for it. The truth is uglier than it really is.

A number of Christian families have finally decided to break their silence and talk openly about what they describe as Muslim persecution of the Christian minority in this city.

The move comes as a result of increased attacks on Christians by Muslims over the past few months. The families said they wrote letters to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the Vatican, Church leaders and European governments complaining about the attacks, but their appeals have fallen on deaf ears.

According to the families, many Christians have long been afraid to complain in public about the campaign of “intimidation” for fear of retaliation by their Muslim neighbors and being branded “collaborators” with Israel.

But following an increase in attacks on Christian-owned property in the city over the past few months, some Christians are no longer afraid to talk about the ultra-sensitive issue. And they are talking openly about leaving the city.

“The situation is very dangerous,” said Samir Qumsiyeh, owner of the Beit Sahur-based private Al-Mahd (Nativity) TV station. “I believe that 15 years from now there will be no Christians left in Bethlehem. Then you will need a torch to find a Christian here. This is a very sad situation.”

Qumsiyeh, one of the few Christians willing to speak about the harsh conditions of their community, has been the subject of numerous death threats. His house was recently attacked with fire-bombs, but no one was hurt.

Full Story

Who would believe that in the 21st Century Christians would be persecuted for their beliefs? And the MSM blames Israel for this when it is the stated policy of the late Yassar Arafat and the Palestinian Authority.

Question: What’s worse than being bullied, harassed, intimidated and persecuted for your faith?

Answer: Being bullied, harassed, intimidated and persecuted for your faith – and watching the perpetrator of these crimes against humanity successfully blame someone else for committing them.

That’s exactly what is happening to Christians today in Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority. They are being beaten up. They are being killed. They are having their businesses burned down. They are watching their daughters raped. They are being run out of their ancestral homelands.

And the very people doing this – Arafat’s PA – are blaming it all on Israel.

The latest evidence of this campaign came on Christmas Day in an editorial in the Jordan Times.

Interestingly, the editorial doesn’t sugar-coat the toll on Christians.

Full Story

Christians are leaving as fast as they can. In a decade or two there will be no Christians in the city and the PA will be able to do what they have planned all along: To Turn the Church of the Nativity into a mosque.

Greeting that welcomes pilgrims who enter Nazareth.

Palestinian Authority’s Treatment of Christians
Christians in the Palestinian Authority
Palestinian Christians: Victims not Partners

These are but a few articles. A larger list is here.

A sad commentary is in today’s Jerusalem Post. A sad look at what was, what is and what might have been.

“O, little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie.” This is truer today than it ever has been since this song was written many years ago. Phillip Brooks, a Christian, wrote it in 1865 while on a horse from Jerusalem to Bethlehem for a midnight service. Although a few tourists do come, especially now at this Christmas season, Bethlehem remains still, unlike years past.

It’s been eight years since I last set foot in Bethlehem. As a Jewish Israeli tour guide, I am forbidden by law to endanger myself and go to this once colorful city. Gone are the days when thousands went to Bethlehem. Tourists, pilgrims from around the world, shoppers, and Israeli Arabs and Jews came. Gone are the days when you could eat the best falafel and humous in the little stone building across from Rachel’s Tomb. I remember the bargains. There was the wonderful flea market in the Bethlehem shuk . We came on aliya in the ’80s and with our limited budget could go to Bethlehem and buy good furniture at bargain prices – delivery was free. The rattan and the wicker outdoor furniture was good and cheap. Pillows were thrown in at bargain prices.

WE ATE in all those lovely outdoor cafés in and around Manger Square. We walked around with our tourists and enjoyed the ambiance and atmosphere.

Many times I stayed overnight with my pilgrims on Christmas Eve. A few times we were near Manger Square and I remember the sweet sounds of the choirs which came from all over the world to celebrate Christmas in the city where Jesus was born. Each sang the familiar Christmas carols in its own language. It was glorious. The Catholics came in droves from all over the country. They came for midnight Mass amid great pomp and ceremony and, as a guide, I had the privilege of seeing and participating in many of these celebrations. I often had an opportunity to talk to reporters. Some were just tourists themselves and I tried to make them Zionists. Sometimes they listened. We became friends. Those times are over.

We were so safe and sound and comfortable on those Christmas eves and days. We were surrounded by the IDF. It maintained the peace, offered security for crowds that otherwise might have gotten out of control.

I REMEMBER one morning many years ago, in the ’80s, when I arose early on a Christmas morning. I looked down from my second-floor window overlooking Manger Square. What to my wondering eyes did appear? No, not Santa and his reindeer, but Israeli soldiers all over the square with big blue plastic bags. At the approach of dawn, they were leaning down and filling them with cigarette butts, candy wrappers, leftover food and all the trash the pilgrims and tourists had dropped the night before.

It brought tears to my eyes. We had control then and we did our job. Bethlehem, the city where King David was also born, was still ours.

TODAY, BETHLEHEM is a virtual ghost town at night. No one dares venture out. There is no security and no rule of law. Most of the Christians have left, and the few stores and shopkeepers who remain have a hard time making ends meet.

We don’t go to Bethlehem anymore, though it is only a few kilometers away. It is so close and yet so far. It is closed to you and me, probably for many years ahead. However, we know that things change, so perhaps, as the song suggests, in those dark streets will shine an everlasting light and perhaps the hopes and fears of all these years may once again meet in the night.

It has already been decided by Hamas that if they ever got full control of the West Bank and God Forbid, the nation of Israel they will do the following:

  1. Kill all the Jews in the land.
  2. Drive out, force conversions or kill all the Druse, Baha’i and Christians in the land.
  3. Have the land only for Muslims and destroy or convert other faiths holy sites for Muslim only use.
  4. Impose Shar’ia Law

The last one is coming true.

The Hamas parliament in the Gaza Strip voted in favor of a law allowing courts to mete out sentences in the spirit of Islam, the London-based Arab daily Al Hayat reported Wednesday.

According to the bill, approved in its second reading and awaiting a third reading before the approval of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, as the Palestinian constitution demands, courts will be able to condemn offenders to a plethora of violent punitive measures in line with Sharia Law.

Such punishments include whipping, severing hands, crucifixion and hanging. The bill reserves death sentences to people who negotiate with a foreign government “against Palestinian interests” and engage in any activity that can “hurt Palestinian morale.”

According to the report, any Palestinian caught drinking or selling wine would suffer 40 lashes at the whipping post if the bill passes. Thieves caught red-handed would lose their right hand.

How much long will Christian pilgrims be allowed to worship in Bethlehem? The PA just might continue the charade for a while, but only for a while and a very high fee for their protection. After a bit, there will be no more Christians allowed at one of the most holiest sites in their faith. And the world’s media would still blame that on Israel and the Jews.

I ask Christians on this holiday to remember their persecuted brothers and sisters in Bethlehem in their prayers.

O, little town of Bethlehem

Cross posted by Findalis of Monkey in the Middle


Bethlehem, the name brings to mind the birthplace of David, of Jesus. The tomb of Rachel. A place where peace and tranquility should prevail. But the truth behind the PA lies is not a pretty picture. While the MSM describes the exodus of Christians from Bethlehem and blames the Israeli government for it. The truth is uglier than it really is.

A number of Christian families have finally decided to break their silence and talk openly about what they describe as Muslim persecution of the Christian minority in this city.

The move comes as a result of increased attacks on Christians by Muslims over the past few months. The families said they wrote letters to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the Vatican, Church leaders and European governments complaining about the attacks, but their appeals have fallen on deaf ears.

According to the families, many Christians have long been afraid to complain in public about the campaign of “intimidation” for fear of retaliation by their Muslim neighbors and being branded “collaborators” with Israel.

But following an increase in attacks on Christian-owned property in the city over the past few months, some Christians are no longer afraid to talk about the ultra-sensitive issue. And they are talking openly about leaving the city.

“The situation is very dangerous,” said Samir Qumsiyeh, owner of the Beit Sahur-based private Al-Mahd (Nativity) TV station. “I believe that 15 years from now there will be no Christians left in Bethlehem. Then you will need a torch to find a Christian here. This is a very sad situation.”

Qumsiyeh, one of the few Christians willing to speak about the harsh conditions of their community, has been the subject of numerous death threats. His house was recently attacked with fire-bombs, but no one was hurt.

Full Story

Who would believe that in the 21st Century Christians would be persecuted for their beliefs? And the MSM blames Israel for this when it is the stated policy of the late Yassar Arafat and the Palestinian Authority.

Question: What’s worse than being bullied, harassed, intimidated and persecuted for your faith?

Answer: Being bullied, harassed, intimidated and persecuted for your faith – and watching the perpetrator of these crimes against humanity successfully blame someone else for committing them.

That’s exactly what is happening to Christians today in Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority. They are being beaten up. They are being killed. They are having their businesses burned down. They are watching their daughters raped. They are being run out of their ancestral homelands.

And the very people doing this – Arafat’s PA – are blaming it all on Israel.

The latest evidence of this campaign came on Christmas Day in an editorial in the Jordan Times.

Interestingly, the editorial doesn’t sugar-coat the toll on Christians.

Full Story

Christians are leaving as fast as they can. In a decade or two there will be no Christians in the city and the PA will be able to do what they have planned all along: To Turn the Church of the Nativity into a mosque.

Greeting that welcomes pilgrims who enter Nazareth.

Palestinian Authority’s Treatment of Christians
Christians in the Palestinian Authority
Palestinian Christians: Victims not Partners

These are but a few articles. A larger list is here.

A sad commentary is in today’s Jerusalem Post. A sad look at what was, what is and what might have been.

“O, little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie.” This is truer today than it ever has been since this song was written many years ago. Phillip Brooks, a Christian, wrote it in 1865 while on a horse from Jerusalem to Bethlehem for a midnight service. Although a few tourists do come, especially now at this Christmas season, Bethlehem remains still, unlike years past.

It’s been eight years since I last set foot in Bethlehem. As a Jewish Israeli tour guide, I am forbidden by law to endanger myself and go to this once colorful city. Gone are the days when thousands went to Bethlehem. Tourists, pilgrims from around the world, shoppers, and Israeli Arabs and Jews came. Gone are the days when you could eat the best falafel and humous in the little stone building across from Rachel’s Tomb. I remember the bargains. There was the wonderful flea market in the Bethlehem shuk . We came on aliya in the ’80s and with our limited budget could go to Bethlehem and buy good furniture at bargain prices – delivery was free. The rattan and the wicker outdoor furniture was good and cheap. Pillows were thrown in at bargain prices.

WE ATE in all those lovely outdoor cafés in and around Manger Square. We walked around with our tourists and enjoyed the ambiance and atmosphere.

Many times I stayed overnight with my pilgrims on Christmas Eve. A few times we were near Manger Square and I remember the sweet sounds of the choirs which came from all over the world to celebrate Christmas in the city where Jesus was born. Each sang the familiar Christmas carols in its own language. It was glorious. The Catholics came in droves from all over the country. They came for midnight Mass amid great pomp and ceremony and, as a guide, I had the privilege of seeing and participating in many of these celebrations. I often had an opportunity to talk to reporters. Some were just tourists themselves and I tried to make them Zionists. Sometimes they listened. We became friends. Those times are over.

We were so safe and sound and comfortable on those Christmas eves and days. We were surrounded by the IDF. It maintained the peace, offered security for crowds that otherwise might have gotten out of control.

I REMEMBER one morning many years ago, in the ’80s, when I arose early on a Christmas morning. I looked down from my second-floor window overlooking Manger Square. What to my wondering eyes did appear? No, not Santa and his reindeer, but Israeli soldiers all over the square with big blue plastic bags. At the approach of dawn, they were leaning down and filling them with cigarette butts, candy wrappers, leftover food and all the trash the pilgrims and tourists had dropped the night before.

It brought tears to my eyes. We had control then and we did our job. Bethlehem, the city where King David was also born, was still ours.

TODAY, BETHLEHEM is a virtual ghost town at night. No one dares venture out. There is no security and no rule of law. Most of the Christians have left, and the few stores and shopkeepers who remain have a hard time making ends meet.

We don’t go to Bethlehem anymore, though it is only a few kilometers away. It is so close and yet so far. It is closed to you and me, probably for many years ahead. However, we know that things change, so perhaps, as the song suggests, in those dark streets will shine an everlasting light and perhaps the hopes and fears of all these years may once again meet in the night.

It has already been decided by Hamas that if they ever got full control of the West Bank and God Forbid, the nation of Israel they will do the following:

  1. Kill all the Jews in the land.
  2. Drive out, force conversions or kill all the Druse, Baha’i and Christians in the land.
  3. Have the land only for Muslims and destroy or convert other faiths holy sites for Muslim only use.
  4. Impose Shar’ia Law

The last one is coming true.

The Hamas parliament in the Gaza Strip voted in favor of a law allowing courts to mete out sentences in the spirit of Islam, the London-based Arab daily Al Hayat reported Wednesday.

According to the bill, approved in its second reading and awaiting a third reading before the approval of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, as the Palestinian constitution demands, courts will be able to condemn offenders to a plethora of violent punitive measures in line with Sharia Law.

Such punishments include whipping, severing hands, crucifixion and hanging. The bill reserves death sentences to people who negotiate with a foreign government “against Palestinian interests” and engage in any activity that can “hurt Palestinian morale.”

According to the report, any Palestinian caught drinking or selling wine would suffer 40 lashes at the whipping post if the bill passes. Thieves caught red-handed would lose their right hand.

How much long will Christian pilgrims be allowed to worship in Bethlehem? The PA just might continue the charade for a while, but only for a while and a very high fee for their protection. After a bit, there will be no more Christians allowed at one of the most holiest sites in their faith. And the world’s media would still blame that on Israel and the Jews.

I ask Christians on this holiday to remember their persecuted brothers and sisters in Bethlehem in their prayers.