“Unless Israel exists Hamas will take over West Bank – we need Israel to protect us. We do not hate the Israelis, we don't love them either but we are cool with them. They are protecting us."
"We want to live under the Israelian control we do not want the PA, it is bad for us Christians."
"....The problems for West Bank Christians started in 1993 when the area was handed over to the Palestinian Authority....after the 2nd intifada, it got worse ..."Those are the statements of three young Palestinian Christians quoted in a document titled "Methodist Church Consultation Response" issued by the Emmaus Group, a Christian organisation that aims effectively to counteract the anti-Israel mischief of Sabeel and Kairos, and indeed of that of such anti-Israel clerical crusaders as the Rev. Stephen Sizer, who to judge from what he and his followers have written today on social media are (deservingly) much miffed by the document.
Indeed, the document, which argues forcefully against BDS, is an admirable rejoinder to the Israel-demonising nonsense put out by such elements within the Methodist Church and other churches, elements that are often, absurd as this may seem, apologists for Islam.
For instance, the report observes:
'Jointly, the Palestinian Territories (West Bank and Gaza) are 95.2% Moslem. Gaza is 99.99% Moslem and its population of 1.76 million includes just 1, 500 Christians. The West Bank population is estimated at around 2.6 million of whom 75% are Moslem, 17% Jewish “settlers” and 8% Christian. If one ignores for a moment the Jewish settler population of 325,000, it leaves a total Palestinian populus of 4.3 million, of whom 208,000 are Christian, i.e. 4.8%.
This is highly significant to the BDS question raised by the Methodist Church as we will demonstrate.
In the 1931 census conducted by the British, the Christian Population of Bethlehem and surrounding districts was 81%. In the late 1980s it was estimated at 85%. Today it is 7%.
In the 1960s Ramallah was 90% Christian whereas today it is a Moslem city. Ten years ago the Churches of Bethlehem asked the Israeli authorities to re-route the security wall as they didn’t want to live under a future Palestinian autocracy: facts that speak volumes. [My emphasis here and below]
We have chosen to include these figures in our response because they demonstrate a catastrophic decline in Christianity in the Palestinian Territories over the last 20 years.
Previously, between 1948 and 1989, the figures had remained fairly constant.
The decline and exodus of Christians from the Territories echoes the decline from Israel’s neighbouring Arab-Islamic states.
The Palestinian territory is, in terms of demography, an Islamic territory and therefore not unique in this phenomenon. The exodus did not start in 1967 when Israel “occupied” the land, but began after the first intifada and escalated significantly after the second.
The decline and exodus is largely due to the ever-increasing levels of discrimination in a radical Islamic community, in which Christians are regarded as second-class citizens. Today, one only has to look north to Syria, south to Egypt, or east to Iraq, to observe atrocities being committed against Christians by radicalised regimes and cultures. Christians in the West Bank are looking at what’s happening in these countries adding greatly to their fears for their future.'It ends:
'We are called to be peacemakers:to encourage people to seek first the kingdom of Heaven and the righteousness of God. We should not to do as the world does, propagating division and violence,for we do not belong to this world. We can and should alleviate suffering – and in the Palestinian case, we should seek to achieve this not by boycotting Israeli products made in the West Bank, which create jobs for Palestinians, but by publicly challenging the discrimination our brothers and sisters receive from the Palestinians themselves. If we really want to help these people we should challenge the vast abuse of power in public office by the Palestinian government, question the massive disappearance of western aid, the incubation of terrorist activity and the incitement to violence in government/ UNWRA funded schools – all of which are clearly against God’s will for mankind.
We must encourage the Palestinian Church to rise above politics and pray for the peace of Jerusalem as instructed to us in the Psalms. We must encourage them to trust in the Lord, pray for their enemies and those that persecute them, because vengeance belongs to the Lord – not man, especially not through political activism. We must help them to remove the plank from their own eye before removing the speck from Israel’s. We should not encourage them to engage in partiality or political activism and cause them to sin.
The Emmaus Group concludes that Christian engagement in political activism and policies which might harm Christian and Jew are both illogical and fraught with risk....
An endorsement of the BDS campaign cannot be honouring to God and nor will it help the region’s persecuted Christians. In fact it is our belief that it will bring greater division, unrest and persecution to the region.'Read the entire report here