Christians living in the territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority face what can only be described as routine persecution that the rest of the world seems to be either unaware of or unconcerned by.
On May 13, unidentified assailants broke into the St. Charbel Monastery in Bethlehem, where they proceeded to desecrate the place of worship and steal expensive equipment. In a post on its Facebook page, the monastery’s leadership condemned the latest attack and demanded that Palestinian Authority police bring the culprits to justice.
The post also noted that this was the sixth time that the St. Charbel Monastery has been desecrated in recent years, the most serious incident coming in 2015, when arsons set fire to the sanctuary. While Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas was present at the rededication of the repaired sanctuary on December 24, 2018, many saw this as mere lip service to religious tolerance, as his police had never arrested any suspects in connection to the fire.
Three days later, on May 16, the Anglican Church in the village of Abboud, west of Ramallah, was robbed. The assailants cut through an outer fence and broke the windows of the church before desecrating the site and again making off with expensive equipment.
It is past time for Christians in the Western world to demand that the Palestinian Authority protect Christian holy sites and bring to justice anyone who could violate their sanctity. But the problem is that so few are even aware of this routine persecution.
Far more important to the Palestinian Authority than arresting those who assault Christian sites is keeping such incidents out of the mainstream media. And they are very successful in this regard. Indeed, only a handful of smaller local outlets bothered to report on these latest break-ins. The mainstream international media ignored them altogether.
To accomplish this, PA officials exert pressure on local Christian to not report such incidents, which threaten to unmask the Palestinian Authority as yet another Middle East regime beholden to a radical Islamic ideology, to say nothing of its apparent incompetence in apprehending petty criminals.
The reason the PA cares so much about its image in Western eyes is its reliance on financial backing from Europe. For these routine attacks on local Christians to make it into the mainstream media would reinforce the fact that the only place in the Middle East where Christians are truly safe is the Jewish State of Israel, which is the only country in the region where the Christian population has increased in recent decades.