Today is Christmas and in the city of Jesus’s birth, Bethlehem again this year has even less Christians calling it home while the percentage of Muslims continues to creep closer to 100%. Bethlehem has no Jewish presence as it is completely under the control of the Palestinian Authority. This has been the case since the beginning of the Oslo Accords which spelled the death of Christian rights to a normal life with freedom of worship and free from fear of persecution. Twice a year the city of Bethlehem relaxes its Islamic stranglehold and allows Christians to return as it is during the two holidays, Christmas and Easter, provide the lifeblood for the economy of the shops, stores, restaurants, and inns which have very little business the rest of the year. During these Christian holy days the streets fill with merchants selling Christian themed trinkets and other wares which are displayed solely on these two holiday times. This is the sad truth about Bethlehem today where what used to be a majority Christian city with 80% Christian population has now seen the Christian population dwindle to about 15% and continues to drop every year.
From 1948 through 1966 Bethlehem was closed to Christians while it was under Jordanian rule. It was not until the Six Day War and Bethlehem being liberated by Israel that Christians were free to travel to Bethlehem, one of the holiest places for Christians. After the June liberation in 1967 Bethlehem’s Christians entered a golden age where they were free to live in safety and peace and practice their religion free of fears. During the Christian holidays Bethlehem teemed with Christians making the annual pilgrimage to celebrate in the city of Jesus’s birth. This all came to an abrupt end with the enactment of the Oslo accords which turned the rule and security responsibilities for Bethlehem over to the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the PLO, under arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat. Since then the Christian presence and flavor of Bethlehem has been stifled and slowly the city has become an Islamic city where Christians are treated as second class humans and often are victims of persecutions, forced marriages, stores stolen or looted, and houses destroyed or stolen. Should this continue within a decade Bethlehem will become totally devoid of Christians and all references to Jesus or Christianity will have completely disappeared possibly never to return should the Palestinian Authority ever be granted total rule and ownership over Bethlehem.
If this news makes you feel as if there has been a great miscarriage of Justice, welcome to the world of the Jews who have witnessed their holy sites which are found in areas under Palestinian control and rule be destroyed repeatedly and requiring IDF security forces escort Jews to visit such sites stealing in and out under the darkness of night to avoid riots. Kever Rachel and Kever Yoseph (Tomb of Rachel and Tomb of Joseph) have been repeatedly burned to the ground with the holy objects smashed, and if made of valuable materials, stolen with Palestinian Arabs rioting and celebrating the defacement. This will soon become the fate of the Christian churches and other holy sites which will be within areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.
The propaganda which comes to the fore at this time of year and around Easter is always the same lies that it is the Jews who are destroying the Christian societies in Bethlehem and other Christian cities and towns. How this can be believed is beyond any logical thought as Jews are not permitted to enter Area A of the West Bank within which Bethlehem stands. Any Jew who would be caught in Bethlehem would suffer the same fate as two Israeli reservists who took a wrong turn and ended up in Ramallah and were gruesomely lynched in October of 2000. There are numerous Christian members of the clergy or officers of churches who echo the condemnations of Israel and the Jews blaming them for the plight of the unfortunate Christians who find themselves under Palestinian rule or in Muslim majority towns such as Nazareth has become. The easiest way to find the truth is to simply search and find the population figures for Christians in a number of countries throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa. In every case where there existed a sizeable Christian population in 1950 you will find the Christian population has dramatically decreased over the years in an ever increasing speed with one exception, Israel. The Christian population of Israel within the Green Line has grown steadily over the entire period from 1950 to the present. The few examples within Israel where Christian populations have fallen, such as in Nazareth, you will find that the area has a definitive Muslim majority population and that the Jewish population has declined in similar numbers as have the Christians.
While the Christian numbers have grown within Israel, the Christian populations in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq, and most especially in Lebanon have fallen and fallen until their numbers are now a mere fraction. What has also escaped mention in the world press is that since the United States “liberated” Iraq its Christian population has begun to flee from increasing Muslim persecution. The Arab Winter (Spring) has also led to drops in the numbers of Christians in each country which has presumably been freed from the horrible rule of their several dictators. These dictators may have had their evils but they had protected the minorities under their rules as they were secular and not Islamist as are the governments being voted into office to replace them. The awakening of Islam throughout the Middle East and North Africa has had a devastating effect on Christians leading to the slow death of their populations. Likely the most devastated Christian population has been Lebanon where once there existed a majority Christian population. The ever increasing disappearance of the Lebanese Christian community began with the civil war which was instigated by Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian Liberation Organization terrorists who fled to Lebanon after being routed and discharged from Jordan after the Black September coup which failed to overthrow the Jordanian monarchy. The disappearing Christian population in Lebanon has increased in speed since the takeover of Lebanon by Hezballah with their Syrian and Iranian influence.
This begs what is the future of Christians in the Middle East? If the Christians desire to continue to have any presence in the Middle East and to have access to their holy sites in and around Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth and the rest of Biblical Israel, their only choice is to pray that Israelis retain all of the lands from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Only under the Jewish Israeli rule have the Christian holy sites been open year round to Christian visitors. Should the world force the existence of a Palestinian State which has control over any of the Christian and Jewish Holy Sites they will either be torn asunder or transformed into Mosques and be recognized by the United Nations as Muslim holy sites and they will be lost to the Christians and Jews. Already the Palestinian Authority has petitioned UNESCO to grant them sole possession and control over the Great Mosque in Bethlehem, the one Christians might have thought was the Church of the Nativity. The Palestinians have similar plans for the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount, which they are also claiming is actually a mosque, the whole Temple Mount they are claiming as a Mosque. The same fate of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople is awaiting every holy site which the Palestinians and their allies can place claim upon and they are sure that there is nothing in this world that can prevent their eventual possession of all of Biblical Israel. The only saving grace for both the Jews and the Christians is the salvation and liberation of all of Biblical Israel under Israeli and Jewish control as only in this manner will all three religions be allowed to access their holy sites. That will actually include the Muslims as well as Christians and Jews while if these sites fall under Islam they will be lost forever.
Beyond the Cusp