The Mail revealed the true picture - vs. the reports by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the BBC TV News from Betlehem
To: The Editor, DAILY MAIL Letters Pages
firstname.lastname@example.org December 21, 2006
(Sir,) Goodwill at this season apparently does not extend to Israel, to judge by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the BBC TV News report (December 21) of his visit to Palestinian Bethlehem. The BBC blamed Israel and its anti-terrorism barrier for a fall in seasonal visitors and for the declining Christian Arab population, without giving any testimony from Christian gainsayers. In the Catholic newspaper The Tablet, meanwhile, the Archbishop, slating Israel, called Bethlehem's Christians "a beleaguered community" and queried whether Israel considered them "an embarrassment."
However, as the Mail on Sunday has revealed (December 17) the true picture is very different. But perhaps it takes courage to say so. As the paper pointed out, life for Palestinian Christians has meant religious persecution by Muslim extremists, murders, assaults and land theft, with no proper protection under Islamic religious law. Examples abound: from a taxi-driver beaten up by a Muslim gang for hanging up a crucifix to a man describing his two sisters, aged 24 and 18, being shot dead by Muslims for wearing no veil. No wonder the population has dropped from 85% Christian in 1948 to 12% today, as Christian Palestinians flee to Israel or elsewhere.
In Israel, as honest witnesses know, there are equal rights for all (including women, deprived of them in Islamic society) and religious freedom. So far from finding Christians embarrassing, the state has subsidised churches and monasteries, as Dr Rowan Williams should appreciate. And is the BBC not aware that the protective barrier (only 5% of which is wall) has gates for innocent users, plus an extra one at Bethlehem this year, and that it has cut Muslim suicide attacks on Israeli families by over 90%?