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January 25, 2007

Bethlehem Christians Speak Out

"Most Christians are afraid to speak, but I don't care because we have nothing more to lose," states Georgette Lama, of Bethlehem. Pictured here is Manger Square

Khaled Abu Toameh of the Jerusalem Post reports today that

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. . . .Fuad and Georgette Lama woke up one morning last September to discover that Muslims from a nearby village had fenced off their family's six-dunam plot in the Karkafa suburb south of Bethlehem. "A lawyer and an official with the Palestinian Authority just came and took our land," said 69-year-old Georgette Lama.

The couple was later approached by senior PA security officers who offered to help them kick out the intruders from the land. "We paid them $1,000 so they could help us regain our land," she said, almost in tears. "Instead of giving us back our land, they simply decided to keep it for themselves. They even destroyed all the olive trees and divided the land into small plots, apparently so that they could offer each for sale." When her 72-year-old husband, Fuad, went to the land to ask the intruders to leave, he was severely beaten and threatened with guns.

"My husband is after heart surgery and they still beat him," Georgette Lama said. "These people have no heart. We're afraid to go to our land because they will shoot at us. Ever since the beating, my husband is in a state of trauma and has difficulties talking."

The media has frequently passed on reporting Muslim persecution of Christians in Bethlehem. Let's see if media outlets likewise ignore the personal testimonies of abuse and pleas for help from Christians Georgette Lama and fellow Bethlehem Christians Samir Qumsiyeh and Edward Salama.

Posted by TS at January 25, 2007 01:36 AM


How strange the incident becomes when you realize the reverse situation would have generated a riot that would be blasted on major news media. I accidently tripped across it or I wouldn't have heard. The world is becoming a one way street.

Posted by: Resigned at January 25, 2007 02:40 PM

Just another case of the PA, the Vatican and Christian churches in the US ignoring the plea of Christians at the hands of Palestinians.

How about contacting Fox News (Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes), and asking the same question: why do media outlets ignore Palestinians persecuting and stealing property from Christians in Palestinian occupied territories?

Posted by: Marcel at January 30, 2007 12:00 PM

The persecution of arab christians in bethlehem is a known fact and has been ever since the take over of the church of the Nativity. Its time to put a stop to it.

Posted by: paul at May 28, 2007 05:03 PM

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