Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Palestinian Christian

Prior to the establishment of the state of Israel, approximately 20% of Palestine's population was Christian. This is reflected in the large number of Palestinian leaders that are Christian. This includes Hanan Ashrawi, Edward Said and Raymonda Tawil, mother of Yassir Arafat's wife Suha. However, the Christians were also often found in the more affluent segments of Palestinian society which generally fled the country in conjection with the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Thus while Christian voices are often heard from the Palestinian diaspora, the Christian presence in Palestine is dwindling.

The majority of Palestinian Christians belong to the Greek-rite Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, one of the 16 churches of Eastern Orthodoxy. There are also Maronites, Melkites, Jacobites, Roman Catholics, Syrian Catholics, and Protestants among the

There has been a substantial amount of anti-Christian incidents carried out in areas governed by the Palestinian Authority. Many claim that this represents a pattern of deliberate mistreatment by the PA; others hold that these are isolated incidents that reflect the beliefs of the individuals involved, but not the society in general. Two American courts, one in Illinois and the other in North Carolina, accepted the threat of "religioius persecution" as grounds for granting asylum to Christians fleeing PA territory.

According to some Christian sources, Palestinian Islamists in the West bank are using violence and threats of terror to scare Christians out of Palestinian controlled area. This is discussed more fully in the article on Persecution of Christians.

See also: Palestinian, Christian