The apartheid regime’s oppression of Palestinian Christians
As people around the world are celebrating Christmas, occupied Palestine, the birthplace of Christianity, remains under brutal Israeli apartheid. Meanwhile, the Israeli regime targets Western Christians with Zionist propaganda.
The Israeli propaganda apparatus “Hasbara” has long invested large amounts of money and significant PR efforts in legitimizing the Zionist settler-colony in the eyes of its international audiences.
In portraying the colony as a democracy with alleged human rights and co-existence between various religions, the Israeli regime has attempted to whitewash its genocidal oppression of Palestinians in the eyes of the West. The propaganda attempts have been successful to a large degree, as many Christians in the West either ignore the Palestinian plight, or provide outright support to the apartheid regime.
Evangelical Zionists in the United States have been amongst the most radical supporters of Israel. Christian tourism has contributed to the colony’s economy. This year again, Zionist politicians and officials have extended their holiday greetings to “Christian friends” around the world.
Such greetings are packed with colonial propaganda and appropriation of history. Israeli PM Naftali Bennett published a video on Christmas Eve this year from occupied Jerusalem, connecting the “ancient land” and the Bible to the current colony in his address to Christians.
Bennett, who previously bragged about how many Arabs he killed in his life, lied that the colony provided “religious freedom, tolerance, and prosperity in a region where Christians are routinely persecuted.” The illusion that Israel offered religious freedom and that Christians outside of the colony are persecuted is widespread in the West. Bennett claimed that Israel is the “only one place” that “protects Christian life” and thanked his audience for “fighting for the state of Israel.”
While such proclamations further add to the positive image of the colony in the West, they stand in stark contrast to the reality on the ground.
The plight of Palestinian Christians
In fact, the world’s oldest Christian communities are victims of Israel’s genocidal settler-colonialism.
As a result of Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing campaign, the Christian population in Palestine has sharply declined throughout the decades. Places of significant importance for Christians are cut off from the outside world. The town of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, is surrounded by the apartheid wall.
Besides suffering under the structures of the apartheid regime, Palestinian Christians are also oftentimes prevented from exercising their religion. While foreign visitors may access Palestinian churches, the Palestinian right to worship is tightly controlled by the apartheid regime.
Depending on where they live, Palestinians require permits issued by the apartheid authorities to attend Mass in churches. This year again, Palestinian Christians from Gaza applied for permits to travel to Bethlehem to attend prayers. Their requests were either rejected or outright ignored.