In her haste to tell an Easter story in which it is alleged that Christians in Israel and Palestine are suffering as a result of the occupation, Ruth Pollard missed this -
Arab Christians are being driven from places where they have lived peacefully for centuries
"When I visited the then-mayor of Bethlehem, Elias Freij, about 30 years ago, he happily boasted that about three quarters of the population of his town, the birthplace of Christianity, was Christian. Today, after a reign of terror which included land theft, intimidation and beatings by recently arrived Islamic extremists, the figure is estimated to be down to 10 per cent. The Christians of Bethlehem, under pressure from the new Muslim majority, are quietly finding new homes wherever émigrés are permitted safer havens.
"Bethlehem is a microcosm of a phenomenon that is evident throughout the Palestinian territories. Against a drumbeat of harassment, which has included calls by Muslim extremists to slaughter their Christian neighbours, half of the Palestinian Christians of Gaza have fled their homes since the Hamas putsch in 2007. In the West Bank, Christians, who once accounted for 15 per cent of the population, are now down to less than 2 per cent.
"It should be noted that since the establishment of Israel — the only state in the region to guarantee freedom of worship to all faiths and the only state to have outlawed racism — the Arab Christian population has increased by an estimated 2,000 per cent.
"Never mind the ‘Israeli apartheid’ myths that flourish on Britain’s university campuses. What intrigues me is why Britain’s political and media classes, normally so sensitive to humanitarian issues, turn away in the face of the very real apartheid-style oppression that persists in the Arab world; why they remain silent as Christians are persecuted and the UN Human Rights Council, which last month endorsed the human rights record of Libya’s late Muammar Gaddafi, peddles its bizarre nonsense."