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A Palestinian Christian response to Michael Oren
Published Wednesday 14/03/2012 (updated) 17/03/2012 20:08
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Christians take part in a Palm Sunday procession in Jerusalem.(MaanImages/file)

As the parish priest of Ramallah, an op-ed by Israel's envoy to the US gave me pause for thought. Michael Oren's article spoke volumes of Israel's unending misrepresentation of Palestinian daily life.

The presence of our 13 Latin Patriarchate Schools throughout the West Bank and Gaza, for over 150 years, is a living witness to the coexistence of Palestinian Christians and Muslims.

We have never faced in our schools or society the supposed persecution of Christians by Muslims to which Mr Oren referred in "Israel and the Plight of Mideast Christians," published Friday in the Wall Street Journal.

Contrary to Oren’s statements, the persecution of Christians here is caused mainly by the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory. This occupation humiliates us, destroys our economy, causes demographic changes and deprives millions of the freedom of movement and their right to decent lives, in addition to the confiscation of land.

These are the main ways Christians are persecuted in Palestine.

As anyone with eyes can see, the wall that Israel has imposed has negatively affected the lives of Palestinians and has confiscated a large amount of what is left of Palestinian land.

Oren claims that Israel "allows holiday access to Jerusalem's churches to Christians from both the West Bank and Gaza." In reality, the countless fixed and flying checkpoints have turned our lives into hell.

Israeli obstacles and practices do not differentiate between Muslims and Christians, and are imposed over a whole nation. The bullets that fired against Palestinians do not differentiate between Christians and Muslims.

But it is these imposed Israeli obstacles which strengthen the ties between Christians and Muslims. Christian students share the same classrooms with Muslim students and all school activities involve both religions.

For example last week at one of our schools, the al-Ahliyya College in Ramallah, we held a concert with peace songs, and 180 pupils of both faiths joined in the event.

The oppression of Christian communities is indeed "an injustice of historic magnitude."

Israel could begin righting this wrong by setting an example: Offer freedom to the Christian communities under its occupation before criticizing Muslim oppression in other countries in the Middle East.

No such oppression exists in Palestine.

The author is the director-general of the Latin Patriarchate Schools in Palestine and the parish priest of Ramallah.
1 ) Nondhimmi / Freedom
14/03/2012 14:37
He is the classic stockhom syndrom captive. He identifies with his captors.

2 ) Mel / USA
14/03/2012 15:14
Just check Michael(Scott Bornstein)Oren,dual Israeli-US,loyal-Zionist's "resume",& U know his comments are rooted in bias toward Zionist Israel.Ask any informed,mature,well travelled secular,or even moderate-conservative,Western Christians who KNOW about fantatical Zionism's cause-effect,& you'll find that most stand,spiritually,with Palestinian Muslims/Christians,more than ANY lunatic fringe of ANY faith!AIPAC Zionist Oren,is just a divide&rule political manipulator.Jesus was Palestinian! Amen!

3 ) Philly / Palestine
14/03/2012 16:13
Christian or muslim. We are all Palestinians! I am proud to be a Palestinian when I see such beautiful coexistence, hardly found anywhere else in the world!

4 ) shaggerley / usa
14/03/2012 16:33
Jews also attended Catholic schools. Zionism takes no prisoners real or imaginary. Calling anyone (without real cause an anti semite should be labeled a "hate crime."

5 ) Naeem / uk
14/03/2012 17:30
Hey Nondhimmi - Do you know that you name means NON PROTECTED PERSON- LOL you stupid islamophobic idiot better change you name to ZIONIST GOYIM

6 ) Colin Wright / USA
14/03/2012 21:20
To Mel #2 'Just check Michael(Scott Bornstein)Oren,dual Israeli-US,loyal-Zionist's "resume",& U know his comments are rooted in bias toward Zionist Israel.' Well, so one would assume. He is Israel's ambassador. The fault lies with those who would believe him.

7 ) Colin Wright / USA
14/03/2012 21:24
To shaggerly #4 'Zionism takes no prisoners real or imaginary. Calling anyone (without real cause an anti semite should be labeled a "hate crime."' It seems to me this swiftly leads to the point where labeling something a 'hate crime' itself would become a 'hate crime.' Those who misuse the term 'anti-semite' simply strip the term of its original meaning. 'Anti-semitic' now merely means 'critical of Israel and its crimes.'

8 ) Colin Wright / USA
14/03/2012 21:29
Nice piece, though. It's sad that while this piece appears in Ma'an, Mr Oren's appears in the Wall Street Journal. The liars triumph simply because they can shout louder.

9 ) Nour / One-State
15/03/2012 13:53
#8 and who cares about the WSJ? I see your point, wider circulation, where it counts, etc. But that is still a Western outlet. If Faysal Hijazeen sent this reply to the WSJ -would they publish it? That would highly surprise me. Anyway, I stopped watching any American news sources ages ago, with the exception of The Real News, Democracy Now, and PBS. America is behind the dispossession and genocide of Palestinians, I wish more people would see that.

10 ) Colin Wright / USA
15/03/2012 23:40
To Nour #9 'Anyway, I stopped watching any American news sources ages ago...' Even news sources whose bias one doesn't agree with have their uses, and can be informative. For one, if they admit something happened, you can figure it probably did happen. For another, what they cover or don't cover can be extremely significant. For example, the NYT ran a piece on the extent and pervasiveness of AIPAC's lobbying efforts. That piece wouldn't have run five years ago.

11 ) ghada / palestine
16/03/2012 11:15
P.S. The wall street Journal published several letters in response to Oren , all from christian palestinians abroad .

12 ) endofusrael / usrael
18/03/2012 05:31
Betroth every Israeli to bring an end to judaism.

13 ) Robby / USA
18/03/2012 07:42
6 ) Colin Wright / USA - Did you read the Wall Street Journal article? It refers to Israeli Christians, not Palestinian Christians. Can you point out what in the article in inaccurate?

14 ) Colin Wright / USA
19/03/2012 06:43
To Robby #13. Leaving aside the accuracy of the article, an 'Israeli Christian' is necessarily a 'Palestinian Christian,' since 'Israel' is an ideological project that happens to be occurring in the objective, geographical entity that is 'Palestine.' The only possible exception would be some Christian nutter who has decided to move to 'Israel' as a Zionist -- which would make no sense but I've never noticed that posing much of a problem for religious nutters.

15 ) Colin Wright / USA
19/03/2012 06:48
To endofusrael #12 'Betroth every Israeli to bring an end to judaism.' Tally ho! An actual anti-semitic comment. So many claimed sightings of this beast -- worth noting when it actually does show up. I don't see any particular need to end judaism -- given the motives of most Israel supporters, I'm not sure it would even do much to undermine Israel. They'd just have to be more honest with themselves than they are now.

16 ) Colin Wright / USA
19/03/2012 07:15
To Robby #13 'Can you point out what in the article in inaccurate?' Really, really tedious. Read the above article. It points out what's inaccurate in Oren's piece. Why should I repeat what's already been said? This 'can you point out' line is just something you've learned -- and like the mental parrot you are, you just mindlessly repeat it, no matter how idiotic it is in context.

17 ) Robby / USA
19/03/2012 15:53
14 and 16 ) Colin Wright / USA - I'll interpret your response about Israeli Christians and me as "you're probably right so I call you names". Probably safe to say you've never been to an Israeli Christian, Jewish or Arab neighborhood, or for that matter a Palestinian one either. Israel is a country, not an ideological entity, either you didn't know or are being dishonest.
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