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Dead and injured following airstrike near Tuba Mosque near Khan Younis
Israel to recruit Palestinian Christian citizens to army
Published Tuesday 22/04/2014 (updated) 23/04/2014 22:32
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Christians take part in a Palm Sunday procession in Jerusalem.
(MaanImages/file)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel is to start sending call-up papers to all Christian Palestinian-Israelis of military service age, army radio reported Tuesday, angering Palestinian MKs who accused the government of seeking to divide Christians from Muslims.

Military service will remain voluntary for Israel's 130,000 Palestinian-Israeli Christians as it is for its more than 1.3 million Palestinian-Israeli Muslims.

But commanders hope that the routine sending out of call-up papers will help boost the numbers volunteering from around 100 a year at present to 1,000, the radio reported.

"Under these new arrangements, they will no longer have to submit their own enlistment request and expose themselves to potential pressure from their Christian coreligionists or from Muslims, who are overwhelmingly hostile to conscription," the radio said.

An army spokesman had no immediate comment when contacted by AFP.

The reported move came just two months after parliament approved a law giving Muslim and Christian Palestinians separate representation on a national employment commission and drew fire from Palestinian MKs.

"The measure was to be expected following the campaign by the Israel right to divide Christians from their own people by encouraging them to think that they are not Arabs," said Bassel Ghattas, a member of parliament for the communist Hadash party.

He urged Christians who received call-up papers to "send them back or publicly burn them, because the next step could be compulsory military or community service."

Father Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox priest from the northern city of Nazareth, welcomed the move by the military.

"Young people in the Christian community need to understand the importance of serving and getting involved in the country in which they live and which protects them, and in which we are full citizens," he said.

Israel's Palestinian community, which makes up some 20 percent of the population, are the descendants of the 160,000 Palestinians who remained on their land after the majority of the Palestinian population was forcibly displaced by Jewish militias during the creation of Israel in 1948.

They complain of routine discrimination, particularly in housing, land access and employment.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report
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1 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
22/04/2014 13:11
Yep, the Pals and their fanatic boot-licking fans go apoplectic when they hear of Christians who volunteer to join the IDF. Not to mention, of course, the many Muslims who also serve. Yea, just like everywhere else in the world we have a discrimination problem, but it doesn't come close to the racist apartheid you find in most Arab countries (like Palestine). We have Muslims and Christians and Druze in our parliament, but there are no Jews in the PA legislature. Palestine=Apartheid.

2 ) Sarah / The Netherlands
22/04/2014 13:33
The nazis did the same, they recruited Jews to fight Jews. WOII all over again "Israeli" style. I think the zionists misses their German times by recreating it in Palestine. Another proof "Israelis" are NO Jews.

3 ) Him / US
22/04/2014 16:03
Any Palestinian that joins the Israeli army is not a Palestinian but a traitor!

4 ) Kalima / US
22/04/2014 16:06
Ha running out of Israelis to join?

5 ) JoeUSA / USA
22/04/2014 17:06
VICHY IDF. Totally rejected.

6 ) Conner / Malta
22/04/2014 17:48
Jews have always used Christians and then spat them out and this no different

7 ) Colin Wright / USA
22/04/2014 20:05
This could be a genuine threat. However, first, the Israelis themselves have reduced the Christians to only 2% of the population, so they're hardly going to be a numerically significant force, and second, the Israelis just can't keep themselves from continuing abusing the Christians as well, so it's highly unlikely they're going to win them over. There's a certain satisfaction in seeing Israel frustrated by the evil of its own compulsions.

8 ) Colin Wright / USA
22/04/2014 20:07
To Brain Cohen #1: 'We have Muslims and Christians and Druze in our parliament, but there are no Jews in the PA legislature.' How many Jews have taken out Palestinian citizenship and then run for the legislature? You can't claim they're barred if none have made the attempt. Why don't you do it, Brain? Of course, watch out for those 'enemy state' laws.

9 ) Apartheid & theft / is wrong
22/04/2014 23:18
The end is close for the APARTHEID STATE .

10 ) Rami / Palestine
23/04/2014 05:32
In other news, brian cohen has recognized the existence of a Palestininian country. Unfortunately, he also failed to understand the definition of "apartheid"...again.

11 ) Colin Wright / USA
23/04/2014 06:42
What'll HAPPEN is that the Zionists will collect a few Quislings and then use them as poster children to make it possible for American Evangelicals to continue to tell themselves the lies they tell themselves. That's what this is all about, from start to finish.

12 ) Colin Wright / USA
23/04/2014 06:45
To Brain Cohen #1: ' ...We have Muslims and Christians and Druze in our parliament...' ...and they're all perfectly shut out of any actual power or decision making. Isn't that clever? You can pretend you're a democracy! Try giving the vote to ALL the non-Jews you rule over. Not about to do that, are you?

13 ) Tony / Palestine
23/04/2014 09:38
Unfortunately we Christians also have some small minded people such as Father Gabriel Nadaf, who thinks its a good idea for Christians to join the IDF. Mr. Nadaf does not understand that it is not possible for a Christian to be a full citizen of a state which says it is "Jewish", with laws geared to discriminate against non-Jews. And what about the rest of the Palestinian Christians, Mr. Nadaf, who Israel prevents from returning or even visiting their homes in Historic Palestine? Shame!
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