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Israeli PM Netanyahu to give speech at 8 p.m.
Palestinians in Israel condemn plan to recruit Christians
Published Wednesday 23/04/2014 (updated) 24/04/2014 19:23
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Palestinian Christians march through the West Bank town of
Bethlehem to celebrate Holy Saturday on April 19
(MaanImages/Alex Shams)
HAIFA (Ma'an) -- Several Israel-based organizations on Wednesday condemned a new campaign to recruit Palestinian Christian citizens of the country to serve in the military.

In a joint statement, more than 15 Palestinian youth movements and community organizations said the Israeli move was an effort to divide Palestinian citizens of Israel from their own people.

The groups said they would "struggle against (the campaign for) enlistment in the Israeli army" to ensure that such divisions would not occur.

"We are confident that young Arabs will reject all recruitment plans. This dangerous escalation by the Israeli institution will only make young Arabs more loyal to their people and their national identity."

The groups urged all Palestinian organizations of influence, in addition to the leadership of Palestinian towns within Israel, to play an active role in raising awareness about "plans for Israelization" of Palestinians by recruiting them to join the military.

The statement comes a day after army radio reported that Israel would adopt a new policy of actively recruiting Christians.

In February, parliament approved a law giving Muslim and Christian Palestinians separate representation on a national employment commission, drawing 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."

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.

AFP contributed to this report.
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1 ) Larry W / Canada
23/04/2014 12:24
The last paragraph is a load of crap. The palestinians are perhaps jews and moslems who lived here before 1948, but the arabs left on their own largely.

2 ) Arab christians BLESS EVERY / MORNING the fact
23/04/2014 13:04
that they live in ISRAEL (and in some DECREPIT MUSLIM COUNTRY like Egypt or Hamastan, Or west bank, Or Syria....... Most of them have University degrees and FULL EMPLOYMENT and most of them DRIVE MERCEDES BENZ

3 ) JoeFattal / USA
23/04/2014 19:19
Israel while they are promoting a Jewish State they are willing to recruit Christians to serve in their military. Hypocrisy at its best. I call that forced conversion.

4 ) Colin Wright / USA
23/04/2014 21:05
To Larry W #1: 'The last paragraph is a load of crap. The palestinians are perhaps jews and moslems who lived here before 1948, but the arabs left on their own largely.' Have you really talked yourself into believing this is true?

5 ) Colin Wright / USA
23/04/2014 21:08
Of course the intent is to divide Christian Palestinians from Muslim Palestinians -- but Israel has already reduced the Christians to a small minority. I believe the primary intention here is to recruit a few Quislings who can be used as poster boys so that Israel can tell American Evangelicals the lies they need to be told.

6 ) JoeUSA / USA
23/04/2014 22:41
Ref#1 some left on their own , some left for their lives and livelihood during war , but many were forced as a result of plan Dalet in which local military commanders of the Palmach were authorized to push out local " hostile" population from behind their lines of defense . Read some books written by Israelis about this issue including the works of Benny Morris.

7 ) Sabah / UK
24/04/2014 11:01
Israel has broken over 30 UN resolutions. Iraq broke two and got invaded. American taxpayers need to be more aware of where some of their money is going (funding the illegal, war criminal Israel). Apartheid is wrong. Do a little research, all, into apartheid policies in Israel, into their imprisoning and torture of kids as young as 5, into the many atrocities it has committed. Then try and weigh it against whatever they accuse Palestine of doing. It's shocking.

8 ) Mel / USA
24/04/2014 16:51
You have to laugh at Zionist-led Israel's CHUTZPAH!!LOL! Actually believing that Palestinain Christians would JUMP at the chance of joining the OCCUPATION against them,lol! It's bad enough that the world sees the PA as Israel's occupation proxy,with its PASF protecting Jewish-colonists ¬ even allowed to STOP IOF/Shin Bet night-raids on West Bank homes,or attacks on Gaza.Hey,Israel could always ask its Hagee-ChriZionist sponsors to join the "Jewish"Army? But ChriZionists won't convert!!LOL!
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