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Bethlehem family condemns daughter's pro-Israel video
Published Sunday 27/04/2014 (updated) 29/04/2014 10:19
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BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Bethlehem father whose daughter recently released a pro-Israel video has condemned the move, saying that the family "rejects and distances" themselves from the content in a statement made to Bethlehem's Radio Mawwal.

The Anastas family also denied claims that their daughter had been forced to flee, saying that they feared she had been the victim of "entrapment" and was under "pressure" from sponsors who had promised to pay her enrollment fees and housing costs for university in the United Kingdom.

The statement comes after a video featuring their daughter Christy was released on the internet in which she spoke of her belief that "God has given this land to the Jews as an everlasting covenant," and claimed that she was forced to flee Palestine because of persecution for her beliefs.

The Anastas family expressed their "surprise" at the video, "deploring and condemning" her words, denying that she was ever forced to "flee" but instead that they she had left of her own free will to study abroad.

They added that the video "was a result of direct pressure that Christy is currently experiencing."

They said in a statement that a year and a half ago, a British church official had come to their house and offered to pay for their daughter to attend university in the United Kingdom.

After accepting the offer and traveling to the UK, however, the family said that Christy's behavior had become "incomprehensible and unclear," and claimed that she was no longer enrolled in university.

They did not understand what the men who were paying for her education had done to her, they added.

"For as long as we know, Christy's position was always against the wall and the Israeli occupation, which prevented her from living her childhood," the family said, stressing that she had expressed this point of view "in more than one television interview in the past."

They also said that they feared that Israeli authorities were trying to "exploit" their daughter "in order to weaken us and get us out of our house, which has been the target of the occupation since the construction of the apartheid wall."

The Anastas family live a uniquely nightmarish scenario, as their house is surrounded on three sides by the separation wall and Israeli soldiers have cameras trained on their home 24 hours a day.

According to the family, occupation authorities have for years harassed them and attempted to force them from the home, setting up a military base on their roof and even offering them cash incentives to leave.

Christy Anastas was featured prominently alongside her family in a 2012 episode of the US news program 60 Minutes, in which she and other Palestinian Christians spoke of the suffering they experienced at the hands of the Israeli occupation.

The show was so controversial in the United States that then-Israeli ambassador Michael Oren even intervened and called the chairman of CBS News prior to the episode's release to complain, despite not having seen the show.

In the recently released video, however, Christy Anastas claims that she supports the construction of the wall and would have done it herself if she had the choice.

"If you ask me a simple question: 'If you were the prime minister of Israel, would you put that wall up?' My answer would be yes," she said, even though she claimed that the wall had taken mostly Christian land.

She also called Israel's 1967 victory that led to the occupation of the West Bank "God's hand," and claimed that during the Intifada, Palestinian militants forced Palestinian Christians to pay a "jizya tax," or an Islamic tax historically levied on religious minorities.

"People call them freedom fighters; I call them mafia," she said, claiming that they fired missiles from beside Christian homes "so that the response would come on Christian homes."

Anastas has been active in pro-Israel work in the UK for at least the last year, and is one of the founders of the Emmaus Group, which says it "seeks to build understanding and reconciliation between the Church and Israel in the face of mutual challenges and threats."

The controversy comes amid a wider effort on the part of Israeli authorities to co-opt Christian communities inside Israel and to strengthen support for Israel from Christian communities abroad.

Palestinian Christian activist groups like Kairos and conferences such as "Christ at the Checkpoint" have been organized to spread awareness among Christian communities internationally of the difficult situation Christians -- like other Palestinians -- endure as a result of the Israeli occupation.

Israeli authorities, however, have targeted the community, passing a law in February which defined them as "Christian ethnicity," instead of Arab, in what many Palestinian citizens of Israel claimed was an effort to divide them from other Palestinians.
1 ) janette / kenya
27/04/2014 19:37
hey-ho! It.s called freedom of speech.

2 ) Terry / Usa
27/04/2014 19:58
I heard her tape, her words are identical to pro Israeli propaganda I heard for years. She was obviously prepped for this video. As Palestinians we must accept differences of opinions from our people. Whether she believes what she says or not, she has the right to say them. I am sad that she uses prejudices and horrible stereotypes to advocate her position, With time, she will come to understand that surrounding her family home with walls and being occupied by a foreign power is not normal, no

3 ) Johnny benson / USA
27/04/2014 22:15
The Christians in Bethlehem dare not blame their Muslim neighbors for anything...it's worth their lives...meanwhile Christians are being decimated churches burned in Egypt..Syria..Lebanon..and Iraq....of course 60 minutes does not even notice

4 ) Emile / Palestine
28/04/2014 09:51
Seems this girl is suffering some psychological problems. Very sad for her and her family. She is not a traitor but just another victim of Zionism. So sad to watch.

5 ) family member / Palestine
28/04/2014 10:16
Agreed with Emile... She is another victim of Zionism.. she's been brainwashed under unknown circumstances..

6 ) Syrian Jew / USA
28/04/2014 11:56
I wouldn't be surprised if Israel was paying for her university education. Honestly, that seems plausible. However, I come from a Syrian Jewish family that lived in fear for decades inside Syria. My family never spoke the truth about the abuse suffered by Syrian Jews at the hands of the Syrian government out of fear for their lives. So I know 100% that people cannot speak freely in Arab countries, and that her family has to distance themselves from her comments in order to save their lives.

7 ) Jonus / US
28/04/2014 13:10
Israel the US and it's Arab Qatari and Saudi brothers are funding the rebels and al Qaeda killing and burning churches Bs Christians in the Arab countries. FACT!

8 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
28/04/2014 13:35
Hey Jonus - better be careful or we'll fund the American Natives who want to throw you off their lands and send you back to Europe where you came from. It's a fact that you are an illegal occupation settler on stolen lands. A fact. Go home, Jonus. Give America back to its rightful owners.

9 ) Vicky / UK
28/04/2014 14:21
I was a long-term tenant in Christy's family home and I was thrilled for Christy when Howard Stern offered to pay for her uni fees. Howard didn't tell the family he works for the Zionist Federation. He led them to believe he was a Palestinian solidarity activist. Once in the UK, Christy did not (could not?) contact family and friends much, and now she appears with political/religious views identical to those of the man who's responsible for her money and her Internet access! She's been groomed.

10 ) Rami / Palestine
28/04/2014 15:12
"Christians are being decimated churches burned in Egypt..Syria..Lebanon..and Iraq....of course 60 minutes does not even notice" has nothing to do with Christians in Bethlehem or anywhere else in Palestine. So what is your point in trying to link the two together?

11 ) Jim / USA
28/04/2014 18:07
It's so troubling that Israeli occupation and its agents prey on the weak and vulnerable; They harass, humiliate, threaten then break the will of their victims. The Israelis have a long history of this practice. Poor Christy is now another victim of the Israeli occupation and is being used and manipulated to demonize the Palestinians and create a divide. So sad!

12 ) Carlos / usa
28/04/2014 21:27
Simple bribe will make an oppressed person sing any tune wanted for the weak. My sympathies to the family. I hope she finds strength enough to start telling the truth.

13 ) Michael / Germany
28/04/2014 23:47
Hi Rami - his point is simply, that what Christy says in her video, is all true! Every one of the facts she mentions! This young woman has my highest respect, and I'm praying, for her savety.

14 ) Dumisani Washington / United States
29/04/2014 03:32
I personally know the people who head organization that brought "Christy" to Uppsala. I know what has happened behind the scenes. Christy is telling the truth, and her parents are lying for fear of their lives. I cannot say that I blame them. Christy is a courageous woman.

15 ) Brian / Australia
29/04/2014 08:10
It's funny how when someone like herself has done the research off her own accord which has lead her to the opinions she has, must be "brainwashed". She has told her own story of experiences living in Palestine but yet "brainwashed". The truth hurts!

16 ) Tobias / USA
29/04/2014 14:58
The daughter is a Christian, and Bible-believer, and
her statement was more pro-Bible, than "pro-Israel",
though perhaps they are actually the same thing !!

17 ) DZ / USA
29/04/2014 16:12
Oren - is a Phd from Princeton -so no dope - and he was 1000% correct about the hatchet job. I guess it would be too scientific to compare Christian populations in Israeli cities and see that they have not dropped like Bethlehem. Bethlehem is under muslim control The christian pop drops, muslim increases and the Jews are blamed. If it is an Israel issue, why didn't the Muslim pop drop as well????

18 ) DZ / USA
29/04/2014 16:13
The Christian man who controls Coca Cola bottling in the West bank. Is he going to criticize the Palestinian Muslims who control the West Bank? Of course not, bc he will be out of business. Why didn't 60 minutes interview some Christians who have left and ask them why they left?

19 ) Jack Podolski / USA
29/04/2014 17:08
Congratulations christy. The world is a a better place because of you. I AM inspired to do more positive in this world because of you

20 ) Ariel-Bayern / Germany
30/04/2014 23:22
Where is the Problem there are many israelis Who speaks truly about the brutal occupation and colonization of Palestine. @ michael Wach Bitte auf

21 ) Oliveland / Palestine
04/05/2014 09:03
This young arrogant,naive and impressinable lady is bending and twisting the truth . 98% of the Christian diminishing presence in the holyland is because of the cruel racist Israeli occupation .

22 ) ian / australia (1)
04/05/2014 13:10
I see a young woman desperate to get out of the Third World. She's intelligent, articulate and gorgeous and thinks she can do better than Bethlehem, hemmed in by the wall, horizons thwarted by the occupation and harassed by young Muslim men. It's hard to know exactly what's going on. Her anti-Muslim points all sound like hasbara with elements of truth. Going to Yad Vashem to empathise with Jews is intellectually laudable but suggests ingratiating herself with the sponsors who represent

23 ) ian / australia (2)
04/05/2014 13:11
(contd.) her way out. The weirdest thing she says is that she believes, as a Christian, that God gave Canaan to the Jews and that Israel imposed on Palestine is God's will. Jesus! That sort of clinches it. I think Christy Anastas is planning her new life in the First World and paying for her ticket. But it's one way because she's burnt her bridges. It's a free world and she can create what opportunities she likes but it remains to be seen where pragmatic dealings with the Devil will lead.

24 ) Jamal / Palestine
04/05/2014 15:10
#19 Your last name tells me all I need to know about the "positive" you intend to do "in this world."

25 ) Nanette / Australia
05/05/2014 19:22
Kristy I think you are very brave for doing this, for whatever reason. Everything that ever happens to the Palestinians is always Israels fault. Noooo!! People I say GO & VISIT the place. Go to Bethlehem, Go to Nazareth, go to Bethany. These are places that are occupied by & populated by Muslims. Controlled by whatever faction or in Christy's words,"mafia". Innocent people will pay the fee & keep their mouths shut, but Cristy spoke out.

26 ) amy / judea
12/07/2014 06:23
to emil your not jewish. why moslem have a mentalety of lyes .maby its one of youre comandmands in koran? i dont now or care.i wonder hos paying you to lye.!
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