Sunday, May 24, 2009

Palestinians whitewash desecration of Christian graves

The constant emigration of Christians from Palestinian territories is due to the equally unrelenting and systematic victimization of Christians by the Muslim majority, but it is invariably blamed on Israel. Christians are afraid to complain about persecution and terrorization. Therefore, when an incident such as the desecration of graves described here occurs, Christians hurry to insist each time that "nothing like this has ever taken place."
Last update - 19:55 24/05/2009       
Vandals desecrate Christian graves in West Bank
By Reuters
Vandals desecrated some 70 graves in two Palestinian Christian cemeteries on Sunday in what a Palestinian Authority official said was a rare attack on the Christian minority in the occupied West Bank.
A church official in the village of Jiffna near Ramallah where the attack took place called in Palestinian security officials to investigate, but neither he nor the investigators said they had any initial clues who was responsible.
"This unfortunate incident has brought Muslims and Christians closer and many from the Muslim community have shown solidarity with us and have condemned this action," said Greek Orthodox Church official George Abdo.
He added that grave stones had been smashed and metal and stone crosses knocked off graves in the attack, which was discovered on Sunday. The head and a hand of a statue of the Madonna adorning one of the graves were also broken off.
Abdo said it was the first time such an incident had occurred in the village.
Issa Kassissieh, a Palestinian Authority official and adviser to President Mahmoud Abbas on Christian affairs, said he believed it was "an isolated act against Christian symbols".
"Palestinian Christians and Muslims have always lived in harmony in the Holy Land," Kassissieh said.
Jiffna, northeast of Ramallah, is home to some 1,600 inhabitants, about two thirds of whom are Christians from the Greek Orthodox and Catholic communities.
The Palestinian Authority says 50,000 of the West Bank's 2.5 million Palestinian population are Christian.
Many Christians have emigrated over the past 30 years. Pope Benedict called on Christians not to abandon the Holy Land during a visit to the region earlier this month.

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