Guest / Limited Access /

Weiner is scholar-in-residence at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and recently published Human Rights of Christians in Palestinian Society.

How has the situation for Christians in Palestinian society changed since the Oslo Accords in 1993?

Before the Oslo accords, which were intended to empower Palestinians to govern themselves, Israel was in control on a day-by-day basis in the West Bank and Gaza. People could walk the streets. The presence of soldiers and local police was sufficient that people felt secure in their houses, churches, and businesses. Sure, there was a background of knowing your place and knowing where to back off, but people lived normal lives. They worked. They taught. They studied. They conducted their family affairs.

Anarchy has taken over since 1994, when the Palestinian Authority moved in. Everyone suffers in anarchy, but the weak and those who can be targeted at little or no price suffer the worst. A lot of the attacks on Christians are not ideological. They're not intended for someone who's handing out Bibles or trying to live a Christian life or speaking to people about Jesus. People see the Christians as weak, as not having connections in the entourage first of Yasser Arafat and now of Abu Mazen, as not having the economic power they once had. If they're weak and anything goes, why not burn their cars, steal their land, harass the women? You can get away with it with the Christians.

If Abu Mazen has to pick between Islamic Jihad and Hamas, which together represent perhaps 30 percent of the Palestinian voters, or the maybe 1.5 percent of Christians, he doesn't have to hate Christians to make a choice in favor of Hamas. Hamas could someday challenge him. It is challenging him in Gaza right now. ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueKenneth Bae: My Story of Faith in a North Korean Prison Camp
Subscriber Access Only Kenneth Bae: My Story of Faith in a North Korean Prison Camp
Why this missionary’s prayer changed from “Send me home, Lord” to “Use me.”
RecommendedThe Real History of the Crusades
Subscriber Access Only
The Real History of the Crusades
A series of holy wars against Islam led by power-mad popes and fought by religious fanatics? Think again.
TrendingNicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
Nicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
I had no untapped, unanswered yearnings. All was well in the state of Denmark. And then it wasn’t.
Editor's PickHow Urban Christians Failed President Obama
How Urban Christians Failed President Obama
The transgender bathroom directive is the latest sign that we shouldn't have given him a pass.
Christianity Today
Q&A: Justus Reid Weiner on Palestinian Christians
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

January 2006

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.