The Pope not only thinks Mahmoud Abbas can be an angel, he thinks Palestinian nuns can be saints. Pope Francis canonized two 19th century palestinian nuns during Sunday Mass at St. Peter’s Square, the first palestinian saints. It’s a cause for celebration if you’re a palestinian Christian.
Also, it’s more fodder for the palestinian propaganda machine. Take this video for instance which blames everything bad that has happened to Christians in the Middle East since 1947 on the Jews.
The purpose of the clip is ostensibly to share the good news about the two new saints. But instead, we hear about the “Nakba” and checkpoints and Jewish oppression. The sad thing is, it isn’t Israel that is the cause of Christian woes in the Middle East and certainly not in Bethlehem and Gaza. In an interview with Kathryn Lopez, Caroline B. Glick, author of The Israeli Solution, had this to say:
The only country in the Middle East whose Christian population is growing is Israel. Israeli Christians understand this. They see what is happening to the Christians of Gaza, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and beyond. And as a consequence, more and more of them are abandoning pan-Arabism and embracing their Israeli identities. There has been a 300 percent increase in Christian enlistment in the Israeli military over the past two years.
Since the PLO came to power in the West Bank in 1994, the Christian population has diminished steeply. Whereas Christians made up 60 percent of the population of Bethlehem in 1990, today they make up 12 percent at most. As I show in the book, the Palestinian Authority has been deliberately persecuting the Christians. And under Hamas in Gaza, the ancient Christian community is swiftly disappearing.
The difference between the outlooks of Israeli Christians and Christians living under Palestinian rule is stark. There can be no doubt that they would be prime beneficiaries of the policy.
I moved out to Gush Etzion from Jerusalem in 1984. Getting to and from Jerusalem at that time involved passing through Bethlehem, where we would stop to shop. The Christian merchants were polite and their wares inexpensive. I have a fond memory of juicy yellow pears that were sweet as candy and had an aroma and flavor reminiscent of anise.
But then Arafat brought the Intifada and forced the merchants to close their doors, at first during certain hours and days, and then for an extended period of time.
With no business, we watched store after store fold. Arafat drove all the Christian merchants of Bethlehem out of business. It was a “Nakba” he, Arafat, brought to his own Arab people, Arabs they were, though Christian.
And I watched it happen with my own two eyes.