MSM Spotlight on BethlehemDecember 24, 2009 16:53 by BackSpin Editor
In the Wall St. Journal, Daniel Schwammenthal picks up on Bethlehem's embattled Christian community:
On the rare occasion that Western media cover the plight of Christians in the Palestinian territories, it is often to denounce Israel and its security barrier. Yet until Palestinian terrorist groups turned Bethlehem into a safe haven for suicide bombers, Bethlehemites were free to enter Israel, just as many Israelis routinely visited Bethlehem.
The other truth usually ignored by the Western press is that the barrier helped restore calm and security not just in Israel, but also in the West Bank including Bethlehem. The Church of the Nativity, which Palestinian gunmen stormed and defiled in 2002 to escape from Israeli security forces, is now filled again with tourists and pilgrims from around the world.
See also Benny Avni's commentary in the NY Post:
Indeed, the Christian population of the entire West Bank — mostly Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic, with Copts, Russian Orthodox, Armenians and others — is dwindling.
But, again, the story's the same in Egypt, Iraq and elsewhere in the Mideast. Practically the only place in the region where the Christian population is growing is in Israel.
In Bethlehem, Christians now feel besieged. Growing numbers of rural southern West Bankers from the Hebron area have moved north to Bethlehem in recent years. Many see the land as Waqf — belonging to the Muslim nation. They increasingly buy or confiscate land — and talk of laws to ban Christian landownership.
Related reading: 'Christian Groups in PA to Disappear'