It was a heartwrenching article in today’s West Australian about a secret Santa who drives around Bethlehem in Palestinian taxis to bring hope and Christmas cheer to Palestinian children. Good on “Abu Christmas” for bringing in joy and hope.What seems strange to me, is that the practice of religion in this Palestinian Territory, while notionally considered to be free, is reflected by staggering statistics that show a different reality. Here is the real story: At the time of the establishment of Israel, the Christian population of Bethlehem was an 80% majority. Today it is a 15% minority, a population of less than 20,000. Which pales into comparison against the more than
190,000 Christian Arabs that are residents of Israel. Whilst the Christian followers of Israel have complete freedom of religion it is documented that the Palestinain Christians of Bethlehem are abused.
So, Alan Kirk, foreign editor of the West Australian, where are the real stories of religious cheer, and where does the true hope lie for freedom of religious expression? It hardly seems that the manipulative and censored propaganda of Christmas goodwill and cheer created by so called reporters under the watch of the Palestinian Authority is reflective of the true state of affairs.
In other news, according to the West Australian, things are looking up in Gaza, because during a 24 hour truce extension only 3 rockets were fired into Israel in an attempt to kill Jews. This is far fewer than in previous days, and analysts note that “both sides want to extend the truce”, despite the direct statements of Hamas reported in the same article that they will continue their violence with all means possible including suicide attacks.