An attempt by Muslim clerics to close a YMCA branch office in the West Bank has exposed growing tensions between the Holy Land's dwindling Christian community and the new Palestinian government led by Hamas.
Firebombs were recently thrown into the office of the YMCA in Qalqilya, a Hamas stronghold, forcing the group to move to new premises.
Islamic leaders have written to the local council demanding that the YMCA branch office close. Their letter concludes: "The presence of this office will lead to negative consequences.''
By Tim Butcher in Jerusalem, Daily Telegraph, 28/4/2006
June 14, 20063453 reads
May 23, 20063635 readsCanon Naim Ateek, a Palestinian Anglican priest and the founder and director of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre in Jerusalem, will receive the 2006 John Nevin Sayre Award from the Peace Fellowship of the Episcopal Church in the United States. The award is named after a founding member of the U.S. branch of the Fellowship of Reconciliation
Sabeel is a movement of Palestinian Christians working with mainstream churches in North America and Europe to host regional and international conferences, witness trips to the Holy Land, and theological education.
Ekklesia, May 17, 2006
April 18, 20064007 readsThe Palestinian Bible Society's bookshop in Gaza reopened on Monday 3 April, after a five-week closure in response to terrorists' threats to bomb the building, reports Hanna Massad, pastor of Gaza Baptist Church.
Hanna's wife, Suhad, is the Bible Society bookshop's director. She said the bookshop reopened with permission from the Gaza Interior Ministry, over the objections of the building's owner.
Today was very special day for us after we confronted the pressure and the power of the kingdom of darkness face to face, especially in the last four days," Hanna wrote in an e-mail to prayer partners.
"We experienced the power of answered prayer. Thank you for praying with us and for us."
Open Doors Web site, April 7, 2006
March 30, 20063622 readsHamas has announced that a Christian, who was designated tourism minister in the new government, will not be part of the government.
Tunous Abu ?Ita, a 57-year-old businessman from Bethlehem who was named the future tourism minister, excused himself from the government at the last minute and gave no reason for the sudden withdrawal. It is believed Abu ?Ita faced internal pressures that forced him to back down.
Meanwhile another Christian was appointed to the position of Tourism Minister ? Jooda George Jooda Morkus, a Coptic Christian Engineer from Bethlehem.
News agencies and Alquds, March 30, 2006
March 08, 20064012 readsOn 28 February, the deadline that an unknown Islamist group gave for blowing up the building that houses the Palestinian Bible Society's bookshop in Gaza, passed without incident.
The group demanded the bookshop close permanently.
Bible Society directors temporarily closed the bookshop, where terrorists had exploded two small pipe bombs on 3 February. "Satan wants to kill our love for the Muslims but he can't," Palestinian Bible Society Director Labib Madanat said on 28 February.
Open Doors Web site, March 3, 2006
March 03, 20064027 readsPalestinian educator Dr. Maria Khoury geared up for the winter chill with what was at the time a meaningless purchase: a black silk scarf with silver stripes to drape around her neck.
But now, on her daily excursions from the West Bank's Taiba to nearby Ramallah, the scarf serves as a political symbol of the changing times.
"Since Hamas took over, I cover my head in Ramallah," she says. "I don't feel comfortable."
In the largely cosmopolitan Ramallah, though they comprise some 10 percent of the population, Christians are becoming less and less visible.
LAUREN GELFOND FELDINGER, the Jerusalem Post, Feb 23, 2006
February 16, 20064865 readsWhile Evangelicals are talking about forming an umbrella organization under which all pro-Israel Christians in America can speak as one in support of the Jewish state, Catholics are trying to listen to the plight of Palestinian Christians.
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Roman Catholic archbishop of Washington, D.C., is taking an increased interest in the desperate plight of Christians in the Holy Land -- to the point of politely and privately asking for help from President Bush. Immediately at stake is the West Bank village of Aboud, whose Christian roots go back two millennia, and which now is threatened by Israel's security barrier.
BY ROBERT NOVAK, Chicago Sun Times, Feb 16, 2006
February 15, 20064128 readsOn Friday night, February 3, militants placed an explosive device at the door of the Bible Society in Gaza. Around 11 p.m., the bomb exploded, destroying both the steel and glass doors. The bookshop was littered by the nails and sharp metal contents which were included in the explosive device. At the time, nobody was inside the shop. Workers at the Bible shop began cleanup on Saturday and installed new doors.
Open Doors Press Release, Feb 14, 2006
February 11, 20063596 reads