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September 9, 2005
Taiba Pogrom Part Of Long-Term Persecution

The pogrom at Taiba, where Islamists chased frightened Christians from their homes and burned buildings to the ground two days ago, came as part of a concerted effort by Muslim extremists to drive Christians out of the Holy Land, the Telegraph reports this morning. Christian leaders who expressed frustration over broken promises from Yasser Arafat now say that current Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas won't even return their calls:

Christians in the Holy Land have handed a dossier detailing incidents of violence and intimidation by Muslim extremists to Church leaders in Jerusalem, one of whom said it was time for Christians to "raise our voices" against the sectarian violence.

The dossier includes 93 alleged incidents of abuse by an "Islamic fundamentalist mafia" against Palestinian Christians, who accused the Palestinian Authority of doing nothing to stop the attacks.

The dossier also includes a list of 140 cases of apparent land theft, in which Christians in the West Bank were allegedly forced off their land by gangs backed by corrupt judicial officials. ...

The alleged attacks on Christians have come despite repeated appeals to the Palestinian Authority to rein in Muslim gangs.

A spokesman for the Apostolic Delegate, the Pope's envoy to Jerusalem, said nothing had been done to tackle the problem. "The Apostolic Delegate presented a list of all the problems to Mr [Yasser] Arafat before he died," he said. "He promised a lot but he did very little."

In the offices of his tiny Christian television station in Bethlehem, Samir Qumsieh said this week that Christian appeals to Mr Arafat's successor as Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, had also gone unheeded.

"At least Arafat responded," he said, "Abbas does not answer our letters."

Some scoffed at the notion that Taiba equated to a pogrom, but that is exactly what the pogroms of eastern Europe were meant to do -- move an ethnic/religious minority off of land desired by nationalists or religious triumphalists, or both in alliance with each other. The same appears true in the Palestinian areas of the West Bank. Islamist terrorist act with impunity against Christians while the Palestinian Authority does nothing to stop it, except issue meaningless appeals.

Why has this not received much coverage? The Christian community has to take part of the responsibility for that themselves. They kept quiet while trying to work through channels, hoping that Yasser Arafat would make good on his promises ... someday. They only gave up when his successor eschewed Arafat's hypocrisy, a rare occurrence in any case.

However, the global media also shoulders some of the load. They regularly report on all sorts of attacks in that area, and yet rarely report on those affecting the Christians. Why? Would a reminder that the Islamist goals of domination don't just apply to Jews and other Muslims? Perhaps the media do not want people to connect the dots between radical Islam and the Palestinian Authority, as that would create a demand to disavow Abbas and Fatah as realistic partners for peace.

The complicity of Abbas and his government in these attacks needs investigation and honest reporting. If Abbas takes a laissez-faire approach to ethnic cleansing or worse, then we will have propped up a Slobodan Milosevic in the making. Given Abu Mazen's rich past of terrorist activity, that passed from possibility to probability a long time ago.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 9, 2005 6:38 AM

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