(LONDON — 24.4.16) Israeli government policy not Islamic extremism is forcing Palestinian Christians to emigrate from the West Bank.
That was how Jeremy Moodey, CEO of UK Christian charity Embrace the Middle East, last night summed up the plight of the shrinking Palestinian Christian community in the region. He was speaking at a House of Commons seminar organised by The Palestinian Return Centre (NB full address available here).
‘All Palestinians suffer from occupation and the denial of their rights,’ said Moodey. ‘But as a small minority within the larger Palestinian nation, the suffering of Christians is in many ways magnified. They lack the critical mass as a community to cope with occupation and the political and economic dislocation which results.
‘In a 2006 study by Sabeel, the Palestinian liberation theology group, almost 90 per cent of Palestinian Christians wanting to emigrate from the West Bank said they were motivated by economic reasons or the political situation – in other words the occupation, not by fear of Islamic extremism, which is the Israeli narrative.’

The meeting was chaired by Baroness (Jenny) Tonge and speakers included the Palestinian Ambassador to the UK and Leila Sansour, award-winning producer of the film Open Bethlehem.

Embrace the Middle East works with local Christian partners in tackling poverty and injustice in several countries throughout the Middle East. It owns and operates a Palestinian Christian special needs school in Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem.

‘It receives probably barely a quarter of the government funding which goes to equivalent Jewish schools in West Jerusalem,’ explained Moodey. ‘The school’s funding is dependent on its Palestinian children learning by heart the Arabic version of the Hatikvah, the Zionist national anthem. Teaching of Palestinian history and culture is discouraged. And, of course Palestinian Christians in Jerusalem are affected by the separation barrier, which divides the city from its West Bank hinterland.
‘Israeli discrimination against Palestinian Christians, whether they are in the occupied territory or pre-1967 Israel, is a tragic reality, and I welcome this event as an opportunity to highlight it.’
 Jeremy Moodey (fourth from left) addresses a House of  seminar on the plight of Palestinian Christians.
Written by TCE Global News