Monday, January 7, 2008

May the New Year bring an end to everyone's suffering

Letter to the editor published in the Connecticut Post January 5, 2008.

A few items in the Connecticut Post in the days approaching Christmas demonstrated some of the problems of both Palestinian Arabs and Israelis, along with the causes of those problems.

A photo published December 22 showed a woman and little girl who were inconvenienced by the closing of a checkpoint near Nablus. The checkpoint was temporarily closed when a Palestinian Arab was found carrying a pipe bomb.

The little girl was obviously not very happy and one cannot help but feel her pain, yet one must balance that against the killing and mayhem the would have resulted had there been no checkpoint and the terrorist gotten to detonate his bomb.

On December 24, another photo showed a lone nun inside the Church of the Nativity. The photo was above an article about the low profile Christians in Gaza are keeping, especially since a young man was kidnapped from Gaza's only Christian bookstore, which his family managed, shot in the head and his body thrown in the street.

Of all those who have suffered as a result of Israel's complete pullout from Gaza and its resultant takeover by Hamas, only the residents of the nearby Israeli town of Sderot, bombarded by thousands upon thousands of Kassam missiles, have suffered more than the Christians in Gaza.

The photo of the virtually empty Church of the Nativity illustrates the Christians in the rest of the disputed territories aren't much better off. Their security has deteriorated greatly since Bethlehem and other population centers were taken over by the Palestinian Authority, although tourism to Bethlehem has increased recently as Israelis security measures have reduced Arab terrorism.

Whereas Christians formerly made up 90 percent of the population in Bethlehem, since the Palestinian Authority took over that proportion has dwindled to less than a quarter and continues to shrink as the Christians who are able to flee from an intolerant Muslim majority.

May the coming year be the one during which the Palestinian Authority finally joins Israel in its pursuit of peace and brings to an end the suffering of all, Christian, Muslim and Jew.

Alan H. Stein
Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting

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