Cardinal McCarrick Backs Palestinian Christians

A few days ago I looked at a new report by Justus Reid Weiner on the difficulties – in some cases, persecution is not too strong a word – which Palestinian Christians have faced under the Palestinian Authority and with the rise of Islamism in Palestinian society. As much as I dislike Weiner (for reasons that I gave at the time) I figured that this was a serious problem that had be aired and that Weiner’s flaws and biases were no reason to dismiss the concerns he raises. I also, however, complained about his deliberate failure to consider seriously the role of the Israeli Occupation as a source of Palestinian Christian pain.

Now, however, Robert Novak joins the Catholic archbishop of Washington in giving the other side of the problem, in a column for the Chicago Sun-Times (links added):

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.

…The new barrier will confiscate 39 percent of the village’s olive fields and take over the aquifer that supplies one-fifth of the West Bank’s total water supply. In October, construction uprooted 500 grapevines in Aboud. Twelve kilometers of the barrier will be built on Aboud’s land, and the villages of Al-Lubban and Rantis also will lose more territory.

All this is justified as protection against terrorists, but the Holy Land Christian Society rejects that. ”It is clear that the security barrier is not about security but the annexation of land for the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and Israeli control over the water supply,” argues a society paper. Israeli settlements Beit Arye and Ofarim were built on land taken from residents of Aboud.

Novak adds:

The problems of the Catholic and Orthodox Christians of Aboud do not resonate in American politics. The evangelicals have signed a blank check to Israel in the interests of security in the Middle East.

Indeed – and I’ve covered US conservative evangelical support for Israel and the Occupation in a number of my entries on Christian Zionism.

Further details about the plight of Aboud are available from the website of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation.

(Hat tip: Christianity Today Weblog)

(Name variations: Abboud, Abud)

3 Responses

  1. […] UPDATE (17 February): I note a specific example of where the Occupation is responsible for creating problems for Palestinian Christians today. […]

  2. More information about Aboud is on the website of Leicestershire Holy Land Appeal http://www.leics-holyland.gothere.uk.com

  3. […] settlements have pressuried Palestinian Christians living in the village of Aboud (as I blogged here), and said that besides the Italian Franciscan guardian of the Holy Places, he “could not […]

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