Lex alerted me to this column about the Palestinian Authority’s formal imposition of Islamic law in Judea and Samaria. He wrote:
This is huge. It is the end of secular nationalism in the PA. This could be a major way to undermine support for the PA here in the USA. In effect, the PA, in the usual bone-headed fashion, has decided to become Islamic fundamentalists at the very moment when Islamic fundamentalists are getting the snot kicked out of them. All we need is to see the open persecution of Christians in Palestine and Bush’s core supporters will be screaming for open war against the PA.
I’m skeptical that Christians as a group are going to change their behavior as a result of this information. Arafat and his PLO raped southern Lebanon and abused Lebanese Christians for years, without generating any organized reaction from Christians elsewhere. Nor has there been much public concern in the Christian onhealthy world about the large-scale emigration of Arab Christians from the areas now controlled by the PA. (The article notes that Christians now comprise less than 5% of the population in Bethlehem, which had a Christian majority in 1967. Apparently the New York Times considers this statistic less noteworthy than the percentage of female competitors in golf matches.)
However, Lex may be on to something with his assertion about the potential U.S. political fallout of the PA’s abuses. While the mainstream press is likely to ignore the issue, it might be publicized via the Internet and talk radio. In that case there is a chance for a ground swell of anti-PA outrage on the part of American Christian conservatives who are among the core supporters of Bush whom Lex mentions. We can only hope.
Whatever its domestic political effects, I hope that the PA’s mistreatment of Christians receives more attention than it has so far.