Christians under the Palestinian Authority Persecuted

April 23, 2000

Christians in Palestinian Authority (PA)-administered territories and in
certain Arab communities in Israel have found themselves facing KGB style
tactics, including life threats.   Prayer meetings, worship services,
gatherings and conferences, etc. are under surveillance by observers
positioned by the Authority, following a PA law dictating that six people
cannot be in one place without notifying the government.  Christians known
to the PA have been accused of acting against the Muslim faith, as the PA
witness these Christian congregational ministries growing among the Muslim
majority. There is constant concern about the future of such churches in
areas under the Palestinian's control.

The current PA policy in regards to the exercise of the individuals right
to religious freedom strains its democratic claim at this juncture of the
Final Status Talks.  The policy of the PA is so severe that it is in
conflict with the provisions of the International Religious Freedom Act in
the U.S.  Under the latter's provisions, abrogation of human rights, as the
PA threatens, could bring the PA under U.S. trade sanctions.

Israeli Arab New Testament believers face injustice, lack of mercy and
meanness of spirit.  In the PA, they are confronted with betrayal and
torture.  This is sometimes even resulting in internal distrust among Arab
Christians towards one another.

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