Christians Overlooked in Holy Land, Says Priest

ROME, SEPT. 30, 2005 ( Western governments are ignoring the plight of Christians amid an upsurge in violence and harassment in the Holy Land, says the director of the Pastoral Biblical Center in Jerusalem.

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Father Peter Madros told the charity Aid to the Church in Need that Palestine’s beleaguered Christian community suffered repeated injustices such as seizure of their land, restricted access to travel permits, declining influence in government, and sporadic acts of violence.

«We are rejected by the Israeli Jewish people and government because we are Arabs, and we are rejected by the Palestinian Muslim people because we are Christians,» said the Palestinian priest, who lived and worked in Bethlehem for years.

«The West is always talking about human rights toward people from the Middle East,» he said. «It is always giving minority groups rights in the West without asking the same from the countries where they have come from.»

The priest said that European countries do help Muslims in Palestine, but «they have little consideration for the Christians.»

«This is unjust,» he said, «because the Muslims receive a great deal of help from the Arab countries in the Middle East.»

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