In a recent article written by AP Religious Writer, Brian Murphy, I was quoted as saying that Palestinian Christians are eager to leave the Holy Land with the implication that this was due to Palestinian Muslim pressure and attacks. To begin with, I would never make such a statement or imply such thoughts. What I told Mr. Murphy is that all Palestinians have handled the political pressures of the Israeli occupation for decades, but when the pressures became economic, Palestinian families experienced serious difficulties in putting food on the table and because Christians have stronger family relations outside the country some made the difficult decision to leave seeking employment elsewhere.
I also told Mr. Murphy how both Muslims and Christians are leaving but given that the percentage of Christians living in the Holy Land is much lower, it gives the impression that the number leaving is higher (for every one Christian that leaves, fifty Muslims need to leave to keep the ratio balanced). In addition, I told Mr. Murphy how Palestinians are increasingly identifying themselves as being part of smaller groups because all are disappointed in the “national” identity that has not provided them with security, prosperity or peace; so Palestinians are identifying more with groups that provide these basic needs such as religious denominations, political factions, family clans, villages, etc.
The entire article written by Mr. Murphy was insulting to Palestinian Christians because of what it was implying and for the additional fact that it did not mention how the Israeli occupation was working on creating a divide within the Palestinian community at all levels, including the Christian-Muslim level – which I talked extensively about – and how All Palestinians were resisting such tactics especially the one that deals with how we are presented in the Western Press.