Gaza’s Christians Worried About Ethnic Cleansing
Israel’s Channel 2 News reported last week that Christians in the Gaza Strip are being persecuted and victimized by Hamas activists, simply because they are Christians and not Muslims.
According to some of the testimonies received by Channel 2 News, Muslim extremists in Gaza burned down a Christian library located at the centre of the strip, and a few weeks later burned down a Christian school as well.
Kamal El-Tarazi, a former senior security official in the Palestinian Authority, said in an interview that he was shot at by gunmen while he was driving in his car in Gaza. After hiding in Christian cemeteries and churches, El-Tarazi made his way to the West Bank to seek asylum, while leaving behind his wife and daughter.
El-Tarazi described some of the hostile activities towards Christians in the Gaza Strip, among them attacks on Christian organizations and churches. He also claimed that Christian women who do not wear a veil have acid thrown in their faces. Gazan Christians continuously tell of incidents of shootings and arson.
Channel 2 News reported that the Christian community in Gaza consists today of only 1,500 people, down from 4,500 at the time Hamas took over the Strip in 2007. A particular incident which caused a large number of Christians to leave the Strip was the murder of a young Baptist Christian who was involved in charity activities Gaza.
Saba Hir, a senior priest summarized by saying he was concerned about an ethnic cleansing of the Christians in Gaza.