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The Palestinian Authority is attempting to cover up the incident and has warned against publicizing the story.The local commander of the Palestinian police instructed journalists not to report on the incident....Several years ago a Moslem family from Hebron took possession of the building and started to use it without permission.The Comtsieh family filed a claim with the judicial system and after long and arduous court hearings, the court ruled in the claimant's favor.In late June 1997, a Palestinian convert to Christianity in the northern West Bank was arrested by agents of the Palestinian Authority's Preventive Security Service.He had been regularly attending church and prayer meetings and was distributing Bibles. The pastor of a church in Ramallah was recently warned by Palestinian Authority security agents that they were monitoring his evangelistic activities in the area and wanted him to come in for questioning for spreading Christianity.Other European travelers to the Holy Land mentioned the practice whereby "a dhimmi must not come face to face with a Muslim in the street but pass him to the left, the impure side," and described how Christians were humiliated and insulted in the streets of Jerusalem until the mid-1800s.
This population is rapidly dwindling, however, and not solely as a result of the difficult military and economic situation.The Christian community in the areas administered by the Palestinian Authority (PA) is a small but symbolically important one.About 35,000 Christians live in the West Bank and 3,000 in Gaza,1 representing about 1.3 percent of Palestinians.The rebels forced the Christian population to observe the weekly day of rest on Friday instead of Sunday and to replace the tarboosh with the kaffiyeh for men, whereas women were forced to wear the veil.
In 1936, Muslims marched through the Christian village of Bir Zayt near Ramallah chanting: "We are going to kill the Christians."8 In the early 1900s, with the Jewish return to the area, Palestinian Christians began to band with the Muslims to oppose Jewish immigration, at least in part as a way to deflect Muslim hostility away from themselves.For example, an Israeli government report noted the failure of the judicial system in Bethlehem to provide protection to Christian land-owners.