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The Michael Cherney Foundation
National Unity Coalition for Israel

Bethlehem Christians under Palestinian Authority


Arrow Jan. 2004: Bethlehem (6,559 Christians) Beit Jala (6,343 Christians) and Beit Sahour (7,335 Christians) make up 20,237 Christians of the 120,000 total population (1)

Arrow The Christian population was reduced from a 60% majority in 1990 to a 20% minority in 2001 (23,000) (2)

Arrow In 1995 after assuming control of Bethlehem, Arafat changed the municipal boundaries and its twin towns, Beit Jala and Beit Sahour, incorporating (into the 65,000 residents) additional 30,000 Moslems of three neighboring refugee camps, Dehaisheh, El-Ayda' and El-Azeh with and additional few thousand Bedouins of the Ta'amrah tribe located east of Bethlehem (3)

Arrow 1,640 Christians fled Bethlehem between Oct. 2000 and Nov. 2001 (4)

Arrow More Beit Jala Christians reside in Belize (Central America) than left in Beit Jalah itself (5)

Arrow Before 1995, Bethlehem had a majority-Christian municipal council. After the PA take- over, Arafat replaced the municipal council with a predominately Muslim council. Today Christians have virtually no political power in Bethlehem (6)

Arrow 51.2% of Christians in Beit Sahour are considering emigration (7)

Arrow 28% of Palestinian Muslims support Arafat's Fatah, 21% support Hamas , and the total Islamist vote at 29%, with 0% Christian support (8)

Arrow2001 poll: 45% of Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem expressed growing fears of tensions between Christians and Muslims

ArrowMosques in Bethlehem: 1970 - 5 mosques; 2004 - 72 mosques


1. Dr. Bernard Sabella "The Situation of Palestinian Christians: Some Food for Thought" Jan. 26, 2004
2. Yoram Ettinger "The Islamization of Bethlehem by Arafat" Ariel Center for Policy Research, Dec. 25, 2001
3. David Raab, "The Beleaguered Christians of the Palestinian-Controlled Areas", Jerusalem Letters/Viewpoints, The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 1-15 January 2003
4. "How many Christians live in the territories?" Jerusalem Post, May 2001
5. Yoram Ettinger "The Islamization of Bethlehem by Arafat" Ariel Center for Policy Research, 12.25.2001
6. "Who Stole Christmas?" Honest Reporting, Dec. 25, 2003
7. Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Synopsis of Survey on Immigration: Beit Sahour, August 2001.
8. Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, Oct.2003
9. Christopher Walker "Tensions darken festive mood in Bethlehem" London Times Dec.22, 1997


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