A Palestinian Christian woman says she fled her hometown of Bethlehem and was granted political asylum in Britain due to threats on her life after she criticized Palestinian terrorism and expressed support for Israel’s right to exist.
The women, who has identified herself as “Christy,” posted a 25-minute video on YouTube in which she detailed the extent of the persecution of Palestinian Christians, the incitement to violence, institutional corruption, and the second class status of women under Palestinian Authority rule.
After traveling to Sweden in recent weeks where she gave a candid speech to students at Uppsala University, Christy said that her uncle threatened to kill her for endangering their family which still resides in Bethlehem.
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Christy told the students that though she had only read the Bible once while growing up, she recently had an epiphany when reading an excerpt that “challenged me to the core.”
After that, she began reading about the Arab-Israeli wars, in particular the Yom Kippur War of 1973 when Israel was attacked by Arab armies from north, east and south. Despite being outnumbered by soldiers and tanks, Israel survived the war.
“That wasn’t them being superheroes, that was God’s hand for me. That was an evidence,” Christy said.
“After learning that, I decided, well, I have freedom of speech, I have human rights, I want to exercise that and share my beliefs. And what happened was when I started sharing my beliefs with a small group and simply saying: I believe God has given this land to the Jews as an everlasting covenant. They’re there, we’re here, let’s have two states and move on, have a life. And if you don’t want to take my beliefs, well how many Christian countries [do] we have around the world? How many Muslim countries [do] we have around the world? Why can’t the Jews have one country?” Christy asked.
Within 24 hours of the first gathering in which she publicly expressed her stance, Christy said, “I had a phone call by one of my family members and he asked to meet me. And the first thing he said when he met me was ‘I have a bullet I have a gun. It’s only a bullet I’ll put it in your head and end your life. You’re playing with big fire here, and you’re going to burn your family first before you burn yourself and I was sent to stop you.’”
“After that, so I got threatened to be killed for sharing my beliefs and views. Well, Israel doesn’t kill us or threaten us for sharing our views. Palestinians do. I was shocked, I was furious, I was angry. And then what happened was that I couldn’t stop. I kept sharing my views. I’m a human being,” Christy recounted.
She said that she visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum, to understand what the Jews have experienced historically.
“When I put myself in their shoes I was able to understand, not justify, understand why they have done and [what] they’re doing, why they are acting aggressively, why they’re doing it in this way, because of what happened. There’s always a reason why. Again not justifying it, but they are being overprotective. Why? You suddenly understand why,” she said.
“Afterwards, I got persecuted. I was accused for being a traitor, it became dangerous for me to stay there [in Bethlehem] and I had to leave my country and I went to Britain and I was granted political asylum in three days because the case was an open and shut case,” she said.
Since delivering her speech in Sweden, Christy says the threats have followed her to Europe. “I’ve been threatened to be killed here in England,” she said in the video she posted on YouTube.
In her lecture in Sweden, Christy accused the Palestinian Authority of encouraging terrorist attacks by generously rewarding those who commit violence against Israeli civilians.
“Recently, my government, the Palestinian Authority has given $74 million to the families of ‘martyrs.’ Isn’t that perpetuating violence?” she asked.
Christy lambasted Palestinian terror groups for endangering Palestinian civilians by using them as shields to hide behind when firing on Israel and for using children as frontline fighters against Israeli soldiers.
“These poor children have been brainwashed into the mentality that fighting for your country is an honor to die. It was really sad to see them killed in front of you and shot dead,” Christy said.
Of Palestinian suicide bombers, she said sarcastically, “They actually believe they’ll find 72 virgins when they die. I hope they do because it will really be a really big loss when they found out it’s not the case.”
Christy detailed the extent to which she says Christians are treated as second class citizens under Palestinian Authority rule, noting that her uncle in Bethlehem has been forced to pay jizya, that is, money traditionally paid by non-Muslims for protection. When he stopped paying the protection money, he was accused of being a traitor, jailed then shot and killed.
She also accused Palestinian courts of ruling against Christians in intra-Palestinian land disputes, a phenomenon she likened to “stealing…Christian lands.”
“None of these stories and more were told by my people to the world,” Christy said.
Christy disputed the assertion made by some Palestinians that Israel has prompted the flight of Christians from Palestinian cities.
“At the intifada (Palestinian uprising), the number of Christians started decreasing big time. Sadly, and you probably heard so many people would tell you that the major factor is the Israeli occupation. Well I believe in facts and statistics,” Christy said. She then presented statistics which showed that after Israeli forces took over Bethlehem, there was a slight increase in the Christian population. Later, however, it dramatically decreased after the rise of the PLO and Hamas.
The Palestinian Christian woman who is a lawyer by training discussed Israel’s security barrier, which she said surrounds her family’s Bethlehem house on three sides. The Israeli government decided to erect a barrier between the West Bank and the Israel border after a spike in Palestinian suicide bombings, a decision that virtually put an end to the terrorist attacks but has been a focus of criticism by pro-Palestinian groups in the U.S. and elsewhere.
“If you ask me a simple question now, if you were the prime minister of Israel, would you put that wall up? My answer would be ‘yes’ bearing in mind I was one of the most people who was affected by this wall, because it stopped my people killing themselves and blowing themselves up from the first place. And I care for people not for concrete,” Christy said.
Christy complained about the “corrupt government” where “there’s no law, there’s no order.” She pointed to the millions of dollars donated to the Palestinian Authority from the U.S. and European countries that has been reported to be siphoned off by corrupt officials.
“They’re loaded with money and my people are suffering. After learning the amount of money we’ve been given, I should be rich. Each Palestinian should be rich,” she said.
She also described the extent to which she experienced sexual harassment.
“I used to get sexually harassed going to university. I used to get to university and then turn around feeling disgusted like almost walking in a zoo between animals,” she said. “Sometimes I’d get home sitting in a minibus having people touching me. These are the rights we have as women there.”
According to the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting (CAMERA), a pro-Israel organization, Christy’s talk in Sweden was first published by the Jerusalem Institute for Justice (JIJ) and her latest video was posted on YouTube by the Emmaus Group, a British Christian organization “that draws attention to the mistreatment of Christians in Muslim-majority settings.”
The Middle East media watchdog further reported that Christy’s father has now denounced her in a recent interview to a Bethlehem newspaper.
Here is the video of Christy’s remarks: