Palestinian Christians, like other religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East, are the target of mistreatment, harassment and in some instances, violent oppression at the hands of their Muslim neighbors.

Nevertheless, much of the media coverage about Palestinian Christians downplays Muslim hostility toward this community and falsely portrays Israel as the sole cause of its suffering.

The reality is Palestinian Christians cannot speak freely about the Muslim dominated environment in which they live. Their leaders often publicly condemn Israel while remaining silent about groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Occasionally, they might admit that Muslim hostility is a problem, but not very often and not very loudly.

It is safe for Palestinian Christian leaders to condemn Israel – a democracy that has a tradition of respecting religious freedom and human rights. It is not safe, however, for Palestinian Christians to condemn the misdeeds of their Islamist neighbors who regard Christians as infidels and obstacles to the creation of an Islamic state.

Journalists obviously have an obligation to dig into the underlying facts regarding the status of Christians in Palestinian areas.

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