The tiny Christian community in the Gaza Strip has come under threat.
Palestinians have threatened to blow up a Christian center in Gaza City. The Palestinian Bible Society was accused of missionary activities and given until February 28 to leave the Gaza Strip.
“We are under serious threat,” a Gaza Christian who did not want to be identified said. “There is nobody here willing to help us.”
[On Friday, at least two Palestinians were killed in Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip. Two other Palestinians were injured in an Israeli air strike meant to stop a Kassam-class missile launch.]
This was the latest threat against the 1,500 Christians in the Gaza Strip. In early February, the only church in the Gaza Strip was vandalized and clerics were threatened.
Last week, a firebomb was hurled at a church in the West Bank city of Ramallah. PA police have not arrested any suspects.
The threats against the foreign-based Palestinian Bible Society were reported amid the furor in the Arab world over anti-Muslim cartoons published in the European press. Christian clerics in both the Gaza Strip and West Bank have condemned the cartoons.
The Palestinian Bible Society, part of the United Bible Societies, began operations in the Gaza Strip in 1999. The society, with 11 employees, contains computer rooms, multi-purpose halls and a library.
Palestinian anger over the European cartoons was quickly diverted to the Christian center. On February 2, a bomb exploded outside the Bible Society. Nobody was injured.
By February 16, the center was warned in an anonymous letter that it would be blown up unless the building was vacated by February 28. Christian sources said the PA advised the center to lock its doors, but has not provided protection.
Christian sources said they believe the threats have come from elements in the Fatah Party headed by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. The sources said Fatah has sought to block the Hamas takeover of government by sparking violence and seizing official and other facilities in the Gaza Strip.