Our top story today is Fida Jiryis's piece rebutting a Wall Street Journal article by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren bragging on Israel's treatment of Palestinians. Well, amazingly, today's Wall Street Journal features four letters, including one from Jiryis, taking sharp exception to Ambassador Oren's op-ed.
Some excerpts. First, Rev. Robert O. Smith from Chicago:
It is irresponsible for Amb. Oren to make political points among some segments of the U.S. population by intentionally disregarding factors contributing to Palestinian Christian migration away from their homeland. By blaming their condition on Muslims alone, while ignoring the negative effects of Israeli occupation policies, including the debilitating economic effects of the separation barrier, Mr. Oren is using anti-Muslim sentiments among some Americans to hide the effects of Israeli policy.
Jamal Khader, dean of the Faculty at Bethlehem University:
Pretending to defend the interests of the Christians contradicts facts on the ground, where Christians suffer the same consequences of military occupation as all Palestinians. Most of the land belonging to Christians in Bethlehem is being confiscated with the building of the separation wall. Is that the "respect and appreciation" the Christian community receives from the Jewish state?
And Maen Rashid Areikat of the PLO:
He conveniently omits gross Israeli violations against the Palestinian Christian community, such as Israel's revocation of residency rights to many whose birthplace was Jerusalem, or the fact that it restricts their right to worship in their holy sites by imposing an onerous permit system to access the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem or the baptism site on the River Jordan. Even family visitations between Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem are heavily restricted.