Christians in the Holy Land:

The Church of The Nativity in Bethlehem, the Birthplace of Jesus.

In the process of "Judaizing" Palestine, numerous convents, hospices, seminaries, and churches were either destroyed or cleared of their Christian owners and custodians that formed almost 20% of the total population at the time. Today it is believed that the number of Christians in Israel and occupied Palestine number some 175,000, just over 2 percent of the entire population, but the numbers are rapidly dwindling due to mass emigration.

In one of the most spectacular attacks on a Christian target, on May 17, 1948, the Armenian Orthodox Patriarchate was shelled with about 100 mortar roundsólaunched by Zionist forces from the already occupied monastery of the Benedictine Fathers on Mount Zion. The bombardment also damaged St. Jacob's Convent, the Archangel's Convent, and their appended churches, their two elementary and seminary schools, as well as their libraries, killing eight people and wounding 120.

The Catholic Church has long argued for an end to the Israeli occupation and for improvement of the Palestinians' situation. The leaders of the Eastern Orthodox churches have taken similar, often more strongly worded positions. Likewise, many Lutheran and Calvinist churches run organizations and programs that seek to ease the suffering of the Palestinians and draw attention to the injustices with which they are faced. Usually working within strictly religious frames of reference, however, their impact on the political situation has been minimal.

This political limitation has not applied to those parts of the Evangelical movement that have adopted Zionism as a core element of their religious doctrine. Christian Zionists in the U.S. are currently organized in an alliance with the pro-Israel lobby and the neoconservative elements of the Republican Party, enabling them to put significant pressure on both the president and members of Congress.

Christian Zionism is an odd thing on many levels. A key tenet of Christian Zionism is absolute support for Israel, whose establishment and existence, it is believed, heralds Armageddon and the second coming of Christ. The politically relevant upshot of this is that without Israel's expansion there can be no redemption, and those who subscribe to this interpretation are only too eager to sacrifice their Palestinian fellow Christians on the altar of Zionism. They do not want to hear about co-religionists' suffering at the hands of Israel.