Many Christian Palestinians are emigrating to Europe or America. Christian communities in Europe or America support the Christian schools, so Christian Palestinians often have higher education and for the most part better jobs than the Muslims. The Christian schools also have some Muslim students, but most Muslim students go to other schools, where the education isn’t that much adapted to the working market in Europe and America. (a retired headmaster of a Christian School in Bethlehem told me this) It’s a problem for Christians living in the West Bank (most of them lives in Bethlehem) to visit holy places elsewhere i. e. The Holy Sepulchre, because if they want to travel to Jerusalem, they need a special permit, and it’s hard to get. So some of the Christians we talked to had only been able to travel there once in their lives, even if they only live 10 km away. This Easter, a lot of them were denied access to the Holy Sepulchre. Israel said it was because of crowd control. It may be true, but the Christian Palestinians will never believe that it was the real reason.
The emigration of Christians from Bethlehem to Europe and America has been 9 percent since 2000. Quite a lot of them moves to other countries to get away from the situation. Their relationship with the Palestinian Muslims is a bit two sided. On one side, our guide who’s a Palestinian Christian seemed to have the most problem about being denied access to holy sites, and the checkpoints, the Israeli presence on the West Bank in general rather than accepting Muslims. But he made remarks about their view on women, and how to raise children etc, that he thought was wrong. The Palestinian authorities is quite secular, and it didn't look like he thought it was a problem that they aren't a Christian government.
Sorry I answer a question with 10 more questions, I have more or less qualified opinions, but I like to debate because I learn from it.
Jerusalem: I don’t understand why Palestinians want it for their capital, but I think it may have something to do with the negotiations. If they are forced to “give up” Jerusalem, they can demand more of another thing. I used to be a Union leader, and I know that the demands are much higher than what you expect to get in the end. It’s a negotiation technique. (i.e. “We have given you this, now you need to give something to us”)
The difference between a settlement and a Holy Site? I’ve been at the Western Wall,. Some probably spend a lot of time there, since it’s such an important place, but I didn’t get the impression that someone was living there. Correct me if I’m wrong.
Hebron: It was meant from the founding of the state of Israel in 1948 that Jews should have access to the Western Wall. Hebron isn’t inside the area that was given to the State of Israel. See the map, it doesn’t show Hebron marked on it, but you know where it is. http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/aboutisrael/m ... 0plan.aspx
But because of the military presence in Hebron, Jews have been able to move back there and build settlements. When those settlers build memorials for terrorists that walks into the mosque and kill 29 praying Muslims during the Friday prayer (Forgot how many injured), even if I can understand that they are frustrated that they don’t have access to the tomb of the Patriarch, I don’t find them very sympathetic. It must be hard to live behind barbed wire, surrounded by enemies, needing military protection, but they have chosen that themselves.
So the difference: Jerusalem was meant to be open to anyone. Hebron was meant to belong to the future state of Palestine. (Maybe it should have been open to all as well). So the military presence in Jerusalem is protecting the right Israel have. Military presence in Hebron is protecting the right Israel think they should have. Maybe they should have it, but it has to be negotiated first. Can’t just go and take it. (Just my opinion, but I hope I made it clearer now)
Yes, I’ve been visiting the mosque and the synagogue in Hebron. Because I’m a Christian I’m allowed into both parts of it. (Funny how my atheist colleagues were very quickly to answer “Christian!” when the soldiers asked them about religion…)
How I think it should be solved: I don’t know. This is what I’m thinking, but it’s probably more questions than answers. I thought most of your ideas were pretty constructive.
I can’t see a one state solution work, since ethnicity and religion is so important to both sides. So a two state solution is probably the best.
First of all: Both people needs to be treated equally. Same rights for both people. Same responsibility for both people to make peace and to make it work.
Since 1948 there has been wars, and the borders aren't what they used to be. So the borders has to be negotiated again. Don’t ask me how to split it up. Israel and Egypt managed to make peace with Sinai given back to Egypt, and Egypt acknowledging Israel and stop being aggressive. I think Israel will have to give up some of the land they have occupied (during the different wars) Palestine can’t exist as an independent state with the A- and B-zones on the West Bank and Gaza. It’s about controlling resources and having a sustainable economy to function as a state.
The use of history as an argument to claim rights to an area isn't very constructive. There has to be drawn a line, in rather modern history, I’d say. Everyone argues who was there first and who has the right to live there. If they set a date, it’s at least the same for everyone. Don’t ask me when. But I’m thinking that dead people are dead, they can’t claim anything…
The same rules need to apply to both people. If Jews are going to move back onto homes they were chased out of, so should Palestinians. If Palestinians should be able to move back to their homes, so should Jews. If this isn’t going to work, they will have to compromise. So maybe some Jews can’t go back, maybe some Palestinians can’t go back. It’s about trying to avoid future conflicts. If the two people learn to live in peace, there won’t be a problem. But one can’t kick out a family from their house because one’s old relatives lived there centuries ago. It’s about how the situation is today, and how to make it work.
Jerusalem: What’s wrong with Tel Aviv and Ramallah for capital cities? I never was in Ramallah, but Tel Aviv can’t have been more than 1 hour away? Ramallah can’t be longer… Big deal what city is the capital, isn’t peace more important? I understand Israel’s claim to make it capital more than Palestine, but his is just symbolic. Same rules applies to both sides again. Jerusalem can’t be the capital of any country.
Both sides need to acknowledge the pain they have given the other side, and take responsibility for it. Truth commissions may be the way to go to put the past behind. Not sure about how this should work. But Israelis and Palestinians have to find a way to forgive each other, maybe knowing the truth, and speak to the person or the group behind it would help. It worked in a way in South Africa, but the situation was different there. Not sure it will work here.
Will Israel trust Palestine if they get their own army? Maybe there has to be an international force protecting Palestine. Palestinians don’t trust the IDF, and won't accept that they should have military control.
And as you said, children has to be taught tolerance. An that goes for both sides.
As for the disappeared teens. Have they found them yet? How can I say if Israel went too far finding them when they haven’t found them yet? If this turn out to be successful, it will be hard to criticize anyone. But it looks like to me they are rather clueless. They've killed a Palestinian stone throwing teen, though, so I guess they are one down two to go. And in case you wondered. I don’t think kidnapping a Jewish teens is worse than killing Palestinian ones – even if they throw rocks. To me, people are people. BTW, all we still know is that three Jewish teenagers have disappeared.
About the Tweeters, I haven't really seen anyone tweet him something that falls outside "freedom of speech", but I haven't had time reading a lot of it, so maybe I missed the worst. Some think Israel's politics towards Palestinians is genocide, it's not illegal to say that. They are entitled their opinion. Just don't understand what they expect him to do, or if they think it's helpful tweeting him 10 times per day. He can block them if he wants....
Don’t know if I answered all your questions, I probably didn't. If you still have questions for me – feel free to ask.