Archbishop Hanna: Christian Presence in Palestine is Declining Due to Israeli Occupation

Archbishop Atallah Hanna from the Greek Orthodox Church take part in a protest in West Bank. (Photo: Oren Ziv, via

The Head of the Sebastia Diocese of the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Atallah Hanna, warned in a statement on Wednesday that the number of Christians emigrating from the Middle East has reached unprecedented levels.

“The tragedies which have befallen Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and many other Arab countries have caused the overwhelming majority of Christians to emigrate,” Hanna said in the statement, calling to preserve this important component in the region.

“As for Palestine”, Hanna’s statement added, “we notice that the Christian presence in our country is declining in an unprecedented and dramatic manner due to the [Israeli] occupation’s policies in addition to social, cultural and other causes.”

Hanna warned that the disappearance of the Christian element from Palestine in particular, and from the region in general, is not a loss for Christians alone, but rather a loss for all these countries and peoples, because then the Orient loses its diversity that has characterized it for centuries.

“We, in Palestine, know well who created the brutal Zionism which led to all these catastrophes and setbacks to which our people were subjected,” the statement also read.

“There are varied estimates on how many Palestinian Christians are still living in Palestine today, compared with the period before 1948 when the state of Israel was established atop Palestinian towns and villages,” Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle Ramzy Baroud wrote in a recent article.

“The correlation between the shrinking Christian population in Palestine, and the Israeli occupation and apartheid should be unmistakable, as it is obvious to Palestine’s Christian and Muslim population alike,” Baroud added.

(The Palestine Chronicle, MEMO, Social Media)

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