Asset Publisher

Saher Elghorra/TheNews2/imago images

Country Reports

In the crossfire: Without perspective in the midst of nationalist-religious violence

by Steven Höfner, Bernadette Weimer

The Situation of Christians in the Palestinian Territories

Christians in the Palestinian Territories live a life between all fronts: Fundamentalist Islamic forces on the one hand and Jewish extremists on the other make life difficult for them. In addition, there is a lack of economic prospects and a rigorous Israeli occupation policy. So, many Christian Palestinians are leaving their home. But with their institutions, they are an important socio-economic factor and a central part of the Palestinian community.

Asset Publisher

Christians and their institutions shape the social and economic life in the Palestinian territories. In total, there are 296 Church-affiliated agencies, most of them in East Jerusalem and Bethlehem, which are particularly active in health and education. About 1.9 million Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip benefit from the provision of such facilities every year - regardless of religious affiliation, social status or political beliefs. But these institutions and their work are endagered because many Christians leave the Holy Land. The proportion of the Christian population in Jerusalem has fallen from over 20 percent a hundred years ago to less than two percent today; in Bethlehem the proportion of Christians has fallen from an estimated 86 percent in 1948 to 35 percent in 1967 and only 12 percent today. In the occupied Palestinian Territories, the Christian population of around 47,000 people is only around one percent. On the one hand, this is due to the birth rate of Christian families, which is below the average of the Muslim society, and on the other hand, it is to the higher emigration rate among Christians, who are leaving their home mainly because of the poor economic prospects and the everyday confrontation with the military occupation.


The full-length publication is only available in German.

Asset Publisher


Simon Engelkes

Simon Engelkes bild

Head of the Ramallah office +972 2 240 4305 +972 2 240 4307


Asset Publisher