The Sabeel Survey undertaken in the Summer of 2006 of Palestinian Christians in both the West Bank and Israel has presented new material for understanding the responses of the Christian communities to a variety of issues.
The Sabeel Survey undertaken in the Summer of 2006 of Palestinian Christians in both the West Bank and Israel has presented new material for understanding the responses of the Christian communities to a variety of issues. The Survey with its richness has also provided a challenge to look at the historical-demographic or population context in which Palestinian Christians in both the West Bank and in Israel find themselves. Accordingly, the following article starts with a historical overview of the Palestinian Christian population. The establishment of the state of Israel caused a population shock that saw numerous localities in Israel lose their Christian populations. A comparison of Jordan’s Census of 1961 with Israel’s census of 1967 and pitting the figures and data of these two censuses with most recent estimates give an idea about what happened to the Christian Palestinian population over the more recent years. The more recent developments and Israeli control measures such as the Separation Wall bring us to the expected repercussions of these measures particularly on emigration of Palestinian Christians. The internal Palestinian situation that was characterized by a political impasse, factional infighting and institutional paralysis over the last year since the Palestinian elections in January 2006 is also discussed as of its impact on migratory pressures on Middle Class Palestinians, among whom are most Palestinian Christians. The Sabeel Survey and its various results and background characteristics of the Palestinian Christian population are discussed in depth and so are some of the findings particularly those pertaining to Church Affiliation, Locality of Residence and the responses to the various statements posed in the Survey.
This is an essay in which all the respondents participated and I sincerely hope that its findings and conclusions will give all of us some light as to how to progress towards building a society and a region that is at peace with itself and among its various nationalities and religions.