To the Editor:
Once again Robert Novak tries and fails to make a case accusing Israel of the deliberate persecution of Palestinian Christians ("Who Harms Holy Land Christians?", July 3).
As he has done in previous columns, Novak pays no heed to reports of pressures on the community by Palestinian Muslim extremists, nor the fears of Palestinian Christians of potential coercive dictates by the new Hamas government.
Nor does Novak provide any context to the difficulties he highlights that Palestinian Christians confront in the daily life which are related to Israeli security measures. These measures, such as the security barrier and check points, are undertaken in response to ongoing Palestinian terrorism and violence. Indeed, since the barrier's construction there has been a marked decrease in terrorist attacks in Israeli civilian centers – not because Palestinian terrorists have not attempted such operations, but because the barrier has impeded terrorists from reaching Israeli cities, or has forced them to take more circuitous routes, leading to their capture.
Despite Novak's assertions, these security measures are purely defensive in nature, and are in no way intended to single out, persecute or harass Palestinian Christians. Indeed, the Israel Supreme Court has ordered numerous re-routings of the barrier where it would lead to unnecessary hardship for Palestinians – Christians and Muslims alike.
Current Israeli-Palestinian relations are complex enough. It is time for Novak to stop manufacturing inflammatory stories of an Israeli war against Christians.
The Anti-Defamation League