Hamas terrorists who control Gaza follow a charter which calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state government by Shariah, or Islamic law. That's bad news for the small number of Palestinian Christians, if current life in Gaza is any indication.
Jonathan Spyer, a senior research at Israel's Global Research in International Affairs Center reports that radical Islamic groups have targeted Christians with bombings and other attacks.
There are only a few thousand Christians in Gaza, Spyer writes. Since Hamas took over in 2007, they have been subjected to increasing levels of violence and intimidation:
"The trend became noticeable with a series of attacks on the Palestinian Bible Society's ‘Teacher's Bookshop' in Gaza City last year. The shop was the subject of a bomb attack in April 2007. Its owner, Rami Khader Ayyad, was abducted in broad daylight, and found dead on October 7, 2007.
Over the following year, a series of bomb attacks on Christian institutions in Gaza took place. Particular attention was paid to places of education. The Rahabat al-Wardia school run by nuns in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City, and the American International School in Beit Lahiya were both bombed, most recently in May 2008. The Zahwa Rosary Sisters School and the El-Manara school, both in Gaza City, were also attacked this summer. The YMCA Library was bombed, as was the Commonwealth War Cemetery."
Spyer notes that casualties from these attacks were relatively small because most came at night. And it isn't necessarily Hamas carrying them out. But nor is it acting to stop them:
"Hamas is officially committed to tolerance toward the Christian community, and spokesmen for the authorities have criticized the attacks. In practice, however, only superficial investigations have taken place, and arrests are rare. In the few cases where arrests have been made, the suspects were not charged and were quickly released. This was the case, for example, with two members of the Jaish al-Islam who were suspected of involvement in the YMCA bombing."
Life is better for Christians in the West Bank, living under the Palestinian Authority's control. However, even there Christians have fallen prey to land grabs and other forms of intimidation. Spyer wonders where it all leads:
"Bethlehem, for example, has seen its Christian population decline from a 60 percent majority in 1990 to under 20% of the population today. The small and harassed Christian community of Gaza may simply cease to exist in the near future."