هجرة المسيحيين العرب من المشرق العربي عموماً و فلسطين خصوصاً في القرن العشرين Emigration of Arab Christians during the Twentieth Century from The Arab East in General and Palestine in particular

Date
2014-06-15
Authors
جهاد جادالله أحمد رمضان
Jihad Jadallah Ahmad Ramadan
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
AL-Quds University
جامعة القدس
Abstract
This study addresses the topic of emigration of Arab Christians from the Arab East in general and Palestine in particular during the twentieth century. The study aimed at identifying the true motives for the Christian emigration from the Arab East and Palestine in particular during the twentieth century by taking into consideration international, regional and local variables, increase in ethnic and religious conflicts, and spread of religious discourse. The study also aimed to identify the demographic, economic, religious and social impacts of Palestinian Christians emigration on Palestine in general and Christians in particular. The study justifications indicate the need for an address of Christian emigration since it has negative impacts on the countries of Arab East including Palestine. Christian emigration causes a disruption in the culture of the region and its diversity. The study problem seeks to answer a fundamental question namely, what are the actual causes for the emigration of Arab Christians from the Arab East and Palestine in particular during the twentieth century? This study adopted both descriptive and historical approaches; it analyzed the causes for the emigration of Arab Christians through a historical tracking of the different stages of this emigration along with an analysis of the motives for each stage. It also highlights figures regarding immigration of Christian emigrants from the Arab East and Palestine. As for the study geographical limitations, they cover the Arab East region, namely, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. As for Palestine, the study geographical limitations are the Historical Palestine until 1948. Beyond this date, the study limitations cover the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967. The study reached a number of conclusion, the deplorable economic conditions in the Arab countries were the main factors behind the emigration of Arab Christians. Moreover, political instability, exasperating social conditions, absence of democracy and the policy of marginalization were the main causes for the emigration of different Christian denominations and communities. Thus, their presence was weakened, and it created a feeling of estrangement and not belonging among them. As for the phenomenon of Palestinian Christian emigration, the roots of which date back to the second half of the nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century, its motives differed from one stage to another. The deteriorating economic conditions and unstable political circumstances were the main reasons for the Christian emigration in the second half of the nineteenth century. The practices namely, killing, expulsion and Arab land confiscation of the Zionist organizations headed by the Haganah against the Palestinian people were the main factors behind this emigration of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Muslims and Christians. Emigration at this stage was compulsory. As for the period between 1967 until the end of the twentieth century, Christian emigration came as a result of the Israeli suppressive policies, decline of economic conditions and loss of security and stability as main reasons for emigration. Therefore, some decided to emigrate in search for a more capable environment to provide a better life than that in Palestine. They were helped in their decision by the safety networks of family and friends abroad. As for the Islamic religious discourse as a cause for emigration, most studies along with expert scholars in Christian emigration indicated that it was not a main cause for emigration. The study concludes that emigration will not come to an end as long as there is occupation and as long as the Israeli - Arab conflict remains unresolved. The first step to end this emigration is to put an end to this occupation; the international community, as its first duty, has to put an end this status quo. The study recommends that it is essential to focus on developing an economically, socially and culturally compatible environment and to increase awareness of the people of the values of citizenship and respect of pluralism; it should not also marginalize any of the components of its people in its endeavors to alleviate this phenomenon of emigration.
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Keywords
الدراسات الاقليمية, Regional Studies
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