The Vatican has long supported a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, and reaffirmed its support in the wake of the U.S. shifting its position on Israeli settlements in the West Bank back in November. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the settlements were "not per se inconsistent with international law."
Although they fear abuses by the Israeli state or by Jewish settlers, the vast majority of Palestinian Christians surveyed, 80%, also worry about corruption in the Palestinian government, and around 70% of them, Sayegh said, fear Hamas.
And some Christians report feeling threatened their Muslim neighbors. This, Sayegh said, is the "breaking point" for recognizing the differences in Christian and Muslim emigration from Palestine.
While both Christians and Muslims might leave Palestine for economic reasons, the new survey shows that Christians also feel unsafe or insecure not just by the threat of attacks by settlers, but from their neighbors.
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Nearly eight-in-ten Christians (77%) say they are worried about radical Salafist groups in Palestine. A large minority believe both that most Muslims do not want them in Palestine (43%) and that Christians are discriminated against when applying for jobs (44%).
Taken together, the reported lack of security and suspicion of corruption in the Palestinian government could help explain Christians' support for a one-state solution.
What Christians could be saying here, Sayegh said, is that in one bi-national state, "we are a minority, but we are not the only minority at least," and they would feel less safe in an Islamist or majority-Muslim state.
And many Palestinian Christians say they do not trust Church leaders. Nearly six-in-ten, 58%, express they have little or no trust in their Christian leaders, and almost half, 47%, feel the church is not meeting their needs. A majority, 56%, said the church should provide jobs for them.
This lack of trust, he said, "indicates a huge disconnect" between Christians and their leaders, which "speaks about something deeper."
Matt Hadro was the political editor at Catholic News Agency through October 2021. He previously worked as CNA senior D.C. correspondent and as a press secretary for U.S. Congressman Chris Smith.