Palestinian Territories  

Flag of Palestine Rank: 34
Score: 53/100
2013 Rank: 36
Leader: President Mahmoud Abbas
Government: Interim administration
Main Religion: Islam
Population: 4.5 million (40,000 Christians)
Source of persecution: Islamic extremism

Christian Persecution in PalestineAnti-Christian violence has increased, mostly caused by Islamic extremists, although Muslim-background believers face pressure from family, too. The authorities fail to uphold the rights of individual Christians, causing some to flee to safer areas. In Gaza, Christians are enticed into becoming Muslims, especially during Ramadan, with the offers of jobs, houses, wives and diplomas. Sometimes the approach is more violent. A Greek Orthodox monastery in Bethany, West Bank, was the repeated target of attacks, forcing the nuns to ask President Abbas to intervene.


  • That churches will support vulnerable Muslim-background believers.
  • For long-lasting relationships to be built through the reconciliation ministry, Musalaha, which brings together Palestinian and Messianic believers.
  • For students at the Bethlehem Bible College preparing for Christian ministry and leadership.

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NOTE: Comments which use inappropriate language, harass or attack any individual based off of religion, ethnicity, belief etc will be removed.

  • Mike Beyer

    Has this list been given to the members of the respective US states and the federal government?

  • Tom Stedham

    what are these “restrictions” and exactly who is causing them?

    • Ormond

      No indigenous member of the world’s first and oldest Christian community, the descendants of the first Pentecost, should EVER have to seek permission from anyone let alone an army to go and pray at their Holy Places and Churches. It is obscene.

  • John

    This is a really cowardly statement. I’ve been to Bethlehem, and the writers of this report neglect to mention Israel built a wall around the city which acts as a prison cage. Without a permit (which Israel rarely issues) Palestinians aren’t allowed to enter Jerusalem and other nearby cities. It is also not mentioned that only a small number of Christians in Bethlehem and throughout the West Bank and Gaza are given permits to reach Jerusalem for holy days such as Easter and Christmas. What I’ve mentioned is the tip of the iceberg of Israel’s persecution and oppression of Christians.

    • Ormond

      Well said John!

    • Molly Brown

      John, you need to verify your information. After living in Jerusalem for over a year, I can tell you your facts are not straight. Israel does not bomb and desecrate mosques and churches. That is pure Islamic propaganda. As for Palestinians coming into Jerusalem, lots do come in, and the boarder (which is not like a prison wall) works both ways, Israeli’s cannot go into Bethlehem or other holy sites that are located in Palestinian territory. I have various Israeli friends who would love to go to Bethlehem for Christmas (that is where celebrations happen, nothing takes place in Jerusalem) but they are not allowed. As for Israel’s persecution of Christians, yes it happens, but more on an individual level from the ultra orthodox communities rather than the government. The amount of persecution is nothing compared to what happens in the rest of the middle eastern countries, which is why Israel is not on the World Watch List.

      • Mia003

        Thank you for this Molly and setting him straight! This about Palestine territories and how Christians are treated and I see he completely ignores all the Christians that are killed in gaza and westbank for just being Christian like the one guy who was abducted by them and chopped up into pieces and sent back to his family or the one that opened only Christian book store was firebombed and then they killed him because they said he was doing missionary work and trying to convert people. or the man that wouldn’t convert back to Islam they tortured him for weeks then when he wouldn’t convert finally killed him. They come up with excuses like when they set a bunch of their houses on fire. They have to pay a fee for being Christian for be killed. They run all their laws, schools and courts on Islamic sharia law.

    • Kaffir_Lover

      Perhaps John would like to explain why Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian population is actually increasing.

    • Mia003

      The wall was built because of suicide bombers you dumb dumb. There are Christians that live in Israel. If someone was attacking us in US do you think we would just allow a bunch of them in whenever?

  • John

    and let’s not forget how Israel bombs and desecrates mosques and churches on a regular basis

    • ZEKE

      how can we forget something that doesn’t happen?

    • DavidA_NZ

      Please name the last church that Israel bombed.

  • Howard Stern

    The above text is, sadly, very accurate. Palestinian Christians are suffering more and more at the hands of Islamic extremists such as Hamas who have also shot, threatened and driven out all but 1500 of the remaining Christians in Gaza. That 600 Gazan Christians, who were given permits for Christmas to go to West bank and Jerusalem, are now seeking refuge in Israel says it all. I speak to Palestinians Christians daily and they are deeply concerned for their future and tell me that Israel’s presence (occupation!) in the west bank is the only restraint preventing an all out persecution as seen in Egypt, Syria and all the other surrounding Arab-Islamic states. Israel is the only country in the middle-east where Christianity in free and growing. As for restrictions perhaps John below can account for the opening of the checkpoints last summer when tens of thousands of Palestinian Arabs were free to go into Israel, or the thousands of permits issued at Christmas and Easter (including to my own Palestinian Christian friends) to go to the Holy sites? Or even the 187,000 Palestinian children who received medical treatment last year in Israeli hospitals…or the Israeli air ambulances that take serious RTA victims into Hadassa… or the churches in Ramalllah that cannot start worshipping until their music is drowned out by clerics shouting from minarets for fear of persecution…or the pastors chased out of Gaza at gunpoint….I too could go on John……

    • Josélia

      I challenge you to show me a story about Hamas shooting any one Christian in Gaza. I’ve read an interview the Associated Press had with Father Alexis, the Christian Orthodox bishop in charge of the Palestinian-Israeli region, and he did say that Hamas has protected the Christians’ right to worship — that in fact, Hamas has an interest to do so, because it wishes to get close to nations in the Christian world.

      There’d been attacks on Christians in Gaza some years ago, true, but these belonged neither to Hamas nor to other authorized groups in the Strip, but to outlawed Salafi groups whom, as even Western press have recognized, have been repressed by Hamas.

      With a crappy infrastructure, and having soldiers being murdered by Israel every few years, it’s perhaps expected that Hamas will fail to catch all the fanatics responsible for attacking BOTH Christians and Muslims in Gaza.

      I recommend a reading of the following article, “Persecuted Christians?”, by Larry Derfner, on the Jerusalem Post of all places. It’s a nice debunking of the boogeyman image Western Christians have painted of Hamas. Among other things, the article points out that Hamas has forged strategic alliances with Christian politicians in Palestine, and even supported their campaigns to gain office in key Palestinian cities.

      I found Open Door’s summary on Palestine ill-written, unnuanced and inaccurate. It makes me wonder about its biases and professionalism.

      • Kenneth Vaughan

        Just because Open Doors has reached an opinion that you do not like, it does not make them biased. Sometimes intelligent people can reach conclusions, based on evidence, that you don’t like.

        If you had looked into the question of bias, before you asserted it, you would know that Open Doors has covered persecution in Israel, and Brother Andrew has been accused of befriending Hamas, and even the Taliban at Israel’s expense. For the past 36 weeks Open Doors has put out weekly releases where they concentrate on ONE area. This article is absolutely consistent with that, and shows NO evidence of foul play.

  • Diane Pollom

    My prayers go with these people….for their safety and that they would continue to stay strong in the Lord. My heart goes out to them

  • Ormond

    I looked to see if Israel featured on the map with regard to persecution, it does not appear on your map even though it restricts access, through military permits, to the Holy Places for indigenous Christian residents in those areas of the Holy Land which remain under occupation. Likewise there is no mention of the attacks by illegal extremist radical Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories of East Jerusalem and the West Bank where Christians properties have been attacked and vandalised, no mention of the current theft by Israel of the lands in the Crimisan Valley, Bethlehem where over 50 indigenous Christian families will be dispossessed of their farm lands, where the Nuns will lose access to 75% of their lands and where the monastery of monks and their land will be cut off from the indigenous Christian community of Bethlehem etc etc.

    • Kenneth Vaughan

      Then you didn’t look hard enough. The map I believe is for top 50, but Open Doors absolutely has covered persecution in Israel before, and has taken a lot of heat for it.

    • Kaffir_Lover

      Ormond. The reason Israel is not in the top 50 (much to your chagrine) is because it DOESN’T HAPPEN! Yes, some minor non personal individual instances of “price tag” attacks typically graffiti. There is no systemic or countrywide persecution as you try to portray. I know Ormond “One Jew does it so they must be ALL guilty.

  • Amy

    Rather than fuel an argument that will never be resolved between who’s responsible for what, I’m going to choose to focus on the fact that there are both Palestinian and Israeli believers who are suffering and who need our prayers.

    Lord, I come to You this morning on behalf of those who live in the nation of Israel and in the Palestinian Territories. I pray first and foremost for every MBB – especially those that I know by name – who have given up EVERYTHING to become followers of Isa [Jesus]. I pray that You would continue to protect them and provide for them in supernatural ways as You have been doing. I ask that You would bring comfort to them and that You would somehow provide fellowship… even in the smallest way… for them, since they are basically alone. I ask that You would continue to teach them and grow them through Your Word and that You would provide strength and grace as they continue to suffer for Your Name. Bless my brothers and sisters, Lord. I pray also for the Messianic Jewish community who has suffered intense persecution from Orthodox Jews and others – I ask the same for them. I ask that they would continue to be lights for Yeshua and help the Jewish people to see that their Messiah has come. I pray for all believers – that they would unify with one another as Jesus prayed, and that they would become a single voice proclaiming light in a dark place, and that souls would remain their primary focus. I pray that they would be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves – and that they would be given supernatural discernment to know who to speak to and who to pray for, where to go and where to avoid.

    I pray for every ministry that seeks reconciliation between Jews and Arabs, and I pray only for Your direction and anointing, as this is a completely supernatural work. I pray that the work of Christ and the reconciliation between these two groups of people would continue to be a powerful testimony across Israel and Palestine about the power of Jesus Christ.

    There is so much that can be prayed, but we know that You have a great plan for this land and this nation – and we ask for You to continue to move in both Israel proper and the Palestinian territories, and that You would continue to draw people to Yourself. In Jesus’ name, amen.

    • joverman50

      Amen, Amy. A beautiful, soul felt prayer.. This is how we need to pray, what we need to pray.Thank you for giving me a wonderful example to follow.

  • Haley Rakadrudru

    Let’s pray,
    Jesus, thank you for your amazing love and purpose for all the people housed in the Palestinian territories. Thank You Abba that you desire to do good to all people. We stand on behalf of those who acknowledge and love you, and on behalf of those who do not and ask for your grace. We ask for the fear of the Lord, we ask for peace that passes all understanding, we ask that you would make yourself known and strengthen those that are forging ahead to see your kingdom come. We pray for more compassion, for wisdom for leaders, and for an outpouring of your Spirit, Word and power, revealing yourself again and again, bringing your sons and daughters home. We love you God of the Nations, we repent from our small mindedness, and ask that you would help us to walk in humility, tearing down walls of conflict and accusation, not building them up. Let Christ be formed in our hearts, and lives. You are worthy Lord, you alone are worthy.

    • joverman50

      Amen. God bless you Haley

  • Shirl Lehoski

    The Creator blessed Genesis 21:17-18 & gave to YishmaEl nations & blessed & gave to YisraEl The Land of YisraEl, Genesis 35:10-13. this Elohim declared . Abraham & both sons agreed.

    Peace when we Live In Truth.
    Re-see. The Land of YisraEl belongs to The children of YisraEl.

  • Bob Hall

    This is unfair. Israeli persecution of native Christians is at least as severe as that initiated by Muslims. The Zionists faun all over American evangelicals but harass and imprison Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, etc. believers.

    • Kaffir_Lover

      Pure fantasy. Which propaganda page did you read that one on? Anyone who has been there knows this is not true.

  • Alexandre Pupo Quintino


    Source of persecution: Israeli Occupation

  • Bob Hall

    Sadly, some of you are falling for propaganda from Israel. I have spoken with Palestinian Christians, many of them, about the situation there as well as JEWS from reliable, progressive organizations. They agree that the Israeli treatment of native Christians is egregious at best. Please do some research other than watching the Trinity network.

  • Joe Yudin

    There is no wall around Bethlehem. There is a wall separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem which keeps the terrorists out of Israel. The Second Intifada between the years 2000- and 2003 which claimed the lives of hundreds of Israelis began with terrorists from the Bethlehem area shooting and murdering an unarmed jogger in Jerusalem. That is why there is a wall today. When the Palestinians want peace, real peace, then the wall will come down.

  • Christopher Thompson

    Its funny how they don’t mention the persecution of christians by Israeli jews. Oh, yea that’s cause everyone loves israel, so they can get away with do stuff that you condemn Muslims for doing.

  • Roark

    It is interesting that the map doesn’t show Gaza as part of the Palestinian area, and the white color shows that there is no persecutions of Christians there! The facts are very different!

    • Open Doors

      Hi Roark,

      We did not leave Gaza off of our map intentionally. The mapping tool we use on this website is free and doesn’t have the most exact geo-political borders. The mapping tool is meant more to help our users better understand where Christian persecution is happening, but it is not meant to be an exact mapping service.

  • Muslims ForChrist

    My dear brothers and sisters in Lord one of the main Persecution that we are facing as Believers from Muslim Background is the discrimination that the church itself practicing as well as some of Christian organization that actually use us as a mean for fundraising and then kick us from their churches and organizations. to know more for this issue please contact me in order to contact you with several researchers from many missions who made several studies on this issue and found that the church and some Christian organizations are the main challenges which prevent spreading the kingdom of the Lord among Muslims….. it is strange but it is the truth>>>> to know more >>>>Please contact me….. visit the field and listen from MBBs directly

  • Edith Kurie

    Thank You God that the Love and grace of Jesus is becoming known in these places. I pray Lord the continued work of the Holy Spirit in many lives, especially those who were muslim before, in Jesus’ name, amen.

  • Amy

    Lord, this morning I come to You on behalf of the believers living in the Palestinian territories. I know so many of them by name and have seen their struggles. I ask first for Your provision, Your protection, Your comfort, Your boldness, Your strength and Your joy to flood every believer living in the Palestinian territories today. I ask that You would lead each one of them in the way that they should go. I ask that You would help them to be witnesses for You even in this dangerous area, and that You would give them wisdom in terms of who to speak to, who to pray for and who to pass by for the time being. I ask that You would give special strength to those who are in prison or who are being interrogated right now – please help them to be strong and to stand their ground and not give in to the demands of their captors who want them to forsake You. You promised to give supernatural grace to withstand those temptations and I know that You will do so.
    I pray for the churches and the fellowships in the Palestinian territories and ask that You would help them to support MBBs and not to avoid them. I ask that You would help churches to open their doors to both Israelis and Palestinians and people of all walks of life, as that’s what Jesus would have done. Help them MBBs to be able to draw strength from the church and have fellowship and companionship. Help the churches to stand as family for these MBBs when their families have forsaken them.
    I also pray for Musalaha and all organizations that seek to bring reconciliation between Palestinians and Messianic believers, between Israelis and Palestinians, between Christians and Mslms. I ask for Your divine wisdom for the leaders of those organizations as they have a difficult task ahead of them. I ask that Your Holy Spirit would do a major work in each person so that reconciliation would flow naturally from Your Spirit and not be “man-made.” Help to restore the relationships between these warring groups of people and let it be through Your Son Jesus that peace is attained.
    Finally, I lift up the students at Bethlehem Bible College. I pray that they would study diligently and that You would provide any financial needs for students who are struggling in that area. I ask that You would keep out false doctrine and false teachers and anyone who would seek to infiltrate and have less than good intentions. I ask that You would use these students not just to have head knowledge but to go out and make disciples for You. Help them to be led to the right people and the right ministries and the right jobs that You have ordained for them and that would bring You the most glory. Thank You for each of them and I ask Your blessing over them all in Jesus’ name. Amen.