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Christian-Muslim Relations: Land, Law and Family Protection

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates how internal tensions and conflicts within the Bethlehem area have emerged from the conjuncture of a traditional clan-based social order. It attempts to establish Palestinian administrative and legal institutions under the Palestinian Authority, and demographic changes that have weakened the Christian presence in the Bethlehem area. In these circumstances, the importance of strong family ties and the loss of family-based power and protection through emigration have grown more visible among local Christians. Social turbulence and internal divisions have also generated new perceptions of Christian-Muslim relations, as social tensions and conflicts that used to be described in regional, family or factional terms are increasingly framed in sectarian terms. In this context, the issue of land ownership serves as a lens for exploring Christian-Muslim relations and experiences of vulnerability among Bethlehem Christians.

Keywords: Bethlehem; Christian; Muslim; Palestinian Authority



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