By Shadi Khalloul
Christians in Holy Land, Judea and Samaria -- what today is called the West Bank or the Palestinian Authority (PA) -- are, with the Jews and assorted Arabs, the indigenous people of the land. The region has been inhabited by Jews and then Christians for nearly three thousand years; until the seventh century, Muslims did not even exist.
After the conquest of Jerusalem by Muslims from the Arabian Peninsula in 637 AD, the Jews and early followers of Christianity were forced either to convert to Islam or accept the rule of sharia (Islamic religious law) under the Islamic Caliphate, with its dhimmi laws designed to remind you that you are inferior. In Islam, dhimmis are non-Muslims -- and therefore second-class, barely tolerated residents -- who live under separate, harsher, laws and have to pay protection money (a "tax" called the jizya) to safeguard their lives and property.