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Occupied Al-Quds Churches Detail Apartheid “Israel’s” Assault on Christians

Occupied Al-Quds Churches Detail Apartheid “Israel’s” Assault on Christians
folder_openPalestine access_time5 months ago
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By Staff, Agencies

Palestinian Patriarchs and heads of churches in Occupied Al-Quds warned that extremist Jewish groups are trying to drive Christians out of the holy city.

They further underscored that “Israel” failed to curb assaults against members of the religious community and desecration of their sites.

The church leaders, in a statement, stated that the apartheid entity exhibits bias against Christians and apathy about attacks on Christian holy places and clergy, warning of the “current threat to the Christian presence in the Holy Land.”

They denounced extremist groups that seize property in the Christian Quarter “with the aim of curbing the Christian presence.”

The church leaders highlighted that since 2012 there had been “countless incidents of physical and verbal assaults against priests and other clergy, attacks on Christian churches, with holy sites regularly vandalized and desecrated, and ongoing intimidation of local Christians who simply seek to worship freely and go about their daily lives."

“These tactics are being used by such radical groups in a systematic attempt to drive the Christian community out of al-Quds and other parts of the Holy Land,” they noted.

This comes as Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has strongly denounced a recent “Israeli” attack on Christian worshipers in occupied Al-Quds.

The statement added that “Israeli” politicians, officials and law enforcement agencies have failed to curb the activities of radical groups who regularly intimidate local Christians, assault priests and clergy, and desecrate holy sites and churches’ properties,” the statement said.

The religious leaders further slammed Tel Aviv for admitting Jewish travelers despite a coronavirus-related travel ban for all foreigners.

In this context, the Head of the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Atallah Hanna, said Palestinian Christians and especially Al-Quds residents feel that they are targeted and “this goes to both Christian and Muslim sites as well as Palestinian Christians and Muslims.”

Atallah revealed that Christian clergy are attacked sometimes verbally or are spit upon, and at other times the attacks are physical.

He further added that Jewish radicals often attack and spit at Christian clergy in the Christian Quarter of Al-Quds. 

“All these actions have caused a reduction of Christian presence but those of us staying in the city are steadfast and our roots are deep in the city,” Atallah said.

Yusef Daher, coordinator of the World Council of Churches office in Al-Quds, also said the “Israeli” regime’s actions at are extremely worrisome.

“They are applying the formula of divide and rule by separating the shopkeepers from the public in an attempt to force Christian Palestinians of the Old City to leave while they are careful not to allow such commercialization and chaos in the Jewish Quarter,” he explained.

While the Christians across the world are celebrating Christmas, the Palestinian Christians are enduring systematic apartheid in their homeland.

Hatem Abdel Qader, head of the Christian-Muslim Coalition in Al-Quds, also said that the statement of the patriarchs reflects the “Israeli” occupier’s racist attitude toward the Christian presence in Al-Quds and is meant to weaken the Christian Palestinian community, which is an integral part of the Arab identity of the holy city.

 “A perfect example of this is the fact that ‘Israel’ has given a waiver to Jewish tourists to enter despite the pandemic while banning the entry of Christian pilgrims and tourists,” he said. 

Abdel Qader cautioned that the attempts to weaken the Palestinian Muslim community are now being practiced “against our Palestinian Christian brothers and sisters.”

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