Christmas in Palestine – Resistance continues…

26 Dec

An AP report, “Gaza’s Christians keep low Xmas profile” by Sarah El Deeb, on 23 December painted a grim picture of Christians in Gaza, leaving for West Bank, Bethlehem, to celebrate and some, permanently for good. Another BBC report, however, painted another less clear-cut picture, where Hamas has tried to protect the Christians from Muslim extremists, though those who were interviewed think the political party was not doing enough.

While a Christian bookshop owner was killed in October, a kidnap attempt made on a Christian and with some Christian families receiving death threats, Hamas has had police guards protecting the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, on a special pre-Christmas visit to Gaza..

Manawel Musallam, a priest and headmaster of the Holy Family School in Gaza, partly funded by the Vatican, said his school is 99% Muslim children. He retorted that his identity is multi-layered and that, while he is Christian, he is politically a Palestinian Muslim who resists Israel’s military occupation with his sermons.

Sonja Karkar, in her article, published in Znet,“A Christmas reflection on Palestine Christians and Muslims celebrate and weep together”, told of how Palestinian Christians and Muslims have prayed in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity for centuries; and that the Qur’an – the holy book of Islam has referred “often, and with great reverence, to Jesus and Mary.”

Despite Israel’s insistence to label Hamas as a militant Islamic political party, and isolating it through economic blockades, what one can infer from the situation in Gaza, is another picture. That Hamas, despite having Islamic roots, is not intolerant of Christianity. In fact, Israel’s strangling of Gaza shows how much Palestinians, whether Christians or Muslims, alike, are united, against the Occupation of their lands.

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