25 December 2021

The attack on Christian Palestinians as Jerusalem Church leaders warn of “a systematic attempt” to drive out Christianity

Xmas in Palestine as Israel bans Pilgrimages but allows Birthright Tours to Enter

In 1947 as part of Christian Palestinians Resolution 181 partitioning Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, the UN proposed the internationalisation of Jerusalem under a separate regime. The UN sent Count Folk Bernadotte, the Swedish statesman to Jerusalem to make arrangements. The Zionist terrorist group Lehi/Stern Gang, a commanded by future Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, assassinated him on 17 September 1948 with the connivance of the main terrorist group Haganah.

Bernadotte had personally saved 11,000 Jews at the end of the war from Nazi concentration camps. As Donald Macintyre observed ‘no blue Israeli plaque marks the spot, as it does for so many military and Jewish underground exploits of the period’.

The statement by the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem less than 2 weeks ago, about the harassment of the Church and the threat posed to its continued presence in Jerusalem was met by a predictable Zionist response. ‘What about Christians in other parts of the Middle East’ they cried as if that had anything to do with the treatment of the Christian Church in Jerusalem.

Of course the plight of Christians throughout the Middle East is a subject worthy of discussion in its own right. It might for example have something to do with the Western and Israeli attack on secular regimes throughout the region and their own promotion of fundamentalist Islamic regimes. For example it was the attack on Iraq which led to the demise of Christians in that country. Likewise the Saudi sponsorship of jihadi militias in Syria, aided and abetted by Israel and the United States, also led to attacks on Christians.

Justin Welby

The statement was endorsed in an article by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby together with the Anglican Archbishop of Jerusalem Hosam Naoum in the Sunday Times.

Naturally the statement was “heavily criticised by the Board of Deputies” as “deeply troubling”even though it’s none of their business. It has nothing to do with British Jews. But the Board’s main function today is to operate as an Israeli propaganda group. What didn’t trouble the Board was the attempt to displace Christians in the Christian Quarter or the attacks on Christian clergy.

The Zionist defence boiled down to the fact that ‘Israel’s 182,000-strong Christian population grew by 1.4 per cent in 2020’. Which was entirely irrelevant since the statement was issued on behalf of the Jerusalem churches in Occupied Jerusalem, where the number of Christians is declining, not on behalf of Israel’s Palestinians.

Instead of dealing with the actual complaints of harassment, violence and the expulsion of Christians from the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem, the statement from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs resorted to the usual blank denials: They termed the statement ‘baseless, and distort the reality of the Christian community in Israel.’ They went on to say that:

The statement by Church leaders in Jerusalem is particularly infuriating given their silence on the plight of many Christian communities in the Middle East suffering from discrimination and persecution.

Israel describes itself as ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’. Why then does it insist on comparing itself with all the dictatorships it’s in alliance with in the region rather than say Europe?

The overall number of Christians in Israel has risen but in east Jerusalem there is a steady decline GETTY IMAGES

What Israel’s defenders did not do was to address any of the points in the statement. It’s worth enumerating them.

Throughout the Holy Land, Christians have become the target of frequent and sustained attacks by fringe radical groups. Since 2012 there have 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 Jerusalem and other parts of the Holy Land.

Arson at the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves & Fishes

There has been a wave of attacks on both churches and moques in Israel. For example the arson attack at the Church of Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes. As the National Geographic reported:

The June assault was the latest and most dramatic sign of tension between Christians in Israel and a growing movement of Jewish extremists who seek to cleanse their nation of religious minorities.

A nun surveys the damage after an arson attack

The Church statement went on to say:

the failure of local politicians, officials and law enforcement agencies to curb the activities of radical groups who regularly intimidate local Christians, assault priests and clergy, and desecrate Holy Sites and church properties.

The statement called on Israel’s leaders to:

1.     Deal with the challenges presented by radical groups in Jerusalem to both the Christian community and the rule of law, so as to ensure that no citizen or institution has to live under threat of violence or intimidation.

2.     Begin dialogue on the creation of a special Christian cultural and heritage zone to safeguard the integrity of the Christian Quarter in Old City Jerusalem and to ensure that its unique character and heritage are preserved for the sake of well-being of the local community, our national life, and the wider world.

Suffice to say there was no response to this call. Responding to the statement, the World Council of Churches (WCC) acting general secretary Rev Dr Ioan Sauca said Christians in the Holy Land were a "threatened minority". They went on to say that:

"The statement issued by the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem highlights the increasing threat to the Christian presence in the Holy Land posed by attacks and incursions by radical groups who seek to destroy the religious and cultural diversity of the region," he said.

There was no response to this statement either. When they referred to ‘radical groups’ what they meant is the efforts of Ateret Cohanim which aims to build a 3rd Temple in Jerusalem by demolishing the Al Aqsa Mosque and Golden Dome and ethnically cleansing Jerusalem’s Palestinian inhabitants. These settlers are supported by the Israeli state itself. See Warnings of 'systematic attempt' to drive Christianity out of the Holy Land

There is an ongoing threat to evacuate two large buildings in the Christian Quarter, the Imperial Hotel and Petra Hotel. According to Ha’aretz

After a long legal battle, the hotels were transferred to the ownership of a Jewish organization that had bought the buildings, and which is now trying to evict the Palestinians who are running the hotels – and bring in Jewish families to live there. The heads of the Christian communities now fear that the change in ownership of the hotels – which were bought in a controversial deal by Ateret Cohanim 15 years ago using shell companies – could change the character of the Christian Quarter.

Israel’s courts have also played their part. They have consistently upheld the crooked land deals of Ateret Cohanim, often made with intermediaries who hold forged documents. The land deals were riddled with corruption yet Israel’s courts turned a blind eye.

According to Ha’aretz  one of the churches that suffers most from this is the Armenian Church, which is located near the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.’

“I’ve been in Israel since 1995 and never before have there been so many incidents like this,” said Father Koryoun Baghdasaryan, the chancellor of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

“Every day that I leave my home for the Church of the Holy Sepulcher or to visit family, I’m afraid something will happen to me. There were always curses and spitting, in recent years physical violence also started.”

Ha’aretz described how “Christians in the Holy Land want Jews to stop spitting on them”

‘A few weeks ago, a senior Greek Orthodox clergyman in Israel attended a meeting at a government office in Jerusalem's Givat Shaul quarter. When he returned to his car, an elderly man wearing a skullcap came and knocked on the window. When the clergyman let the window down, the passerby spat in his face.’

‘On Sunday, a fracas developed when a yeshiva student spat at the cross being carried by the Armenian Archbishop during a procession near the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City. The archbishop's 17th-century cross was broken during the brawl and he slapped the yeshiva student.’

In February 2018 the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was closed in a standoff with the city's municipality in protest at a proposed land expropriation law. The closure was prompted by two developments: the Jerusalem municipality's plan to tax the church's assets around the city and a bill to expropriate land already sold by the churches to private companies which violated a longstanding status quo.

The systematic campaign ... reaches now its peak as a discriminatory and racist bill that targets solely the properties of the Christian community in the Holy Land is being promoted. This reminds us all of laws of a similar nature which were enacted against the Jews during dark periods in Europe.”


  1. Very good article and very necessary, as almost always. I will link...

  2. Wait, did you even bother to read the statement?
    They seem to be, in general, praising Israel,and blaming the attacks on "radical fringe groups".
    Kind of seems like you deliberately chose either to ignore, or completely misrepresent the position of a protected minority. This is, at the very least, incredibly condescending. Why would you do this?

    1. Yes I read the statement from the Jerusalem Diocesan. They were complaining of attacks by far right activists. Their 'praise' of Israel is more buttering up. Clearly they are not protected

    2. Yes, no doubt these minorities definitely need you to tell them who is to blame for their problems... It's just that they don't know any better!
      Seriously, though, this attitude is incredibly condescending.


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