Earlier this summer, a fire broke out at the Church of the Multiplication (of the Loaves and Fish) on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The perpetrators are believed to have been Jewish extremists, and the suspected arson made headline news around the world.
Over this past weekend, the St. Charbel church in Bethlehem was similarly set alight, suffering even more extensive damage. Oh, but there weren’t any Jews involved? Well then, never mind…
That would seem to be the approach taken by the Palestinian Authority, the mainstream international media, the United Nations, world governments, and just about anyone engaged with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
An Arabic-language Christian news source reported that the Palestinian police were investigating and leaning toward ruling the fire an accident, but that local Christians in Bethlehem were insisting it was an act of arson by Salafi Muslim extremists.
Once a predominantly Christian town, Bethlehem today has a Muslim majority that plays host to groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Father Gabriel Naddaf, the Nazareth-based priest encouraging local Christians to integrate as part of the Jewish state, demanded in a Facebook post the “denunciation of the burning of the holy St. Charbel Church at the hands of Palestinian extremists.”
He also called out the Palestinian Authority for its “incompetence” in protecting Christians and their holy sites.
“I hope those Christians who demonstrated against the burning of the Church of Loaves and Fish will also demonstrate against this severe attack,” added Naddaf.