It happened again. Over the last three weeks, a group of Palestinians has been attacking a church in East Bethlehem in the compound of the Parents’ and Grandfathers’ Church, a Roman Catholic facility in the Beit Sahour neighborhood.
The first incident took place on October 28, when a group of Palestinians arrived and started throwing stones at the church.
Wadie Abunassar, adviser to the Catholic Church in Israel (who also serves as Spain’s Honorary Consul in Israel), condemned the attack and demanded that the Palestinian Authority prosecute the rioters and not take these incidents lightly.
The following clip shows the brutal mob assault on the church:
— إيدي كوهين אדי כהן ???????? (@EdyCohen) October 31, 2022
This is not the first time in recent months that Palestinian Muslims have attacked Christians and symbols of Christianity. On August 20, Father Justinus, head of the Jacob’s Well Monastery in Nablus, was attacked for the second time in territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority.
The Jacob’s Well Greek Orthodox Church in East Nablus dates back to the Byzantine period. The monastery is named after the ancient well in John 4:15, which recounts Jesus asking a Samaritan woman to draw water for him to drink.
Earlier this year, in January, Father Justinus was also attacked in Nablus by Palestinians.
This same monastery has been the target of repeated violence over the past several years, such as in 2016 when a local priest was attacked and stoned.
The Christians living in the Palestinian Authority (PA) areas must demand protection from these thugs.
The Christian world must also provide protection. Christians everywhere must insist that the Palestinian Authority arrest the culprits, and guard Christian sites and Christian citizens. But the Palestinian Authority seems more interested in ensuring these incidents don’t make it into the mainstream press. Indeed, these attacks have to date only been published on social media or the personal websites of individual Christians, and have not gained broader exposure.
Palestinian leaders exert great pressure on the Christians not to report such incidents since they further bolster charges that the Palestinian Authority is a terrorist entity with a radical Muslim ideology. After all, Christians are being attacked throughout the territories controlled by it. If these incidents become common knowledge, they will damage the PA’s image – highlighting its lackadaisical attitude and its inability to punish those responsible.
Of course, the Palestinian Authority is also afraid of the financial repercussions regarding European and American aid in view of its inability to protect the property and lives of the Christian minority.
Surveys and studies in recent years present a bleak picture for the future of Christians under the Palestinian Authority. Polls show a strong desire among Christians to leave the Palestinian territories, even Bethlehem, where Jesus was born. Out of the estimated 50 thousand Christians scattered in the territories of the PA between Nablus, Bethlehem and Jericho; a high percentage say they would leave for another country given the opportunity.