MembersNeither Silent Nor Holy: Christmas in the Gaza Strip

A festival between joy and fear, between hope and hell. Christmas in the Gaza Strip.

Christmas in the Gaza Strip
Photo: Wissam Nassar/Flash90

“The birth of our Redeemer is only celebrated here with difficulty,” an Arab Christian told me on the telephone. “The nights are not silent and quiet, neither are they holy. We live in the Holy Land, and the land is bleeding.”

George’s moving story contradicts much of the narrative spewed out by the mainstream media about the Arab-Israeli conflict, especially the refugee crisis.

His family, who have lived in Jaffa for 400 years, fled the city in 1948 in response to the warning from Arab leaders that Jews would turn on them when the new-born nation was attacked by the surrounding states, but that they would be free to return when Israel was defeated. His grandfather, also George, had married in haste before fleeing to Lebanon, but when he realized that Israel had not been defeated and Arabs were not being persecuted, he managed to return and even got his electrician’s job back from Jews he had befriended before independence.

While acknowledging that it was indeed disastrous for the 700,000+ Palestinians who subsequently became unwanted refugees, he noted that 800,000...

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