Dr. Saeb Erekat on PM Netanyahu’s Comments on Palestinian Christians

Press Releases
October 16, 2018

Israel's Prime Minister continues to distorting facts even by using Christianity to support his racist and xenophobic claims. Netanyahu's comments on Palestinian Christians and Bethlehem are baseless. Every Palestinian, regardless of their religion, is an integral and an indivisible part of our nation, both in Palestine and in exile. 

It is Israel that has been engaged in the forcible displacement and transfer of Palestinians, including Christians, since the Nakba of 1948. Dozens of Palestinian Christian communities were in fact ethnically cleansed by Israel and now live as refugees, including in Al Dbayeh, Al Bassa, and Mar Elias Refugee Camps in Lebanon, among other places. Following the occupation of 1967, and for the consolidation of its colonial settlement enterprise, Israel has been engaged in a massive campaign of land grabbing that led to walling off Bethlehem and the construction of 18 illegal colonial settlements around the city. 

Israel has also denied Palestinian family reunifications, something that has particularly affected the Palestinian Christian presence in occupied Jerusalem. Dozens of thousands of Palestinian Christians are prevented from even praying in their holy shrines due to Israel’s racist policies that divide families and prevent the return of Palestinians because they are not Jews.

PM Netanyahu’s statement was delivered in the context of a shameful conference called “Christian Media Summit”, whereby a group of foreign Christians attends activities aimed at normalizing the Israeli Apartheid in Palestine, including by visiting illegal colonial settlements and the Annexation Wall around Bethlehem. This is shameful. Nothing is divine in Apartheid. 

Following the passing of the Jewish Nation-State law, the Israeli Government, with the support of their partners in the Trump Administration, is continuing to using religion to justify its crimes and violations of Palestinian rights. Also, the Australian PM is now using Jerusalem as a cheap tool for domestic politics in violation of Australia’s obligations under international law and particularly Security Council Resolution 478. This shouldn’t be accepted. 

We henceforth call upon all peace-loving people, including religious leaders worldwide, to raise their voice against the cynical use of religion to justify the oppression of the people of Palestine. The rise of populist right-wing politicians worldwide is a threat to world peace as shown in the blind decisions being taken by some with regards to Jerusalem, a holy city to the three monotheistic religions. 

Back to top