Christmas Message from Dr. Saeb Erekat

December 24, 2018

The Nativity Church represents the centrality of Palestine for the history of our world.  From a humble grotto in Bethlehem, Jesus delivered to humanity the message of love, justice, and peace. Our people continue to carry this message with pride and honor that Palestine is the birthplace of Christianity.

We pray for the end of Israel's belligerent occupation, for the cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem to be reunited, for the free return of our people to their holy sites, and for a free Palestine being able to fulfill its touristic and heritage potential. 

There is nothing divine about colonialism. The use of religion by extremist groups to justify Israel’s apartheid crimes as a divine mandate, in fact, highlights the darkness of occupation. It's equally despicable for U.S. Officials to use this very logic to defy the rule of international law by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. There is nothing divine about occupation and apartheid; instead, there are many blessings in freedom and justice. This Christmas we reiterate our call upon Israel and the U.S. not to turn our struggle for the end of Israel's military occupation into a religious war.

On this occasion, we remember the sacrifices of our men, women, and children. On our path towards freedom, I salute our people in exile and every resilient Palestinian in his/her steadfastness on our land.  From Gaza to Al Dbayeh Refugee Camp in Beirut, I salute all Palestinians that Israel continues to deny their entry into their homeland; to join us in celebrating Christmas together in Bethlehem. 

We shall never lose hope. Here I feel compelled to repeat the same words of Kairos document, a call of solidarity by Palestinian Christians to Christians around the world to stand up for the freedom of the Palestinian people: “Hope is the ‘capacity to see God in the midst of trouble. It encourages us to change the reality in which we find ourselves. Hope means not giving in to evil, but rather standing up to it”. 

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