Christmas is canceled in occupied Palestine

Christmas is canceled in occupied Palestine

Faced with the ongoing situation in Gaza for more than 2 months now, recently described as genocide by the FIDH, Christians in Palestine have canceled the Christmas festivities in order to reflect and attract the attention of the world on the suffering and horrors inflicted on Gaza under Israeli bombing.

The toll of the war waged by Israel against the population of Gaza since October 7, 2023 today exceeds 18,800 Palestinians murdered, including at least 7,870 children, without counting the still uncertain number of people still found under the rubble of bombed buildings all along the strip. On the morning of December 16, Israeli occupying forces struck the building of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in the Al Remal neighborhood of Gaza City. They killed six Palestinians and injured many others. Some 250 internally displaced people were said to have taken refuge in the premises of the Christian association at the time of the attack. Also on December 16, Palestinians were killed in an Israeli attack that hit the area around the UNRWA Al Mazra’a school.

According to the magazine Christian Today, the patriarchs and leaders of the Churches of Jerusalem invited the 180,000 Palestinian Christians to focus on the spiritual meaning of Christmas and to pray for “the relief of the victims of this war and for those who are in need”, this period being marked by “sadness and pain”. In the same statement, Palestinian Christian representatives continue: “Thousands of innocent civilians, including women and children, have died or been seriously injured. Many others mourn the loss of their homes, their loved ones or the uncertain fate of those dear to them… Yet, despite our repeated calls for a humanitarian ceasefire and a de-escalation of violence, the war continues. continues.”

The city of Bethlehem calls on its faithful celebrating Christmas to refrain from any “unnecessarily festive” activity, adding that the city will not be decorated this year on the occasion of the religious holiday, judging that it would “not be appropriate” to celebrate anything in these times of mourning, contemplation and prayer.

This initiative is also applied in other countries in the region, including Jordan, where there are the largest number of Palestinian refugees in the world. Indeed, on November 2, the Jordanian Council of Religious Leaders (CJCR) announced the cancellation of Christmas celebrations.