KLEIN: Abbas, Not Trump, Is the Grinch Who Stole Bethlehem Christmas

The fake news media narrative circulating the past few days goes something like this: President Donald’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital set off an “eruption of violence,” thus dampening the mood in Bethlehem and keeping tourists this Christmas season from one of the holiest cities in Christianity.

In other words, the news media is falsely claiming that Trump is the Grinch who stole Bethlehem Christmas. A simple reality check is in order here.

A Jerusalem Post article was wildly titled, “In Bethlehem, Trump Blamed for Dampening Christmas Joy.”  The piece referred to a “Donald Trump effect” on Manger Square.  “The square – normally thronged on Christmas Eve – had plenty of vacant space. And most of the people who were there were Palestinians, not foreign tourists,” the article complained.

One widely circulated AP article is titled, “Jerusalem violence, rain put damper on Bethlehem Christmas.” The missive claims that tourists “appeared to be deterred by clashes that have broken out in recent weeks between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces” following Trump’s Jerusalem decision.

Scores of other mainstream news media articles painted similarly distorted pictures.

No, clashes did not “break out.” Contrary to the warped, Alice Through the Lookingglass lens through which the news media view the Mideast, violence does not spontaneously “erupt” like some sort of weather anomaly.

The “violence” in this case has been entirely and openly orchestrated. For the past few weeks, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian leaders have used Trump’s Jerusalem decision to publically call for anti-Israel riots in a cynical attempt to once again collapse any prospects for peace. Abbas and his PA crew are singularly responsible for all of the ensuring clashes, and for any resultant impact on Bethlehem.

Ever since the December 6th declaration, Breitbart Jerusalem has nearly daily – and sometimes several times per day – featured articles documenting the repeated call-to-arms by Abbas, his Fatah party, other PA leaders and official PA propaganda outlets.

Here are just a few examples of some of our titles from the past few days alone:

Abbas’s claim that Trump’s Jerusalem move impedes the creation of a Palestinian state is farcical. Trump’s Jerusalem declaration leaves open the possibility of the Palestinians still gaining a capital in the city. The only thing standing in the way of the PA having a state with a foothold in Jerusalem the Palestinians’ own abject refusal to accept numerous statehood offers while rejecting Israel’s very existence.

The shortsighted news media, meanwhile, fail to delve deeper into the larger story of Christianity’s decline in Bethlehem, a tragic saga of Christians being persecuted by Muslims and driven from the city following the PA’s takeover of the town under the Oslo Accords in 1995. Indeed, Bethlehem’s Christian population began to decline just after arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat’s PA took control of the city.

I previously thoroughly documented the story:

Bethlehem was more than 80 percent Christian when Israel was founded in 1948. But after Arafat took control, the city’s Christian population plummeted to its current 23 percent. And that statistic is considered generous since it includes the satellite towns of Beit Sahour and Beit Jala. Some estimates place Bethlehem’s actual Christian population as low as 12 percent, with hundreds of Christians emigrating each year.

As soon as he took over Bethlehem, Arafat unilaterally fired the city’s Christian politicians and replaced them with Muslim cronies. He appointed a Muslim governor, Muhammed Rashad A-Jabar, and deposed of Bethlehem’s city council, which had nine Christians and two Muslims, reducing the number of Christians councilors to a 50-50 split.

Arafat then converted a Greek Orthodox monastery next to the Church of Nativity, the believed birthplace of Jesus, into his official Bethlehem residence.

Suddenly, after the Palestinians gained the territory, reports of Christian intimidation by Muslims began to surface.

Christian leaders and residents told this reporter they face an atmosphere of regular hostility. They said Palestinian armed groups stir tension by holding militant demonstrations and marches in the streets. They spoke of instances in which Christian shopkeepers’ stores were ransacked and Christian homes attacked.

They said in the past, Palestinian gunmen fired at Israelis from Christian hilltop communities, drawing Israeli anti-terror raids to their towns.

In 2002, dozens of terrorists holed up inside the Church of the Nativity for 39 days while fleeing a massive Israeli anti-terror operation. Israel surrounded the church area but refused to storm the structure. Gunmen inside included wanted senior Hamas, Tanzim and Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades terrorists reportedly involved in suicide bombings and shooting attacks. More than 200 nuns and priests were trapped in the church after Israeli hostage negotiators failed to secure their release.

Some Christian leaders said one of the most significant problems facing Christians in Bethlehem is the rampant confiscation of land by Muslim gangs.

In their zeal to smear Trump over his historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the news media missed the real story of why Bethlehem Christmas is such a downer.

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.


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