TEL AVIV — Shabiba, the Fatah’s party’s youth movement, has forbidden Palestinians from hosting parties to mark the secular New Year.
In a statement released by the youth guards of Fatah, which is led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the organization warned against holding New Year’s parties in hotels, restaurants, cafes and tourist sites out of respect for the “sacrifices” of the Palestinian people and their “martyrs.”
In the statement, the Fatah youth movement also wished Christians a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
“People of our great nation, in the shadow of what the Palestinian cause is going through, and in the shadow of the savage attack of the occupation forces against our great nation – an attack that has manifested in killing, crimes and the destruction of homes – and at a time that the (Palestinian) Christians are turning off their Christmas trees in response to the American and Israeli attacks against the mosques and churches of Jerusalem, we would like to use this opportunity to congratulate them for the holiday,” read the statement.
The U.S. and Israel are not attacking mosques or churches in Jerusalem.
“Despite the national attitude of all our people everywhere, we continue to see notices of parties that are supposed to be held in some of the essential places, parties that do that coincide with the reality of our people under these circumstances,” continued the statement. “Therefore, we declare that it is absolutely forbidden to hold these parties.”
The statement finished on a threatening note: “This is your warning.”
Shabiba’s threat presents a problem for the dozens of event organizers in Palestinian cities with a high concentration of Christians like Bethlehem and Ramallah.
In recent days, these cities and other locations have seen advertisements inviting Palestinians, especially Christians, to celebrate Christmas and the New Year at parties with the best singers and bands. Various media sources, websites and Facebook pages have been filled with advertisements for New Year’s parties.
Hotels in Bethlehem, Ramallah and other places have promoted special package deals for the New Year, almost all of which include parties and concerts. As of Saturday, a number of hotels were planning to host parties despite the warning, according to responses to Breitbart Jerusalem inquiries.
Fadi, a hotel manager in Bethlehem, said that his hotel has contacted the Palestinian Authority security services. “We understood from them that there is no official ban on our party or any other,” he said. “They promised to provide security throughout the party, which we are planning to host as usual. Most of the packages and tickets have been sold, the question is how this threat will affect those who already bought – if they’ll come or not, if there will still be demand in the shadow of this threat from Shabiba.”