TEL AVIV – Jihadi Christmas strikes the Palestinians again, this time with a Christmas tree in east Jerusalem festooned with pictures of Arab “martyrs” killed while carrying out terrorist attacks against Jews that has become an attraction for both Arab Muslims and Christians.
Theodosios, also known as Atallah Hanna, the Archbishop of Sebastia from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, emphasized to crowds of revelers the imperative of the Palestinian struggle for their land and holy sites, the Algemeiner reported citing Israel’s Channel 2.
According to the archbishop, the tree was a “Christmas message” from “the heart of Palestine” that “we are one nation defending one issue … standing firm and remaining in the holy land.”
Other well-wishers praised the “martyrs” who supposedly gave their lives to protect Al-Quds (the Arabic name for Jerusalem) by committing acts of terror against Israelis in the ongoing wave of violence.
Channel 2 obtained video footage of Israeli Border Police removing photographs of the “martyrs” hanging from the tree.
Maor Tzemach, chairman of the organization Lach Yerushalayim (“To Thee, Jerusalem”), which advocates Jewish sovereignty over the capital, slammed the archbishop over his “incitement.”
“This is not the first time that Atallah Hanna has taken a side in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and incited against the state of Israel,” Tzemach said. “He collects money for the families of terrorists in Jerusalem and glorifies the terrorists themselves at every opportunity. It is sad to see a religious leader … taking part in incitement … rather than serving as a source of unity and moderation. I call on the authorities to take legal action against him.”
Before being ordained archbishop in 2005, Atallah Hannah was arrested and interrogated several times on “suspicion of relations with terrorist organizations” and “illegally entering” the “enemy countries” of Syria and Lebanon.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered his annual Christmas message outside the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ) saying, “I’m proud of the fact that in Israel, this is the one place in the Middle East that the Christian community not only survives but thrives and it’s no accident. It’s because of our commitment to religious freedom; it’s because of our embrace of our heritage; it’s because of our embrace of our common future.”
ICEJ Executive Director Dr. Jürgen Bühler praised the Jewish state for its religious inclusiveness.
“This indeed is a season when both communities can celebrate the triumph of light over darkness. And this timely display of solidarity shows once more that Israel is a country where religious freedoms are not only safeguarded but even encouraged,” he said.
Last year, Breitbart Jerusalem reported that Christmas trees bedecked with the images of “martyr” terrorists were erected at at least two Palestinian universities.
One of the trees at Birzeit University in Ramallah was decorated with a photo of former PLO chief Yasser Arafat, who encouraged hundreds of Palestinian men and women to commit terror attacks against Israelis.
A tree at a different university displayed an image of Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.