The PLO released a paper called “Celebrating Easter: 50 Years of Israel’s Colonization of Occupied East Jerusalem.”
As can be expected, it is filled with half-truths in order to turn the world’s Christians against Israel.
The paper has three sections: a timeline of Jerusalem, the Palestinian position on the political status of Jerusalem, and “case studies” of how awfully Arab Christians are supposedly being treated by Israel.
In the timeline, because it cannot find too many anti-Christian activities done by Israel, it makes up a few and adds Muslim complaints to make it sound like the Old City is less open to all religions than it used to be.
So for 1948 it claims ” Most of the Christian population of Jerusalem is forced to leave the city by Zionist gangs.” While it is true that the Christian population of Jerusalem went down by more than 50% from 1948 to 1967, most of them fled under Jordanian rule in the 1950s.
For 1969, “Destruction of the ancient Minbar (prayer platform) of Salah ad-Deen al Ayyubi and interior al Al-Qibli Mosque in Al Aqsa Mosque / Haram Al Sharif Compound.” as if that was done by Israel. Of course, it was done by a Christian.
The timeline doesn’t say a word about how Jews were ethnically cleansed from Jerusalem under Arab rule from 1948-1967. Nor does it mention the many other cases of Muslim persecution of Christians in the region.
In the second section, the PLO asserts, without any evidence, ” It is pivotal to establish East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. Without this, there can be no viable Palestinian state, and without a viable Palestinian state, there will be no lasting peace in the Middle East on the basis of the two-state solution.” This is a veiled threat, not a statement of fact.
The PLO also claims every inch of “east Jerusalem” saying “all Jewish, Christian and Muslim
sites that lie within Palestine’s territory are under Palestinian sovereignty and protection.” Yet in the map of “settlements” provided in the paper, the entire Jewish Quarter is considered an illegal Jewish settlement.
Finally, the “case studies” are filled with unverifiable and likely false assertions, like “there have been many cases where Israeli soldiers simply deny entry to the children [coming to Jerusalem for Easter] under the pretext of having no permit. This means the whole family is forced to turn around and go back.”
Or “When it comes to Jewish celebrations, the Israeli authorities make sure that every single Jewish
person can reach the Old City. But when it comes to Christian or Muslim celebrations, it is totally
the opposite: They treat us like strangers in our own city, to the extent of disrupting a religious
celebration that we have held for centuries”.
In fact, there are far more Christian pilgrims visiting Jerusalem today for Easter than there were under Arab rule. It isn’t even close. And Arabs are discouraging Arab Christians from visiting Jerusalem, not Israelis.
This is yet another piece of hateful propaganda that the PLO freely publishes, knowing that the media will not call them on it. In this case it subtly plays on latent Christian antisemitism as well in order to make it look like Jews are anti-Christian while Muslims are tolerant – the exact opposite of the truth.
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