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Hanan Ashrawi denounces recent Israeli attacks on churches

February 26, 2018

Ashrawi denounces Israeli attacks on churches

 

PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi strongly denounced recent Israeli attacks on Churches, primarily the Jerusalem Municipality’s decision to collect Church taxes and the planned proposal by the Knesset’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation to approve legislation to expropriate Church land in Occupied Jerusalem.

 

“This is a very egregious and dangerous violation of the status quo that has governed the status of Christian churches in Palestine for centuries, said a press release issued by the PLO Department of Culture and Information.

 

These Churches have existed long before the state of Israel, and Palestinian Christians represent the oldest Christian tradition in the world with a centuries-long continuity in Palestine, stated the release.

 

The PLO official said such forms of legislation deliberately target the Churches, their communities, assets, and property as a way of maintaining exclusivity and Jewish control.  “This is part of the further escalation in Israel’s policies to isolate Jerusalem and ethnically cleanse its Palestinian population from the city.”

Israel actually practices the exclusion and targeting of the “other” as literally inherent in the “Jewishness of the state, added the release.

 

“This is also a direct violation of the freedom of worship for all religions by a cruel and violent military occupation. Clearly, these dangerous developments are the outcome of Israel’s official policies that blatantly discriminate against both Christian and Muslim Palestinians.”

 

Jerusalem cannot and must not be subject to exclusive possession and greed, said Ashrawi, adding that, “this exposes the false claims of Israel that it respects freedom of worship for all religions.”

 

“Since its occupation of the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza in 1967, Israel has systematically prevented Palestinian Christians and Muslims from reaching their holy sites of worship in Jerusalem and accessing basic services such as health and education in the occupied city.”

 

Ashrawi noted that both US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have directly contributed to such an assault on the heart of Christianity in the place where it was born.

 

“Their illegal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the U.S. Embassy to the occupied city have rendered them complicit in such an outrageous move.”

 

We rely on the global community and people of conscience to hold Israel accountable for its belligerent occupation and for the grave injustices committed against the Palestinian people, she said.

 

“Such expressions of religious intolerance, bigotry and institutionalized discrimination must be brought to an end. Israeli impunity so far has provided Israel with a cover for its most extreme policies and measures on the ground. This is an escalation that must not go unchecked or unpunished,” concluded the release.

 

(Courtesy of the Palestine News Agency, WAFA.)

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