This week, Radio Vaticana has published an article in which the Vatican’s priest in Gaza Manawel Musallam claims that ‘this will be a sad Christmas.’
Yet Musallam claims:
“The small Christian community of Gaza awaits a sad Christmas marked by children’s tears. The Israeli blockade doesn’t allow them to prepare decorations and lights. As a matter of fact we don’t have cards, colours or lights, we don’t have trees to decorate, many are cut off for domestic use. Families do not have money and cannot buy gifts for their children.”
“I ask all young Christians in the world to include the Christmas faithful in their prayers, a reminder for Gaza so that peace and reconciliation should return to this strip of land.”
Why doesn’t Musallam mention Hamas’ role in the suffering of Christians in Gaza? Why not tell the world to speak out for Gazan Christians?
Oh, that’s why:
“You see,” Fr Musallam told me, as he gazed indulgently at the goings-on on stage. “Our identity is a multi-layered one.”
“Of course, I am a Christian believer, but politically I am a Palestinian Muslim. I resist Israel’s military occupation, obviously not with weapons.
“The Jihad can never be mine but with my words, my sermons, I am a Palestinian priest.”
Thankfully, the official position of the Vatican is different.