By Martin Roth, BosNewsLife Senior Columnist
PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES (BosNewsLife Columns)– The latest attempts by Palestinian leaders to enlist Jesus to their cause are an insult to Christians and should be rejected.
“We celebrate the birth of Jesus, a Palestinian messenger of love, justice and peace,” declared Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
“His message resonates among all of those who are seeking justice, and among our people who have been the guardians of the holy sites for generations. It resonates in our prayers for our people in Gaza.”
Other local leaders joined the Christmas chorus, affirming that Jesus was a prophet to Palestine and the first Palestinian martyr.
Each December the Open Doors organization releases its World Watch List of the 50 countries where persecution of Christians for religious reasons is most severe.
This year it ranked the Palestinian Territories at No. 34, with the plight of the 40,000 Christians there worsening a little since 2013, when the region was ranked at No. 36.
Here is how Open Doors described conditions: “Anti-Christian violence has increased, mostly caused by Islamic extremists, although Muslim-background believers face pressure from family, too. The authorities fail to uphold the rights of individual Christians, causing some to flee to safer areas.”
And: “In Gaza, Christians are enticed into becoming Muslims, especially during Ramadan, with the offers of jobs, houses, wives and diplomas. Sometimes the approach is more violent.”
In fact, Jesus was born and ministered in Judea.
It was only 100 years after his death that the Roman authorities changed the name of the region to Palestine. And it was just in the 20th century that modern-day Palestinians adopted the name.
For some years the Palestinian leadership have been working to convince their people – and the world – that Jews have no particular history in the region.
Their phoney attempts to claim Jesus as one of their own – without even noting that He was a Jewish rabbi – is aimed squarely at garnering sympathy from an international Christian audience.
But, until these leaders take decisive steps to halt the escalating persecution of the Christians in their midst, their proclamations should be rejected as mendacious hypocrisy.
(BosNewsLife welcomes Martin Roth (www.authormartinroth.com) as its regular columnist. Roth is an Australian journalist and a former Tokyo-based foreign correspondent. He is the author of “Journey Out Of Nothing: My Buddhist Path to Christianity” and of the Brother Half Angel series of thrillers, which focus on the persecuted church. BosNewsLife Columns distributes opinionated columns and commentaries providing a fresh perspective on issues in the news. They do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BosNewsLife News Agency or its parent company).