The few remaining Christians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip marked a very somber Christmas this year, reports The Guardian’s Pheobe Greenwood from Gaza City.
Greenwood is told by most local Christians that Hamas effectively cancelled Christmas after seizing control of Gaza in 2007, and that any open celebration of the Christian holiday is met with threats of arrest, or worse.
“People here do not celebrate Christmas anymore because they are nervous,” Imad Jelda, an Orthodox Christian, told the reporter. Fewer than 1,400 Christians live among Gaza’s 1.5 million Muslims.
Two brothers from another local Christian family explained how Christmas is supposed to be a time for family, but that much of their family had been forced to flee under threat of Muslim violence.
One brother, Peter Qubrsi, told Greenwood, “This is not a Christian environment. There are no good universities [for Christians], there is no opportunity to work, no apartments to rent and so no way we can get married. We have no future here.”
Meanwhile, much of the international community continues to blame Israel for the dwindling number of Christians in the Holy Land.
Expect Israel’s antagonists to gloss over and dismiss this rare truthful report regarding the true reasons behind the disappearance of Christian communities in the region.