An under-reported element of the dispute in the Middle East is that the Palestinians are doing their best to erase any Christian religious history to the holy land. For over two decades, they have been destroying Christian sites or claiming them as Muslim sites, thus forbidding prayer by any faith but Islam.
According to Dr. Mordechai Kedar of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, “In Arabic, this practice is known as as Tams al-ma’alem, which means ‘erasing the signs,’ in the sense of destroying the relics of all cultures that preceded Islam.”
In 1997, the Palestinians allowed the desecration of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher which stands atop of the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, and where he was initially buried before his resurrection. The Palestinian Authority-appointed Waqf (which controls religious property) first tried to break down the wall between the Church and the adjacent al-Hanaqa Mosque, and when they failed at that, they simply built a toilet on the roof of the site holy to Christians.
Also in 1997 the PLO seized Abraham’s Oak Russian Holy Trinity Monastery in Hebron, violently evicting monks and nuns.
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Five years later during Easter in 2002, over a hundred Palestinians took “refuge” in, and trashed, Bethlehem’s Basilica of the Nativity of Our Lord–the birthplace of Jesus. The picture above shows the Basilica after the Palestinians were forced out.
The Palestinian gunmen holed up in the Church of the Nativity seized church stockpiles of food and “ate like greedy monsters” until the food ran out, while more than 150 civilians went hungry. They also guzzled beer, wine, and Johnnie Walker scotch that they found in priests’ quarters, undeterred by the Islamic ban on drinking alcohol. The indulgence lasted for about two weeks into the 39-day siege, when the food and drink ran out, according to an account by four Greek Orthodox priests who were trapped inside for the entire ordeal….
The Orthodox priests and a number of civilians have said the gunmen created a regime of fear. Even in the Roman Catholic areas of the complex there was evidence of disregard for religious norms. Catholic priests said that some Bibles were torn up for toilet paper, and many valuable sacramental objects were removed. “Palestinians took candelabra, icons and anything that looked like gold,” said a Franciscan, the Rev. Nicholas Marquez from Mexico.
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