This Christmas, Palestinian Authority officials are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and claiming him as a fellow Palestinian–even though the state of Palestine did not exist at the time of Christ. He is, they claim, their first martyr.
According to WorldNetDaily:
Last week, for example, PA President Mahmoud Abbas stated, “We celebrate the birth of Jesus, a Palestinian messenger of love, justice and peace.”
Palestinian Media Watch notes that Abbas’ Advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash announced, “Christmas is also a Palestinian holiday, because Jesus, peace be upon him, was Palestinian. He was born in Palestine; lived and was sent [as prophet] to Palestine. Therefore, Christmas has a special Palestinian flavor.’”
Ramallah’s District Governor Laila Ghannam further expressed her hope for “victory, far off as it may be” and encouraged Palestinians to “be merry” and celebrate Christmas as, “Jesus the Messiah is Palestinian,” documented PMW.
On his Facebook page, Adnan Al-Damiri, the official spokesman of the PA Security Forces, wrote last week that at Christmas we celebrate “the anniversary of love and peace, the birth day of Jesus the Palestinian.”
The theme of the Christmas Eve celebration on the West Bank this year was “All I Want for Christmas Is Justice.” And PA President Mahmoud Abbas unabashedly claimed the newborn King as political pawn. Abbas is quoted in the Jerusalem Post:
“Jesus’ message resonates in our prayers for our people in our capital Jerusalem, who continue to resist the Israeli attempts to turn the city into an exclusive Jewish place…. The mosques and the churches of Jerusalem will continue to remind the world of the Palestinian, Arab, and Christian and Muslim identity of the city. Justice means ending the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, an integral part of the State of Palestine on the basis of the 1967 border.”
THE THING IS, PALESTINE DIDN’T EVEN EXIST until at least 100 years after Jesus’ death, when his birthplace of Judea was renamed Palestine. In fact, modern-day Palestinians didn’t even adopt that name until the 20th century.
In the New Testament, the Jerusalem Post clarifies, the text defines Jesus as a Jewish resident of Judea.
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The usurpation of Christian figures to enhance a nation’s political standing is not new to the Palestinians. I am reminded of the dispute which erupted at the time of Mother Teresa’s 2003 beatification. At that time, both Macedonia and Albania claimed the diminutive nun as their own. In fact, she was born in Skopje, in what was then the Ottoman Empire; and present-day Macedonia and neighboring Albania did not even exist.
The Centre for Peace in the Balkans explains the story. Agnesa Gonxha Bojaxhiu (Mother Teresa) was born in 1910:
“….to parents who had moved to Skopje from Kosovo. Her mother was an ethnic Albanian, but her father was of unknown background, giving rise to a debate, which the future saint never bothered to resolve in her lifetime. It has led to friction between Macedonia and Albania, and it also has created fresh tensions between ethnic Albanians and Macedonians in Skopje itself.
Sulyman Rushiti of the Albanian Democratic Party representing Macedonia’s ethnic Albanians, said the “whole world knows Mother Teresa as Albanian, just as they know that the pope is Polish.” Albanians are furious about a statue of Mother Teresa that the Macedonian government plans to give to Rome to celebrate her beatification.
Risto Penov, the mayor of Skopje, where she lived until she was 18, says he sees nothing wrong in the statue, as Mother Teresa herself never made a difference between ethnicity of nations.
Macedonians are irked that Albania, which the nun visited only once during her lifetime, is claiming her as its own.”
Albania declared 2004 “Mother Teresa Year” and created a national holiday in her honor.