Israel Deprives the Christians of Gaza of Their Christmas in Bethlehem

December 24, 2018

The authorities of Tel Aviv have once again made it difficult for the Christians of Gaza to enter the sanctuary of Bethlehem in West Bank, so much so that celebrating Christmas where the Prince of Peace was born has become a veritable obstacle course.

For Christmas 2018, Israel promised 500 exit permits, but in fact, only 220 have been delivered so far to persons between the age of 16 and 35 or over 55.

“It is an attitude of military occupation that we do not understand or excuse,” denounced Bishop Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo, patriarchal vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine, recalling that celebrating Christmas is “a natural right for a Gazan Christian, not a privilege.” 

With the living conditions growing increasingly precarious due to vexations from both the Muslims and the Jewish government, the Christian presence is decreasing inexorably.

A few years ago, there were still about 3000 Christians, all confessions included, in Gaza; now there are only about 1,200, and only 120 Latin Catholics.