PA Ignores ISIS Threat to Rid Jerusalem of Christians

PLO govt. calls for 'Palestinian unity,' failing to note ISIS called for genocide against Christian Arabs in capital city during Ramadan.

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Dalit Halevy,

Arabs in Jerusalem (illustration)
Arabs in Jerusalem (illustration)
Nati Shohat/Flash 90

Palpably illustrating its indifference to the Arab Christian population's fate, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) unity government on Tuesday largely brushed off the detailed threat by an Islamic State (ISIS) affiliate in Jerusalem to "purify" the city of Christians.

The ISIS announcement was posted in the eastern part of the capital city last Thursday, and in it the ISIS affiliate threatened to murder all Christians in the Muslim Arab neighborhoods during the month of Ramadan, starting with Shuafat and on to the Muslim sections of the Old City.

It also threatened an attack against the Church of the Nativity located in Bethlehem, Judea.

"Infidel Christians" were given a month to leave Jerusalem by the announcement, which warned that if they did not flee of their own volition ISIS would slaughter them during Eid al-Fitr, a feast at the end of the fast month of Ramadan.

The PLO government headed by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah convened on Tuesday, and while the government made mention of the ominous announcement, it did not directly name ISIS, or even explicitly refer to the call for genocide on the basis of religion.

Out of 1,737 words in Arabic from the government statement following the meeting, only a mere 21 words were spared to discuss the ISIS threat to slaughter Christians in Jerusalem.

"The government emphasized the unity of the Palestinian people, and denounced the dubious announcement seeking to harm the unity of the people and to incite a struggle in the holy city," read the statement.

The name ISIS was not mentioned, nor the detailed call to murder Christians.

Most of the government statement was dedicated to accusing Israel of "war crimes," as well as noting on holy sites to Muslims and Christians in Jerusalem while claiming the presence of the Jewish First and Second Temple was a "lie," and that Jewish organizations are "contaminating" the Al-Aqsa Mosque located on the Temple Mount.

The PLO's indifference to the threat of impending genocide against Christians fits in with the way that Christians have been systematically persecuted under the PA.

As a result of various forms of persecution, the Christian population in Bethlehem has nearly disappeared under PA rule, from 60% in 1990 to just 15% last year.