Mahmoud Abbas, Pope Francis
Mahmoud Abbas, Pope FrancisAtta Jaber/Flash 90

In what has become a "Christmas tradition" for the Palestinian Authority (PA), PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and other senior figures of the group once again made the ahistorical claim that Jesus was "Palestinian."

Abbas last Monday told the official PA paper WAFA "we celebrate the birth of Jesus, a Palestinian messenger of love, justice and peace," as reported by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW).

The message follows on Abbas's claim last year that Jesus was "Palestinian," which the Israeli Foreign Ministry rebuffed in a verbal riposte referencing Christian tradition, saying "we forgive him because he knows not what he does.”

It goes without saying that Abbas's claim completely flies in the face of historical fact. PMW notes that Christianity defines Jesus as a Jewish resident of Judea, and only hundreds of years after Jesus's death did the occupying Roman Empire change Judea's name to "Palestina," a name brought back thousands of years later by the British mandate which termed Israel "Palestine" after World War I.

Abbas was not the only one getting in on the holiday spirit; Abbas's adviser on religious and Islamic affairs and PA Supreme Sharia Judge Mahmoud Al-Habbash, who has announced Israel will disappear and that Abbas is inciting a religious war, also joined the action.

"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," said Al-Habbash last Sunday, reports PMW.

District Governor of Ramallah and El-Bireh Laila Ghannam said on official PA TV earlier this month "we are standing here, Muslims and Christians, in Yasser Arafat Square, (named after) the symbol of our cause, to celebrate Christmas."

"So too we will stand united to celebrate victory, far off as it may be. Merry Christmas, let's celebrate and be merry; Jesus the Messiah is Palestinian, and we are Palestinians and will continue to hold our heads high," said Ghannnam.

Likewise, Adnan Al-Damiri, official spokesman for the PA Security Forces, on Facebook on December 25 celebrated "the anniversary of love and peace, the birth day of Jesus the Palestinian." 

PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, a member of the Abbas's Fatah's Central Committee, referenced "the first Martyr, the first Palestinian, Jesus."

Tawfiq Tirawi, also on Fatah's Central Committee, on Facebook wished the "united Palestinian people a new Christmas that will herald liberty, as did Jesus, the first Palestinian."

The PA exploitation of Christianity as propaganda for its campaign against Israel reached new heights during the visit of Pope Francis in May, when the organization showed the pope an art exhibit presenting Jesus as a "suffering Palestinian martyr."