Al Quds University (illustration)
Al Quds University (illustration)Hadas Porush/Flash 90

Al Quds University in eastern Jerusalem decided to mark the upcoming Christmas holiday by placing a large tree at its campus entrance - but this was no ordinary Christmas tree for Christian Arab students at the university.

Dozens of university faculty members, religious leaders and other senior figures headed by Greek Orthodox Archbishop Atallah Hanna and the Mufti of Bethlehem Sheikh Abdul-Majid Ata Amarna were invited to the tree's unveiling, which was attended by hundreds of students and Jerusalem residents.

Hanna and Amarna ceremonially removed the covering from the Christmas tree - upon which the pictures of dozens of Arab terrorists from Jerusalem who conducted numerous lethal attacks in recent weeks were hung. 

The two declared the tree to be the "martyrs' tree," before giving speeches lauding the terrorist attacks that those pictured committed before dying in their murderous endeavors.

Alongside the tree an honor guard of young Arabs in keffiyehs and traditional Arab garb stood with Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flags in their hands. At least two members of the honor guard were female youths, apparently students of the university.

Next to the area in which the ceremony was held, massive posters were placed bearing giant pictures of terrorists.

Hanna, a leading Arab representative in the Greek Orthodox Church, has long waged a public relations campaign against Israel even from his days as a spokesperson of the church under his archbishop predecessor; back in 2003 he visited the families of suicide bombers. While advancing through the ranks of the clergy, Hanna continued to use various platforms to attack Israel.

Reportedly he has been warned in the past to stop his verbal assaults on the Jewish state, but from the "martyrs' tree" ceremony it would appear those warnings went unheeded.

"Bring Archbishop to justice"

The "Lach Yerushalayim" organization, that tracks the goings on in eastern Jerusalem and calls to enforce Israeli sovereignty throughout the capital city, said in response to the event that "it is saddening to see religious leaders taking part in incitement against the state of Israel instead of being a moderating and unifying force."

Maor Tzemach, director of the organization, said, "this is not the first time that Atallah Hanna took a side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I call on the security forces to bring him to justice."

"Al Quds University is a wide core of incitement in recent months, and in its framework Atallah Hanna appeared," added Tzemach.

As he noted, Al Quds University has a troubling history.

A terrorist who conducted one of the first high profile murders in the current terror wave, Mohannad Halabi who murdered Rabbi Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Banita Bennett in early October, was a student at the Faculty of Law at Al-Quds University. Halabi was given an honorary law degree by the Palestinian Bar Association after being shot dead in the attack.

The university has also given degrees to top terror chiefs serving time in Israeli jails for their crimes. Fatah arch terrorist Marwan Barghouti is a professor at the university, teaching "remotely" from his jail cell according to the school.

After an Islamic Jihad Nazi-style rally at the campus, Brandeis University broke ties with the university in late 2013.