Monk with Christmas tree in Israel (illustration)
Monk with Christmas tree in Israel (illustration)Flash 90

Two Palestinian Arabs have been arrested by Palestinian Authority (PA) Security Forces, after they set a Christmas tree on fire in the Arab Christian majority town of Zababdeh near Jenin in Samaria.

A PA security officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, revealed the arson that took place on Wednesday in statements made Friday in time for Christmas, the Associated Press reports. 

While alleged Jewish "price tag" vandalism attacks have been widely decried by the PA, in Israel and on the international scene, Wednesday's attack on a Christian symbol has been met with a deafening lack of condemnation.

According to the officer both suspects are being investigated for ties to radical Islamist groups, without naming which organizations they are suspected of belonging to.

He added that PA Security Forces on Wednesday arrested around 12 suspected Islamists in Bethlehem, Judea, a city that is a central focus on Christmas.

Christians in Bethlehem have long been under assault, with the PA largely turning a blind eye.

Just this September the PA ignored how the St. Charbal church in Bethlehem was burned down by "Palestinian extremists," according to Israeli Christian Arab Father Gabriel Naddaf. Instead, the PA claimed the fire was a "technical malfunction" and made nothing more of it.

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.

In June, the PA similary ignored a detailed threat by an Islamic State (ISIS) affiliate in Jerusalem to "purify" the city of Christians.