Jesus was not only a Palestinian, but he was the first Islamic martyr, a senior Palestinian leader said this week. Writing on his Facebook account on December 24 – Christmas Eve – Tawfiq Tirawi, a senior Palestinian leader and Fatah Central Committee member, posted: “This is blessed Christmas, The birthday of our lord Jesus the Messiah, the first Palestinian and the first Shahid [Islamic Martyr],” Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) has reported. PMW noted that Tirawi's reference to "our lord Jesus" is not an acceptance of Christianity; rather, Islamic tradition teaches that Jesus was a Muslim who preached Islam. Mufti Muhammad Hussein, the top religious figure within the PA, has made this point before, saying: "We’re talking about an ongoing chain [of prophets of Islam], from Adam to Muhammad. It’s an ongoing chain, representing the call for monotheism, and the mission of Islam… "The prophets were all of the same religion [Islam]… Jesus was born in this land; he lived in this land," he said. "It is known that he was born in Bethlehem… He also lived in Nazareth, moved to Jerusalem. So he was a Palestinian par excellence… We respect Jesus, we believe in him [as a Muslim prophet], just as we believe in the prophet Muhammad."Claims that Jesus was a Palestinian have been made several times this week. On December 26, Fatah Revolutionary Council member Muwaffaq Matar wrote in the Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida: "If someone could win the Nobel Peace Prize every year forever, it is Palestinian Jesus son of Mary who was born in Bethlehem…"He added: "Palestinian Jesus son of Mary was a victim…" Similarly, PMW has translated Laila Ghannam, district governor of Ramallah, as writing in the same publication two days earlier: "The entire Palestinian people celebrates Christmas because we are proud of Jesus being Palestinian."According to the non-profit research institute, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas also made the claim. In an appearance on official PA TV News on December 28, he claimed Christmas for the Palestinians. "Christmas is a national-religious holiday and not just a religious one. For all of us Palestinians, this holiday is ours. Therefore we all celebrate it. The Palestinian leadership is going to church to be present for [Christmas] Mass," he said, adding: "It is our obligation to do this, because it – as I told you – is a religious holiday for our [Christian] people, and you are our people, and it is [also] a national holiday for us all." According to PMW, Abbas's Fatah Party likewise declared on Facebook on December 20: "Christmas is a Palestinian holiday… There is a special significance to the Christmas celebrations in Palestine, since it has clearly become a national holiday in which all of our people participate, starting from [PA] President of Palestine [Mahmoud Abbas] and down to the last of the children." According to Islamic tradition, the reward for an Islamic martyr in heaven is 72 dark-eyed virgins, a claim that many Christians would find defamatory.