Christian leaders condemn attack on church near Bethlehem

Archbishop Atallah Hanna of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem strongly condemned the assault, dubbing it an “unprecedented phenomenon.”

Shepherds Fields Beit Sahour (photo credit: Hanan Isachar)
Shepherds Fields Beit Sahour
(photo credit: Hanan Isachar)

Church leaders on Saturday condemned an attack on the Orthodox church in Beit Sahur, near Bethlehem, and called on the Palestinian Authority to bring the assailants to trial.

During the attack, which took place on Friday night, dozens of Muslim men hurled stones at the church, injuring a number of people.

The church is affiliated with the Jerusalem Patriarchate and managed by the congregation in Beit Sahur.

In a statement, the church leaders said the attack came after a “quarrel between some young men.”

 Palestinian security forces guard outside the Church of Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on July 14, 2022, before the visit of US president Joe Biden. (credit: FLASH90) Palestinian security forces guard outside the Church of Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on July 14, 2022, before the visit of US president Joe Biden. (credit: FLASH90)

Atallah Hanna's condemnation of the attack

“We condemn this attack and demand that the Palestinian Authority bring the attackers to trial as soon as possible,” the statement read.

Archbishop Atallah Hanna of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem strongly condemned the assault, dubbing it an “unprecedented phenomenon.”

“What happened on Friday night in Beit Sahur distorts the image of our people and harms civil peace and the good relationship that binds us as the sons of the Palestinian people,” Hanna said. “The church is not a place for settling accounts, fomenting sedition and undermining the unity of our people. What happened in Beit Sahur was horrific.”

Wadie Abu Nassar, adviser and media spokesperson of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, commented in a post on Facebook: “It is very unfortunate and outrageous to see what happened at the church by a group of thugs. I call on the Palestinian Authority not to tolerate the aggressors at all, but to bring them to trial as soon as possible.”