Palestinian Authority Jesus envy is just one component of the Palestinian’s obsessive Israel/Judaism envy. Indeed, PA leaders are so jealous of everything Jewish that they have created an entire Palestinian heritage in the image of Jewish heritage. The PA falsely teaches its people that Palestinians are a 5,000 year-year-old nation. They point to Israel’s archaeological finds and even ancient Hebrew coins and claim that they are Palestinian archaeological remains. The PA teaches its children that the Palestinian nation was invaded by the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans and yet the Palestinians survived. Jewish history in a nutshell is all falsified as Palestinian history.
To complete its rewriting of history, the PA also distorts Christian history claiming – in complete contradiction and lack of respect for Christian belief – that Jesus was a Palestinian. Jesus of the Christian Bible was a Jew, a member of the Judean nation living in land that was known alternately as Israel and Judea. But that didn’t stop PA President Mahmoud Abbas from saying: “We celebrate the birth of Jesus, a Palestinian.” The PA Government Spokesman Ibrahim Melhem sent “blessings to the Christian communities… for this holiday. The holiday of the birth of the Palestinian prophet Jesus.”
Some of the Palestinian false claims about Jesus are openly insulting to Christians. For example, according to Christian tradition, Jesus never married and was celibate. Yet Fatah posted on its Facebook page: “There is no doubt that the Jesus Christ you worship as God is the great grandfather of the Palestinian people.” The official PA daily Al-Hayat al-Jadida went even further stressing that Jesus is the Palestinian “forefather” and the Palestinians are Jesus’s “descendants”: “Easter... is not a holiday only for Christian Palestinians but a holiday for Palestinian nationalism, because Jesus is… the virtuous patriotic Palestinian forefather… The Palestinians, Jesus’s descendants, rose from the ashes, like the phoenix.”
Also insulting to Christians is that Jesus, who preached nonviolence, is turned by the PA into a Palestinian terrorist. The official PA daily wrote in 2020: “Jesus was a messenger of Allah, and he was the first Palestinian fida’i (self-sacrificing fighter).” The term fida’i is the Palestinian term for primarily PLO and Fatah terrorists who have committed years of terror attacks against Israelis. Accordingly, Jesus is the first Palestinian terrorist.
Taking the slurs in a different direction was senior Palestinian leader Tawfiq Tirawi, who posted on his Facebook page that “Jesus, the Messiah, [was] the first Palestinian and the first Shahid (Islamic Martyr).” According to Palestinian Islamic ideology, claiming Jesus is a Shahid means that Jesus is now celebrating in Islamic paradise and married to 72 virgins.
Possibly the ultimate insult to Christians is the PA’s turning Jesus into a prophet who preached Islam and not Christianity. Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the PA Mufti told official PA TV that “the mission of Islam” was an “ongoing chain from Adam to Muhammad… The prophets were all the same religion [Islam]… We respect Jesus, we believe in him, just as we believe in the prophet Muhammad [as prophets of Islam].”
This rewriting of history is so important to the PA that it repeats these fictions every year, especially around Christmas time. Some of the new examples in 2021 include the broadcast on PA TV of a song with the lyrics: “Jesus is a Palestinian. Those [Jews] who fought him 2,000 years ago are now destroying his people.” Also broadcast was the statement recently by Joint List MK Sami Abu Shahadeh: “The entire world knows that Jesus is Palestinian.” PA TV also broadcast the Mufti who, again, contradicted Christian tradition: “Jesus was born in Palestine and in Jerusalem (sic., Bethlehem)… Jesus is a Palestinian par excellence.”
Once the PA turned Jesus into a Palestinian it was a simple step to misappropriate some of Christianity’s religious, as well as holiday, symbols. The PA and Fatah on numerous occasions have depicted Palestinians on a crucifix in political cartoons. The PA likewise has turned Santa Claus into a Palestinian. Palestinian Media Watch has documented at least seven cartoons in which Santa Claus is fighting, abused by and even murdered by Israeli soldiers.
Some mistakenly think that the PA’s claiming Jewish history and Jesus is so absurd it therefore can be ignored as meaningless Palestinian identity creation. Unfortunately, the PA’s falsification of history must not be ignored, because it has a much more sinister goal: it serves as justification for the PA and Fatah seeking to destroy Israel.
Fatah’s Waed magazine for children aged 6 to 15 repeatedly teaches that it is this fictitious history that justifies and guarantees Israel’s destruction: “Palestine underwent dozens of invasions, and many peoples entered it such as a Babylonians, the Persians, the Samaritans, the Assyrians, the Hyksos, the Hittites, the Pharaohs and the Hebrews. Afterward the Greeks and Romans arrived… In the end, Palestine fell under the Zionist occupation… The occupation will cease to exist just as what was before it ceased to exist.” (Waed, Issue 32, pp. 5-6) And this: “Over thousands of years, it has proven that… there is no invader who invaded this land and did not leave it defeated in the end, and that is what will happen to the Zionist invaders.” (Waed, Issue 27, p. 23)
As long as the PA continues to deny the thousands of years of the Jewish people’s history in the land – including the fact that Jesus was a Judean – and uses this as a basis to deny Israel the right to exist, a peace process has yet to begin.
Itamar Marcus is director of Palestinian Media Watch. His book ‘Deception,’ co-authored with Nan Jacques Zilberdik, was acclaimed by Robert Bernstein, the founder of Human Rights Watch, as “one of the most important books you may handle in your lives.” Marcus was recognized as being among the world’s “top 100 people positively influencing Jewish life or the State of Israel,” by The Algemeiner.