Jerusalem, MINA – The Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Sebastia, Archbishop Atallah Hanna, confirmed Israel’s systematic efforts to weaken, marginalize, and eliminate the Christian presence in the occupied city of Jerusalem and encourage them to leave it.
In an interview with the “Philistine” newspaper, Hanna held the Israeli occupation authorities fully responsible for the decline in the number of Christians in the Holy City as a result of their injustice towards the Palestinians.
“We are facing a bitter thing, because our number in the city of Jerusalem does not exceed 8,000 Christians after we exceeded 35,000 Christians living in Jerusalem in 1948,” he said, as mentioned by Rai Al-Yaum, recently.
He attributed the reasons for the decline in the number of Christians in the city of Jerusalem to the occupation measures being carried out against Jerusalemites, whether Muslim or Christian, as well as the economic and living conditions that the people are suffering from as a result of the occupation.
He added that a number of Christian families have left no traces in the city of Jerusalem. “What Christians face in Jerusalem is the same as what Muslims face,” he continued.
Hanna emphasized that the attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque was like an attack on Christians and Muslims in the world, considering that “the attack on Al-Aqsa was an attack on Christians as well, as the attack on Christian waqf was an attack on Muslims”.
“Today we are required more than ever to unite, Palestine has been and will remain a model of Muslim-Christian coexistence,” he added.
According to him, the Israeli occupation authorities are exploiting the Corona pandemic to carry out their plans and crimes in the occupied city of Jerusalem. “The city of Jerusalem has turned into a ghost city. This is really tragic, “he said.
“We are in Jerusalem and outside knowing what is being planned for our city. Christians and Muslims are one family, and they will not abandon their humanitarian, spiritual and national duties to defend their capital city. ”
He emphasized that the occupation forces do not differentiate between Muslims and Christians in suppressing and targeting the Jerusalem people. The occupation also made no distinction between a mosque or a church. “So, we are all targeted,” he continued.
Archbishop Hanna urged the world’s Christians to defend Palestine, the occupied city of Jerusalem and the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, because maintaining it is a humanitarian, moral and cultural task, and he calls on Palestinian leaders and factions to complete the achievement of national unity to deal with all the crimes of occupation and projects that interfere with the Palestinian cause.
Bishop Hanna greeted the people of the Gaza Strip, which has been besieged for 14 years, for their fortitude in the face of the Israeli occupation and its crimes, saying, “Our hearts are with you. The suffering of Jerusalem is the suffering of Gaza and the suffering of Gaza is the suffering of Jerusalem. ” (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)