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8 Mar, 2024 19:36

Israelis and Palestinians argue ‘What would Jesus do?’

As the Gaza War turns five months old, the two sides launch a Christian dispute
Israelis and Palestinians argue ‘What would Jesus do?’

Both Israel and the Palestinians have invoked Jesus Christ to support their cause as the brutal conflict in Gaza hits the five-month mark.

Palestinian diplomat Riham Barghouti first invoked the memory of Jesus of Nazareth at a session of the UN Human Rights Council earlier this week, when condemning the Israeli military actions in Gaza that have killed over 30,000 people and injured another 70,000 so far.

“Jesus was born in Palestine. And if Jesus were alive, he would cry his soul out due to the killing of the children in the land where he was born,” Barghouti said.

A 14-second video of that remark was shared by the Israeli Foreign Ministry on their Russian-language Telegram channel, along with a scathing condemnation.

“Palestinian representatives at the UN are again telling lies. Jesus was a Jew, born in Judea, and would have been brutally killed by Hamas or taken hostage on October 7th. The Palestinian delegation to the UN would applaud these crimes, as they do now,” the ministry said.

Their post was made on Thursday, five months to the day after the Palestinian militant group raided Israeli outposts and settlements near Gaza, killing approximately 1,200 people and taking more than 200 hostage.

Christians believe Jesus was born to a Jewish family from Nazareth, now the largest city in the Northern District of Israel. Bethlehem, the ‘little town’ of Christ’s birth, was located at the time in the Roman-dominated Herodian kingdom. It is now a city approximately ten kilometers south of divided Jerusalem, in the Palestinian-governed West Bank, which was historically dominated by Arab Christians and now has an Arab Muslim majority. 

While Jews reject the notion of Christ’s divinity entirely, Muslims believe he was one of the great prophets and a precursor to Mohammed; a chapter of the Quran is dedicated to his mother.