[ Ed. note – Palestinian Christians, who are most likely descended from some of the earliest followers of Jesus, will refuse to meet with US Vice President Mike Pence when he visits Israel next week–that at least is what is being reported on a Palestinian website (see article below).
Their refusal is due to President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem–and the announcement was made at a protest held outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem just after worship services this past Sunday.
It is rather ironic that Pence, who professes to be a Christian, will be visiting Israel one week before Christmas but will be snubbed by Christians in the town of Christ’s birth. This plus the fact that the pope of the Coptic Church of Egypt is also refusing to meet with him would tend to make something of a mockery of his entire visit to the Middle East.
According to a report in Haaretz, the vice president will arrive in Israel on Sunday, December 17, and is expected to give a speech at the Knesset as well as light a menorah at the Western Wall. I guess we can probably anticipate photos of him wearing a yarmulke as he somberly stuffs his little note into the crack between the stones.
Haaretz is also reporting that Pence plans to visit the Pyramids near Cairo but that Pope Tawadros II, head of the Coptic Church, will refuse to meet with him as well.
“The Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church declines to receive American Vice President Mike Pence,” the Coptic Church said in a statement, adding that it would pray for “wisdom and to address all issues that impact peace for the people of the Middle East.”
Another who reportedly will decline an audience with Pence is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
“There will be no meeting with the vice president of America in Palestine,” said Abbas aide Majdi al-Khaldi. “The United States has crossed all the red lines with the Jerusalem decision.”
Below is an article published Monday by the International Middle East Media Center. It provides information on the event in front of the Church of the Nativity and the decision by Palestinian Christians not to receive the American vice president. People might also be interested in a commentary entitled “Israel Has Played Trump as a Complete Fool,” published by Robert Fantina, who notes that the “ultimate deal-maker” has made a huge blunder. He also supplies a bit of history, ending with the rather inescapable conclusion that Israel’s “history with the United States is one of constantly taking, and giving nothing in return.”
And finally–the glorious carol, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” was written in 1739 by Charles Wesley. The version in the video above is by the King’s College Choir of London. ]
Christian Palestinians Not Welcoming of Mike Pence
Christian Palestinians, along with Muslims, held a protest in front of the historic Church of the Nativity, after Sunday prayers, to express their rejection of US president Donald Trump’s decision to consider Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel.
The protesters assured that they would not meet with Trump’s second in command, Vice President Mike Pence, because of the US administration’s pro-Israel positions.
Participants raised Palestinian flags and slogans, in both English and Arabic, denouncing the decision on Jerusalem and warning against the vice president’s visit to the city.
George Zina, who spoke on behalf of Palestinian factions, the Follow–Up Christian Committee, and Christian institutions in Bethlehem, stressed the popular position which rejects the visit to the city, which carries for them a meaning of war and aggression.
Zina added that Trump’s decision harms both Palestinian Christians and Muslims, and that the US president has no right to forget the religious and historical significance of the city, or its indigenous inhabitants.
He stressed that the decision is in violation of international laws and conventions, and will not change the Christian and Islamic reality of the city.
He called on the international community to challenge this arrogance, and to pressure Trump to withdraw his decision, adding that the Christians of the city are not welcoming of the visit, either.
Fateh Revolutionary Council member Mohammed Lahham also called for not receiving the vice president in Bethlehem.
He said: “We will receive [the] US vice president with shoes and more.”
He said that Pence was unwelcome and would be expelled from the city.
On Thursday, senior Fateh official Jibril Rajoub said that Pence was unwelcome in Palestine.
“In the name of Fateh, I say that we will not welcome Trump’s deputy in the Palestinian Territories.
“He asked to meet (Abbas) on the 19th of this month, in Bethlehem; such a meeting will not take place,” Jibril Rajoub stated.