Archimandrite Atallah Hanna of the Greek Orthodox Church, stated on Tuesday that he is deeply concerned by racist statements voiced by Israeli officials against the Palestinians in Jerusalem and Arab residents of Israel. He said that these statements carry hatred and blind injustice against the Arabs and Palestinians who are the native inhabitants of the area.
Hanna added that incitement against Palestinians in Jerusalem, voiced recently by several Israeli leaders, raises concern that Israel might carry massive deportations which would target the Palestinians in Jerusalem in violation to the International law.
The statements of Hanna came during a meeting with Austrian human rights committees.
“There are several Israeli officials who are talking about displacing the Palestinians from Jerusalem, as if they are guests and are in Jerusalem due to 'Israeli hospitality'”, Atallah said, “Palestinians in Jerusalem are not guests, they have deep national, historical, religious and cultural roots in the land, but Israel is legalizing incitement against the Arabs and Palestinians, which is a very dangerous precedence”.
He also warned that the ongoing Israeli excavations in Jerusalem are threatening the historic holy sites, and the ancient buildings, and added that Arabs, Muslims and Christians, should counter these violations.
Hanna added that although there is a limited number of Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land, they remain part of the Palestinian people and cause, and that Jerusalem lives in the heart of every Palestinian Christian.
Furthermore, Hanna said that the city is an essential place for Muslims, and is a major part of their faith.
“Muslims and Christians in this land are brothers”, Hanna stated, “We are united by our Arab nationality, and by our Palestinian identity in this land”.
He called on International Human Rights organizations around the globe to help the Palestinian people in achieving independence, and liberation, and called for the right of return to all Palestinian refugees, in addition to releasing the political detainees from Israeli prisons.