The Greek Orthodox Christian Patriarchate in occupied Jerusalem issued a press release denouncing the Israeli draft law for considering Aramaic Christians as a “nationality’, and said that Israel is attempting to fragment Palestinians in general and, in particular, Palestinian Christians.Father Issa Musleh, spokesperson of the Christian Orthodox Church in occupied Jerusalem, said the Israeli law is the true form of “divide and conquer”, adding that it is part of many Israeli attempts which have been rejected by the Church.

An example of this is the draft law to recruit Arab Palestinian Christians in Israel, to join the Israeli military, as part of the attempts to create internal tension and divisions among Palestinian Christians themselves, and to create conflicts between Muslim and Christian Arabs and Palestinians.

Father Issa, from the West Bank city of Beit Sahour, said Greek-Orthodox Patriarch Theophilus The Third, the patriarch of Jerusalem, Palestine and Jordan, issued strict instructions, including holding conferences and activities for church-run schools and institutions to counter those who would attempt to recruit Christians to the Israeli army.

He warned that some people who carry a destructive agenda are trying to weaken the Palestinian community, fragment it and incite violence among its people.

“Palestinian Christians are an important part of the Arab and Palestinian nations; we are proud of the Aramaic identity as it reflects history and culture shaped by Arab Muslims and Christians,” Father Musleh said. “Our roots as Palestinian Christians are deeply engraved in history, no one and no group can erase them.”