No Christmas in Gaza by Professor Khaled Beydoun

No Christmas in Gaza by Professor Khaled Beydoun

Guest post by Professor Khaled Beydoun is available on the Pen>Sword Substack. Click here to subscribe to the Substack for insight and analysis of the Genocide in Gaza, and important issues. 


Christmas will be celebrated by 2.4 billion people, globally, in the coming days.

‘Tis the season when pine trees are adorned with presents and ornaments, while downtown corridors in cities near and wide are illuminated with the lights and sights of Christmas.


Except the birthplace of Christianity, in the heart of the Holy Land where the native sites of ethnic cleansing speak volumes about the hypocrisy of western nativity scenes. There is no Christmas revelry, this year, in Gaza.

As I pen these words, Christians in Gaza are facing extinction.

Christianity, as a whole in Gaza, faces elimination.

Only 700 Palestinian Christians remain within the Gaza Strip. A staggering figure, made even more striking by the statistic that puts the entire population of the besieged territory at 2.3 million.

Gaza, particularly its Zeitoun neighborhood, was a thriving center of Christian life. Only 120 miles away from Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus, and the formative holy sites that pull Christians from all over the world in pilgrimage, it is absurd reality that Christianity faces complete erasure today.

But this is precisely where this genocide has brought us, today, less than a week from Christmas.

Despite this harrowing reality, there is no “outcry” from western Christian communities, enabling the onslaught to continue.

This is a silent erasure within a broader genocide. An unseen ethnic cleansing within an ethnic cleansing where churches and community centers, Christian homes and Christian life are being wiped out of Gaza.

“This community is under threat of extinction,” shared Mitri Raheb, an Evangelical Lutheran pastor from Bethlehem. “I’m not sure if they will survive the Israeli bombing, and if they survive, I think many of them will want to emigrate.”

On November 10, roughly one month into the crisis, Al Jazeera English estimated that only 800 Christians remained in Gaza. Across the faith’s array of denominations.

More than a month later, with the aggregate death count conservatively estimated at 20,000, one can assume that many if the people killed were Christians.

But the genocide in Gaza quickly dismisses the utility of assumption.

On Sunday December 17th, the holy day for Christians everywhere, a mother and daughter were shot and killed in front of Holy Family Catholic Church in Gaza. The cold-blooded murders were captured by video, at the doorstep of the menaced church where hundreds of Palestinian Christians remained trapped inside.

Confined within a church, without food and access to the outside world, “fearing to get shot” and added to a death toll skyrocketing by the day.

My longtime friend, Fifi Saba, has family inside of that church.  We spoke, against the bars of censorship via Instagram only minutes after those two Christian victims were killed, about her family. Her parents, family members, and friends among the hundreds of Christian captives holding onto to life, and holding onto the existence of an entire faith group, inside of that church.

“These people, my family and my friends, have not been able to leave the church for eight to nine weeks,” Fifi revealed. “Their homes have been demolished, and this is where the Christian community felt they would be safe.”

Sadly, they were wrong. The Israeli military has violated virtually every human rights standard during this crisis, including the blatant attack on houses of worship.  On October 19th, the neighboring Church of Saint Porphyrius was bombed, killing at least eighteen people.

“500 people are inside of that church,” shared Fifi, a thought to be safe haven for Gaza’s Christian community that has become a killing field.

The vast majority of remaining Christians in Gaza are, currently, stuck inside of that very church.  500 out of a total 700 Palestinians Christians still living in Gaza, trapped within a historic house of worship that has become another site of an unholy genocide.

A place and people that the world has ignored. Erased from mainstream media coverage and headlines, and digital media pages and timelines, while these very spaces celebrate the very holidays that originate from their soil.

“We all known that within this generation, Christianity will cease to exist in Gaza,” shared Pastor Raheb.

A bleak outlook during the season of lights. But this season, across faith groups in Gaza, is a season of genocide.

In these coming days, the sounds and sights of Christmas will be everywhere. Online and in real life, adorned with the glee of children opening presents and worshippers congregated in churches.

But not for Palestinian Christians in Gaza. Trapped within a church and a land that may be their final resting place. And the final site of existence for a people, and an entire faith group in Gaza, facing the threat of permanent erasure.

This year, and every year onward until the ethnic cleansing is stopped, there will be no Christmas in Gaza.



About Professor Khaled Beydoun

Khaled Beydoun is a law professor, author, and public intellectual. His work has been featured in top academic journals, and words featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, BBC and more. He holds degrees from UCLA, Michigan, and Harvard.

Click here to subscribe to Professor Beydouns Pen>Sword Substack for regular insight and analysis of the Genocide in Gaza, and other important issues.

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