'Christmas is cancelled in the land of Jesus’ birth': Jordan's Queen Rania
In an op-ed for the Washington Post published on Thursday, Queen Rania highlighted that for Palestinian Christians, the continued destruction of Gaza and other Israeli occupied territories has marred one of their holiest celebrations.
The queen described a Bethlehem church in occupied West Bank playing out a nativity scene, that instead “places the infant Jesus among the rubble of a bombed-out building”.
Queen Rania also decried the war’s effect on Palestinian children – at least 8,000 of whom have been killed since October 7 – as well as the broader issues within the conflict, from the bombing of religious sites to the huge death toll.
“We need to see in these children’s faces the faces of our own,” she said. “Each of these videos is a desperate plea to the world to recognise their humanity and their hurt.”
She also called the war on Gaza a “humanitarian nightmare” and added that “Israel has turned Gaza into a hellscape”, as she reiterated her stance to call for an urgent ceasefire.
“This war must end. Today, it boils down to one question that each of us must answer: If you could prevent hundreds or thousands more children from dying: would you?
“If so, demanding a ceasefire is the absolute minimum you can do. And we, all of us, must do so together.”
As part of a fundraising drive for @MedicalAidPal, bestselling Irish author Sally Rooney read an excerpt from Ghassan Kanafani’s 1956 short story “Letter from Gaza” at the Irish Writers for Palestine Dublin event on December 5 👇 pic.twitter.com/vHaIre7hlB— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) December 22, 2023
Last month, Queen Rania slammed the conflation of pro-Palestine advocacy with "antisemitism" or "pro-terrorism" in an interview with CNN's Becky Anderson.
After Hamas’ 7 October attack, Israel has since left Gaza in ruins, bringing widespread hunger and homelessness, and killing more than 20,000 Gazans, the Palestinian health ministry says.
Since the outbreak of the Gaza war, the occupied West Bank has additionally seen a surge in violence, with more than 290 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces or settlers, according to local health officials.
“While the world is celebrating, our children are under the rubble. While the world is celebrating, our families are displaced and their homes are destroyed,” Bethlehem’s Evangelical Lutheran church pastor Munther Isaac told Associated Press.
“This is Christmas to us in Palestine.”