Thursday, December 19, 2019

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory

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grenade baubleBethlehem, Palestinian Authority, December 19 - Nonplussed community and government officials expressed puzzlement and surprise today upon encountering the fact that the public display of yuletide symbols includes no traditional elements geared toward violent opposition to Jewish sovereignty.

Municipal and national leaders initially refused to believe a reporter who questioned whether bombs belonged underneath the large Christmas tree in Manger Square here in the town Christian tradition associates with the birth of Jesus. A brief flurry of internet research disabused the officials of their error, which led them to express again and again disbelief that no such practice exists.

"I could swear that's what the tree is for - I mean, what else do you stow under it? Non-explosive toys? Don't be ridiculous," stammered a confused Deputy Mayor Issa Fashla. "The Christmas tree has always been a symbol of Palestinian resistance to Zionist aggression."

"Next you're going to tell me the ball-like things you hang from the tree aren't hand grenades," challenged Palestinian Authority representative Fadikha Majnoun, referring to decorative baubles. "Wait, you're serious. They're not? No way. No way," he continued, interjecting a profanity into the phrase.

Ignorance of authentic Christmas traditions surrounding the ornamental tree stems in part from the rapid decline in the Christian population of Bethlehem under Palestinian rule, says analyst Rich Ewell. "There are only a few thousand left, whereas there were tens of thousands of Christians in the town when it was under Israeli rule" prior to the Oslo Accords of 1993 that granted Palestinians self-rule, he explained. "Muslim intimidation and mistrust have driven many Christians from the cradle of their faith, leaving a token presence there that dares not speak ill of the majority population or its official anti-Israel positions. They obviously haven't felt it was their place to inform the organizers that Christmas is a time of peace and goodwill, or at least haven't felt they could do so safely."

Discovery that traditional Christmas displays such as the tree or Nativity scenes contain no violent elements or messages of enmity toward Jews and Jewish sovereignty will not change official Palestinian plans, declared Fashla. "Let's get real," he stated. "Everything gets subordinated to the national struggle, especially the truth. You think I don't know it wasn't Yasser Arafat who established the custom of setting up a fir tree to mark the holiday? But some values are more important. Believe me, I know it was actually the Prophet Muhammad."

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