Archbishop Theodosius Atallah Hanna stressed Wednesday the necessity to protect Palestinian Christians and rejected any efforts to undermine their rights.
During a visit to Ma'an in Bethlehem, he said “they (Palestinian Christians) must be preserved because their absence is considered a big loss for everyone including Muslims.”
Commenting on claims of foul play by relatives of two Gaza Christians who converted to Islam, Hanna said that “Christians are not mercenaries or fifth column, they live in their homeland Palestine and among their people.
“They should be respected and kept as they are an integral part of the homeland”.
He rejected treating people differently according to their religion and stressed the necessity of equality between Muslims and Christians. He also emphasized the need to live in a civil state that respects citizens equally.
Regarding events in Syria, Hanna said Syrian people’s fair demands must be supported and he rejected any exploitation by other countries of these demands.
He added: "We rejected violence, murder and torture since the beginning of the Syrian events. Syria is under a global war that aims at weakening it and an attempt to spread religious strife into it."
He reiterated his opposition to Israeli plans aiming to to "Judaize" Jerusalem and Palestinian holy places in addition to stealing their land. He called Israel "an illegal country."
He concluded by demanding that Arabs and Muslims take responsibility for Jerusalem and Palestine.