In Christmas celebration hosted by the Fatah movement, Mohammad Shtayyeh, a Fatah central committee member, appealed to Christian Palestinians to remain in their land, and to call on their sons and daughters who have emigrated to return to Palestine. Shtayyeh quoted Jesus’ words from the Gospel of Matthew, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?”.According to a Maan News Agency report (Arabic), Shtayyeh told the Christian attendees that no one is more worthy of this land than the Christian Palestinians.
Christian emigration from Palestinian cities has been a source of concern about the future presence of Christians in the Holy Land.
According to Maan News, Shtayyeh also expressed concern about land confiscation in Beit Sahour, a Christian town near Bethlehem. He sent a warning message to Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu that if he doesn’t recognize the difference between Abu Ghoneim (the site of a Jewish settlement north of Beith Sahour) and Tel Aviv, then the Palestinians will not recognize the difference between Ramallah and Jaffa.
Shtayyeh had been one of the most outspoken Palestinian leaders about the possibility of strategy shift in the Palestinian leadership’s approach to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Last November Shtayyeh warned that the Palestinian leadership is considering downgrading the Palestinian Authority if no progress is made on establishing the Palestinian state.