Israeli soldiers killed Santa Claus and then falsely accused him of trying to stab Israelis, according to a cartoon published in the official daily newspaper of the Palestinian Authority.
The cartoon, published on December 28 in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, shows a bleeding Santa who has just been shot by an Israeli soldier. The caption reads “He tried to carry out a stabbing operation.”
Santa is propped up against the security wall, with the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre shown in the background. Presumably Santa was trying to cross one of the checkpoints into Jerusalem before he was shot.
Another cartoon published in the same paper on December 26 showed Santa being accosted by two Israeli soldiers with Stars of David on their helmets. Santa is held at gunpoint at a checkpoint while the second soldier is holding a knife, presumably about to plant it next to Santa to fabricate a stabbing attack in order to create a pretext to murder him.
The cartoons were highlighted by the watchdog group Palestinian Media Watch.
These cartoons repeat the belief widely held by Palestinians and repeated across their media that Israeli soldiers murder Palestinians and then plant knives next to them to provide a pretext for the killing.
Israelis accuse the PA media of inciting violence through rhetoric and cartoons such as these.
Just two days after the second cartoon was published, a Palestinian woman attempted to stab a soldier at the Qalandiya checkpoint and was lightly wounded after being shot in the leg by Israeli security forces.
That was just the latest of a series of attempted stabbings at the Qalandiya checkpoint, a major crossing point between Jerusalem and the Qalandiya refugee camp north of the capital.
While Fatah officials, including the head of the party, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, have denounced anti-Semitism, anti-Jewish imagery appears often in the party’s official media.
This is not the first time that Christian imagery and narrative has been used by the PA to show alleged Israeli oppression.
Three years ago Abbas published a lengthy Christmas greeting, calling Jesus “a Palestinian messenger who would become a guiding light for millions around the world.”
Although he reiterated his commitment to the peace negotiations with Israel, he expressed harsh criticism of Israeli policies, including an accusation that Jerusalem is responsible for the plight of Christians in the Holy Land.
“We celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem under occupation,” Abbas wrote. “This Christmas Eve, our hearts and prayers will be with the millions who are being denied their right to worship in their homeland.”
Ironically, although the Palestinian Authority uses Christian imagery of Santa and Jesus to attack Israel, the number of Christians in the West Bank has fallen dramatically since the PA took control of the area.