Last April, a group of armed men entered the predominantly Christian West Bank village of Jifna, firing rifles, throwing firebombs and rocks at houses, and chanting the sort of anti-Christian invective associated with Islamic State. After initially condemning the incident, Palestinian Authority (PA) officials began downplaying it, blaming “personal” conflicts and failing to make any arrests. The Palestinian journalist Abd al-Ghani Salameh responded by posting an article to his Facebook page that, he said, was rejected by the newspaper that normally publishes his columns. The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) provides a partial translation:
This criminal attack does not exactly come as a surprise, and it is nothing unusual in our society, despite what [Palestinian] media repeatedly claim. . . . Anyone who thinks that our country is immune to sectarianism is mistaken. We are no wiser than the Syrians, the Lebanese, or the Iraqis, who destroyed their lands with their own hands for the sake of stupid sectarian slogans. Simply put, those lands have ethnic and sectarian diversity, and their sectarian leaders’ coordination with the hostile foreign plots lit in them the fuse of civil war, until these lands were completely destroyed. Here in Palestine, I absolutely think—and I hope I am mistaken—that within every one of us is a sectarian demon, residing and hiding deep within.
If [this sectarianism] isn’t uprooted and taken care of on the national level, and if the maximal punishment is not meted out to the criminals, this criminal attack will be another a link in the chain of civil war, chaos, and societal collapse, just as happened in the neighboring countries.