Palestinians riot outside Bethlehem hotel during Christmas season. (AP) (AP)

Besides committing ongoing terror attacks against Israelis since the beginning of the new wave of violence at the start of the Jewish New Year, Palestinian terrorists are harassing Christians during their holiday season.

Palestinian security forces say they arrested two suspected Islamists for burning Christmas trees.

A Palestinian security officer said Friday the suspects set fire Wednesday to a tree in Zababdeh, a Christian majority village near Jenin. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity because he isn’t authorized to speak to reporters.

He says both suspects are under investigation for possible ties to Islamic terror groups. He also says Palestinian security forces arrested Wednesday about a dozen suspected radical Islamists in Bethlehem.

Christians from around the world had arrived in Bethlehem for Christmas Eve celebrations on Thursday, trying to lift spirits on a holiday dampened by months of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

The fighting cast a pall over the celebrations. “There’s lights, there’s carols, but there’s an underlying sense of tension,” said Paul Haines of Cornwall, England, who arrived in Bethlehem following a four-month trek from Rome.

Bethlehem has been a focal point for clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian protesters during a three-month wave of terror  that has gripped the region.

The city was quiet on Thursday, although violence raged elsewhere in Judea and Samaria.

Only Safe Place for Christians in the Region – Israel

In Bethlehem, “80 percent of the Christian community has fled, and is still fleeing, because of the Islamic oppression by the Palestinian Authority (PA),” stated pro-Israel Christian activist Laurie Cardoza-Moore in a recent interview. “Remember that it is not the Israeli government that oversees the city of Bethlehem; that’s the PA. Christians are fleeing a community where they resided for thousands of years, but which is now controlled by the PA.”

Father Gabriel Nadaf, based in Nazareth, calls on Christians to serve in the IDF in order to protect Christians in the only place in the Middle East where they are safe.

Since mid-September, on the eve of the Jewish New Year, Palestinian terror attacks, mostly stabbings and shootings, have killed 23 Israelis and wounded 253 – many seriously.

In Manger Square, local anti-Israel activists placed an olive tree they claimed was uprooted by the Israeli army in a nearby village, and surrounded it with barbed wire and decorated it with spent tear gas canisters fired by Israeli troops and photographs of Palestinians killed or arrested in recent violence. The allegedly innocent Palestinians were actually attacked for carrying out or attempting to commit acts of terror.

By: AP and United with Israel Staff