Rev Don Binder, Canon Pastor to the English-Speaking Congregation at St George’s Anglican Cathedral in Jerusalem writes: At approximately 4am on Sunday morning, 19 May, soldiers from the Israeli Army stormed into Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in the Rafidia neighbourhood of Nablus in the West Bank.

Security cameras from across the street showed four fully armed soldiers first break into a Samsung store beneath the church, pulling off its metal gratings and smashing through the front glass door. Samsung rents the lower floor of the complex from the church, which rests above.

The soldiers then proceeded to kick open several doors leading up to the church, yanking off security cameras along the way, and vandalizing the parish hall before departing.

There was no advanced warning of this nighttime raid, and the IDF has so far given no explanation, much less an apology for attacking a church.

One possibility is that the operation was retribution for Samsung’s recent announcement that they were pulling their ‘Sumsung Next’ technology division out of Israel, mostly because of the crashing local economy, but potentially so as to not be implicated in ongoing war crime investigations by the ICC and ICJ.

Whatever the reason, the American Embassy is investigating the attack for potential inclusion in its annual International Religious Freedom Report, as it is similar to the IDF assault on St Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Ramallah, two years ago, which was highlighted in the 2022 report.

A statement from Good Shepherd Church called the invasion “an evil and cowardly act,” and quoted Matthew 16:18 in response: “And I say to you again: You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”

You may find the statement (in Arabic) here: