Johnny Shahwan is an Evangelical Arab Christian who pastors, Beit Al-Liqa (House of Encounter), a church located on the West Bank.
Israel365 News reports that Palestinian police recently arrested Pastor Shahwan because of a meeting he had with a Jewish Rabbi, Yehudah Glick.
On March 1, 2022, Rabbi Glick was leading a tour group involving 50 Christian Germans and brought them to visit Shahwan’s church in Beit Jala.
Beit Jala is a Christian town located in the Western Bank, 10 kilometers south of Jerusalem and across the road from Bethlehem.
However, what caught the ire of some Palestinians, is that Rabbi Glick had once served as a politician in the Israeli government.
Rabbi Glick’s visit immediately prompted a reaction, and the very next day shots were fired at Shahwan’s church, which also includes a daycare.
Five days later, Palestinian police arrested Shahwan, charging him with “undermining the national sentiments [of Palestinians], stirring up sectarian strife and insulting the prestige of the State.”
The pastor potentially faces several years in prison involving hard labor if found guilty.
Several Palestinians, including Muslims, have condemned the arrest and called for the release of Pastor Shahwan since he has done nothing illegal.
All Arab News (AAN) reports that not only was Shahwan unaware of Glick’s identity when the group visited, it is not illegal for Palestinians to meet Jews or even talk to Israeli officials. AAN noted that Palestinian leaders regularly meet with Israeli politicians.
Many suspect the Palestinian leadership is reluctant to release Shahwan because of a potential backlash from Islamic extremists.
READ: Evangelical Pastor languishing in a Palestinian jail for the crime of meeting a rabbi AND President Abbas, release Palestinian Evangelical Pastor Johnny Shahwan from prison immediately – he did nothing wrong