Merry Christmas? Not In Nazareth, Mr

Laura Christensen
December 17, 2017

The residents of Nazareth are primarily Arab citizens of Israel.

The municipality of Nazareth, an Arab majority town in Northern Israel, announced that celebrations of Christmas and New Year will be cancelled in protest against Trump's statement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"Our identity and faith aren't up for debate", Salam said, according to Times of Israel. "The decision [by Trump about Jerusalem] has taken away the joy of the holiday, and we will thus cancel the festivities this year". During the holiday season, the city hosts a Christmas market among a number of other celebrations that attract large crowds from around the world.

Trump's decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was monumental.

Nazareth, which Christians consider to be Jesus' birth site, is a major tourist destination and pilgrimage site.

Mayor Ali termed Trump "wretched" and said the USA president had "stabbed" Palestinians with the Jerusalem decision.

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The Palestinian towns of Bethlehem - the biblical birthplace of Jesus - and Ramallah briefly turned off their Christmas lights within an hour of the Nazareth announcement, Reuters said, adding that there's no word if Bethlehem also is considering scaling back its celebrations. The status of Jerusalem is at the center of Israel's conflict with the Palestinians because the city is sacred to Judaism and Islam.

Among the various voices speaking out against Trump is Adeeb Joudeh, the Muslim custodian who holds the keys to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, believed to contain the tomb where Jesus Christ was rested after the crucifixion.

Even though Israel has fully controlled the city since 1967, and moved most of its government institutions there, no country has moved its embassy from Tel-Aviv or has accepted to call Jerusalem Israel's capital.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lauded the recognition as a "historic day" that is an "important step toward peace". Palestinians maintain that Jerusalem will be the capital of their future state.

Many Israeli leaders support Trump's decision, claiming that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel.

Israeli fighter jets also bombed Hamas targets in Gaza, officials said, after militants fired rockets from the region towards Israeli territory.

Other reports by My Hot News

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