Nazareth cancels Christmas celebrations to protest Trump's Jerusalem move

Nazareth cancels Christmas celebrations to protest Trump's Jerusalem move

Nazareth cancels Christmas celebrations to protest Trump's Jerusalem move

"The decision [by Trump about Jerusalem] has taken away the joy of the holiday, and we will thus cancel the festivities this year".

Some elements of the traditional celebrations will therefore go ahead, such as the Christmas market and a parade on December 23rd - but the signing performances and outdoor plays which usually mark the season will be prohibited.

Nazareth, a predominantly Palestinian city in Israel that has a Muslim and Christian population of 76,000, is one of the Holy Land's focal points of Christmas festivities.

While Nazareth is located within Israel proper rather than Palestinian Authority territory in Gaza and the West Bank, a majority of its inhabitants are Arabs with Israeli citizenship. The imposing Basilica of the Annunciation in central Nazareth is built on a site that many Christian faithful believe was the childhood home of Jesus' mother, Mary.

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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.

But this year the mayor determined that the situation in region is too fraught for joy because of Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

As reported, the U.S. President announced last week that America is to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and declared his intention to move the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv. Muslims oppose the move as they see East Jerusalem as a future capital for Palestine.

Obama, a Democrat, told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in 2008 that Jerusalem "will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided".

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Salam, who is Muslim, said people of all faiths were welcome to visit the city.

"We ask churches, the Pope and our Christian brothers to devote their Sunday prayers to Jerusalem".

He did not mention Trump's Jerusalem announcement in these later remarks.

The Palestinians' chief representative to Britain, Manuel Hassassian, blasted the American leader's decision to move the United States embassy.

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