Nazareth mayor cancels Christmas celebration over Trump's Jerusalem decision

Posted December 17, 2017

On Wednesday, a city spokesman said there would be some cuts to the celebrations to protest against President Donald Trump's decision on Jerusalem that angered Palestinians as well as US allies in the Middle East and the rest of the world. It's one of the Holy Land's most important sites for Christmas festivities, each year, drawing tens of thousands of visitors.

Ali Salam, the mayor of Nazareth, has announced that the city won't be hosting any festivities for this year's Christmas celebration because the actions of US President Donald Trump have apparently whisked away "the joy of the holiday".

Nazareth is noted in the Bible as the town where Jesus Christ grew up in, and in modern times holds large Christmas celebrations which are a big tourist attraction.

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

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Reuters pointed out that the Palestinian town of Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, also briefly switched off its Christmas lights last week in protest.

"We have made a decision to cancel the traditional Christmas singing and dancing because we are in a time of dispute, because of what Trump has said about Jerusalem", added city spokesperson Salem Sharara.

Jerusalem holds significance for three major world religions - Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

Jerusalem is sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims and is a contentious part of Israel-Palestinian negotiations.

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Trump's decision, which included a plan to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, fulfilled the requirements of a 1995 law that was adopted overwhelmingly by the Senate (93-5) and the House (374-37).

The move was hailed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum, and condemned by the vast majority of the worldwide community. Palestinians maintain that Jerusalem will be the capital of their future state.

His decision sparked widespread violence in Israel 24 hours later in a "day of rage" over the move. On Wednesday, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, an umbrella group of 57 Muslim countries, met in Istanbul and issued a communiqué denouncing Trump's decision.

The Palestinian leadership, Fatah and Hamas, claims the Jewish people have falsified their 3,000 year-old history to lay claim to Jerusalem.

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