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Nazareth cancels Christmas celebrations in support of Jerusalem

December 15, 2017 at 10:54 am

Mayor of the Israeli city of Nazareth, Ali Salam [Angela Almeida Prado‎/Facebook]

The Mayor of the Israeli city of Nazareth, Ali Salam, has announced the cancellation of all planned Christmas events, festivals and celebrations in protest against US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s new capital and to relocate the US embassy to the Holy City.

“Our identity and faith aren’t up for debate,” Salam said. “The decision [by Donald Trump] has taken away the joy of the holiday, and we will thus cancel the festivities this year.”

Known as “the Arab capital of Israel”, Nazareth is made up mostly of Muslims and Christians Arabs. Christmas events in the city, which is a centre of Christian pilgrimage, normally provide a big boost to its economy. The city will now only light its Christmas tree but will not hold any other celebrations.

Arab and European leaders have slammed Trump’s decision as “unilateral and outside the vision of a negotiated peace between Israelis and Palestinians”, warning of “heightened tensions or even violence across the Middle East” as a result.

There have been widespread protests across the world in condemnation of Trump’s decision with only Israel and the US supporting his plan. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said that the US can no longer be a mediator in the peace process as this step has shown that it bias. He called on the UN to step up to fill the role.

Trump’s move on Jerusalem: Is this the end of US diplomacy in the Middle East?