Nazareth mayor 'cancels' Christmas in protest of US Jerusalem decision

Posted December 17, 2017

All Christmas festivities have been halted because of Donald Trump's controversial decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

The cancelation will cost the historic town severely as the annual festivities-including a Christmas market, a parade, and multiple concerts-draw tens of thousands of pilgrims.

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.

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

Nazareth, the town in current-day Israel where Jesus Christ is said to have been raised, canceled all Christmas celebrations this year, saying that President Donald Trump had taken the joy out of the holiday. The imposing Basilica of the Annunciation in central Nazareth is built on a site which many Christian faithful believe was the childhood home of Jesus's mother, Mary.

"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.

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Nazareth is known for holding large Christmas celebrations which are a big tourist attraction, the newspaper notes. Some 70 per cent of the population is Muslim and around 30 per cent are Christians, reflecting the importance of Nazareth to followers of that faith.

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 attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017.

In response, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has declared East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. The Christian savior also grew up in the town, according to the New Testament. "This shows the world that Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is not up for negotiation, and America is and shall always remain a loyal ally of Israel".

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