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17 December 2017, 01:13 | Floyd Cook
Nazareth cancels Christmas celebrations over Trump's Israel decision
Nazareth is Israel's largest Arab city, with a population of more than 75,000.
This year, the town has announced it will cut back on its Christmas festivities, claiming U.S. President Donald Trump has leached all the joy out of the holiday after his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
"Our identity and faith can not be bargained", Salam, a Muslim, said, according to 10 News. "The decision [by Donald Trump about Jerusalem] has taken away the joy of the holiday, and we will thus cancel the festivities this year". Yet the president has managed to dampen the Christmas spirit on the other side of the world with his offensive, widely panned decision on Jerusalem. 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.
The Brotherly Covenant, an NGO devoted to incorporating Christians into Israeli society, released a statement condemning the move and stated that cancelling Christmas in Nazareth would hinder chances at co-existence.
Reuters pointed out that the Palestinian town of Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, also briefly switched off its Christmas lights last week in protest.
Mayor Ali termed Trump "wretched" and said the USA president had "stabbed" Palestinians with the Jerusalem decision. The status of Jerusalem is at the center of Israel's conflict with the Palestinians because the city is sacred to Judaism and Islam. Most of the residents are Arab citizens of Israel - 69 percent are Muslim and almost 31 percent Christian.
The announcement to move the US embassy to Jerusalem was, meanwhile, hailed by other groups, including 250 prominent Israeli rabbis who issued Trump the biblical blessing that God gave to Joshua.
Arab and European leaders warned ahead of the announcement that formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital would push the talks further off track.
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 global community. Israel's I-24 News also reported this 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.
Following the 1967 Middle East war, Israel declared Jerusalem as its capital.
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