Grinch in Chief: Nazareth Cancels Christmas Over Trump's Jerusalem Gambit

The decision by Mayor Ali Salam to cancel festivities was made in protest of Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move the Muslim mayor, who once compared himself to Trump, found offensive.

Nazareth is traditionally thought to be where Jesus grew up.

Nazareth's imposing Basilica of the Annunciation is built on a site that many Christian faithful believe was the childhood home of Jesus' mother, Mary.

The cancelation of the usual festivities, which feature a Christmas parade, market and several concerts, drew huge tens of thousands of pilgrims each year.

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.

"I$3 invite all the residents of the State of Israel - the Jews, Muslims and Christians - to come to the city of Nazareth and take part in the Christmas celebrations", said Salam.

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

And Clinton, a Democrat, entered office in 1993 saying he supported "the principle" of moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

He also called on the Pope, churches and "our Christian brothers to devote their Sunday prayers to Jerusalem". "We have already welcomed 60,000 people to the city today", Salam said.

While the announcement sparked protests in Palestinian territories as well as across the Arab world, it was applauded by Israeli rabbis and American evangelical leaders, who earlier this week presented him with a "Friends of Zion" award at the White House.

He told the BBC: "He is declaring war in the Middle East, he is declaring war against 1.5 billion Muslims (and) hundreds of millions of Christians that are not going to accept the holy shrines to be totally under the hegemony of Israel".

  • Adam Floyd