President Donald Trump may not know how to celebrate Christmas — but he certainly knows how to ruin it for others.
Not only has Trump succeeded in turning the White House into a scene from “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” he has also spoiled the birth celebration of Jesus at his hometown of Nazareth.
The Muslim-majority town, in what is now Israel, is believed by Christians to be the place where Jesus Christ was raised. It is one of the holiest cities for Christians because it is where they believe Angel Gabriel told the Virgin Mary she would give birth to Jesus.
Approximately 69 percent of the Arab town’s 76,000 inhabitants are Muslims and 30 percent are Christians.
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.
Trump’s decision reversed decades of U.S. policy as a mediator and has jeopardized its peace efforts in the Middle East. The move has also upset the country’s Arab allies, especially when Trump said the United Sates Embassy in Israel would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as well.
Jerusalem is sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians. It is also one of the key elements of contention in the Israel-Palestine peace talks.
Israel has been self-proclaiming Jerusalem as its capital since the Arab Springs of 1967, but neither the Palestinians nor the international community ever recognized the claim — until Trump, that is.
After the contentious move, Nazareth Mayor Ali Salam, who found the decision offensive, announced many of the Christmas festivities will be canceled in protest.
“Our identity and faith aren’t up for debate,” Salam said during a press conference. “The decision [by Trump about Jerusalem] has taken away the joy of the holiday, and we will thus cancel the festivities this year.”
He also called the U.Trump a backstabbing “wretch.”
“We have decided 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.
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 loss of many of these attractions is bound to cost the town dearly.
The Palestinian towns of Bethlehem where Jesus is traditionally believed to be born and Ramallah in the illegally occupied West Bank briefly turned off their Christmas lights in protest as well.
However, it is not confirmed whether the two cities are also considering cutting down on their festivities during a time when tourism is at its peak.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: REUTERS, Kevin Lamarque