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Trump blamed for cancellation of Christmas in Nazareth

When Trump announced the decision he reiterated his commitment to peace in the Middle East, noting the previous policy of not recognizing "the reality" that Jerusalem is Israel's capital brought us "no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians". Christmas events in the city, which is a centre of Christian pilgrimage, normally provide a big boost to its economy.

Nazareth's Muslim Mayor Ali Salam told Reuters on Saturday that Christmas celebrations will continue as planned, though three singers who were supposed to perform will not appear. "The decision [by Donald Trump] has taken away the joy of the holiday, and we will thus cancel the festivities this year".

Arab and European leaders warned ahead of the announcement that formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital would push the talks further off track. "We have already welcomed 60,000 people to the city today".

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 status of Jerusalem is at the center of Israel's conflict with the Palestinians because the city is sacred to Judaism and Islam.

But the militant Palestinian group Hamas said Trump's decision "opens the gates of hell". Trump stressed that he was not specifying the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in the city, and called for no change in the status quo at the city's holy sites. "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". But the response of Nazareth's mayor demonstrates that the decision was not universally popular in Israel.

Nazareth as one of the holiest cities in Christendom because it was there that the angel Gabriel is believed by Christians to have told the Virgin Mary she would conceive and bear Jesus.

Nazareth is the largest Arab town in Israel, with a population of 76,000 Muslims and Christians. Israel's I-24 News also reported this move.

People take a photo with a man wearing a Santa Claus outfit as they attend a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Most of the residents are Arab citizens of Israel - 69 percent are Muslim and almost 31 percent Christian.

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