President Trump’s critics have blamed him for many things, from climate change to a decrease in the frequency of Americans engaging in sex, and now he’s being held responsible for messing up the celebration of Jesus’ birth.
The annual Christmas celebration in Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus, has been canceled, the town’s Muslim mayor announced Thursday, Israel’s 10 News said, according to FoxNews.com.
Mayor Ali Salam pointed to Trump’s Dec. 6 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – which sparked violent protests and a call from Hamas for an uprising against Israel – as the reason for canceling all holiday plans. Among the casualties are a Christmas market and a festival, which are major tourist attractions.
“Our identity and faith cannot be bargained,” said Salam. “[Trump’s] decision has taken away the joy of the holiday and we will cancel the festivities this year.”
Nazareth, in northern Israel, has a population of about 75,000. Most residents are Arab citizens of Israel. About 70 percent are Muslim and 30 percent Christian.
Trump’s decision, which included a plan to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, fulfilled the requirements of a 1995 law that was adopted overwhelmingly by the Senate (93-5) and the House (374-37).
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.”
The Palestinian leadership, Fatah and Hamas, claims the Jewish people have falsified their 3,000 year-old history to lay claim to Jerusalem. The holy city, the Palestinians insist, is “Palestinian” and must be the capital of a future Palestinian state.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital a milestone.
“There are major moments in the history of Zionism: the Balfour Declaration, the founding of the state, the liberation of Jerusalem and Trump’s announcement yesterday,” he said in a video posted to social media.
Hamas, meanwhile, said the decision “opens the gates of hell” and called for several days of protests.
After the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 was passed, Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama signed every six months a waiver incorporated in the law allowing the president to delay its implementation for national security reasons.
President Trump signed the waiver in June but decided this month to finally implement the law.
The three presidents who chose to delay enacting the Jerusalem Embassy Act nevertheless affirmed publicly that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, and two of them said they supported moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
Obama, a Democrat, told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in 2008 that Jerusalem “will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided. I have no illusions that this will be easy.”
Bush, a Republican, promised during the 2000 campaign that “as soon as I take office I will begin the process of moving the U.S. ambassador to the city Israel has chosen as its capital.”
And Clinton, a Democrat, entered office in 1993 saying he supported “the principle” of moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.