Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas in a speech on Sunday ahead of Christmas, charged the Jewish state with killing the “children of Palestine,” claiming the historically Christian city of Bethlehem is “experiencing a sadness it has not seen until this day” amid the war against Hamas.
“The occupation forces oppress and kill the children of Palestine and snatch the innocent smiles from the faces of the living,” stated Abbas, according to the P.A.’s Wafa news agency.
“As we welcome Christmas, we remember the message of our Lord Christ, peace be upon him, the message of love, tolerance and peace,” he said as he paid tribute to the “martyrs of Palestine.”
In his address, Abbas assured Palestinians that “the sun of freedom and [our] independent state with Jerusalem as its capital is inevitably rising, almost within reach.
“The river of blood, the immense sacrifices, the hardships, and the heroic resilience of our people on their land are the path towards freedom and dignity,” he added.
The Bethlehem city government decided to remove all Christmas decorations from public places in honor of terrorists killed by Israel in the Gaza Strip, the Bethlehem Municipality announced last month.
The decorations were removed “in honor of the martyrs and in solidarity with our people in Gaza,” the municipality said in a Facebook post.
The traditional Christmas mass and prayers will still take place, but without Christmas trees or festive lights.
One in five Bethlehem residents is Christian, reflecting a sharp decline since the town was placed under Palestinian Authority control in 1995, when 80% of the town identified as Christian.