Jerusalem celebrates Christmas despite the Israeli restrictions

Jerusalem celebrates Christmas despite the Israeli restrictions
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By Batool Soliman | The measures taken by the Israeli occupation and the restrictions on the movement of Palestinian citizens did not prevent them from celebrating Christmas and lighting the Christmas tree in occupied Jerusalem.
Despite the atmosphere of grief over the martyrs and the practices of the occupation, the Palestinians decorated the streets of the old country, and the celebrants raced to buy what they needed from the holiday decorations available in the Khan Al-Zayt market, the tannery, the Christians Quarter, the shops of Bab Al-Khalil, and Bab Al-Jadid, to the sound of hymns glorifying Christ.
The mayor (Mukhtar) of the Christian Quarter, Bassem Saeed, refers to “the joy of children at the feast in the various neighborhood of Old Jerusalem, despite the Israeli occupation and its practices against the residents.” He says, “The practice of Eid rituals bears important indications of the adherence of Jerusalemites to their city, and the gathering of families at one table. Their visit to some of them is also a message of brotherhood and love, and he stresses that Jerusalem is not like the rest of the world’s cities that celebrate Christmas. Here we all, Muslims and Christians, meet as brothers and sons of one people, and we are united by love and mutual respect.”
Saeed did not hide his dissatisfaction and anger with the practices of the occupation and its restrictions on people of the Christian and Islamic religions, especially with the Israeli decision to prevent the entry of hundreds of Palestinian Christians from the Gaza Strip to Jerusalem and the West Bank to celebrate Christmas.
He also said, “This is our holiest holiday, and we are waiting for it eagerly. We buy new clothes, sweets and decorations, and we exchange gifts, and most importantly, the Christmas tree.” “This is a religious holiday, but it is also a national holiday for us. We celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, peace be upon him. He is a prophet of God who was born in Palestine, and we are proud of this among all the sects spread throughout the world.”
The Old City is home to many sites of seminal religious importance for the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Jerusalem is generally considered the cradle of Christianity. Christianity reveres Jerusalem for its Old Testament history, and also for its significance in the life of Jesus.
According to the New Testament, Jesus was brought to Jerusalem soon after his birth, and later in his life cleansed the Second Temple.
The Cenacle, believed to be the site of Jesus’ Last Supper, is located on Mount Zion in the same building that houses the Tomb of King David.
Another prominent Christian site in Jerusalem is Golgotha, the site of the crucifixion. The Gospel of John describes it as being located outside Jerusalem, but recent archaeological evidence suggests Golgotha is a short distance from the Old City walls, within the present-day confines of the city.
The land occupied by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is considered one of the top candidates for Golgotha and thus has been a Christian pilgrimage site for the past 2000. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is generally considered the most important church in Christendom.

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