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Mayor of Bethlehem gave letter to Obama

March 23, 2013 4:45 P.M. (Updated: March 25, 2013 11:30 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The mayor of Bethlehem Vera Baboun handed a letter to US president Barack Obama during his short visit to Bethlehem’s Church of Nativity on Friday.

The letter, according to Baboun, is of special importance because it was from the birthplace of Jesus Christ.

"Bethlehem isn't living in peace despite the fact that the city was a source of peace to the whole world," the letter read, according to the mayor of Bethlehem.

She explained that the letter was enclosed with a gift to Obama from the Bethlehem city council -- a sculpture of the birth of Jesus on an olive branch.

Baboun told Ma'an that her letter tackled the issue of Israel's separation wall which surrounds Bethlehem, and Israeli restrictions on construction and development in the small city.

"God almighty created weather changes so Obama couldn’t arrive in Bethlehem by helicopter. Instead, he entered the city via the separation wall so he was able to see firsthand how the residents of Bethlehem suffer from the restrictions imposed by the occupation."

Baboun highlighted that Obama talked to a priest who told the US president, "Don’t be like all other US presidents. Be different and make peace, carving your name in gold as there isn't enough time left."

Obama replied, according to Baboun, "I will do my best. Pray on my behalf so I can do that."
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