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Christmas message from the mayor of Bethlehem
Published Saturday 15/12/2012 (updated) 02/01/2013 21:07
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Palestinians in Malta hold a vigil for Gaza in a Christmas-decorated
supermarket in Nov. 2012 (Reuters/File)

In a silent and unique night that held the tidings of a glorious event, Jesus Christ was born in the manger of a humble grotto in the town of Bethlehem.

The prophecy was fulfilled "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means "God is with us."

In the Christmas season we unite our prayers for peace and justice in Palestine and in the whole world. This year we pray for our brothers in Gaza who suffer from humiliation, hunger, sickness and homelessness as a result of the continuous Israeli aggression on their houses and lands.

This month we commemorate our Lord's Nativity, and the international recognition of our long awaited state of Palestine in the historical voting at the General Assembly of the United Nations. This victory, of obtaining a birth certificate for our state, represents an earnest step towards achieving peace in the Middle East and international legitimacy.

And we proudly celebrate UNESCO's decision of inscribing the Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrim's Route on the World Heritage List, which is a source of pride and celebration for every Bethlehemite and Palestinian alike, and a confirmation of our national Palestinian identity.

I seize this opportunity to extend a sincere invitation for all people of good will to visit Bethlehem, and I warmly welcome visitors from all corners of the world, who came this year to share with us the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ in the heart of our holy town.

I hope they would sense the holiness and authenticity of Bethlehem while wandering in its streets and corners, and experience the warmth of its citizens' hospitality. I urge our families in the Arab world to visit our holy places in solidarity with the people and against the Israeli occupation.

Vera Baboun was elected Mayor of Bethlehem in October 2012.
1 ) Colin Wright / USA
15/12/2012 21:44
...I believe the Jews spray-painted THEIR Christmas message on the wall of a church last week. ...but there. Not all Jews are Zionists. No more than all Germans were Nazis.

2 ) Amazing / USA
16/12/2012 01:37
Amazingly, here we have read from mayor of Bethlehem who uttered the name of Christ while the Muslims and Arabs denied Jewish heritage. It was those JEWISH writers who told the story about Jesus Christ in the Bible. You believe that Christ existed, but you rejected the presence of Jewish people during the time of Christ. Amazing!! Guess who wrote the Gospels? The JEWS. Use your head, folks. Common sense, eh? Don't deny history.

3 ) Hanan Nastas / USA
16/12/2012 05:45
Highly respected Mrs. Vera, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

4 ) Harriet Every / UK
16/12/2012 11:57
Thank you - I look forward to visiting Bethlehem in 2013

5 ) Ahavah from / Il.
16/12/2012 14:21
Jesus, the WORD become flesh and dwelt amongst us, was born into a jewish home; He was circumsized on the 8th day; He had a bar Mitzvah around his 12th to 13th yr. when the family came from Nazareth to Jerusalem for Passover; He kept every Shabbat from birth to death; He kept all the Feasts Days of the Lord as noted in Leviticus 23. It's NOT possible to "love the jewish Jesus, yet hate the Jews". You can't have it both ways.

6 ) Christian Palestinian / Palestine - Bethlehem
16/12/2012 19:05
We know the meaning of love from Jesus, and we don't hate jews, we are against the TERRANY, the terrany of zionism...... we respect jews and muslims and eveyone.... Please note that the Mayor of Bethlehem is Christian, and according to the Palestinian Law there must 8 christian mayors for 8 palestinian cities and villages where there is a christian population, such as Bethlehem. Merry Christmas to you all

7 ) Falasteen / Europe
16/12/2012 20:15
Jesus was not a Jew and certainly no an Israeli. If Israelis and Jews have been occupying Palestine for > 64 years, annexing the holy land and killing Muslim and Christian Palestinians, no wonder that the world hate them, that's an obvious consequence of their inhuman behavior. Than female mayor of Bethlehem, extended a sincere invitation for all people of good will to visit Bethlehem, so please accept her warm invitation and please boycott visiting the apartheid state isreal.

8 ) Ana / NZ
16/12/2012 20:40
I Am so happy for the people of Palestine but so sad for the angry people who have posted their hate of others. Christmas is about love and understanding. Of course everyone is aware that Jesus was a Jew. They dont know the Bible if they arent. The distinction is political not religious regarding the State of Israel. The Zionist state that imprisons and in fact has been known to persecute its Palestinian Christian population. To despise the hate that the state perpetrates is not to hate jews

9 ) ian / australia
17/12/2012 01:00
#1 "...I believe the Jews spray-painted THEIR Christmas message on the wall of a church last week." I'm waiting for the card: "Jesus is a son-of-a-b****! Seasons Greetings from Israel".

10 ) Robert / US
17/12/2012 16:10
How did it go again on the youtube video ?oh Yeah."We Killed your F**king Jesus !!! Were Proud of it."

11 ) ian / australia
17/12/2012 22:49
"Jesus...was born into a jewish home" (#5), "Of course everyone is aware that Jesus was a Jew" (#8) "Jesus was not a Jew" (#7) Interesting. Was Jesus a Jew? He was Galilean (from Galilee), a Nazarene (from Nazareth), ethnically Canaanite (like everyone else, with whatever admixture of foreign blood that implies) and religiously a Jehovah-worshipper. He certainly wasn't Judean (from Judea) or of the tribe of Judah or (G-d forbid) Levi. (His fiercest scorn and vitriol were aimed at the priestly

12 ) ian / australia
17/12/2012 22:50
(contd.) sect of the Levites..."Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers".) The fanatical Levites in the south regarded northerners as barely religious, positively pagan in their failure to observe Jehovah's (actually THEIR) "statutes and judgements" inc. not working on the Sabbath. So was Jesus a Jew? As "Jew" didn't exist as a meaningful term, being invented centuries later (derived from Judah) arguably not. But if he was, it would have been along the lines of the benign tribal religion of the

13 ) ian / australia
17/12/2012 22:50
(contd.) Israelites in the Northern Kingdom, observing moral commandments (before vanishing from history in 720BC, absorbed by Assyria and never heard of again) who never heard the chilling, racial Second Law of the Levites (Deuteronomy) concocted in Babylon a century later and imposed like an albatross on the people who would become "Jews". The fanatical Levites begat the Talmudic Rabbis of the Christian era which begat Zionism in our own. The idea that Jesus, the Nazarene, who told

14 ) ian / australia
17/12/2012 22:52
(contd.) the story of the Good Samaritan with its message of compassion for ALL people, because EVERYONE is your neighbour could be related to THEM is so absurd, I'm with Falasteen (#7) "Jesus was not a Jew". Merry Christmas.

15 ) Colin Wright / USA
18/12/2012 06:18
re #2 'Amazing' and #5 Ahavah. Considering what the Jews have taught about Jesus, their chutzbah is indeed amazing. It's like Julius Streicher demanding a lifetime achievement award from the ADL. First they betray Him, then they spend two thousand years vilifying Him -- then they demand that Christians be grateful. I mean, it's not me that brought the subject up. It's utterly shameless.

16 ) @6 / ps
18/12/2012 12:26
you arent christian,palestinian or arab.stick to your real name ..;l

17 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
19/12/2012 01:09
Oh, hell, let's get this straight: @ 5), Thank you for your kind words but no, Jesus DIDN'T have a Bar Mitzvah. If alive today, he wouldn't even know what it was. Such a ceremony for 13-yr.-old Jewish males (a Bat Mitzvah is for females) isn't even mentioned in our Bible or Christian New Testament. Bar Mitzvah's got going way back around the 1300's or 1400's. @ 9), Not very damn funny, if you really want to know. @ 11) to 14), No, despite his location of birth, upbringing, adult (cont.)

18 ) ian / australia
19/12/2012 01:11
#2, #5 Two garbled responses to a story about Christmas motivated seemingly by the fact that it isn't about Jews...or not enough, which they seem to think it should be. (It's eating them up.) First Ahavah. The ONLY evidence for the life of Jesus is the New Testament. NOTHING in your list of "Jewish" stuff you say Jesus did is mentioned there, so you're projecting YOUR sense of what Jews do with ZERO evidence. And your list is anachronistic. You're describing an observant Jew, from a Levitical,

19 ) ian / australia
19/12/2012 01:12
(contd.) Talmudic tradition (Feast Days of Leviticus etc.) not a Galilean from the 1st Century. And Jesus WASN'T "observant". He was a bad Jew. He worked on the Sabbath healing people. He rejected the dietary laws and ate with "unwashen hands". He denied the authority of the Levites and used Passover to instigate the Eucharist. A BAD Jew. "It's NOT possible to "love the jewish Jesus, yet hate the Jews". You can't have it both ways." You really don't get Jesus do you? Jesus said Jews and Gentiles

20 ) ian / australia
19/12/2012 01:13
(contd.) are just the same. The distinction is meaningless. Also kind of evil. No-one who accepts Jesus' message on any level (and it's billions of people!) wants it "both ways". We don't care whether Jesus is "Jewish" or not. (Just like He didn't.) It's irrelevant. And we don't hate anyone (though the BEHAVIOUR of some, which we DO hate, admittedly sometimes makes it hard).

21 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
19/12/2012 01:34
travels and livelihood, he absolutely was Jewish (not Canaanite). The name Yeshua (Hebrew)/Jesus (English) is derived from the Hebrew (read: JEWISH) name, Yehoshua (Hebrew)/Joshua (English). Again, you're too falsely extending the classification of Canaanite peoples--like the erroneous anthropologist you've posted before--to the Israelites by virtue of the same falsely-connected ethnicity and subsequent same territorial habitation in that part of Mesopotamia no matter the historical (cont.)

22 ) ian / australia
19/12/2012 01:36
Now..."Amazing" (#2) Mostly paranoid nonsense. "...while the Muslims and Arabs denied Jewish heritage", "...but you rejected the presence of Jewish people during the time of Christ." What ARE you talking about? No-one "rejects" the Judean presence in Canaan. It's a matter of record. "It was those JEWISH writers who told the story about Jesus Christ in the Bible." Yes, Jews who rejected Judaism and the idea of "Jewishness", saying in effect, "I'm not a Jew, I'm a human being, like everyone else."

23 ) ian / australia
19/12/2012 01:39
(contd.) But what's weirdest in both posts is the impulse to CLAIM Jesus as your own...even though you HATE Him with a passion, reject every word He said, spit on Him, curse and ridicule Him (Talmud) and vandalise holy places built in His name (like Saint Francis and Latrun Monasteries). And why? Just to spoil Bethlehem's Christmas moment and Mayor Baboun's feisty, inspiring speech...like party-pooping, Jewish Grinches! Oy veh! (Merry Christmas.)

24 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
19/12/2012 01:51
developments that unfolded. Jesus most certainly was Judean by virtue of the people he considered himself ethnically, geographically and "religiously" attached to. That's exactly what his pedigree correctly reveals in the New Testament. Your claims of fanatical, southern Levites regarding northern Jews/Judeans as paganistic is crazy as hell. All Jews/Judeans during Roman times were basically all Jews/Judeans whether in the north (Galilee), Jerusalem or south. Claiming his Judean or (cont.)

25 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
19/12/2012 02:03
Jewish identity came from the Israelites is correct because that's where ALL the Judeans/Jews came from. The people of Judah (Judeans) were simply (by separation of kingdom) apart from the kingdom of Israel which 10 Israelite tribes still agreed to call themselves after they separated from the other 2 tribes (who eventually settled on just calling themselves Judeans) after King Solomon's reign but otherwise ALL the people were ALL Israelites. GOT THAT ??? Deuteronomy was already (cont.)

26 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
19/12/2012 02:34
a part of our sacred Torah long BEFORE the time of--if I read you right--King Josiah because, despite any Levitical "2nd additional Law" hypothesized by "popular" Biblical analytical theory-- all the priests would have had to fully know their own applicable commandments once we entered Canaan since that's when only certain priestly commandents--such as those relating to sacrifices--could be done and HAD to be done. Some of those are in Deuteronomy so it had to have been known through Moses.

27 ) Renee / USA
19/12/2012 16:30
Thank you, Vera, for this inspiring Christmas message, and congratulations on becoming Mayor of Bethlehem. :) The Lord Jesus brings Truth, Love and Peace to all who are seeking Him with sincere hearts. May God bless you all and may there be peace on earth, good will toward men. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

28 ) Robert / US
19/12/2012 17:10
I suggest people look at what Bejamin H. Freedman had to say." Jesus was not Jewish".And what he warned us about in 1961.very interesting stuff.

29 ) Robert / US
19/12/2012 21:34
Benjamin H. Freedman was very important in exposing the Evil of Zionism in which he knew well

30 ) not reading maan anymore / somewhere
19/12/2012 23:19
so maan news agency publishes the comments of zionists and withholds the comment of a palestinian! nice! was the comment offensive to the zionist terrorists? then why did u publish their offensive comments??? why do u continue to publish their offensive comments on ur articles?? this is what u get when ur a supposedly palestinian news site with american editors instead of palestinians: our word of truth becomes tabu, but the zionist verbal attacks and hasbara are allowed!!!

31 ) ian / australia
20/12/2012 03:25
#17 "@ 9), Not very damn funny, if you really want to know." I suppose not, sorry. #24 "Jesus most certainly was Judean by virtue of the people he considered himself ethnically, geographically and "religiously" attached to." The NT is the ONLY source for this Yehuda, and he's never identified as Judean or of the tribe of Judah (or Levi). And there's no indcation of who he felt "attached to"...so I think you're making that up. And the Judean priesthood were the targets of his bitterest rebukes,

32 ) ian / australia
20/12/2012 03:27
(contd.) so it's doubtful he considered himself "attached" to them. He is however called Galilean (and Nazarene). (For Pharisees thinking Galileans religiously slack see opinion of Yohanan ben Zakkai in Jerusalem Talmud.) (I sound like a Yeshiva student!) Also, Jesus' blistering "Woes of the the Pharisees" ("Hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness." Ouch!)

33 ) ian / australia
20/12/2012 03:28
(contd.) #24 "That's exactly what his pedigree correctly reveals in the New Testament" First, there's nothing "correct" about biblical pedigrees. They are fiddled to give people the ancestors they need. Jesus' lineage, through Mary AND Joseph (who isn't his father) are cooked to make him descend from the House of David (to fulfill prophecy)...and on BOTH sides. And as Jesus' REAL Father is G-d (!) the earthly genealogy of Mary, the immaculate vessel (free of original sin) chosen to bear him,

34 ) ian / australia
20/12/2012 03:29
(contd.) strikes me as irrelevant. #25-#26 "Deuteronomy was already a part of our sacred Torah long BEFORE the time of...King Josiah" Yehuda, you may believe Deuteronomy was written by Moses on the plains of Moab relaying laws revealed to him on Sinai, but I think it's written by Levites in Babylon PRETENDING to be Moses. (Like Moby Dick wasn't written by a whaler named Ishmael, but Melville the novelist.) It was even "planted" in the Temple for Josiah's High Priest Hilkiah to make the

35 ) ian / australia
20/12/2012 03:32
(contd.) miraculous discovery of a long lost "Book of the Law"! Whodathunkit? Also, your tortuous reasoning that because laws (eg. regarding animal sacrifice) were needed BEFORE the Israelites entered Canaan, they MUST have been known and written AT THAT TIME well before the captivity, is pretty...well, tortuous (IMHO) (And I still think Judah, and hence the term Jew, became dominant not due to agreement amongst the tribes but the happy accident (for Judah) of the Northern Israelite Kingdom

36 ) ian / australia
20/12/2012 03:34
(contd.) being absorbed by mankind leaving Judah alone controlled by the fanatical cult of the Levites and their sinister and destructive Law.) Merry Christmas.

37 ) ian / australia
20/12/2012 22:17
#30 not reading maan anymore / somewhere "so maan news agency publishes the comments of zionists and withholds the comment of a palestinian!" Ma'an prints everyone. Zionists. Palestinians. Fake Palestinians. Bots. Lunatics. Verbose types like me. People saying, "What's up Ma'an? Where's my comment?" Just persist. Send it again. Sometimes it takes a few goes (and maybe some toning down).
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