The crisis around Jerusalem clouds Christmas in the Holy City

The crisis around Jerusalem clouds Christmas in the Holy City
    The crisis around Jerusalem clouds Christmas in the Holy City
    Dozens of pilgrims canceled their visit. Also the sellers in the old city complain about the fall of the business.

    Dozens of pilgrims line up in front of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. There, according to the belief, Jesus Christ was buried and resurrected. 

    Some people kneel and rub the grave with their faces. Others cry moved.

    As is traditional, visitors came from all over the world to live the Christmas season in the Holy Land. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the most sacred place of Christianity, is crowded, but not as often as usual.

    "There are few tourists," says Wadshi Nusseiba, who has been guarding the door of the so-called Church of the Resurrection for 40 years. US President Donald Trump "should have left Jerusalem in peace," the 67-year-old man says furiously. "Sometimes it's better to shut up."

    On December 6, Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. However, the Palestinians claim the eastern part of the city occupied in 1967 by Israel as the capital of a future Palestinian state. That is why they reacted with intense protests to the president's decision, which also generated criticism around the world.

    On Friday there were again two deaths after the radical Palestinian movement Hamas called a "blood day". Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stressed in his Christmas message that because of Trump's decision the Palestinians will not accept any US peace plan.

    The crisis around Jerusalem and the violent riots carried out by the Palestinians overshadow the celebration of Christmas in the Holy City.

    The crisis around Jerusalem clouds Christmas in the Holy City
    Both the Israeli Ministry of Tourism and the Palestinian Authority highlight the high number of visitors on these holidays. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the highest authority of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land, says instead that dozens of pilgrims canceled their visit. Also the vendors in the old city of Jerusalem mourn the fall of the business in the days leading up to Christmas.

    Linda Leisner, 65, from Denmark, traveled despite the unrest. "This is a region that did not see peace for 3,000 or 4,000 years," says the Christian practitioner. "Why should there be peace just because I'm here?" For her it is especially important to be at Christmas in "the place where everything happened". After all, he adds, death can reach you anywhere. "You have to live life and if I die it will be God's decision," says the woman, who is traveling with her daughter.

    Evidently there are many who think so. In Bethlehem the hotels on Christmas Eve are complete despite the tense situation, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism. Some 2.7 million tourists visited the Palestinian territories this year and almost 1.2 million visitors spent at least one night in Bethlehem. The city in the southern West Bank is visited by Christian pilgrims as the birthplace of Jesus Christ. At Christmas the small town waits for about 10,000 tourists.
    Wael Elyamani
    @Posted by
    writer and blogger, founder of CTV Egypt News .

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