The Palestinian Authority canceled a press conference to present the program of the upcoming Christmas celebrations that was going to take place in Ramallah on Thursday, the Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.
According to the report, in the past, the pre-Christmas press conference had always been organized in the city of Bethlehem. The change of venue was described as an attempt to usurp the city’s role in the holiday celebrations.
“The [Bethlehem] Municipal Council strongly rejects attempts to circumvent the legitimacy and historic right of Bethlehem to arrange and hold the Christmas celebrations in its capacity as the birthplace of Jesus,” the council said in a statement after it held an emergency meeting to discuss the incident.
Several members of the Christian community expressed similar sentiments.
“Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not Ramallah,” a Christian tour guide from the town of Beit Jala, near Bethlehem, told the Jerusalem Post. “What the Palestinian leadership is doing is an insult not only to Bethlehem but to all Christians.”
“Who gave the Palestinian Authority the right to hijack our holidays?” asked a Christian businessman from Bethlehem. “Our city is the only party authorized to do so. This is extremely ridiculous.”
After the backlash, the PA’s Higher Presidential Committee of Churches Affairs in Palestine canceled the press conference.
Over the past few months, there have been several attacks against Christians in the areas administered by the Palestinian Authority. Bethlehem Municipal Council announced that its own press conference will take place on Saturday.