RAMALLAH, Friday, December 25, 2020 (WAFA) – President Mahmoud Abbas said in a televised message to the world last night that it was painful and sad that for the first time, we were not able to participate in the Christmas celebrations due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions on public life.
"Christmas comes this year as our world is going through difficult circumstances due to the pandemic that has imposed on all of us restrictions and an exceptional lifestyle. It is painful and sad that because of that and for the first time, we were not able to participate in the celebrations of the Merry Christmas," said the President.
He added, "Thousands of pilgrims and Palestinian visitors who used to flock to Manger Square in Bethlehem to celebrate this happy occasion every year were also unable to do so this year."
On this occasion, President Abbas recalled the aggressive policies and practices of the Israeli occupation against the Islamic and Christian sanctities in Palestine, the latest of which was the attack on the Church of the Gethsemane in Jerusalem, in addition to the ongoing attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the city.
He said despite of all of these Israeli practices, "We are steadfast, and are confident of victory and freedom. We deserve justice for our cause, a decent life for our people and the end of the occupation. Our people deserve freedom and independence in their state with East Jerusalem as its capital, a state that is not separated by segregation barriers such as the one that separates the holy city [of Jerusalem] from Bethlehem, the city of the Nativity."
In reference to the pandemic and the restrictions imposed on public life as a result, the President said: "In this year, we will keep the Christmas message in our hearts, and its joy in our homes, with our families and loved ones, for the sake of health and safety that will remain our priority."
He expressed hope for a better future that will be free of both pandemic and military occupation.