BETHLEHEM, Friday, January 6, 2023 (WAFA) – President Mahmoud Abbas said tonight that our Palestinian people will continue to stand firm on their land and the land of their ancestors, and will protect their cultural heritage and their Christian and Islamic sanctities.
Speaking at a dinner in Bethlehem on the occasion of Christmas for Christian denominations following the Orthodox Church, the President commended the positions of states, international organizations, parliaments, church institutions, and Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, all of which condemned the Israeli far-right government’s violations in occupied Palestine.
"We will firmly confront the serious violations committed by the new Israeli government and extremist settler groups, whether in terms of desecrating Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Islamic and Christian sanctities, or in terms of enacting racist laws and programs of this government that are contrary to international law and signed agreements," the President said.
He added: "We affirm our condemnation and categorical rejection of the repeated attacks on the church property in Jerusalem and in the rest of the Palestinian territories."
“We will remain committed to resisting the Israeli occupation and its settlement policies that aim to undermine the Palestinian Islamic and Christian presence.”
Following is the full speech of President Mahmoud Abbas on the occasion of Christmas for denominations following the Orthodox calendar:
Your Beatitude Theophilos III,
Her Royal Highness Princess Maryam Ghazi, Representative of His Majesty the King of Jordan.
The Consul General of Greece, Your Excellencies,
I am pleased to congratulate you today, our Palestinian people at home and abroad and all those celebrating in the world the birth of Jesus Christ, peace be upon him, according to the eastern calendar and we share with you this great religious occasion, wishing everyone a glorious Christmas at the beginning of this year, in which we hope that peace, security and prosperity will prevail for our people and all people of the world.
In this regard, we affirm that we will continue to celebrate these national and religious occasions and to protect our heritage, sanctities and our Islamic and Christian presence on the holy land of Palestine, as an integral part of our historical presence and our national fabric in our cities, villages and camps.
Our Palestinian people will continue to stand firm on their land and the land of their ancestors and protect their cultural heritage and their Christian and Islamic sanctities, foremost of which are the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Church of the Nativity and the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.
How can we not, while we are the people of the Pact of Umar that will remain immortal forever, holding onto the embers, defending our culture that urges us to tolerance, moderation, and brotherhood among the people, preserving the identity and character of the city of Jerusalem, and supporting the steadfastness of its people and its sanctities.
Sisters and brothers,
we affirm that we will confront the serious violations committed by the new Israeli government and extremist settler groups, whether in terms of profaning Al-Aqsa Mosque and Islamic and Christian sanctities, or in terms of enacting racist laws and programs of this government that are contrary to international law and signed agreements.
We are currently, in coordination with my brother, His Majesty King Abdullah II, the Custodian of the Hashemite Custodianship of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, whom we wish him and brotherly Jordan continued progress and prosperity, as well as with brotherly and friendly groups, to move at the level of international and regional forums, on top of which is the Security Council and the League of Arab States. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Union, the European Union and its member states, in order to put an end to these violations targeting the historical and legal status of Jerusalem and its sanctities.
In this context, we commend the positions of states, international organizations, parliaments, church institutions, and Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, which have all condemned these serious Israeli violations, which we hope will turn from words into deeds.
In this regard, we affirm our complete condemnation and rejection of the repeated attacks on the property of churches in Jerusalem and in the rest of the Palestinian territories, including the Mount of Olives, the Hebron Gate, Silwan and Mar Elias, and the tampering with the cemetery of the Evangelical Episcopal Church in Jerusalem.
We will remain committed to resisting the Israeli occupation and its settlement policies that aim to undermine the Palestinian, Islamic and Christian existence. We will also continue to preserve our diverse Palestinian religious heritage, of which we are proud and we call on everyone to continue preserving it on the path of freedom and independence for our people and our state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
On this occasion and from the city of Bethlehem, from Palestine, we say Merry Christmas, and we salute all those celebrating Christmas according to the eastern calendar in Palestine and the whole world and we wish everyone goodness, love, hope and peace..