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News ID: 17175
Asia » Asia
Publish Date: 15:17 - 25 December 2017
TEHRAN, December 25 - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered to play tour guide to Christian pilgrims on Sunday in a message relayed from Jerusalem (al-Quds), whose recognition as Israel’s ‘capital’ by U.S. President Donald Trump has sparked global condemnations.

From Jerusalem, Netanyahu offers Christians personal tours of IsraelTEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - A Christmas Eve video on Twitter showed Netanyahu against the backdrop of East Jerusalem, an area laden with Jewish, Christian and Muslim shrines that Israel occupied in 1967 and which Palestinians want as their own future capital.

In the message, titled “Merry Christmas from Jerusalem, the capital of Israel!” he described Israel as a haven for its 2 percent Christian minority because, he said, “We protect the rights of everyone to worship in the holy sites behind me.”

Netanyahu named several Christian pilgrimage sites in occupied Palestinian territories - including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in East Jerusalem’s Old City - which would take visitors “in the footsteps of Jesus and the origin of our Judeo-Christian heritage,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

“For those of you who come to Israel, I‘m going to take a guided tour. In fact, I’ll be your guide on this guided tour,” Netanyahu said. This would happen Christmas next year he said, without going into the logistics.

Trump’s Dec. 6 announcement on Jerusalem al-Quds reversed decades of U.S. policy on leaving the city’s status to Israeli-Palestinian negotiation. The move angered Muslims and was rejected by most world powers.

“The international consensus strengthens our cause and imbues our people with steadfastness,” Palestinian Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah said at a ceremony in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, traditional site of Jesus’ birth.

East Jerusalem, Hamdallah said, “is a Palestinian, Arab, Muslim and Christian city, and there will be no Palestinian state without Jerusalem as its capital, and without this there will be no peace in the region nor in the whole world.”

Source: Reuters

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