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Abbas celebrates Orthodox Christmas in Bethlehem
Published Monday 07/01/2013 (updated) 14/01/2013 10:14
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Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos arrives to take
part in the Eastern Orthodox Christmas procession outside the
Church of the Nativity in the Bethlehem January 6, 2013.
(Reuters/Ammar Awad)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- President Abbas attended midnight mass in Bethlehem's Nativty Church on Sunday evening to celebrate the Orthodox Christmas.

The mass was led by Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem and attended by Jordanian official Bassam Haddadin, representing King Abdullah II, the consul general of Greece and a host of diplomats and clergymen.

Theophilos congratulated Abbas on the recognition of Palestine as a non-member state.

"The message of peace started in Bethlehem, and the Church announces today a message of peace, tolerance and reconciliation," he said.

The Assyrian, Coptic, Greek Orthodox and Ethiopian Patriarchs had arrived in Bethlehem earlier Sunday from Jerusalem, entering via a checkpoint in the north of the city.

Scouts and marching bands paraded through Bethlehem's streets on Sunday to welcome archbishops and patriarchs to mark Christmas in the Orthodox calendar.

The majority of Palestinian Christians belong to the Orthodox church, with significant communities from other Christian denominations.
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1 ) Mitri I. Musleh / Canada
07/01/2013 16:50
It is positive and much welcomed news to see that King Abdullah 11 is represented at Bethlehem’s Christmas Mass. However, since when does King Abdullah send a representative on his behalf to attend Christmas mass in Bethlehem? Is there a message hidden here? Could it be that the future creation of the Palestinian state may depend on forming confederation with Jordan?

2 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
08/01/2013 20:39
@ 1), No, there's no hidden message here but any contacts between King Abdullah II and his brethren west of the Jordan River are welcome. That's because there's never going to be any future confederation with Palestinians remaining west of it. The full Palestinian nation is already established entirely in Jordan/Palestine. All contacts should be understood to motivate "western" Palestinians to go east to J/P because the future of all Palestinians will eventually be finalized THERE.
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