Governor of Bethlehem: US VP Pence not welcome

BRUSSELS– The governor of Bethlehem Jibrin Al-Bakrie denounced Wednesday the decision by the US administration on Jerusalem as an aggression against the Palestinian people and announced that US Vice President Mike Pence is not welcome to visit the city.

“On the popular level as well as the official level Palestinians, Christians and Muslims, reject his visit. We are not going to meet him,” he told a press conference at the Brussels Press Club this evening.

Pence was expected to visit Bethlehem on 19 December but it is now uncertain he will visit the city said to be the birthplace of Prophet Jesus.

“We condemn and reject this step by US President Donald Trump which is an aggression against the Palestinian people both Christians and Muslims. The US has lost its legitimacy to play the leading role in the world,” said Al-Bakrie.

He noted that the situation in Bethlehem is similar to the situation in Jerusalem regarding the Israeli occupation. Muslims go to the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and Bethlehem attracts the Christians from all over the world, he said.

He praised the EU position in support of a two-state solution to resolve the Palestine questions as positive.

Al Bakrie said he is visiting Belgium to attend a twinning ceremony between Bethlehem and the Belgian city of Tournai.

On his part, Nadi Rahil, member of Bethlehem Municipal Council, told the press conference that the city is preparing to celebrate Christmas but sadly it coincides with the US announcement on Jerusalem as Israel’s capital at the time when Palestinians in Bethlehem are sending a message of peace and love.

Bethlehem governorate has a population of 220,000 people including 25 percent Christians and 75 percent Muslims, he noted.

Source: Kuwait News Agency