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On behalf of President Mahmoud Abbas, Khouri attends Orthodox Christmas Midnight Mass

Member of the PLO Executive Committee and Head of the Higher Presidential Committee for Churches Affairs in Palestine, Dr. Ramzi Khouri, represented His Excellency President Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the State of Palestine, at the Christmas Midnight Mass celebrated by Orthodox Christian denominations that follow the Eastern calendar.
Representative of His Majesty King Abdullah II, Ambassador of Jordan, Mr. Issam Bdour, Greek Consul General in Palestine, Mr. Dimitrios Angelopoulos, Mayor of Bethlehem, Mr. Hanna Hanania, Head of the Episcopal Evangelical Church, Archbishop Hussam Naoum, in addition to several members of the Diplomatic Delegations, attended the midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity, among many other prominent figures.
The Mass was presided by His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem. In his address, he highlighted the suffering of the Palestinian people resulting from the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip, which cast a shadow over the joy of Christmas. He took a moment to reflect on the displaced Palestinian Christians in the St. Porphyrius Church in Gaza, emphasizing that the war has claimed the lives of thousands of innocent civilians, including women and children, the destruction of schools, hospitals, places of worship and historical sites. He stated unequivocally that Gaza’s plight would stand as a testament to the cruelty inflicted by the oppressor.
His Beatitude expressed deep gratitude to President Mahmoud Abbas for his continued support, expressing hope for the realization of the aspirations of the Palestinian people for the establishment of an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital. He also conveyed appreciation to King Abdullah II of Jordan and for the Hashemite custodianship of Muslim and Christian Holy Sites.
For his part, Dr. Khouri conveyed greetings from President Mahmoud Abbas to all churches, underscoring that somber atmosphere prevailing in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, and throughout Palestinian cities, notably Jerusalem, due to the massacres committed by Israel against the Palestinian people in Gaza. He acknowledged the absence of the joyous festive spirit that typically unites Palestinians, during what is considered to be by Palestinians as a national Palestinian celebration.
Khouri detailed the enduring plight of the Palestinian people in Gaza for over 90 days of Israeli aggression, which resulted in the killing of over 22,000 Palestinians, wounding more than 58,000, the majority of them are women and children, in addition to the forced displacement of over 1.7 million Palestinians. He highlighted the destruction of thousands of homes, dozens of hospitals, schools, mosques, and churches. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza, exacerbated by shortages in aid, medical and food supplies, coupled with the lack of water, electricity and fuel due to Israeli restrictions, was emphasized. Khouri also pointed out to the continuous attacks by the extreme Israeli government and settlers on the Palestinian people and their properties in the West Bank and continuous assaults on Muslim and Christian Holy Sites in occupied Jerusalem.
Khouri expressed hope that the upcoming year would bring peace and justice, realizing the aspirations and struggles of the Palestinian people for freedom, independence, the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. He stressed that there is no more critical time than now to find a just solution to the Palestinian question, ensuring the complete implementation of all relevant UN resolutions.
In the end, Khouri concluded by offering his prayers to God to have mercy on the martyrs, healing for the wounded, and grant freedom to the prisoners. Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth, peace and joy among people.
Additionally, Khouri participated in the Christmas Mass for the Syriac Orthodox Christians led by Bishop Mar Antimous Jack Jacob and the Christmas Mass for the Coptic Orthodox Christians presided over by Bishop Antonios.

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