Israel accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of trying to rewrite history by calling Jesus Christ a "Palestinian messenger ."
"He should have read the Gospels before uttering such offensive nonsense, but we will forgive him because he doesn't know what he is doing," Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.
He called Abbas' statements "an outrageous rewriting of history, " the Times of Israel reported.
In his Christmas message Monday, Abbas wrote Palestine "extends its warmest seasonal greetings. ... In Bethlehem more than 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ was born, a Palestinian messenger who would become the guiding light for millions around the world ," Palestine News Network reported.
"We celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem under occupation . ... We are thinking of our people in Gaza, trapped under siege. ... Our prayers are with the churches and mosques of Jerusalem which remind the world of the Arab identity of our occupied capital," Abbas wrote.
"We are in the middle of a negotiations process with Israel, and we are committed to bring a just peace to the region, including ending the occupation of the Holy Land with the establishment of a fully independent and sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 border with East Jerusalem as its capital."