Abbas says Jesus was a 'Palestinian messenger'



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BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) - In a Christmas message, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has referred to Jesus as a "Palestinian" messenger of hope.

Palestinian officials said Abbas used the term in a historic context, applying to all those in the Holy Land at the time, regardless of religion.

Few scholars dispute that Jesus was raised as a Jew.

Abbas' emailed comments Monday appeared to be part of an effort to reach global public opinion and strengthen links between the Palestinian and Christian narratives.

Abbas said Jesus was a "Palestinian messenger who would become a guiding light for millions."

A majority of Palestinians including Abbas are Muslims, but he and predecessor Yasser Arafat have called for unity of Palestinian Christians and Muslims.

Bethlehem, the traditional birthplace of Jesus, is a Palestinian town in the West Bank.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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