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US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft arrived in Bethlehem two weeks ago to attend Christmas mass at the Church of the Nativity.

The fact that the Palestinian Authority allowed Kraft to enter Bethlehem may be further evidence of the "smile attack" the Palestinian leadership took in anticipation of Joe Biden's entry into the White House on January 20.

According to sources at the United States Embassy in Israel, Kraft's visit to Bethlehem was known as a private visit. However, the visit was approved by the Palestinian government and in line with the Palestinian Authority's security mechanisms. Kraft did not meet senior Palestinian Authority officials during her visit to Bethlehem.

 Unlike most senior members of the Trump administration, Kraft maintains good relations with the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, who also helped organize the visit.

Ultimately, however, Friedman did not join the visit, in part due to concerns that the Palestinians would oppose his presence. A spokeswoman for the US embassy denied that this was the reason why Ambassador Friedman did not attend the visit, and said that she did not respond to the schedules of the embassy staff or official visitors.

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