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Bethlehem reduces Christmas festivities in face of Israel-Hamas conflict



Following the Israel and Hamas conflict, Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, has reduced Christmas celebrations for this year.

On Monday, the Times reported that Churches in the West Bank, the holy land of Christianity, have called for subdued festivities to acknowledge the suffering experienced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank following Israel’s response to Hamas’ attack on October 7th. 

Recall that the Saturday attack by Hamas on October 7 resulted in the loss of 1,200 lives, mostly Israeli civilians.

In retaliation, Israel launched a forceful response aimed at eliminating Hamas, but it has led to the deaths of thousands of civilians, with approximately 70% being women and children.

The city of Bethlehem, normally bustling with around 150,000 tourists during the Christmas period, has seen a drastic decline in visitors due to the conflict, causing economic hardship for locals.

But, residents are grappling with the impact of the violence, and clashes between the IDF and West Bank citizens, with Bethlehem residents facing attacks.

Meanwhile, despite its status as a holy site, Bethlehem has witnessed clashes and protests, with some churches expressing solidarity by setting up installations symbolizing the nativity scene amid the rubble, referencing the situation in Gaza.

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