Christmas in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP):
President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital looms large in Christmas festivities this year in the traditional birthplace of Jesus.
Some food vendors, sellers of holiday trinkets, and a leading hotelier in biblical Bethlehem say Palestinian protests, triggered by what many there view as a provocative show of pro-Israel bias, have hurt their Christmas business.
Yet Bethlehem also offers a stage for a Palestinian rebuttal: banners proclaiming Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Palestine have been draped over facades on Manger Square as a backdrop for Christmas TV broadcasts to a global audience.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is keenly felt perhaps even more so at Christmas in Bethlehem, just a few miles south of contested Jerusalem.
Trump's declaration triggered clashes in the Palestinian territories between stone-throwers and Israeli soldiers who fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition. Eight Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, most on the Gaza border, and scores were wounded.