Christmas in Bethlehem

by

December 22, 2017
AP Christian actors portray Joseph and Mary during a re-enactment of a Nativity scene of the journey to Bethlehem as part of Christmas festivities at the Nazareth Village, northern Israel on Thursday.
AP Christian actors portray Joseph and Mary during a re-enactment of a Nativity scene of the birth of Jesus Christ during Christmas festivities at the Nazareth Village in Nazareth, northern Israelon Thursday.
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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.