Saturday 18 November 2023

City Where Jesus Was Born To Remove Christmas Decor ‘In Honor Of The Martyrs’ And ‘Solidarity’ With Palestine: REPORT

 The city of Bethlehem would be stripped of its Christmas decorations in light of Israel’s war against Hamas, the city’s authorities said Tuesday.

“Bethlehem Municipality crews announced the dismantling of Christmas decorations installed several years ago in the city’s neighborhoods and removing all festive appearances in honor of the martyrs and in solidarity with our people in Gaza,” the city council posted on Facebook.

Bethlehem, famously known as the birthplace of Jesus Christ, is located in the West Bank and is home to the Church of the Nativity, a UNESCO Heritage site marking the birthplace of Christ, among other historic sites, according to the city’s website. The modern municipality was established in 1872, the website noted.

“The reason is the general situation in Palestine; people are not really into any celebration, they are sad, angry and upset; our people in Gaza are being massacred and killed in cold blood,” a spokesperson said, The Jerusalem Post reported. “Therefore, it is not appropriate at all to have such festivities while there is a massacre happening in Gaza and attacks in the West Bank.”  

Christians are an increasingly vanishing population in the Palestinian territories due to emigration, according to the U.S. Department of State’s 2022 Report on International Religious Freedom. Some 50,000 Christians reportedly live in the West Bank, while 1,300 Christians live in Gaza. The Palestinian Authority Basic Law establishes Islam as the official religion but states support for freedom of belief and proscribes religious discrimination, the report noted. However, religious tensions between Jews and non-Jews as well as within Judaism, and political tensions between Israel and the Palestinian territories hamper good relations, the report noted.

Hamas, designated a terrorist organisation, has held de facto control of the Gaza Strip since 2007 when it violently usurped the Palestinian Authority and imposed extreme interference in daily life, per the report. Hamas tolerated the Christian minority in Gaza and did not force them to live by Islamic law, but often neither investigated nor prosecuted suspected religious discrimination incidents within Gaza.

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